Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love
In Unbinding the Heart, author, speaker, and Huffington Post regular Agapi Stassinopoulos invites readers on an inspiring journey of inner exploration to reconnect with their true selves.
Born in Greece, a country that celebrates life, Agapi learned the essential truths of happiness through the examples of wisdom, caring, playfulness, and generosity she saw all around her, starting with her own mother. She came to realize that everyone is born with an open heart, but that we quickly learn to put conditions on our happiness—comparing ourselves to others, casting judgment, doubting ourselves, allowing fear or entitlement or self-righteousness to take hold—and slowly our hearts begin to close. We isolate ourselves, feeling alone, disconnected, and unheard; and in doing so we immobilize our spirit, stifle our authentic expression, and cut off our joy.
As she went on, Agapi, like so many of us, came under the soul-constricting influences of the larger world. In her struggle to find her place and her voice, trying to balance the acting career she dreamed of with the spiritual life she longed for, she discovered a path that was uniquely hers. Unbinding the Heart shows how she found her way home to herself.
In 32 personal, heartfelt stories full of insight and humor, Agapi takes us from her mother’s bountiful kitchen, where the seeds of fearless living were planted, to the London classical stage, to an epiphany on a New York City bus—and inspires readers with the confidence to let go of the beliefs that bind them and come to a deeper understanding of life and love.
Kudos to whoever came up with the perfect title and tagline for Unbinding the Heart. It not only offers a Dose of Greek Wisdom, it provides a veritable banquet. The hard-won life wisdom shared in the book is given with such generosity of spirit that it could only have come from a foundation of unconditional love.
Agapi’s foundation is rooted in the whole fabric of Greek culture, but given the most form by her extraordinary mother. This is a woman who faced down machine-gun-brandishing German soldiers during WWII, and then after a painful divorce, started over in England with her daughters so that Agapi could pursue her dream and prepare to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. It is a testament to Agapi, that she – a non-native English speaker – was accepted.
Reading about the mother’s grace, grit and wise parenting, one is not surprised that her elder daughter Arianna, founded the Huffington Post and has become a high-profile speaker and author, nor that Agapi leads inspirational workshops around the world, and acts, writes and produces plays and documentaries about the Greek goddesses.
The interesting thing about such over-achievers, however, is that it seems they have to work through as much “stuff” as all the rest of us, idyllic mothering notwithstanding. It is the candor with which Agapi examines her experiences and the lessons she learned at each juncture that makes this book so compelling. The book reads like a conversation with a dear and intimate friend, who wants to share her insights to help you along your own path.
The title of the book relates to a defense mechanism that to some extent is universal among adults– building walls around one’s heart to keep from getting hurt. The problem, Agapi points out, is that our feelings are our guidance system, and we need to listen to our hearts to find that calling that is uniquely ours.
Throughout the book she shares quotes that stick in your mind and spirit, like “Treat yourself as if you were someone inexpressibly dear to you.” And, from St. Catherine of Siena, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Whatever your age or life situation, if you are looking for inspiration to be all you can and contribute to a better world, you will really, really enjoy this book.