Wake Up to the Joy of You Book Launch & Celebration — Wanderlust Hollywood FEB 17 @ 7PM

WanderLust Hollywood

I am so excited to let you know that I am coming to LA to do a wonderful event and book signing on February 15th with Wanderlust Hollywood to celebrate my new book Wake Up to the Joy of You.

I would love for you to join me for an inspiring talk, guided meditation and an interactive exercise to help you find your joy triggers and leave with a joy buddy! I can’t wait to see you all there to ignite our joy and of course there’s bound to be dancing!

Wednesday, February 15th
7 PM – 9 PM PST
Register Now

Wanderlust Hollywood
1357 Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90028

j@jessicarthompson.comWake Up to the Joy of You Book Launch & Celebration — Wanderlust Hollywood FEB 17 @ 7PM
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Talk and Guided Meditation — Unplug Meditation Los Angeles FEB 25 @ 2PM

unplug meditation
Join me at Unplug Meditation where I will give an inspiring talk about how we can live in our calmness for a happier life and how to fill ourselves up with goodness. There will be a guided meditation and interactive exercise to tap into our joy and leave with a joy buddy so everyone can leave feeling lifted and connected. Book signing at the end of the event!

Feb. 25th
2 PM – 4PM
(Free Event)

Unplug Meditation
12401 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90025

j@jessicarthompson.comTalk and Guided Meditation — Unplug Meditation Los Angeles FEB 25 @ 2PM
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‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother

[My mother’s] life was filled with giving moments. Wherever she was — in an elevator, a taxi, an airplane, a parking lot, a supermarket, a bank — she would reach out to others. Once, a stranger admired the necklace she was wearing; my mother took it off and gave it to her. When the astonished woman asked, “What can I give you in return?” my mother said, “It’s not a trade, darling, it’s an offering.” Toward the end of her life, she would always arrive at the doctor’s office with a basket of fruit or a box of chocolates for the nurses. She knew that in an office where patients brought their anxiety and pain, the gesture would help change the atmosphere. Her tenacity in breaking through the barriers that people put up around their hearts was both enchanting and comical. If one of the nurses was, as she put it, “on automatic” and didn’t take the time to be friendly or personal, my mother would whisper to me, “This one doesn’t want to budge,” and would start looking for a way to give her extra attention. She might produce a little treat from her purse — a package of nuts, a special kind of chocolate — and give it to the woman, knowing she would get a smile. Giving was a way of being for her.

Agapi‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother
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Work-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices

My mother would often say to my sister, Arianna, and me: “Take care of your capital.” She wasn’t referring to money or power. For her, the real capital was YOU, and you had to look after yourself. She would preach about sleep, eating well, exercising, interacting with energizing and non-toxic people, and taking time to reflect and reconnect with ourselves. She was adamant about it.

Unfortunately, most people haven’t had the luxury of my mother’s advice. Most of us operate feeling depleted, stressed, and overwhelmed. When you type the phrase “why am I” in Google, it automatically suggests, “why am I so tired?” We take better care of our smartphones than ourselves; but just as our smartphones need to be charged, so do we! It has become harder to know when our resources are depleted because we have numbed ourselves and have become very good at ignoring the warning signs.

We have put ourselves on the wrong track, forgetting the essential part of our lives, which is our wellbeing. We have left ourselves behind and allowed the endless demands of work and life — in the form of deadlines, emails and endless meetings — to sweep us away.

Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot once called burnout “civilization’s disease.” It is a delusion promoted by our culture that we have to shut off our humanity in order to be efficient and it is costing us our health let alone billions of dollars in health care costs. So we have to interrupt the insanity and start prioritizing the core values of what our lives are about. We have to ask the fundamental question: What is a good life and what would we have to do differently to make that good life a daily reality? We all know what we need to do. The question is how to give ourselves permission to start taking microscopic steps and building keystone habits to create the life we want and replace the life we settle for.

What we really value, what defines us, what enhances our well-being, and what really makes us thrive, is often out of sync with how we conduct our lives and what we spend our time doing.

There has been a lot of buzz around the concept of work-life balance, but it is a myth! And if you try to aspire to it, you will always feel as if you are failing. So you might as well delete that phrase from your vocabulary; it might be better to replace it with work-life integration, a concept that Padmasree Warrior — CTO of Cisco — embraces. It’s wiser to start thinking about our lives as a whole with an attitude towards thriving, as opposed to just surviving and start discovering and implementing strategies to get you there.

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

As we tap into the source of our wellbeing, by reinforcing these habits, we can start to experience as if we are in the center of a hurricane and in the hustle and the bustle of our everyday world we can experience that the center is completely still, like the eye in a hurricane.

It is important to build a support system for people at work to reinforce daily habits to care for each other’s well being and make it hard to fall off course. We can then create a culture that is more integrated. This simple skill of the daily practices becomes a huge performance enhancement because people at work are learning to access more of their whole selves when at work and not leaving themselves behind. As we put the spotlight on how vital it is to recharge ourselves, we find that people can generate more mental clarity, alertness, exercise innate wisdom and know when they need to back off and do the things to replenish themselves.

About 70 percent of our time is spent at work, so we are doing a disservice to ourselves to think it is not our life. And so we urgently need some new blueprints to start taking better care of our human capital and why it matters. They must both come under the umbrella of one principle that we need to look at ourselves as whole human beings, where our personal life and work can no longer be fragmented. In doing so, we will create a healthy environment where people will be able to create, inspire, and prosper.

 

 

AgapiWork-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices
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The Power Of Daily Practices

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

AgapiThe Power Of Daily Practices
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Bridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31

Last Saturday morning, I woke up feeling out of sorts. The world was too much with me, to paraphrase William Wordsworth.

I knew I needed time to pause, unplug and recharge — to reconnect with my center, which of course is one of the key elements to how we can all thrive. So I sat down and tried to meditate before going to the gym. However, I felt as though I were in a laundromat, spinning around in the dryer. As much as I tried to center, I couldn’t seem to get to my sweet spot — the place I call my portable paradise that connects me with my calm and my joy. I don’t like going out into the world feeling that way. So I went back to bed and started to pray.

I asked for help from the one who knows me best, my inner knower, and I put one hand on my belly and one on my heart and very gently I started to say to myself: “Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me.” I repeated it over and over again in a heartfelt way.

Things started to quiet down inside of me. About 10 minutes later, I had dropped deeper into myself and felt a wave of peace come upon me. The dryer came to a standstill! I put on my gym clothes and headed to my favorite spin class, called Cycletherapy, which my dear friend, Craig Hunter, pours his heart, body and soul into.

The class takes you through the seven chakras (energy centers of the body) while you spin, connecting you to your centers and the elements of fire, water, air and earth. Absolute bliss! Spinning has always been a connection for me to my joy and my creative spirit. In fact, I wrote most of my first book while spinning.

While I spin, the linear world stops and a creative mindset comes alive and awareness starts to show up. And there, while spinning on bike 31, while my body was going through the intensity of the cycling, I had an awareness. I saw the duality of what we all deal with in our lives and I started to write this blog in my head!

We live in two worlds — the world of spirit, the invisible world, and the world of matter, the visible word. We all try to find a way to bridge the two worlds so they can somehow converge, until we feel no separation between them. We all try to navigate this journey and find myriad ways to do it. If, however, we have a clear intention to do something every day, to increase this awareness of the invisible world and make it more connected to us, we will find that everything that involves our physical existence can begin to soften and become more clear. It’s as if we sharpen the lens and we start to see with new eyes. Our perception changes, the veil lifts and we see and understand beyond the tangible world.

I believe that behind all that we do, we all crave this connection. If we don’t have it, we are bound to leave ourselves empty, with a sense of discontent, because the world of spirit is really the wind beneath our wings. Sometimes, however, touching into that reality seems more challenging than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro barefoot in the snow, because we put so much stuff between us and our spirit. We have created conditions that are very blinding. We have come to totally identify with the worldly part of ourselves and have lost sight of our true spiritual nature.

There is no class in the school system that teaches us how to navigate this journey. No class called “Who You Truly Are 101,” that prepares us to go live in the world with the awareness of who we are. Instead, there are countless distractions that often leave us empty, and when we go inside to reconnect, we run into a barricaded wall.

The easiest and quickest way to return to who we truly are is to come, present in our hearts, and ask to remember our true nature. That, in essence, is the awareness I had while spinning on bike 31.

That Saturday morning, while sweating and tapping into my spirit, I connected back to my own inner rhythm. I dropped my agenda for what I wanted to do that day. I allowed myself to have an Agapi day, and to enjoy the day instead of getting to the next thing and the next.

The world seems so sweet to me when that happens. I feel my childlike quality that knows its breathing rhythm come to the surface, and I can exhale and smile. Everything that happened during the day after that had a natural flow of connected moments.

It is amazing what happens when we unite with our spirit and ride that wave. It feels like surfing with the wind at our back. And to sum it up, all it took, my friends, was my willingness to say, “The world is too much upon me and I can’t get back to me. I need help.” In 10 minutes, the latch of the gate lifted and I got back in.

One of the songs that Craig was playing during the spinning class was “When I Ruled the World” by Coldplay. And I thought, “If I ruled the world, I would make that the No. 1 rule of the world: that everyone practice something daily that brings his or her spirit into the world and connects us back to who we are — so we can make it more visible, allowing each person to find what that is for himself or herself. Then thriving becomes a natural way of being, unique with each person’s stamp.” That is what I would do.

But I don’t rule the world, although I do rule my own world, so I can do my part and write a blog and share what I do to build my bridge between the two worlds.

Would you share with us what you do to bridge the worlds? What magic tools do you have in your pocket that you can share with us?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.

AgapiBridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31
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Bridging The Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31

We live in two worlds — the world of spirit, the invisible world, and the world of matter, the visible word. We all try to find a way to bridge the two worlds so they can somehow converge, until we feel no separation between them. We all try to navigate this journey and find myriad ways to do it. If, however, we have a clear intention to do something every day, to increase this awareness of the invisible world and make it more connected to us, we will find that everything that involves our physical existence can begin to soften and become more clear. It’s as if we sharpen the lens and we start to see with new eyes. Our perception changes, the veil lifts and we see and understand beyond the tangible world.

AgapiBridging The Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31
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Why I’m Eliminating the Word ‘Busy’ From My Vocabulary

A few weeks ago, I went to visit my holistic doctor in Santa Monica, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, who also happens to be a dear friend and the HuffPost wellness editor. When I was at her office, she already had two patients in the rooms and I was waiting my turn. When she came out to greet me, I hugged her — a hug is a great way to start your session with your doctor — I said to her “Oh, you’re so busy!” In the most wonderful way, she said, “Not too busy for you! You know, I never like to use that word. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I live my life serving my patients as best as I can, giving everyone my full attention when they’re there. I encourage my patients to stop using that word as well, because it only makes you feel more overwhelmed and not in charge of your time.”

My experience with Dr. Patricia made me stop in my tracks. I said to her, “That is an amazing awareness for me — because I have a habit to use the word busy all the time, and I hear it from people every day.” When I ask people how they are, I so often receive the reply, “I’m soooooo busy!”

When we’re telling people that we’re busy, it’s like saying, “I’m talking to you, but I’m really not there.” Because you would never say to someone while you’re talking to them that you’re busy right now — because you’re talking to them. So busy is what happens in our head and not necessarily what is happening in the moment.

With Arianna’s new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which already hit #1 on The New York Times best-seller list, the message of how our society has glorified being busy, as if it’s a badge of honor, has really hit home with me. It is a collective cultural deficit. It’s not that we are not busy and we don’t have a lot to do, but it’s as if our whole selves — body, mind and spirit — are being wrapped up in our daily to-do list and we utterly lose perspective of the whole picture.

What is also wonderful about Dr. Patricia is that many times when I call her from my trips to talk to her, whether it is health-related or a personal matter, I never feel that she is overwhelmed or hurried. She always seems to be so present in her conversations — and when she has to go on to her next thing, she very graciously ends the conversation to move to what she needs to tend to next.

The way that Dr. Patricia behaves is a quality that I admire so much in people and I attempt to emulate. It’s as if people who operate that way seem to be in charge of their lives and in alignment with doing what they love to do. There is a sense of presence and calmness — and a certain joy in interacting with them.

I have started to course-correct and observe myself — especially when I get overwhelmed and start to go into that state of busyness. It is at that point that I need to put my devices down, or whatever else I’m doing — to breathe and exhale. I often find myself overwhelmed with the feeling of how would I get it all done? And often, if I’m tired, that feeling of overwhelm increases. As Arianna often says in her talks, “A good day starts the night before. Did I get enough sleep and did I get a good quality of sleep?”

I, too, am starting to practice all of the strategies of Thrive. What do I do to stay connected with myself? My doings, my conversations and interactions, even if they are very basic, such as being in the supermarket; getting a taxi; giving someone an address; depositing a check in the bank — I am present with myself and with the person I am interacting with. As my mother always used to say, “Don’t miss the moment.” It seems that’s all we really have — the moment! As this wave of mindfulness is being amplified in our culture, I wanted to bring to our attention how the use of words can actually send our brain signals of overwhelm.

Another phrase that people use a lot is “I’m crazzzzed!” What kind of a message are we giving ourselves when we are in the middle of our projects and we tell people it’s been crazy? Imagine the images the brain starts to form when you say you’re crazy. Your brain creates all sorts of chaotic images of things falling apart — the crazy kind of stuff!

Other phrases that we so often use to express how we are: it’s hectic; it’s insane; I haven’t had a moment to breathe; I haven’t had a moment to myself; it’s relentless, etc. When we use such phrases, we give ourselves signals of — to quote Thrive — time famine rather than time affluence. Yet we all know that time is a man-made concept.

So here are some of the words I have come up with to make me feel more time affluent: When people ask me for something and it is not a good time for me to engage, there are a few phrases I use:

“I can’t do that right now.”
“My plate is full for the next month.”
“My focus is handling xyz project at the moment, so there is not a lot of space and time to handle anything else.”

I find that when I use these phrases, I relax — and I feel weight lifted off my shoulders.

I was recently asked to record the audio of Arianna’s new book. When I came to reading the passage about time:

As physicist Paul Davies wrote in Scientific American, though most of us feel time is something that flows — always coming at us and then rushing behind us — that’s not actually what happens: ‘physicists prefer to think of time as laid out in its entirety — a timescape, analogous to a landscape — with all past and future events located there together. It is a notion sometimes referred to as block time.’ I love this because ‘block time’ helps me see the big picture — there is literally both no time and all the time in the world. (147)

As I was reading this, I stopped and teared up. I realized how pressured I often feel about the imaginary time constrictions of our culture and also the ones we impose on ourselves. When I was reading that passage — I realized there was a way out of the maze and the straightjacket that time puts us in. And that there is a creative way to step out of the boundaries of time — when we become fully aware that there is enough time to handle the essential things in our lives. One of my favorite quotes by Brian Andreas is “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”

I remember when I was with my father in Greece during the last days of his life. I would sit there with him — comforting him, praying and really being present there with him. I had a real sense that there was no time — because there was just the precious, present moment that stopped all time. In life and death matters, that’s all there is — the present moment. I often try to recreate that time in my daily life where I lose track of the precious moment of life and overwhelm myself with my to-do list.

So here is a toast to eliminating the words: busy, hectic, crazy, insane, etc., from our vocabulary in describing how we are during our day and replacing them with statements that empower us, energize us and assist us in taking mental dominion over not being present.

And here’s to the end of glorification for our culture’s busyness, getting things done on little sleep, and feeling like we have to catch up with the race — because ultimately there is no race except for the one we assign ourselves to.

Share with me what other ways you found to substitute these ‘bad’ words that make us all feel overwhelmed. I would love to know and find new ways to support ourselves in not just succeeding, but thriving.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.

AgapiWhy I’m Eliminating the Word ‘Busy’ From My Vocabulary
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The Other B-Word I’m Eliminating From My Vocabulary

A few weeks ago, I went to visit my holistic doctor in Santa Monica, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, who also happens to be a dear friend and the HuffPost wellness editor. When I was at her office, she already had two patients in the rooms and I was waiting my turn. When she came out to greet me, I hugged her — a hug is a great way to start your session with your doctor — I said to her “Oh, you’re so busy!” In the most wonderful way, she said, “Not too busy for you! You know, I never like to use that word. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I live my life serving my patients as best as I can, giving everyone my full attention when they’re there. I encourage my patients to stop using that word as well, because it only makes you feel more overwhelmed and not in charge of your time.”

AgapiThe Other B-Word I’m Eliminating From My Vocabulary
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