Why Power of WE ? I wish to Inspire you Inspire others

As 2013 counts its 363rd day and we are less than 78hrs away from the coming of a new year , I am excited as most of us are by now. I am excited  for a new beginning. Although …it is kind of nonsense to think that something will change but it is this feeling…. that Jan 1st only makes us feel..whatever has happened the year before moves in the past and people make new promises, new commitments for the new year. In a magical way we all await a fresh new start whatever that means for each one of us.

For me 2013 has been a great year….. a year including  good and bad times all in moderation, intense changes in work and personal life, and of course many many km’s on my feet. One thing I have been battling to do the past few years and which I still fight is to limit fear and to live a fearless life as much as it is possible. It is not easy but I have come to realize that it is the one element that guarantees happiness. Happiness is definitely a choice.  We are the ones who chose if we want to be happy. It is also us who limit ourselves . We do not realize that we allow fear to be there and that his duty is to restrict us , to create obstacles for us , to convince us that it is impossible to do what we dream.  I never liked to hear people tell me as I am growing older and keep wanting to achieve my dreams ” What do you want? This is life settle down now …..” as if I could not go on dream and want more..

No no no…. life is not like this. Life is a choice and my life … it will be my choice. I will fight my fears and move forward, I will be in pain , I will cry , and I will fall and get up again but I remind myself to always to live life without regrets…the journey is not easy but it will be my journey and I will make the best out of it because I seek my  happiness. And I know happiness is looking for brave and fearless people.

Even if a dream is not achieved it is important to me to know that I have done my 1000 % . This is success  for me.  It is giving all my heart and soul to what I dream and I believe. Everyone has different dreams and desires and a different way in achieving them. This is the beauty about incredible achievements and people who live happily. So many stories surround us …these are the ones that inspire me and I hope to inspire you by sharing my thoughts on them with you.

Yesterday as I was searching my favorite TED website I saw this video .. ”Never , ever give up” and decided to watch. It was Diana Nyad’s speech about her swimming from Cuba to Florida over 100 miles…..oh my…by the end I was tearing. I was tearing because I  was deeply touched by the power and sincerity of Diana’s motivational words. Her strength and determination confirmed to me what I have been thinking and believing.. and rightfully so..she is a great example of making her dream happen on her own way. Her mantra while trying this journey for fifth time was ”Find a way” to make your dream happen, sure enough she accomplished that dream!

Some of her most striking and inspirational words in this video still play in my head and I want to share with you….”You go ahead, you go ahead and sit back in your comfortable chair and you be the critic, you be the observer, while the brave one gets in the ring and engages, gets bloody and gets dirty and fails over and over and over again… but yet isn’t afraid, isn’t timid and lives life in a bold way so of course….  I want to make it across.  It is the goal and I should be so shallow to say that this year (after 4 prior efforts) the  destination was even sweeter than the journey. But the journey itself was worthwhile taking.”

This past summer my dear friend Magda followed a similar dream and swam from this area north of Greece , Theologos across to Limni Evoias in Greece, a distance of 14kms …I remember my friend telling me that she would be afraid of the deep waters just as Diana was..and that fear was real and immense. I also remember telling her not to be afraid and to just swim. I was proud and believed that she would find a way. Magda did find her way , she swam the distance in a journey that will be with her for ever  and days later when we were talking she told me ”You know Irini it was not the deep dark waters of the sea finally that scared and got me tired but the big waves, these were the toughest obstacles..” But despite the big strong waves Magda found a way, fought with them and fearlessly persisted, did not allow their intimidating power to paralyze and win over her, she cried but always kept swimming and believing ….6 hours and some minutes later..her eyes saw her dream come true…The journey was worthwhile,  it is this journey that will stay with her forever to remind her that she can dream and make her dreams happen.

Diana swam over 100 miles, Magda over 14kms, people and myself 🙂 run marathons , some run ultra marathons, some bicycle thousand of miles, hike, or engage in extreme adventures …people have dreams and reach them because they fight their fears, because they don’t allow fear to take away their dreams. Because at the end , we all have this one life and as Diana said …till these days come to an end she will dream and live fearlessly.

As 2013 is leaving and 2014 is approaching, my wish for each one of you is to live as #fearless ..this is what I am trying to do every day..and I know I will #neverevergiveup… till these days come to an end.

Find a way as Diana says…and I will say Find Your Way #happiness.

Happy New Year !!!


                  Why Power of WE? I wish to inspire you inspire others

Just before the Special Olympics Summer Games Athens 2011 started I did promise to you that I would be writing to you every day, keeping you posted about the games. Back then I had no idea that being a Delegate Assistant Liaison for a team would be first of all an absoluely life-changing experience , 1000% more fullfilling than ever expected and also keeping me busy so as everything else was put aside for 18 days.

June 19th, our training sessions were over and the big day had arrived. Four happy volunteers, Maria-Anna, Aris , George and myself meet at Eleftherios Venizelos airport to welcome the Canadian Delegation and introduce ourselves as their DALs during their stay in Greece. At that time , none of us knew what would follow.

We meet the other happy volunteers at the airport that gave us the necessary access cards and stored our luggage. ( ah yes, we had come prepared to the airport with a little suitcase-since we were infomed that we would acompany the team to Rhodes during their host town trip , one week period for the athletes to get used to the ”new” weather conditions but also to rest and get to know the hospitality and beauty of the greek island of Rhodes.)

Just before the delegation arrives , we take our first picture as you see below.

George, myself , Aris and Maria-Anna (The 4 Dals assigned to the Canadian Delegation)

The team arrives, a sea of red …146 Canadian Athletes and staff , 146 people with whom we would spend the next 18 days. First people we meet were two smiley faces: Jennifer Campell, HOD (Head of Delegation) and Marion Coulson , A-HOD(Assistant Head of Delegation). The team gathers , soon we realize how well organized the team was. Coaches and athletes, everyone had a role, everyone followed directions, everyone was happy and excited to be in Athens. Luggage is gathered and taken to the buses by the airport personnel. We accompany the team to the Welcoming Center, where the athletes relaxed after their long trip to Greece , had a little lunch while Jennifer and Marion registered the team and got informed about the trip to Rhodes and were briefed about other procedures.First little problem we need to solve, before leaving for Rhodes is to find an open pharmacy to get the forgotten by an athlete medication on the plane..sounds easy but not easy on a Sunday in Athens given that in less than an hour we had to depart. With positive energy , quick thinking , the very well organized team doctor  who knew exactly the medication needed, a volunteer who offered their car, George (our DAL) who drove to that pharmacy not knowing if  they would make it back in time in a busy sunday evening …so simple and just in a magic way the universe conspired so as for medication , our DAL and Marion the A-HOD,  being back at the welcoming center minutes before departure…! what a relief!

The time arrives and we board on the buses , our next destination the port at Pireas. The buses leave us inside the boat for Rhodes, everyone is tired (remember they have travelled and waited  for more than half a day many of them..) but happy to be in Athens and so we enter the boat , and directed to a location assigned just for the team. All is ok. Boat leaves at 19.00 and we will travel for 14 hours before we arrive at Rhodes the next morning.

It will also my first time in Rhodes , the island of the nights and a beautiful medieval city.

At our arrival in Rhodes, the local organizing committee for Special Olympics Summer Games Athens 2011 had prepared a warm welcoming for all delegations arriving. More happy faces of volunteers everywhere. Our buses wait for us and take us to the hotels. A relaxing day for everyone followed, before more celebrations that followed the next 3 days.

I will stop writing now because I think the pictures below are evidence of what happened the next 3 days in Rhodes and of what not even 1,000 words are  enough to describe….

Jennifer posing with knight of Rhodes :))

Jennifer posing with knight from Rhodes!

Walk in the Medieval City of Rhodes!

Aris posing with Canadian Athletes who bought and wear their Hellas shirts!

A party for all delegations organized by the local organizing commitee!! It was so much fun, everyone dansed to the end!

Dansing away...

Canadian Athletes with Torch Runner

Canadian Athletes with Torch Runner!

The Canadian Rhythmics Team

The Canadian Rhythmics Team , 5 amazing young women and their coaches!

The Canadian Bowling Team

The Canadian Bowling Team !

Canadian Softball Team with Dals and Areti from the Canadian Embassy in Athens!

At Joint Flame Celebration..

At Joint Flame Celebration..

Dr. Casey (the dedicated doctor of the team, an inspirational woman and an amazing volunteer)) with Canadian Athletes

Dr. Casey (the dedicated doctor of the team, an inspirational woman and an amazing volunteer)) with Canadian Athletes

Torch Runners carrying the flame...

Torch Runners carrying the flame...

All canadian athletes wore a t-shirt with the logo:  Dream. Commit. Achieve. Celebrate

All canadian athletes wore a t-shirt with the logo: Dream. Commit. Achieve. Celebrate

Volunteers in Rhodes with George, Aris, Maria-Anna and myself.

Volunteers in Rhodes with George, Aris, Maria-Anna and myself.

Stay tuned with the ”Power or WE” for the continuation of my amazing experience as a DAL ….