Upon my return to the island this March - an unsettling decision yet one much needed at this time - I found myself buried under endless tick tocks of the clock going round in my head. The mornings seemed to casually stroll by as I frantically tried to fill up my time with activities and events resulting into the unavoidable social necessities of Cyprus. An act I throw myself in fearlessly and have become quite addicted to, yet there are only so many 'hello's and 'how are you?'s one can endure. I yearned to discuss ideas and look at topics from another perspective. And here is where the 'everybody knows everybody' vibe which we all love and hate, came in handy. Shortly after my arrival, I was introduced to the TEDx Nicosia team and they made my transition back to life in Cyprus a little less gloomy, a little less mundane and a bit more bumpy, in a very positive way.
The meetings began in full speed and I quickly realized how much I had to catch up on and that didn't bother me one bit. After having been involved with TEDx University of Nottingham last year, my feet were itching to be surrounded by people who want to share concepts and creatively work together towards a goal that affects the wider community. With the annual event creeping in on us quickly, there was loads to be done, as well as organizing and carrying out the pre-event 'Wheels and Traces'. This cycling event took place on a sunny Saturday morning in the last week of April. Cycling fanatics, volunteers, and TEDx followers all gathered for a special cycling guided tour of Nicosia's hidden gems. The previous week we were given the various checkpoints where the team would be welcoming the cyclists and I can shamefully say as someone who lived in Nicosia for 18 years straight, I barely knew half of them. The day was spent tracing our capital with our wheels and if you happen to have seen a lunatic running around the city under the blazing sun with lenses round her neck and red X's in her arms... Hello! That was me photo-documenting the event and absolutely loving every minute of it (even the ones I spent lost in tiny roads trying to find the checkpoints). You can read more about the day on our blogger's, Eleni Antoniou, take: http://www.tedxnicosia.com/blog/wheels-and-traces.
Photos can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedxnicosia/sets/72157667711174446/with/26732183715/
Once we put our bikes aside, the countdown began to the big event on the 7th of May. In the week of the event the team's dedication was beyond belief. We found shelter from the heavy rain of those days at Satiriko Theatre where we spent hours going over every little detail that would be needed. The amount of knots that were tied on red pieces of string and the 450 hand written, personal messages for the goodie bags are but a few details that were done in the presence of good company, excitement and hard work. Smells like team spirit? I think so.
Bright and early on the seventh day of May, all eyes were wide open (post Costa coffee service) and eager to start the show. With the first set of feet walking in, the activity areas were filled, lips were moving, brains were working.
With each speaker, my mind started to feel satisfied yet hungrier at the same time. Antonis Kountouris' talk on creativity and his educational interaction with kids got me thinking on how we intermingle with children these days and how adults deal with creative matters. Do we acknowledge creativity? Has the constant competition in the work place and in our social life-style, neglected the importance and the power of creativity?
Yorgos Papadopoulos' and Kobi Levi's discussions on their beautiful transformation of art, made me reflect that inspiration is everywhere. In a supermarket, in a church, near the screen from which you are reading right now. I have spent a long time waiting that holy inspiration to come my way and their talks were a kind of wake up call for me. We have the power to create, to shape and to re-define whatever we choose to. The time is always now and the person will always be you. You just have to decide it.
A few days after the event, I still found myself trying to pin-point my personal meaning of 'Traces'. Whilst editing the photos from that day, suddenly my phone rang. An exciting phone call made me trace back to these first two months of my re-birth in Cyprus and map my adventures and new encounters. My involvement in exciting projects and the constant wheel of thought sending ideas to my brain were put into perspective. Places that I have been in the past and each accomplishment have traced me to where I am right now. The traces that I have marked and the traces of others that I have crossed, have paved the way for the now-invisible traces that will be.
I guess in a way, what I'm trying to say is that one needs to take responsibility for the traces that have led them wherever they are now and take action for the new traces that they will create, because creativity is within all of us. We only have to allow it to take presence, form and shape. The rest is history.
I leave you with one of my favourite TED talks by Benjamin Zander, whose communication methods during his talk is truly remarkable.
Food for thought. Yum!