Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ambika Talwar's "My Greece" - A Review by Lois P. Jones

My Greece Book - Link to

What do you want from a book? What do you want for the time you invest as a reader? I wish I could give Ambika Talwar's book 100 stars. A star to detail each of the many points of archeological light revealed through the thoughtful and erudite insights from My Greece: Mirrors & Metamorphoses. Every story is a journey but few journeys take the reader through so many passages. Within the passages are microcosms of life at its most intense, culture centric, and epoch-building experiences that move the protagonist through not only Greece’s most spellbinding architecture and landscapes but the innerworld of its inhabitants where cultural rights of passage – funerals, weddings and christenings take on mythological resonance and exposure to the elements (both ecological and human) present ecstatic inspirations and occasional alarming challenges.
This memoir is for everyone because its reflections resonate with existence. You poets, you travelers, you artists, film makers, bakers, merchants, fisherman, politicians, philosophers you. So much here that you will find yourself again and again. Do not let its 270 pages daunt you. Instead, spend delicious moments contemplating Talwar’s inner reflections which will spark your own epiphanies. Here are a few to whet your appetite: “deep inside our psyche, we know archetypes make us cousins.”

Ambika Talwar

“It’s amusing that some Greeks want everyone to have come from them, as though to be the originator of all cultures is an elevation by design. Why do many want to be the first? Others from ancient cultures also expound that the land of their origins is the oldest, the most…! Why not be among those that improve on the existing paradigms, as we so sorely need to do in these contemporary times so that we evolve our human civilizations past the horror that has been done?”
“Someone comes up and asks me where I have come from. They are Greek traveling from Greece and waiting for the wedding party. I say “both India and Los Angeles.” Living as a hybrid, I say I am from both places; both places elicit a warm response from most people—again I hear we are related from a long time ago. The US is not a place culturally appealing to many; they wonder aloud how I can live there coming from an ancient land. I don’t tell them how many Greeks I meet in Los Angeles. About my Greek dentist, about the wild man who jumps into his pool from a rooftop, about the aging dance teacher, about the woman who wooed a man with a red rose in her mouth, about my experience of the Greek Easter and the epitaphios at the local Greek Orthodox church.”
Brava to the sooth sayer, poet and traveler. Follow her journey and you will discover you own.
~ Lois P. Jones
Reprinted by Permission

Maja Trochimczyk and Ambika Talwar at Ambika's art exhibit.

My Greece Book - Link to

From the Introduction by Ambika Talwar:

My visit to Greece was wild, enriching, exhausting, and almost elegant. I traveled with companions and sometimes on my own; I visited many places old and new; I met people of many persuasions; I relished the foods; I felt exalted among ruins and antiquity. At times, I also felt alone and exhausted, and I was not able to write as per my plans. But I loved swimming in the different seas. I would love to return some day to this glorious country, to be again reminded of things both familiar and foreign. 
~ I returned home excited about documenting my adventures to extract from them deeper meaning. This process became another journey as I chose to stay with my direct and remembered experience without research. 
~ My visit was in 2002, and it is only now that I have been able to complete the process. Diverse challenges over the years, professional and personal, demanded my attention; I could have discarded the project completely. But my tenacity and my love for Greece would not allow me to fail myself. In 2013, I started to edit and rewrite the travelogue. I had started to forget incidents. Somehow, this forgetting, this emotional distance worked out better as I gained a clearer perspective and expression of wonder.
~ I urge you, my reader, to note that if any character bears resemblance to you or someone you know, please remember you are part of the collective and are uniquely singular at the same time. Although you were not in the lived experience of these travels, I wish that you feel moved in your own way to find yourself among these pages and journey along with me and with my co-travelers.
~ During my time in Greece, Athens was being readied for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Roads were broken for months for the restructuring. Too many one-way streets left people frustrated unable to get to their destination on time. Poverty had spread following the change to the Euro. Greece’s downfall had begun and was speeding up. Indeed in the last 9-10 years, Greece has taken a dastardly beating. 
~ Perhaps, the repressive economic models, which have led to extreme competition and burdensome scarcity, have stirred in many the awakening of female spirituality. We rediscover that woman-centered systems (buried for eons) were based on our closeness with Nature and the elements, on reverence for the mysteries of cyclic orders, on communal sharing. These ways are in great need for the healing to happen today in our constrained times of endemic violence.
~ Surely, we must seed again our human capacity for love and caring, for kindness and intelligence to keep the world whole again. May we call in Areté, Eirene, Eros, Agape, and Sophia for that balancing virtue to make us whole again!
May we propitiate the Mahavidyas, fierce Mothers of all times who illumine dissolution of demonic forces, both personal and communal, and remind us to honor and embody the harmonics of nature so we may cohere and celebrate our unities. May we indeed awaken to our capacity for love, wherein is illumined the cosmic play of wonder.
~ Ambika Talwar

Maja Trochimczyk and Ambika Talwar


AMBIKA TALWAR is an India-born author, wellness consultant, artist, and educator whose vision is to realize her sacred destiny and invite others to find their brilliance. Insights gleaned through life challenges have prompted her to make her poetry a call to action. Composed in the ecstatic tradition, her poetry is a “bridge to other worlds.” She has authored Creative Resonance: Poetry—Elegant Play, Elegant Change and also 4 Stars & 25 Roses (poems for her father). She is published in various journals. She won Best Original Story award for her film “Androgyne” in Belgium. She asserts it is time for creative visionaries to offer narratives that change our worldview, and the big film studios must play a part in this transformation. An English professor, she lives in Los Angeles, Ca and New Delhi, India. For book readings, poetry presentations, healing workshops, and individual or group healing consultations, please contact her at: 

The Spiritual Quartet in the Enchanted Forest at Descanso Gardens - 
Maja Trochimczyk, Ambika Talwar, Lois P. Jones and Susan Rogers


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