Category Archives: Life Inspirations

Lessons from Luna (my furry friend)

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My Luna celebrates six glorious years of life today. And I am rejoicing every ounce of love that she showers me with every day. Life lessons too.

Baby Luna stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on her as a rescue puppy. She has since grown from a most adorable fluffy snow ball into a beautiful lady who teaches me the true essence of life each day.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from my Lunatic:

  1. Wake up with a smile.
  2. Greet everyone you see-despite their size- with enthusiasm.
  3. Turn your walk into an experience of the senses- smell the daisies, taste the morning mist..
  4. Take beauty naps often.
  5. Don’t be intimidated by your height. Quite simply, look up!
  6. Ask for whatever you set your mind on. What’s the worst thing they will say to you? No?

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Paws up my Luna and thank you for all the smiles, love, happiness and LUNAtic moments! C’est la vie after all, no?!

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Letter to Dad: It’s not just about the race

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Daddy mou,
 
Although I always say that marathon training is not just about the race, today I seemed to fret about everything at the Aphrodite Half Marathon.
 
Well, it was only four days ago that I found out that all the pain I had during my last long runs was due to a dislocated hip… So, I kept worrying that it would go out of place again.
 
As I waited at the start line, feeling the sun on my bare shoulders, I worried that my running top felt a size too big. I worried that I didn’t train hard enough and that my stop watch kept acting out.
 
“Do you think that Pheidippides had a Garmin?” a dear friend alerted me, instantly bringing me to my senses. And that’s when I realized that what I was really missing was you (and your smiling face) assuring me that I would be just fine.
 
Seconds before the starter pistol went off, we heard a lightning strike, followed by rain and then hail. “So-long to our winter sun bliss,” I thought as we began to run.
 
Battered by a hail storm? On the island of sun? Seriously? Well… it surely battered all my worries away.
 
Daddy, the hail went on for the first five kilometers. And, it hurt!
 
But then, the most magical rainbow painted the grey sky. Soon after, it felt as if we were waking up to a different season and for the next 16 kms, sparkling sun rays were the only reflection on the Paphos sea.
 
Daddy, I will not dare talk about my disappointment with my finish time.  Only because this race was in the true running spirit and choosing to relive wonderful, timeless, inspirational moments of our run together a year ago.
 
The extra touch of spice, daddy mou, were the friends who ran ‘next’ to me. They cheered me on, gave me low-five’s during the race and a hug at the finish line. I felt so much love in the air and in every footstep…
 
Love
 
‘Procopis is smiling,’ so many people said…. Priceless…

So, here’s a vow for 2015, and you are my witness: After 16 half marathons, I am now ready for my first full marathon… The Athens classic route? Or, New York? I need your help on this one!

Love you so much…

Mahi

So, what’s your perspective?

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October has certainly been a month of ‘Perspectives.’ At least for me.
 
Following a most rewarding, two-week educational trip to the US, where I attended a program ‘Standing with Civil Society’ I am back, recharged, with different #Perspectives. We had citizen diplomacy meetings, examining the role of civic participation in an effort to improve government responsiveness. This led to the ultimate realization that we as citizens are the true ambassadors of change in this world. But, above all, the most gratifying part was interacting with people from 29 countries and observing their #Perspective.
 
An opportunity to Re-Think my Perspective and mission in life: that, in life there is indeed a circle of acts of kindness and acts of cruelty. And what we give, tends to come back to us, along with the wheel of change.
 
Coming home, I started work on TEDxNicosia 2014, along with my fellow TEDxers, who all share a common drive to make a REAL impact in the community we live in. I’ve said this before but I need to say it again! Every single TEDxNicosia team member will tell you that this is their way of giving back to the community. Quite simply, it is their humble contribution to society.
 
This year, TEDxNicosia challenges its audience to explore different Perspectives: of people who have always seen things differently, people who change gears and expand their perspective, or, people who simply follow that little voice inside of them. 
 
 ‘So, what’s your Perspective?’  I asked the TEDxNicosia team.

First, I touched base with Marina Theodotou, Founder of TEDxNicosia. When Marina  relocated to NYC, she asked us to ‘step up’ and take over. This was her message, from the Big Apple to the Little Island:

‘A small shift in our own perspective can translate into a giant change in the world. So, think about your perspective…Look north, south, west, east, decide what changes YOU want to make, and go ahead and make them.’

And, then followed a stream of inspiration from the rest of the TEDxNicosia organizing team:

‘By accepting the existence of points of views, we widen our horizons, we understand the importance of individual differences and maintain an open mind to the multidimensional aspects surrounding us. It’s all about perspectives.’ –Paul Koronis, Curator/ Organizer

‘In every story, challenge, idea or solution, there is a hidden angle that appears more unique, innovative and more inspiring. Pay close attention to the details and you will find it.’ – Loris Stavrinides, Organizer/ Creative Director

‘Rain. You love it. It brings you euphoria. But not when you are driving, or when you are heartbroken, or when you had plans outdoors, or when you have to walk, or when you are on vacation. But you love rain. Rain will always be rain. How you feel about it, truly depends on the angle you look at it. Life, is all about those angles.’ –Maria Stylianou, Production Manager
 ‘Sometimes, you have to tread back to your past to gain a perspective of the present.’ 
-Andri Josef, Photographer
 
‘Not all is black and white – or right or wrong- and as long as you have a solid argument to support your point of view, a perspective is to be respected. There are as many realities and perspectives in this world, as the number of people living in it…’ –Stephania Constantinou, Translations & Logistics
 
 ‘People can approach the same topic, object, idea from a different angle. Just think about that!’ –Charis Michael, Sponsors & Logistics Coordinator
 
‘Perspectives is how we, individually, perceive what’s around us. It’s what we make of the world around us. It’s those people who have learned to hear the voice inside them by challenging all of their preconceived ideas and assumptions. It’s the people that break rules and are crazy enough to go into this world and create. It’s what Steve Jobs said, “the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels”. This year’s theme is devoted to the people that make innovation happen, those who have put all of their preconceived ideas and assumptions in a blender and poured it out in a marvelous form. 
Christina Neophytidou, Ticketing & Auditorium Management
 
‘It’s a way to see life, details, and the big picture in so many different ways. It’s an encouraging vision of all aspects of life…’ –Evanthia Koronis, Sponsors & Logistics Coordinator
 
‘Perspectives – be it in the form of art; famous paintings which different minds interpret in different ways. Be it in an argument or a controversial statement and the various perspectives it can possess, it is definitely a broad and interesting theme which is bound to fascinate.’ –Stephanie Stefanou, Logistics
 
‘You have a choice in how you choose to view a situation in life- each choice we make helps to define us and shape our value system. Observing other peoples perspectives can help move you out of your comfort zone, educate you, inspire you and alert you to a different way of thinking. It can free you!’ –Thalia Iacovou, Volunteer Coordinator
 
‘The same event or situation can be seen through many difference lenses and thus, be filtered in many different ways- this is what perspectives is all about.’
Anna Koukkides-Procopiou, Volunteer Coordinator

 

 

 

 

A butterfly and guardian angels

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“What do you miss most about your dad?” my yoga therapist, Anastasia, asked me a few weeks after my father passed away.
Without much thought, I replied: “I lost my biggest fan…”
 
Minutes later, I sobbed endlessly in my car and I realized, that up until that day, I hadn’t allowed myself the time to grieve properly.
 
“You have more fans than you know..” Anastasia’s words echoed in my head. She was right. Only, no one matched daddy…
 
Dad was my first phone call every single morning. He wanted a full report every time I was training for a half marathon: my nutrition plan, how early I went to my morning runs and how many kms I ran. He even shared his forecasts for my finish time and was my support team in so many races. He cheered for me at the finish line in Prague, after he proudly told the Czech PM that I was amongst the Cyprus delegation. He held my hand at my last ½ marathon in Paphos, when I was about to faint, and helped me cross the finish line with a smile. Dad had a distinctive way of simplifying complex situations and the charisma to help us live life with a touch of spice.
 
During dad’s six-month ordeal, I came to the realization that life has all kinds of tastes: sweet, salty, delicious, sour, nourishing and toxic. When the taste gets sour, we must remember to sprinkle life with an extra dose of love, have faith, stay positive and stay close to friends of heart and family.
 
It was time to start living again as life ought to be lived. Smile at his wonderful memories, let his legacy live on, re-live his myriad cheer leading moments, and open my eyes wide open- to remind myself that there is still beauty around me. And love.
Once I removed that protective shield, love and light started to pour in. And, I allowed it to stay with me.
 
But…it still took an effort to smile…
 
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It was during this challenging time that I randomly found myself in the United States (a place I call my ‘Wonderland’ with lifelong memories which hold a very special place in my heart). A two-week program on civil society, together with representatives from 30 countries was my gift from a guardian angel in disguise.
 
Despite the intensive program and long hours, I had to make time to see my friends of heart- friends who reside deep into my soul. Friends, who had stood by me through my dad’s ordeal from afar. So much love and care from my ‘Americanakia’… 12 guardian angels whom I was blessed to reunite with.
 
 
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While chillaxing at the hotel terrace one day, a butterfly fluttered over my head and landed on my shoulder, where it stayed endlessly as in a state of daze. For the first time in three months, my heart smiled.. I felt that it was my dad sprinkling a touch of magic back into my life, telling me that I look prettier when I smile.
 
From that moment, my dad’s smiling face was all I saw. That enchanting butterfly brought with it a reunion with an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen in almost two decades. A friend, who had also lost a parent and could feel my pain… A friend who managed to make me see daddy’s passing with a different perspective… “He’s still here,” he told me with a smile. “He’s part of you.”
 
It is true what they say that ‘people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.’ Whichever the case, I am incredibly grateful to have had such exceptional friends around me at such a defining stage of my life- a time when I consciously decided to leap out of my cocoon and, quite simply, start living again. I feel honored…and blessed..

The power of ‘X’

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It’s official! The TED bug is on and so is the power of ‘X’.  And we are all set for TEDxNicosia 2014 on November 1. This year, our theme is PERSPECTIVES and we are delighted with people’s enthusiasm when we ask: “So… what’s your PERSPECTIVE?’
 
I feel  honored to be part of such an incredible team of volunteers, which works tirelessly and passionately towards one single goal- to organize and present an event which will intrigue, energize and inspire with ‘ideas worth spreading.’
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Every single TEDxer will tell you that this is their way of giving back to the community. Quite simply, it is their humble contribution to society. What’s more, this is a returning team… So, I asked everyone why! What is that magical X formula which keeps everyone glued on TEDxNicosia?
 
“It’s all about the collective power of energy: felt through working with a wonderful team, speakers, performers, partners, and the audience. And, the magic being manifested via the local community.” –Paul Koronis, Organizer/ Curator
TEDxNicosiaTeam
 
“The like-minded and passionate energy of the TEDxNicosia team, which makes an inspirational impact in our community.”  –Loris Stavrinides, Organizer/ Creative Director
 
“What has inspired me to join and be a part of this family is positiveness, thrive for knowledge and peace of mind, happiness, and living in the moment with great ideas!”     –Evanthia Koronis, Sponsors & Logistics Coordinator
 
“TEDxNicosia has become a way of living. I love our meetings and the times we collectively brainstorm! It’s about professionalism, genuine teamwork, the love we all share for new ideas, the adrenaline rush and the overall excitement on the countdown to the event!” – Stephania Constantinou, Translations & Logistics
 
 “The unparalleled spirit of the team! Because that’s one of the main ingredients for the success of TEDxNicosia.” – Andri Josef, Photographer
 
“The need to learn, improve and be inspired by people who have an idea worth spreading!” –Charis Michael, Sponsors & Logistics Coordinator
 

“The TEDxNicosia experience is truly profound. The reason I keep coming back is because I believe in the spirit of TED, which essentially means bringing people together to spread new ideas. What inspires me is that our team, devotes their personal time to organize successful events in order to spread new ideas to the community around us. We are all so different, coming from different backgrounds but because we share the same values we make it happen. We all inspire and challenge each other and that is how we are able to put together a platform for voices to be heard.” –Christina Neophytidou, Ticketing & Auditorium Management

“The immense impact these events have on our little island’s society. Everyone owes it to themselves to be motivated and inspired. So let’s keep spreading those ideas!”
–Stephanie Stefanou, Logistics
 
With all that being said so passionately, what more can I say other than:
 
LET’S KEEP THE POWER AND MAGIC OF ‘X’ SPREADING!
And let’s keep sprinkling it with passion!

Childhood Reminiscences

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I vividly remember those glorious days at the beach with my dad 40 years ago. We would drive past rolling desert dunes and majestic palm trees, singing off-key, ecstatic at the idea that we would soon have him all to ourselves! Fridays were the only time that dad did not work. And my brother and I had his undivided attention.
Those were our days in Oman back in the 70s. Oman of our heart… our own family gem in the Arabian Peninsula for a little over a decade.
 
A towel, fruit, sandwiches and water. Those were our essentials. Nothing more. Nothing less.
 
We spent hours running on that long stretch of golden sand, chasing crabs, filling our little buckets with sea shells, kicking sea water while playing wet hide and seek. And laughing.. incessantly.
 
Then there were the seagulls, which would randomly appear on that pristine coastline early in the afternoon. I still remember Coco- an injured sea gull, which daddy saved. For weeks, he tried to explain to us in vain why he had to let him fly away.
 
Those were our special ‘seasons in the sun’.
 
When I am sad, disheartened, disillusioned or, when these memories pinch my heart, I just close my eyes for a moment and I magically surface in this childhood wonderland. I take a fascinating glimpse in Oman of my heart, feel that fresh salt air brushing my face, and I smile. I smile at those days of innocence and genuine beauty.
 
A childhood family friend, Litsa Liasis, recently told me that my dad’s passing resembled the end of an era- an era of innocence and purity. That special era of our days in Oman.
 
And I wondered… could we perhaps relive this era…?

The Essence of Life

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Today, I would like to share an article which was published in the #elephantjournal through #fittoinspire. I dedicate this article to my dad, the one man who taught me the TRUE essence of life..!
 
Since my late teens, my rite of passage to herald the spring is pedicured feet flaunting in a new pair of vibrant sandal wedges.
 
It’s my way of saying:
 
“Hello spring, I am so happy that you are here!”
 
This Spring, I bought a pair of trainers instead. Not for me, but for my amazing dad. Faced with a serious health challenge a few months ago, dad has been too weak to run. His determination to soon run a 10k with me, however, is astounding. Quite frankly, he’s my daily dose of inspiration.
I had to create “spring” for dad sealed with a promise to run together again.
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/06/the-essence-of-life-in-10-quotes/