Rose Caiola and Agapi StassinopoulosDo you know how some people walk into a room and bring it to life? That’s Agapi Stassinopoulos. Her first name means “unconditional love” in Greek, and that’s what she so brilliantly shares.

I met Agapi last summer. She’s an inspirational speaker, teacher, actress, and author. Last week, in a talk she gave at the META Center in New York City, she began the evening by playing Bruno Mars’s “(You’re Amazing) Just the Way You Are” and encouraging the audience to dance. Her joy is contagious, and I couldn’t help but smile as I was instantly rewired after a hectic workday. Within minutes I was laughing and relaxed, as was everyone else in the room. That’s Agapi; that’s her style. Even with a bad case of laryngitis, she lit up the crowd.

“What would your life be like if you lived with your heart open and free—as if your life really mattered?”

When the music stopped, Agapi asked the group a question:

“What would your life be like if you lived with your heart open and free—as if your life really mattered?”

That question and the themes it raised carried us through the evening.

Agapi spoke about her most recent book, Unbinding the Heart (Hay House), a collection of inspiring vignettes from her life. At every opportunity she made her journey relatable to the audience. “If you have a story to tell, then tell it! Write it down. If someone reads it, great! If not, that’s good, too—just tell your story. It’s important because it makes us all know we’re not alone—what we experience, someone else is experiencing, too.” That’s the motto I live by. I think allowing ourselves to become vulnerable is the key—once we do, we grant permission for others to do the same and we all heal.

Agapi asked another crucial question: “How do we get beyond ‘not good enough’?” She believes it’s through knowing yourself. To illustrate this, she read from an imaginary conversation with Socrates that she included in her book:

“Know thy self, and I mean all of it. Your true self and your false self. Get to know it all—the doubt, the shame, the guilt, the lack and the self-pity, the lust and the jealousy, the greed and the pride. It’s part of your human nature. And let the other parts of your self, the kindness, loving, compassion, clarity, and wisdom, come through. There is a fearlessness that lives in you. When fear takes over, ask yourself. ‘Who is afraid here?'”

“Your character is built by what you overcome, not by what you achieve.”

When you do this, she says, you will “start to see that you have choices, and you’ll start to exercise your choices and experience freedom. And guess what? At some point, other people will feel that freedom in you and want to be around you, because everyone—everyone—wants to feel their freedom.”

She spoke about the five questions we need to ask ourselves if we want to find our calling:

  • What am I here to learn?
  • What am I here to teach?
  • What am I here to overcome?
  • What am I here to complete?
  • What am I here to express?

And she reminded us that the answers lie in our everyday lives—in doing the dishes, in falling in love. When you let love in, she said, “your calling finds you.”

“What can I do for someone else today? How can I make their life a little happier? How can I share all I have with people?”

She also encouraged all of us to practice “radical generosity,” as she does, by asking ourselves: “What can I do for someone else today? How can I make their life a little happier? How can I share all I have with people?”

And she shared some of the powerful mantras that guide her life:

  • “Remember that you’re here for the joy.”
  • “Don’t miss the moment.”
  • “The outer never fulfills the inner.”
  • “Change the channel.” (This is one of Agapi’s favorites—something her mother suggested when things weren’t going well in Agapi’s life.)

And my favorite:

  • “Your character is built by what you overcome, not by what you achieve.”

Agapi ended the evening with a guided meditation. Afterward I felt renewed. My heart was unbound, and I was ready to return with joyful intention to my life as a mom, wife, daughter, and businesswoman.

You can find out more about Agapi by watching her inspiring video here.

 

Rose
Rose Caiola
Inspired. Rewired.

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1 Comment

  • Jamie Thornton
    Posted February 9, 2014 7:35 pm 0Likes

    Thank you for a great article and Rose, I agree with you on “Your characther is built by what you overcome, not by what you achieve” as being your favorite mantra!

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