Today is my 20 Year Anniversary of Founding Koukla Productions.

Kalo Mina, and a good month to each of you.

As I celebrate all good things with my ever evolving company Koukla Productions, I realize how many blessings I have encountered during these 2 decades.

Firstly, I’m still standing!!!!

Reason enough to be jovial.

Secondly, I’ve met, worked with and learned from some of the most fabulous people!

Next, the best is yet to come!

Here’s the plan for my next phase:

Have empathy for the viewers’s (you) position regarding wellness.

Define: what do I need to create to help you live harmoniously in mind body and spirit?

Ideate: brainstorm all the solutions to bring forth a more vibrant and healthy community.

Create the prototype: media, podcast, books?

Test: experiment by bringing forth the product.

February 2021! A whole new world opening up for all of us. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, be blessed, be bold, be courageous with your next phase!!!

Ola Kala, all is well when you connect all the dots my friend!

Xo Kiki

Solving All World Affairs During Another Presidential Election!

Yiasas! Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since the presidential contest between Obama and Romney. Much has happened, and much has changed with the exception of my beliefs and what I value as important in life, and therefore in an election.

As President Trump and Vice President Biden fight for POTUS in 2020, it is my prayer that the next four years will unveil opportunities for the winning administration to provide growth in each of the following areas for all people.

I BELIEVE IN FAMILY

I BELIEVE IN GOD

I BELIEVE IN HARD WORK

I BELIEVE IN EDUCATION

This year…I BELIEVE IN HEALTH and it must be added to the list of beliefs.

Let us guard our health with all our might!

GOD BLESS AMERICA and may we never give up on each other and our great nation!

xo Ola Kala,

kiki

What is Kefi & Why Is It Important To Me?

Yiasou! Im so happy you came to my page, and its important to me that you make today the best possible day you can!

Why? Because attitude is everything, and Kefi is an attitude that brings on energy and enthusiasm, making life Ola Kala.

My favorite activities that initiate Kefi:

WORKING OUT GIVE ME KEFI!

Kiki signs up for the DRI TRI!

MY GARDEN GIVES ME KEFI

Kikiki & Brian’s Garden

EATING WHOLE FOODS GIVES ME KEFI

Fresh grown tomatoes from Kiki & Brian’s vegetable garden

SUNSETS GIVE ME KEFI

Sunset in IKARIA, GREECE

BEACH DAYS IN ARMENISTIS, IKARIA GIVE ME KEFI!

Armenistis, Ikaria

Make time each day for giving yourself a dose of Kefi so you can be Ola Kala…all is well!

xo

kiki

It’s A New Day- RELAX!

Yiasas!

Here we are at yet another Monday, the beginning of the week. Ask you yourself how it will go because it is all up to you.

Take care of your soul.

Socrates

This week can be the start of something really healthy and something really big for you when you begin the practice of RELAXING. Since energy is not infinite, you have to find a way to relax each day in order to re-energize your spirit. If your spirit and soul are tainted, the mind and body follow suit.

My daily relaxation comes in the form of taking myself to the great outdoors and placing myself in front of something lovely and refreshing. I sit in front of my garden and I sip a drink as I reflect on what’s going on in my day, and how I can make it better or enjoy it. Surround yourself with goodness as you relax. xxoo

My self care inspiration of relaxing was first impressed upon me as a child watching my hardworking father Tasso. Each day, without fail at around 2:30 pm, my father would close his restaurant for 2 hours and come home and nap. This break in the middle of the day would refresh him and instill him with clarity and a renewed spirit for the balance of his afternoon/evening. This “breakaway” to relax is a common practice in Greece, and generally speaking one reason the Greeks are vibrant and with KEFI!

GREAT MEN RELAX

President Abraham Lincoln would attend the theatre. Teddy Roosevelt would take 2 hour daily hikes to escape the fatigue of the demands set upon him as 26th president.

YOU CAN RELAX

It is up to each and everyone one of us to reclaim our health and institute ways of relaxing each day. Whatever is thrown our way, it is imperative that we briefly break free for a bit and return to center!

  • Take a Siesta
  • Take a walk
  • Nap
  • Sit under a tree
  • Workout
  • Stretch out your legs
  • Read an inspirational book for 15 minutes
  • Listen to music/your favorite podcast
  • Hang out with your best friend
Shane with his bestie!

You are being renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Ephesians 3:23

Seize this day with the habit of relaxing so you can protect your mind, body and spirit for an Ola Kala life.

It’s all up to you and it’s all within you!

Ola Kala,

kiki

A Doctor & His Daughters Show Philotimo For COVID-19 Frontline Responders.

What have you been doing during the past 70 plus days of Shelter In Place? Have you made the most of a challenging situation, and has your attitude been hopeful and productive? I must say that my family has adopted the spirit of optimism for the opportunity to enjoy each-other’s company and grow positively in every single way.Happy

Yiasas!

How have you been spending the past 70 or so days of Shelter In Place? Have you been hopeful and productive? Have you been growing as a person and remaining positive? My family has kept the optimism strong with the opportunity to enjoy family time, cook healthy, workout and help those in need whenever possible. We have done our best to honor and love those in our midst who require assistance during the overwhelming pandemic.

Similarly, there is another family that upholds a homogenous outlook, with an added layer of charitable productivity, which YOU can be a part of! Their acts of kindness and love for neighbor and friend are described as Philotimo in the Greek vernacular.

OUR FRIENDS- THE SALTIS’

Its a blessing to know my neighbor Dr. George Salti, his wife Maria, and their daughters, for they are a model group of people who make the world a better and nicer place to live.

As the director of Surgical Oncology and a practicing surgeon at Elmhurst hospital-Edward hospital in Illinois, Dr. George is an exemplary person who through his undaunted professional perseverance and kindness has inspired our community and his family. The Corona pandemic, while a highly concerning matter, has also been a vehicle to help others both in the operating room and outside of it.

At a time of unrest, I am in awe of how a first responder, Dr. George Salti, and his daughters Doreah and Isabella show love to others through fundraising for the medical arena and COVID-19. Learn more …

Q & A with Doreah and Isabella

Kiki: What is the COVID-19 Response Fund?


Isabella/ Doreah: The COVID-19 Response Fund is a fund established by Edward Elmhurst Hospital to collect money and other essentials to help with the fight against the virus. 

K: What motivated you, girls, to help out with the COVID-19 crisis?

I/D: The idea started at the time when our father would come back home with all kinds of sad and heroic stories from the hospital. We thought we could help mainly the ER and ICU staff at Edward by ordering food from a local business to encourage them and that business. With the delivery, we included a card that contained a drawing by Doreah and a message by Isabella. That card was subsequently adapted by the hospital in order to collect money for their COVID fund. We then thought of making the shirts at another local business to be sold with all proceeds benefiting the fund. 

K: I love the sketch you drew on the shirts. What was your inspiration?

Hero Nurse!


D: Everyday when we watched the news and heard the stories, I felt like those healthcare workers were angels that God has sent to relieve the tired Earth that needed to be lifted. This is why I drew a typical nurse with the essential mask that became a stamp of the era of the virus and with wings carrying the Earth since this pandemic has become a global issue. 

K: Isabella, I love the quote on the back…did you write it?

COVID-Response Fund T-shirt for sale!

I: Yes, I did write the quote on the back. It was part of the note we included with the food delivery. I felt like we were all aching with pain only for those guardian angels on Doreah’s drawing to help alleviate the pain. 

K: How do hope the shirt sales will help Edwards hospital?

D: All proceeds from the sales will go directly to the fund and we believe that no amount is too little. 

K: What is your father’s role in medicine and how has he inspired you?

D/I: Our father is a surgical oncologist who sees some of the most difficult kinds of cancers around and he actually makes a difference in the lives of many, giving patients and loved ones who sometimes come to see him hope and more birthdays to celebrate which is life’s best gift. Our father’s role makes us thrive to become the best we can be and make a difference all around. 

K: How has your family been keeping busy and positive during CVID-19 Shelter In Place?


D: We have been compliant with the stay at home order as well as the guidelines so we slow the spread, and we don’t overwhelm health institutions on top of everything they have been going through. 

K: You two girls have been an inspiration during a difficult time, please share a message for all the young people out there about how they can do something anything to make a difference. 

D/I: Our message to all young people is what we apply to ourselves. Although this has been an unprecedented time, we have to abide by the guidelines imposed by researchers to contain the spread. We all can help by encouraging local businesses and give back to the community in every way we can. This disease has effected everyone from newborn to elderly. In the meantime, we have to keep a responsible hope alive because hope is healing. 

We invite all people to share in the giving by ordering and donating HERE

MEET DR. SALTI

KIKI: Your daughters recognize the sacrifice that doctors and nurses are making during these days of COVID-19, how are you holding up? 

Dr. George: I am just doing my job which i enjoy with passion. Sort of like business as usual but with extra precautions. 


KIKI: How do you stay healthy operating in a hospital in the midst a pandemic?   

Dr. George: Wearing masks and maintain hand hygiene. Also keep social distancing as possible. This may not always apply to the operating room and in clinic when I examine patients.

KIKI: What is the hospital experience like these days… 

Dr. George: Things are getting better in-terms of the number of patients diagnosed, and our experience in treating COVID patients. We’ve learned a lot and continue to learn.

KIKI: How do you describe COVID-19…what do you say it is?  How is it different that the flu?


Dr. George: A virus that is more contagious than the flu, requiring extra precautions to control its spread.

KIKI: How has COVID-19 changed modern medicine?

 
Dr. George: The flow of medical and surgical practices has changed. Elective cases got postponed unless patients were diagnosed with cancer. Staff are taking new measures to protect their health donning a gown and gloves, goggles or eye shield, and an N95 respirator or facemask when they see a patient suspected of being infected with the virus. And pre-office triage and video visits are more employed. A COVID test is now performed routinely prior to any procedure or surgery and prior to admission or delivery. Unfortunately, with the scare patients have, they are avoiding seeking medical advise when necessary for other conditions.

KIKI: How has COVID-19 changed the oncology department?

Dr. George: As mentioned above, the flow of patients has changed. To keep patients distanced, we are extending hours for treatment. Patients temperatures are checked at time of arrival. If they have a fever, they are sent to ER. A mask is provided to every patients visiting the cancer center.

KIKI: Did you ever in your lifetime expect to see a pandemic of this sort?

Dr. George: Absolutely NOT

KIKI: Thoughts on a potential vaccine?

Dr. George: WILL BE THE BEST THING


KIKI: Thoughts on mask and gloves…do they help?

Dr. George: Masks do help. I caution on gloves when people go out say to the grocery store wearing them as multiple items are being touched and potentially transfer germs. It’s better to maintain hand hygiene with frequent application of hand sanitizer. 

KIKI: Where did COVID-19 originate?

Dr. George: China as far as we know

KIKI: How does a pandemic become a pandemic…spread all corners of the world?

Dr. George: Human contact

KIKI: Feel free to share a story about a nurse or doctor who has gone above and beyond…actually you all have, but you know what I mean.

Dr. George: The saddest thing during this period is the fact that patients are admitted and undergo surgery or outpatient treatment without any family member.  They are really on their own. It is very heartbreaking to witness

Thank you to my good friends, neighbors and role models for sharing their time on behalf of a world aching from a virus that has many spinning out of control.

In the words of Mathatma Gandhi:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Order the The COVID-19 Response Fund – T-shirt and start the change today!

Unity! Peace! Ola Kala,

xo

kiki

A Heavenly Song To Calm COVID-19 Fears

Good evening!

Music, the international language, is capable of evoking a wide range of emotional feelings. When the music is composed and penned with authentic artistry, the final product can penetrate the heart.

The song I am posting here is sung in the Greek language by musical artist Stamatis Spanoudakis. Non speaking Greeks will not comprehend the lyrics, but I believe the song’s tempo and formal notation will deliver a sense of peace and calm.

Quite possibly you can listen to Lord Of Powers as you pray or meditate, envisioning yourself in a place of serenity. For a moment, replace COVID-19 troubles of the day with the hope of a beautiful aria.


Singer Stamatis Spanoudakis

May you be at peace,

kiki

Flowers/Plants Aid In Healing COVID-19 Symptoms & So Much More!

Yiasas!

Today’s “Ola Kala” moment is an opportunity to appreciate the value of flowers & plants, especially in these days of COVID-19.

Let us begin here, the place at which the human race is standing amidst a global pandemic called Corona Virus.

RECAP:

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (6 feet) with people who are unwell.

Please review the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention for additional helpful & comprehensive information/prevention regarding COVID-19.

In the meantime, we address how flowers and plants can offer a bit of assistance with reducing breathing difficulty, one of the COVID-19 symptoms.

Scientists have proven that when you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During-photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners, thereby being impetus for us to place flowers/plants in an area.

Moreover, in the home and at night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. A few plants –orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads –do just the opposite, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Place these plants in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.

Our lovely orchid

Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels & purify the air acting as a huge sink for carbon.

FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY COVID-19, FLOWERS ADD FAR MORE OXYGEN TO A ROOM, ESPECIALLY A HOSPITAL ROOM, THAN THEY USE.

During this time when the potentially deadly Corona virus has us captive, plants can be helpful, especially in clinics, medical centers and hospital rooms. For example, these green friends can speed the recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.

Pertaining to everyday living…The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants. Now, more than ever, as the work force is laboring remotely from home, plants are a simple method of helping your immune system remain vibrant.

Furthermore, flowers are an essential part of daily living, as they are the source of sustenance for humans, animals and the environment.

IMPORTANCE OF FLOWERS/PLANTS

  1. Provide food
  2. Source of honey
  3. Source of medicine
  4. Help in pollination and crop yield
  5. Give beauty to nature and surroundings
  6. Provide Perfumes and scents
  7. Decoration
  8. To prepare dyes
  9. Insect repellents
  10. Support breeding

It’s safe to say that plants, or living organisms, interact with your body & mind in ways that enhance quality of life.

Anthophiles (lover of flowers) need and adore all types of blooming beauties. If you haven’t already implemented nature’s gifts in your life, consider doing so in order that your mood will be enhanced and you’ll breathe a little easier.

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

Lady Bird Johnson

COVID-19 will run its course any way you experience it. However, keep in mind that flowers and plants are one more beautiful and beneficial way to deal with the way in which Corona will travel.

A prayer and a flower, can potentially be a powerful combination to improve your breathing pattern and lift your spirits during these stressful times, and in all times!

Wishing you Ola Kala,

Your anthophile

kiki

THE TEST -Corona or Fortitude

I’ve always been intrigued by the mind – body connection. During my radio tenure I would ask certain guests, “Which is affected first, the mind or the body? As one might suppose, the responses to the question were different across the board. However, after years of reading, experiencing life fully and completing a 12 month study at the school of Integrative Nutrition, I now amend the category to add soul to this mind – body equilibrium. So, which one is most important to lead the others, particularly in this period of COVID-19?

In the Kefi Life we often defer and apply the wisdom of the ancients, which concentrates on the strong link between psychological, overall well being and good health.

A recent Psychology Today article opining about disease and health shared the following contemplation;

In one of Plato’s early dialogues, the Charmides, Socrates tells the young Charmides, who has been suffering from headaches, about a charm for headaches that he has recently learned from one of the mystical physicians to the king of Thrace. According to this physician, however, it is best to cure the soul before curing the body, since health and happiness ultimately depend on the state of the soul. But how should one go about curing the soul? “With beautiful words,” comes the answer. “He said the soul was treated with certain charms, my dear Charmides, and that these charms were beautiful words.”

Tomorrow, as we citizens in Illinois follow NY and CA, and begin the Shelter In Place order, which words will we give power to?

Consider…

Calm * Peace* Family time* Breathe* Faith * Love your neighbor * Fresh air * Stories* Perseverance * Positivity * Purpose * Resilliance

Will these words help our state of wellness during a time of COVID-19 crisis?

As stated by World Well-Being Project research on words and wellness, the correlational nature of this research means it’s impossible to determine whether a situation leads to word choice or vice versa, but there is evidence that the words we use can impact our well-being. Your language influences your thoughts. If you tell yourself you are stressed, you are sending that message to your brain. Your brain will respond by secreting the stress hormone cortisol, and too much cortisol hurts your health by increasing inflammation. Constantly telling yourself you are stressed reinforces the neural networks associated with stress. This makes them stronger, which means your brain is more likely to generate stressful thoughts.

Dr Beth Cabrera

Tell yourself you are a strong survivor who rises to the occasion in order to reach the best positive outcome.

Kiki

Neel Burton MD, reports that in the past 2 or 3 decades, it has become clear that mental stressors can lead to physical symptoms only by the ego defense of somatization but also by physical processes involving the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. For example, one recent study conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Mostofsky of Harvard Medical School found that the first 24 hours of bereavement are associated with a staggering 21-fold increased risk of a heart attack.

If you consider the corona virus, it has way deeper issues than bodily disease, as it is a test of the mind and soul remaining vigilant and vibrant in a time of hardship and suffering. Why are we adding stress to an already stressful situation? Extra tension and worry will not alter or change the virus, but thinking correctly will lead to a more likely chance of keeping your immune system a little bit more guarded, and thus a daily OLA KALA.

HOW DO WE DO WE PROTECT OURSELVES FOR THE NEXT 2-3 WEEKS?

Reframe your thoughts and your mind (Νους ) to wonderful virtues which build on character and lead to a better effect.

FORTITUDE – Will you pass the Corona test with courage and endurance? Be brave and curb your fear and anxiety with peaceful and mind engaging activities. Just this month, Reader’s Digest wrote an excellent article on PIECE OF MIND, which discussed the benefit and fun of doing a jigsaw puzzle. Susan Vandermorris is a clinical neuropsychologist at Toronto’s Baycrest Health Sciences, and she is quoted as saying that any type of puzzle is good for brain and points to stress relieving benefits. Inspire the loved ones in your household to assemble a puzzle that brings joy to all participating.

Love island puzzles

PATIENCE– Deal with the stay at home order one day at a time. Our family created a daily schedule which includes times to study, where in the house each person works, what time we will be active (exercise) and walk the dog, and of course we have a plan for dinner each evening beginning with a prayer of protection from Corona.

LOVE– Enjoy the opportunity to bond (reconnect) with family. I don’t know about your kin, but our bunch of 6 persons is generally never around at the same time due to work and school obligations. We look forward to the next few weeks of spending quality time together, telling stories and eating an agape meal each evening.

KINDNESS– Check in on your neighbors, especially the elderly and the very ill. Being kind can be as simple as a phone call or sending an encouraging text. My pen pal from Greece sends me hopeful and positive You Tube videos which contain beautiful words of wisdom to ponder in all situations. I always feel uplifted after viewing a meaningful presentation.

HOPE- this word says it all!

UNDERSTANDING– Understand that there are many who are legitimately suffering physically and or financially. For those afflicted with the virus, remain courageous in the face of pain and adversity and per usual….prayer helps.

WISDOM– All of us make the good judgment to obey the directives of the doctors by taking all the necessary precautions to stay healthy and social distance. There are a number of websites and doctors sharing viable and pertinent information to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Check out the CDC for an excellent guide to follow for staying healthy during this period of CORONA.

At last my friends, which leads the pack in keeping the mind, the body and soul well during a season which threatens all of the above? My verdict is, there isn’t a first or last place with these three, each one supports and builds on the other and in no particular order. Nurture mind, body and soul so you will experience a level of Ola Kala today, tomorrow and forever.

kiki