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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How 27 days can change things...

It's the eve of the last day of the month, and Free Your Mind February draws to a close.
As a parting gift, I want to share some of the learnings about myself, others and life in general that have come about in the past 27 days.

  • Writing is my poison
  • The guitar is a difficult instrument to master  
  • It’s OK to pursue wacky, off the wall dreams
  • Preparing delicious food is good therapy 
  • It’s OK to take it easy
  • Giving gratitude is a very rewarding practise  
  • Ice cream is my kryptonite
  • It’s important to put yourself first
  • Love is all around
  • Fresh flowers are the mack daddy
  • You get what you give
  • There are many wonderful people who support and believe in me
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Pay attention to what brings you joy and do it as often as possible
  • Create a work space that stimulates and inspires
  • Spend time with people who elevate your senses
  • I love a calm and peaceful life
  • Honesty is the best policy
  • Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can give and receive
  • Less is more
  • Most of the general population want to feel important and loved
  • Dance to the beat of your own drum and invite others to join you
  • Laughter is indeed good for the soul
  • Everything is going to be OK
  • Treat your inner circle like treasure
  • Two important ingredients for an inspired life are heart and guts
  • Love is the drug for me
It's been a fun project that's opened my mind to wonderful possibilities. I'm proud to have done it and all who came along with me, I hope you've enjoyed it too. Feel free to share any and all of your revelations in the past 27 days. I'd love to hear from you.
Loving you, loving me...TLT x
 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

I’m going to tell you a secret – please don’t judge...

Sometimes I don’t feel like writing regardless of my promise to do so every day.

There, I've said it.

Although there are loads of ideas floating through my head, I’m at times lost for words and it can feel like a chore. Yet when I get started and the words are flowing like the Amazon, my energy shifts and I feel what can best be described as an electric charge or what I now dub, ‘The Bolt of Goodness’.

Some days the bolt hits me right between the eyes and gets my fingers tapping at the keyboard like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Other days, it’s a long time coming and you’ll find me staring at a blank page...patiently hoping and praying for inspiration.

There are many things in our daily lives we may not enjoy (for example Burpies or saying no to ice cream) and stuff that we’ve declared privately or publicly that we want to do, achieve or be but are unsure how or where to start. So, what next?
Now I catch on pretty quick and I've noticed that when it comes to getting where or what you want, all the signs point in one direction. The one thing that will separate you from the rest is to consider what’s important and what brings you joy and then it’s a matter of getting started. You heard me – simply get started.
Don’t believe me? Look at what the experts have to say;

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
- Lao Tzu

 “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”
- Martin Luther King

“A year from now you’ll wish you started today”
– Karen Lamb

I won't say it'll be easy nor claim the journey will be short but I can confirm that my personal experience in the pursuit of happiness began with one small decision which has sparked a personal revolution and this little adventure has helped me truly appreciate chasing down the life I want to live. I’m overflowing with ideas and excitement about how I can add value to others through my work and although it’s uncertain where it will all lead, I’m convinced that I’m on the right path and that I am indeed, a better woman as a result.

Go on then, get started now. It may not be rainbows and unicorns all the way but when ‘The Bolt of Goodness’ strikes, you’ll thank me for it. I promise.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x
 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

When in doubt...


The kids are alright...

Kids. They're staunch supporters of a zero tolerance policy when it comes to many things and are experts at unexpectedly and often inexplicably go into fits of arm folding, foot stomping rage in order to get what they want and need.

"Nooooo!"
"I don't like it!"
"I don't want to!"

Let's face it - sharing your stuff, spending time doing things you don't want to and hanging with people you don't care much for can drain the soul battery. When we're young and less attuned to the feelings of others and more focussed on our own, we vocalise our feelings with wild abandon and putting up with something we don't want to is simply not acceptable.

A child believes and behaves as though they are the most important person in the galaxy. When they want to play, they demand it. If they're tired, they doze off. Feeling hungry? You can bet your bottom dollar they'll let you know it. There's no filter, no guilt, no doing things to please others. It's all about them. Period.

Now nobody likes a brat (pint sized or otherwise) and it's important to be armed with good manners, demonstrate kindness and put your best foot forward but somehow, somewhere along the line we gave ourselves permission to obey, shake, sit, roll over and play dead. Somehow we've accepted putting ourselves second and this simply will not do.

So today's challenge is to take a lesson from the youngsters and appoint ourselves "Top Dog" in order to remain authentic, have some fun and most importantly; to best serve ourselves and others.

Do it. I dare you.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x



 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Some will tell you porky pies...

 
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x

You want the good news or the bad news?

Have you taken to asking your peers to refer to you as "Dame" or "Sir"?
When completing forms, do you mark "Thespian" in the occupation box?
Have you drafted your Oscar acceptance speech for "When that day comes"?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions then brace yourself for the cold hard facts - you're addicted to drama.

Seems that regardless of being among a generation showered with messages of positivity, faith and optimism, we aren't necessarily any happier or less conflicted than those before us. Oh sure, there's plenty of people spruiking amazing quotes and cheering us on and that's just peachy. Yet the breaking news is; we think too much and not in a healthy way. We find it difficult to deal with not getting our own way, criticise, over analyse, self brutalise and often have temper tantrums to rival the most ferocious of toddlers.

Personally I choose to be an upbeat, daydream believer with a heart as big as Phar Lap's and a can-do attitude but as my moniker implies - I'm no Polly-Anna. I'm just straight up, no mess, no frills Anna and although I look for a silver lining, I'm all for believing that no matter what the message (good, bad or ugly) there is a learning.

Things don't always go the way we planned them. Some days the chips fall our way, some days they don't. Truth is, in order to find a little peace of mind we simply must acknowledge that attaching an adjective to every little thing that comes our way simply isn't serving us.

So when next you feel the curtain rise and the drama unfold - take a breath, ignore the desire to label it with an emotion and remember these wise words from The Fight Club; "No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not truly matter slide."

BRAVO! Now there's a thought that deserves a standing ovation.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x



Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Getting down and dirty...

It's fascinating that we often accept mediocre standards and neglect to establish our own, absurd that we're limited by our own thoughts and absolutely mind boggling the shit we're prepared to put up with rather than stand up for what we believe in.

Sure it's tough being truthful or confronting the status quo. There's a truck load of people  experiencing enormous amounts of peer pressure (who said it stops in the school yard?) daily, be it self inflicted or otherwise. After all, it may be best to keep the peace, get along and not offend. Right?

I believe that's a gross under (or over) estimation of a) your ability to maturely express your point of view and b) how the recipient of your feedback will react to it.

Fact: People are people and they experience (akin to Christina Aguilera's voice) a vast range of emotions that can make them behave a little, well, crazy. So it's likely you'll occasionally be served a shit sandwich and expected to gobble it up with the enthusiasm of a fat kid on a cupcake, licking your fingers and begging for more. Like Brad Pitt for Chanel - it's inevitable.

The terrific news is you have to power to pull out your depth gauge at any given moment and establish the level of crap you're prepared to put up with. No shit! Pun intended. 

So do yourself a favour the next time you hear the dinner bell ring. Accept that people are going to continue to dish it and stop and think about whether you want to dip your toes, stand knee dip or don your nose peg and swim in it 'til your fingers get all pruney.

The choice , as always, is yours. 

Loving you, loving me...TLT x




Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pretty little lies...

I'm going to let you in on a pretty little lie. Believe me, it's for your own good.

Somehow you may have been convinced that things are out of your control and that others achieve or have things because of higher privilege or better circumstances.
 
Nah, they don't.

Go ahead! Consult your friends, family, the almighty Google or The Dalai Lama and what you'll find is that you, and only you have the power to decide who you are, what you value and believe, when things feel right, where you're heading and what you really want. 
 
Yep, you.
 
Truth is it all comes down to deciding to be the composer of a fully sick drum beat we can happily march along to while becoming our very own pioneer for positive change; a real life superhero.
 
Heck yes you have my blessing to give yourself an alias and don nylon at every opportunity. I certainly do on both counts. Just be sure to choose your attire wisely and remember the wise words of Edna Mode; "It will be bold! Dramatic! Heroic! But NO cape."
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x
 
 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Ahoy!


OK, I admit it. The past couple of days have been a pity party for one. That 'one' being me.

Boo-friggin'-hoo.

Oh the unbearable tug-o-war between heart and head! Frankly, it's been a complete bore. Agonising about my decision to pursue new things. Pondering the prospect of losing my place and reputation among my peers. Whimpering at the self imposed barrage of questions relating directly to 'What I'm doing with myself?' and 'Who the heck do I think I am?' No really, what am I doing with myself? Oh dear.  

Thankfully, I've seen the light and realised these are perfectly natural responses to a personal evolution and dare I say it, revolution. See the thing is, when we are experiencing real change - everything seems to be turned upside down. Our insecurities, doubts and fears challenge us and often guide us in the direction of old habits and behaviours that don't necessarily serve us well.
  
This recent experience has assured me that I am the master of my ship. Come hell or high water I will do all I can to protect her and guide her in any direction I so choose. 

So listen up me hearties. If anyone asks, you can tell them that Anna Tamvakis is a Love Activationist and litterateur. Ready and willing to battle the mighty winds and roaring seas so I may feel the sun's tender kiss beyond the storm. Word.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x


Monday, 11 February 2013

The 'all-you-can-eat' buffet you won't wanna miss...

Chocolatiers have lovingly prepared their wares, chefs have carefully selected their menus, cards have been strategically placed at front of store and florists prepare for one of the biggest business days on the calendar.
 
Gird your loins for the global celebration of love - Saint Valentine's Day!

I dig the intention of this celebration. People around the world are acknowledging themselves, their partner, a friend or relative with expressions of love be it handwritten, store-bought, chocolate coated or otherwise. It's encouraging. Thing is, I, like Andre 3000, believe that every day's the 14th and figure; why wait for one day a year to demonstrate you care for someone...Hmmm?

Upon researching SVDay I discovered that the month of February was known as 'The Month of Romance' and the day itself, 'The Feast of Saint Valentine'. These historical points support my belief that one day is simply not enough to appreciate and reciprocate love. 

By definition, a feast is a sumptuous entertainment or meal for many guests. Now I'm a good Greek girl and I can tell you one thing for sure; when it comes to food, everyday is a feast and a shared occasion overflowing with heart and soul. In Greek culture food is indeed a bona fide expression of love. You'll rarely find a Greek Mama skimping on what goes on the table because it's a Monday night or she can't be buggered. No way Spiro! Every day is a feast, every day is a celebration of love.

I don't know how you'll choose to express it, nor how often. What I do know is we're all capable of giving and receiving love with higher intensity and frequency. Let's not get caught up in the semantics - your expressions need not be grandiose. Love can be demonstrated with the simplest gesture, so long as it's enthusiastic and true.

Go on then. Loosen that top button in preparation or better yet, pledge to feast on love until you're sporting a mu-mu. I dare you.


Loving you, loving me...(Your Valentine) TLT x




Sunday, 10 February 2013

Freddie and David got it right...



Can't we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can't we give love that one more chance?
Why can't we give love, give love, give love..?

I'm choosing to give love that one more chance and hope you will too.
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x

Resistance is futile...

My friend came around with her son yesterday.

He's an intelligent, talkative and curious young chap who likes nothing more than wandering around my house telling me how awesome his Dad is at everything whilst firing rounds of assorted questions with the speed and the precision of laser gun. 

Pew! Pew!

"Is that an old tennis racquet?", "Where is your TV?", "Why don't you paint the outside of your house?", "Why don't you rake the grass clippings?" and "Can I play with your cats?" are among the burning issues this kid simply MUST understand.

Yesterday's visit was filled with high frequency, piglet like squeals of delight when he discovered the tap in our bathroom is contained on the wall and completely unattached to a hand basin with no visible pipe. "Look at this Mum!"..."LOOK. AT. THIS!!!"

Ah, kids. It's the little things.

Truth is, I love it when he visits. Not just because he's a bodacious little man, it's also because he consistently reacquaints me with things I ignore or don't view as interesting or beautiful simply because it's my space and I'm immersed in it. He reminds me that aside from most households keeping tea towels in the third drawer down, our homes are unique because of our individual tastes. Things I might dismiss in those moments of "I wish my house was so amazing it graced the cover of Belle." You know the ones...

So I'm challenging myself (and encourage you to join me) to find the beauty and wonder in me and all that surrounds me consistently. And when I can't see it immediately, ask questions, scratch the surface...see if I can track it down.

At this stage, I answer most of my young friend's questions with flair and finesse but I know he's going to come at me (in fact he may be plotting some doozies for me as we speak) with some things I simply may not have the answers to. I don't know how I'll get through it but I do know this - when the going gets tough, I'm going to bust out MY big guns.

Cute-little-kitty-cats. Pew! Pew! Resistance is futile.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x





Friday, 8 February 2013

Feel free to repeat after me...

Yoo-hoo...Universe. It's me.

I want you to know i'm faithfully at your service and respectfully ask you come at me with unlimited and splendiferous sparkle. Let me be your scout, your trailblazer, your pioneer. Take me to the moon and stars and don't you dare hold back for a single minute.

I'm ready and willing to let anything happen.

Loving you, loving me...TLT x



Sage advice from the mouths of babes...

Indeed.
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Virtually alone...

I love the electric interweb. The magical land of goodness where I can find everything I wish to know about anything at all.

Trace my lineage? No sweat!
Make a paper garland? Easy breezy!
Learn to play the guitar? Ah-uh-huh - Like Elvis!

I love social networking platforms too. The fact we can connect with friends and family and tap into people and topics of interest regardless of location, status, race, creed or colour - it really is amazing.

How is it then that with all of this technology and the ability to be in touch, many people feel more alone than ever?

Sure it may seem as though we're connecting via that fleeting Tweet or because we've caught a post on Facebook or Instagram but are we really building or enhancing meaningful relationships?

Do you remember speaking with your friends on the telephone for hours or recall writing to a pen pal in a distant land? I do. In fact, I still enjoy sending (and receiving) handwritten cards and notes. Now I'm not saying let's go back to the "good old days", I'm merely suggesting a "communication fusion".

Kick it old school with some one on one phone calls and the occasional unannounced drop in on a mate for a cuppa. Catching up one on one with people we care about renews our spirits and feels oh so good. Then temper the old school with good measure of the new, and keep those Tweets, status updates and photos coming so we're all up to speed with what's happening and what matters to each other.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. I'm off to put my money where my mouth is.
 
I'm sending you virtual hugs and getting on the blower. Calling Elvis...Is anybody home?

Loving you, loving me...TLT x

 



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

You can't polish a turd...

"She said, he did, I can't, they've got..."
 
Ugh! It's exhausting putting on a show or striving for something that (when considered) we may not even want just for the sake of keeping up appearances. 
 
For the love of Gouda, let's stop it immediately.
 
Here's a fact for you; no one or thing is perfect. And that's OK, here's why - "You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter." The moral of the story - we can make the best of what you've got.
 
I reckon we have a crack at saying thanks for what we've got and think about, really think about what we want. I vote for celebrating small gestures of kindness. Accepting the differences between and amongst us. Standing up for injustice. Rejoicing (quietly or with a big "Yahoo!") when we receive a compliment, a smile from a stranger, the fact that your index finger or your front tooth is ever so slightly crooked. Heck! There are dyslexic, best selling authors, blind musicians and limbless surfers. How's that for making the best of things?!
 
We all have feelings of inadequacy, envy, desire etc at sometime or another so fret not. Accept that it happens to the best of us and focus on the good stuff. Ignore the war between Intuition and Doubt for it is a wretched and tiresome battle between two masters of great will and determination. Neither will give unless you give them permission to do so. When one retires from the battle, the other is left without an opponent and alas, it's game over.
 
I face my doubts daily through the written word. I write my stories without a clue as to who's reading them, whether they're enjoying them and if they're in any way inspired by them. I write them because it brings me joy, in the hope they bring joy to others and because I believe in what I'm saying. Sure it may not appeal to many. Truth is, I could stop tomorrow and perhaps not a single soul would care. On the other hand, perhaps one single soul would...
 
My intuition whispers "Do it!" my doubt counters with "Why bother?" So I focus on how I can serve. How I can impart something magical yet true into both my day and yours. For me, that's the heart of it and frankly, it's all that really matters.
 
Focus on the good stuff, stay true and here's to you tackling your own great heights. I'll be right here cheering for you.   
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x

 

 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Grab your fear by the short and curlies...

 
Sometimes you've gotta get 'em out.
Just place them on the table.
When you're in doubt,
Or can't figure things out,
Yep, lay 'em out like cable.
 
"I can't."
"I won't."
"I don't know how."
I hear you softly mutter.
Stand firm, be true, I say to you,
Who cares if they think you're a nutter?!
 
Now free yourself and live it up!
Proceed with not a doubt.
And should you feel it creeping back,
Think TLT - BALLS OUT!
 
Seriously, it could save you.
 
Loving you, loving me...TLT x
 
 
 
 

Red, red wine...goes to my head.

I've just returned from 3 days of frolicking with friends in the Adelaide Hills - a truly picturesque part of the world and home to some of the best Australian (if not international) wine country.

It was pure bliss.

Much like the Seven Dwarfs (armed with high spirits and a song at the ready) we'd pile into the car each day and head off in pursuit of an adventure.

Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho! In search of wine and cheese we go...

Winding through the hills and taking in the fresh air was restorative. Stopping to sample the the lovingly prepared local fare and experiencing a warm welcome at every turn was delicious. Looking out so far across the vineyards and into the distance where it seemed the earth kissed the sky - my curiosity and sense of endless possibility was stirred. I told you, bliss.

Travelling from one winery to the next taught me about how wine is produced. The importance of choosing your grape (decision) preparing the soil (build strong foundations), when to plant (timing is all important), ensure the roots are spread wide and deep (give them room to grow). Much to consider, and this is merely the first step.

Now you have to wait.

The vines will produce grapes in time. Until then it's recommended the focus is on training and pruning the vine to help them grow into fruit that is crushed, pressed stabilised, fermented, tested, bottled and finally, enjoyed.

My trip to the Hills has affirmed to me that life can be much like growing grapes for the sake of a good drop - things take time and effort. If we want something we must plant the seeds, tend to them and watch them grow in order to reap the harvest.

When we prepare, accept and adjust when things are beyond our control and most importantly appreciate and respect the process, we have the potential to be much like a good bottle of plonk - better with maturity.


Loving you, loving me...TLT x




And to my fellow Dwarfs - Cassowary, Budgie, Sparrow Fart, Owl, A and Lex - thank you for this wonderful adventure, I will treasure you always.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Girl look at that body. I-I-I work out!

Daily, without fail, I hear someone saying they feel ''bad" because they haven't exercised enough, without intensity or worse yet - at all. In a cruel and self imposed circle of torture, anxiety somehow encourages them to indulge in "something bad" seeing they've blown it for the day anyway.  

So like heavy weight boxers, round after round we go. Beating ourselves up, babbling incessantly both verbally and mentally (repeatedly) for not being as active as we "should" be.

Even elite athletes don't necessarily feel like training each day - why should it be any different for us mere mortals. Hmm?

So enough already. Let's adopt a fresh, new perspective. 

Put your shoes on and step outside your door. Walk up the street and take a big breath of air. Push it deep into the pit of your belly. Lift your chest to the sky. Look up and greet the day or night. Notice how when you drive a step from your heel that your stride gets longer and stronger. Feel your body in motion. Smile. Ideally a really big ol' smile. Look around. Really look around. Sure you may have lived in a particular area most of your life but have you noticed the the smells, the sounds, the trees, the buildings? 

Have you paid attention to the rhythm of life? 

Let's not taint our good fight with poor, unsporting outbursts. Rather, let's accept that all effort is good effort. Embrace that something is better than nothing and for the love of sweet baby Jesus - forget about going 12 rounds in your head about "being bad". 

Exercise doesn't have to be a record or ball breaking affair every time. Equally, well being be it mental, physical, spiritual or otherwise can be a incredibly joyous adventure. 

Choose for it to be so. For indeed, it will be whatever we decide it to be. 

Loving you, loving me...TLT x 







Friday, 1 February 2013

Please leave your shoes (and your ego) at the door...

If you've ever been to an ethnic abode be it Greek, Lebanese, Indian, Chinese or Italian you're likely to have been asked to leave your shoes at the door.

Why?

In many cultures it's a sign of respect for your host and their home. 

And let's be honest, there's something so very relaxing about getting home and kicking your shoes off. Ah, freedom. In my case, I like to unhook the old brassiere as soon as the key has turned but this is not the type of behaviour I encourage you to engage in when visiting your friends. Yah, awkward. 

But back to feet...sure it may be a little embarrassing at first but after a short time in good company, these feelings are soon forgotten. Besides, your hosts likely adore you but don't want you trawling grass, dirt or any other grubbery through the house. 

The way I figure it, much like shoes - the ego is something best left at the door. Perhaps it'll be a tad uncomfortable (I mean, NO ONE wants to gawk at my stumpy, bumpy toes, right?!) but you might discover it's well worth it.

Today's message; keep your ego and your metaphorical house in check. Treat it with respect and kindness and serve yourself faithfully. After all, you don't want to have to continually clean up the mess. 

Loving you, loving me...TLT x