Elli Stassinopoulos

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Did Elli have a favorite phrase or common mannerism?

Arianna Huffington
One of my mother's gifts was to be in a constant state of wonder at the world around her. Whether she was washing dishes or feeding seagulls at the beach or reprimanding overworking businessmen, she maintained her sense of wonder at life. And whenever I'd complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: "Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don't replay the bad, scary movie."
Agapi Stassinopoulos

In moments of indecision, of not knowing what to do or which direction to turn in, she would absolutely relieve any self-imposed pressure by saying, “Darling, let it marinate”—allowing us the luxury of time. She came from the knowing that there is no urgency in spirit.

This was her signature phrase to shift from a negative thinking pattern to a more positive mindset, from disappointment to trust, from sadness to joy, from upset to humor, from rushing to relaxation. If someone around her was having a panic attack, my mother would simply shout out, “Change the channel!” It was like a directive to your brain to go in a different direction—and by god it worked.

In the midst of our to-do lists, multitasking, and moving from one thing to the other, she would find ways to connect with the bank teller, the waiter serving the food, the supermarket cashier, the nurse at the hospital—anyone and everyone who crossed her path. An outing with her was completely unpredictable and had no boundaries of time. You never knew who my mother would end up engaging with or who she would feel compelled to connect with in the moment.

One time, someone complimented my mother on her necklace. She said, “Here, take it. It’s for you.” The person said, “Thank you so much, but what can I give you back?” She replied, “Darling, it’s an offering, not a trade.” The person was speechless. My mother used to say to me, “In a world that has learned everything is about trading, offering is how we experience the generosity of spirit.”

There were many times that I would feel frustrated in getting something done or getting something I wanted, and not quite knowing how to accomplish it. She would always say, “Give it your full attention. There’s nothing you can’t achieve if you give it your full attention. But if you are distracted or fragmented, you won’t be able to see clearly or perform to your full potential.” From the simple tasks of washing dishes and making your bed to a major project, if you give your full attention, you will experience joy, fulfillment, and your power.