HELPING PATIENTS IN NEED This page is dedicated to “Helping Patients in Need”. Many times, struggling with health challenges creates compounding challenges in other areas of patient’s lives. The biggest challenge often becomes financial, where patients struggle in order to merely afford treatment. When one is too sick to work, they have no viable avenue of creating an income in order to heal themselves and re-enter the workforce, creating a downwards spiral of helplessness and hopelessness.
Often times,patients must wear many ‘hats’ when they do not have the proper physical, financial, emotional and intellectual support required for healing. Patient’s are forced to become their own caretakers, forced to derive an income and become their own financial provider’s, forced to become their own researchers/healers/doctors in order to find answers to their healing, forced to depend on themselves emotionally when they do not have emotional support of friends or family leading to isolation.
We will begin with one young woman named Katerina, with Greek ancestors presently living in Canada, who has been ill for a number of years – her symptoms are too numerous to mention, but “neurological toxicity” may be a good word to sum up her symptoms. Other diagnoses such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Acute “band headaches”, leaky gut syndrome, Systemic Candidiasis, heavy metals toxicity and more would also be fitting. Even though this young lady is bedridden most of the day, and often has difficulty sleeping at night, she has found the will and energy, based on her determination, hope and belief in a higher power to overcome these health challenges, to express her healing journey and healing crises in the form of art work on canvas.
The words that accompany this art come from the depths of the Soul and will touch most other Souls that are resonating with other’s pain. Maybe one of the “gifts” of chronic illness is this Spiritual journey – the Road Less Travelled – that maybe would never have been pursued otherwise. Here are a few words from Katerina herself: “This page is dedicated to help move patients towards healing on all levels, to create self-sufficient people who get to shed their patient titles over time and even pay forward their successes. This page is a representation of hope, faith, love and most importantly the grace of God that is allotted to us during hardships. A reminder that serving one another and creating a community of oneness in love is what will ultimately bring us healing and move us forward as a human race.” She has now printed her collection of art, accompanied by words that could only have come from the depths of the abyss where pain meets joy. Please feel free to purchase any of these as the proceeds all go towards her healing journey as she has quite a way to go yet!
Print 1 – Agape – After being brought to my knees from constant physical, emotional and spiritual torture that come along with serious health challenges, almost losing my life a handful of times, meaning in life becomes implicitly simplified; it suddenly becomes abundantly clear that the only thing other than oneself that is real, is love. Money is like love in that it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and it enlivens the other who turns it upon his fellow men. In other words, love is only real when it is shared. To be loved means to be recognized as existing. As such we find rest in those we love and we provide a resting place in ourselves for those who love us. These are many of the sentiments I feel when I think of the person who inspired this painting. Art, for me, is inspired by one of two things – love or pain. Verily they are suspended like two scales between joy and sorrow.
They are ultimately inseparable, one provides contrast for the birth of the other. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. This is where I feel it is possible to find Joy in Sorrow. Losing what ego you have left and being humbled to the point where all you are driven to live through is your spirit, allows for the contrast of joy and sorrow to become apparent, part of one’s consciousness, where the soul is drawn too, longs, and chooses to feel joy instead of sorrow. It is only during the hour of pain when the heart is purified by flaming sorrow that it can also be illuminated by the torch of love. We get dark, just to shine. The only emotion I could feel when I thought of my dear friend who inspired this piece, was love, so I attempted to express it on canvas. As a new mother, a woman’s heart evolves to the fullest potential of its being; love that knows no boundaries, has no limits, is ready and willing to give up life itself, complete and ultimate sacrifice, willingly, a boundless and enduring source of infinite patience surfaces and becomes realized of which was once only waiting to be tapped into. This is for all my amazing, strong women, family and friends, mothers new and old who have been awakened by instinctual motherly love and AGAPE in the fullest meaning of the word.
Print 1 – Agape (Love)
Print 2 – BATTLE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS – (ZEUS VS DEVIL) At first, I thought there was no way I could meet the challenge of this painting. Zeus represents my love for Greek mythology as the ruler of all Gods. Zeus’ muscular body, lightning bolts and fierce expression represent my Hellenic (Greek) warrior spirit that I use to conquer my illness (Devil). This painting took me 2 years to paint from bed, while I would sit up 5 minutes at a time to complete. I imagined myself as Zeus and also believed I was invincible which allowed me the willpower to complete such a piece, providing me with deep courage and solace.
This painting had me repeating the mantra: If you BELIEVE it, and can CONCEIVE it…. YES YES YES, you can ACHIEVE IT!!!
As I began to watch my painting come to life, I began to realize that we must NEVER throw our wants or needs away, that we DESERVE the best life and that only we, ourselves, can define what our ‘best’ life is. If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hands. I saw myself creating a masterpiece that was beyond what I ever thought I would be capable of. I wanted for everytime someone viewed my painting, to be empowered and inspired.
Every time I felt I was incapable, I went back to look at what I had created and what I am truly capable of. These were my intentions, my wants, my needs for this painting and each and every time I got feedback from it, the sentiment was exactly what I intended to manifest. I realized through painting this, that one must:
ACT LIKE YOU KNOW THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS – no matter what is happening in your life, you are capable of being the HERO in your own story. In order to do so, first you must change your role in the story and become the protagonist and heroine.
KNOWING THE TRUTH IS GOING FOR THE JOY. You have the right to be POWERFUL and GREAT, BOLD and BODACIOUS no matter what the circumstance. ACT like you KNOW the TRUTH, because you ARE THE TRUTH. You are the director of your AUTHENTIC IDENTITY. In order to stand as your AUTHENTIC SELF, sometimes you have to be willing to STOP trying to please everyone in the process.
Goals need to scare and excite you at the same time. If they don’t, they are not always worthy of your efforts. STEP INTO YOUR GREATNESS. IT’S WHO YOU REALLY ARE and what the WORLD TRULY REQUIRES OF YOU.
This painting reminded me of who I truly am and what I am capable of. I hope it does the same for you.
Print 2 – Battle of Epic Proportions
Print 3 – BEARING OF CROSS Through the “ultimate sacrifice”, Christ was willing and open to be violated over and over. In the path to wellness, I must open myself up to constant physical and emotional punishment through treatment as a means to an ends. We all have our own crosses to bear and sacrifices to make, which can only lead us to greatness and increase our worthiness in our goals as human beings.
I have come to understand that after all the suffering the only thing left is the resurrection. At the end of pain is purpose, at the end of suffering lays success. Let us stop and think for a moment of the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and all the pain He endured. If this did not happen, people would not think His story to be remarkable nor would there be what is known as ‘forgiveness’ and ‘repentance’. Thus, the purpose of pain in this context, is the eternal and inexhaustible source of therapeutic grace, rebirth and restoration of the soul. Indeed, “He has borne our griefs…” (Mat 8:19). How many hearts would be comforted, bitterness dissolved, patience strengthened, unbearable weights on our chests lifted, with this simple information.
If we can understand that we are being disciplined for our ‘profit’, then all the discouragement and mental weakness can be turned to courage and power. With this ultimate truth, consolation, comfort and peace will flood our souls. We all want to think that in our darkest hours, our pain is the worst, unbearable, impenetrable. That we don’t have the endurance to last through our struggle. That we will never be able to enjoy the warmth of the sun beating against our backs. In these hours, we have rebuked all logic, hope and faith from within our spirits.
For, if we can rest all of our troubles on the assurance that God will not test us more than our endurance permits and that our discipline is for profit, we will be able to accept and endure the impossible. He will not permit disciplinary pain past our powers, He will follow the course of His children’s pain and if need be, He will intervene at the correct moment. His intervention is so convincing that we may see how unsubstantial our unbelief really is, how meaningless our complaints and how unnecessary our despair.
We must continue to kick, claw, climb, crawl… our way to freedom. For, we will triumph and be resurrected and transformed, more beautiful than before because we have suffered.
Print 3 – Bearing of Cross
Print 4 – FREEDOM OR DEATH
The famous motto that Greeks are well known for is “Freedom or Death”. We have always fought until the death, it is the way of the Greeks. I painted this after coming home from the hospital nearly losing my life, with bandages still wrapped around my arms. Barely able to lift my hands in order to paint and in severe pain, the burning ‘never die’ Greek attitude within me pushed me to finish this painting. I sought a strong woman to depict the passion of the painting and modelled the face of Anna Vissi the famous Greek singer of whom I adore.
This painting is dedicated to all of those struggling with life-threatening illness and in the fight for their lives. The choice of “Freedom or Death” is actually not a duality. Ultimately, there is only one choice and that is freedom. Metaphorically speaking, the only choice is wellness, taken to the extreme, this painting embodies the sentiment of our aim as patients – which is to obtain unsurpassed levels of health. Our aim, is to truly be RE-BORN.
The purpose of this painting is to serve to remind us all that – WE, CAN, DO, THIS. How do I know? Because it has already been done. We are not the first or last. Years of suffering and struggle may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. THIS, IS, OUR, TIME, TO HEAL.
Print 4 – Freedom or Death
Print 5 – HEARTLINES
I was painting this initially because I was feeling very lost and desperate to know the right ‘next step’, never having any clear idea as to what it may be or if I was taking the right path or making the right moves. But then I realized through feeling lost, that no one really knows what the right next step is, we are all out here wondering and wandering. All we truly know, is to follow our instincts. In other words, just keep following the heartlines on your hand. Always listen to your heart, mind and soul – think, reflect, pray and proceed. Every TESTimony requires a TEST.
We must take risks within our means; success requires a touch of madness. It is in the uncertainty of life that we are able to evolve, grow, and find adventure and meaning. Things that feel so unfulfilling, meaningless and pointless have the potential to actually give birth to real purpose. When we step out into 3rd person and view “The Human Condition” and everyday repetition, it allows for a greater consciousness to grow – What am I doing here? What is my/your purpose? What type of personal legend would you want to leave behind?
Truth is, I am unwell and fighting an uphill battle. Truth also is, this situation is temporary and subject to change. Truth really is, we are created in divine WISDOM and PERFECTION and as human beings we are NOT created to be ill. We are but a TORCH of the flame of the spirit of GOD separated at creation.
There is a SPIRITUAL POWER within you ALL that is PERFECT, your spiritual DNA is PERFECT – that’s why you WANT things and SEEK your health. You are merely expressing the love you hold for yourself by wanting better. We must continue to remember who we truly are and what we are capable of, in that we have been created in perfection to BE and SHARE love.
This painting had me contemplating the meaning of life. Each and every time I contemplated my purpose and place in the universe, it was dumbed down to the following:
We are here to BE and SHARE JOY! By living on purpose through these means, authentically and spiritually aligned with one another, we CAN reach the full potential of our beings. enJOY!
Print 5 – Heartlines
Print 6 – MY WISH FOR YOU
This painting was initially inspired as a wedding present for a close friend of mine. Whilst painting, I began to understand that the meaning was so much more deep and profound than I could explain. It began to inspire a flood of writing that has not yet been completed but of which I am referring to as “ELEKTRA’S MANIFESTO”.
“My Wish For You” is just that – Love. On the left side of the tree, love has been spelled in Mandarin and on the right in Greek. My wish for the entire world is that we all continue to BE and SHARE love as it is what we have been put here to do.
A short while ago, I had experienced a severe dip in illness where I was totally bed bound and felt I may lose my life. I found myself thinking, when will it just get easier? Looking out the window, I viewed the trees, the flowers abloom and the grass. What a simple life, being connected to the ground and sun 24/7, the only duty being to grow. I was overcome with emotion when I had an “AHA” moment.
The trees, the grass, the birds chirping are all ordinary. The people walking down the street, ordinary. The sunset and the sky changing colour, ordinary. But when I started to actually SEE these things, I realized they are NOT so ordinary. The mere existence of the tree DEFIES gravity. A tree grows UPWARDS and into the sky. Let me repeat, its existence defies the basic principle of gravity on earth!!
Those colours in the sky that burst each morning and night require perfectly timed phenomena to occur in specific places in latitude and longitude, while cons in our eyes are conditioned to view light, we see a reflection of what is not absorbed – this makes the sky blue or the sun ‘set’ to us.
Just as those ordinary people are walking down the street, I smile and wave at someone walking her dog. Do you know her story? How important she is? Where she is from? She could be an angel in disguise. I am an ordinary person and no different than all of you, no better, no worse. The moral of this story being that ordinary people and things are capable of EXTRAORDINARY things. We are capable of ANYTHING.
Ordinary people put their minds together and brought man to the moon. Ordinary people, studied contemplated, thought outside of the box and created electricity. They did not have tiger blood, they were molded in human flesh just as you and me. Have you asked yourself what you are capable of? Have you contemplated what you could accomplish if failure was not an option? The answer is the world, my friends.
Finding the extraordinary in ordinary is a symbol of love. Love is nothing but recognizing and acknowledging one human being as more than ordinary, extraordinary than the rest, although to many others they may just be ‘ordinary’. I’d like to challenge the idea of perfection in love. When we speak of perfection in general, we are making and drawing conclusions. Once we conclude, we stop to think, stop to ask questions, stop to learn and more importantly stop to grow.
Love is continual growth. How can we grow when we make conclusions that do not allow for progressive thought? We create a perfect love. We ever so evolve and mold together. We continue to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, each and everyday. This is why love is the only force that continues to blossom without the aid of seasons, why you can paradoxically ‘love’ someone more than you did yesterday, or the day before that, or that. Perfection is a cross between an illusion and reality. We create our own realities, and the only thing other than oneself that is real, is love. Love ends where growth stops.
Let us grow together, simply, just as the only duty of the tree on earth is growth – it is a symbol of love and conquering of the daily limiting thoughts and beliefs of the ordinary – that all things on earth must obey gravity. Let’s defy gravity together. And when I find myself saying, “Lord, I just can’t take any more”, I’ll continue to remember what I’m here for.
Print 6 – My Wish For You
Print 7 – OLYMPIC ATHLETE
ΝΟΥΣ ΥΓΙΗΣ ΕΝ ΣΩΜΑΤΙ ΥΓΙΕΙ – “Healthy mind follows a healthy body”.
The ancient Greeks believed in order to have a healthy body one must also have a healthy, disciplined mind. Olympic athletes represent patience, perseverance and discipline of mind, body and soul; all the virtues necessary to reach the finish line. To be awarded the winner’s wreath was one of the highest honours in ancient times. Great discipline and patience were required to paint each and every detail that embodies the strength of the Olympioniki (Olympic medalist) and are required to gain my crown of health back once again.
This was the first painting I created during the beginning of my illness. I went from totally normal to bedridden in a course of 6 months. I had no idea what was happening to me, my body or why. I was being scheduled appointments months out to visit one doctor after another, who provided no real answers or solutions as to what was going on, breeding more fear and despair as my condition was worsening by the moment. I needed to look deep within myself to find patience as I intrinsically knew the answers would eventually come.
I found deep solace within painting and discovering a depth of talent I did not know I possessed. What is patience? It is the power and brave nobility of the soul that remains unconquerable in the face of injustice, slander and persecution. It does not fight back, hate, hold grudges or take revenge; it endures, suffers and maintains spiritual peace. From a religious standpoint, patience is spiritual bravery paving the way to perfect virtue. It is found deep and dormant in every individual until their trial comes about and they must dig deep and search within themselves for it. When exhausted to its fullest capabilities it can be transformed to heroism; to be a hero by virtue of patience.
It is knowing that however good or bad today is, we have the power within us to make tomorrow even better. We are conscious creators of our reality when we choose to take responsibility for our lives. I come from deep Greek roots, which is why it is instinctual for me to fight for my life, for change, for my freedom. In the same sense, with the current situation in Greece, I believe we are forgetting who we truly are as a civilization and a race. I believe we need to be reminded of the immense power that lays within us as a nation, of who we truly are and what we are capable of. We need to be reminded of our rich history and culture, of our bravery, of our passion and of our unconquerable spirit as Greeks.
In this sense, we must use our imagination not to scare ourselves to death, but to inspire ourselves to life. I am learning to be guided by truth, and not my circumstances. The truth is, we are all in our own right capable, only we can come to this realization and begin to change our lives and by doing so, inspire those around us to do the same.
Print 7 – Olympic Athlete
Print 8 – ROAD TO ITHACA
Just as it took Odysseus 20 years at sea to return to his home, more wise and humbled because of his sufferings and struggles, we all have our path in life and our own “Ithaca” to return too. I use the word ‘return’ as a metaphor in reaching our fullest potential of our true self.
We are not uncovering this potential, we already comprise it; it is laying dormant within us waiting to be awakened. To actualize oneself, is to tap into this potential. It is not about the destination, rather, it is the journey. I hold achieving full and total health in mind, body and spirit as my ultimate destination and goal, however i am learning to stop being in a hurry to ‘fix things.
Instead, I search to enrich my understanding in the ever going process of self-discovery and more towards finding the cause of my ignorance. This painting was inspired by the birth of a young boy who had a troubled start in life of whom I hold dear to my heart. It is to remind us that life is the train, not the station. We must keep the destination in our minds but it is the journey that helps to transform us and bring us closer to who we really are.
“And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you. Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithacas mean”. Constantine Cavafy “A genuine odyssey is not about piling up experiences. It is a deeply felt, risky, unpredictable tour of the soul”. Thomas Moor
Print 8 – Road to Ithaca
Print 9 – SANTORINI SUNSET
The happiest times of my life have been spent in Greece during my stays with family and friends. I painted this during the beginning of my illness when nothing was making sense, and my entire life and everything I had known was lost – family, friends, school, career, sport, etc. I attempted to escape mentally to where my soul craved to be, where everything made sense and where the environment, culture and beauty of a simple sunset reminded me of who I really was, as I was losing my identity to my illness.
The first place I will journey too once able, I have put in my heart to be the Greek islands. My heart’s desire is to re-connect with family and friends from back home as I have come to realize that when we are stripped of every material and physical possession and sense of ego, the only thing that is left and that is real in life that matters is the love we share. Suddenly, all that matters is love.
I have a collage of pictures all over my wall in my bedroom of the Greek islands. I consider this to be my “Vision Board” as I attempt to close the gap between dreams and reality through action. I have also bought an island dress that I plan to where in Santorini.
I have not returned to Greece since 2001 and just like the saying goes, “I left my heart in Greece”. I intend to go back and find it, very soon.
Print 9 – Santorini Sunset
The Russian Miracle – Life After Death
This is a true story of a Russian Orthodox Christian who picked up a monk and a nun who wanted a lift to a Monastery. Little did he know that this was the Apostle Saint Peter and Saint Paraskevi, known for her miracles in healing the blind.
On his way to the monastery, the Saints began telling the Russian his complete life story, and by the time they reached the monastery he was truly at a loss for words. Upon resting, the Archangel Gabriel appeared and took him on a fascinating journey to “the other side” where the Angel showed him the Spiritual gifts that await all those that believe in the Divine.
This is presently only in the Greek language, but will be in English soon. Download and listen – it will change your life for the better, I assure you!
DOWNLOAD THE RUSSIAN MIRACLE NOW! (The audio file is 125 MB – 1 hour 15 minutes long, so please be patient when downloading).