Archive of ‘authenticity’ category

Interview with Tamara on “One Writers Journey”

Penny Lockwood interviews Tamara on “One Writers Journey”, where she discusses her recently published book, and personal writing process.

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Tell me a little about your book.

Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a picture book about a girl named leela who dreams of doing headstands. However, no matter how hard she tries, she’s unable to achieve her goal. She’s devastated by this as we usually are when faced with defeat, but through discovering that having a failure doesn’t mean that “she” is failure, she is ultimately able to find happiness.

This story offers an alternative to the “little engine that could” message that practice makes perfect and that if we just keep trying, we eventually reach a goal. The reality is, no matter how hard we try, we’re sometimes still unable to succeed in life. This book encourages cultivating self-acceptance, compassion and resilience in order to accept, learn and grow from defeat.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?

The story was in part inspired by my own struggle with perfectionism, which I’ve had since childhood and lead to a lack of self-acceptance or self-compassion. These were qualities I’ve had to learn as an adult and continue to practice as best as I can.

The beliefs we learn as children become our core beliefs as adults, so my intention through the work I create is to inspire healthy and empowering belief systems in children from the start, to help them become high functioning, happy, adults.

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What to Do When You Can’t Get It Right (Life, Love Or That Damn Yoga Pose)

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As a “recovering” perfectionist, failure has always been difficult for me. Be it a job interview, a relationship or getting into those skinny jeans, I’ve often struggled with getting “okay” with what I can’t get right.

I began doing yoga 20 years ago. I fell in love with it immediately. After spending my teenage years enduring the Jane Fonda workout and doing hardcore aerobics that wrecked my knees, Yoga was bliss for my body.

At that time, there was only one yoga studio in the city; that small warehouse space was my haven. Aside from loving the dance and meditation of Ashtanga practice, there was something else I liked: I was good at it. I was the one in the front row who could achieve every pose with ease.

Then, life happened. I got busy and didn’t have time to get to class, so I did my asana practice at home. And by the time I returned to studio classes (at which point they had opened on just about every corner) I had acquired injuries that had affected my practice and was far less flexible. Oh, the joy of aging.

Suddenly, I was not the one in the front and center. I was closer to the back and kind of off to the side. And to boot, everyone in class seemed to be able to do that damn Sirsha-asana (headstand) pose except for me. Cause Yoga is a competition, don’tchya know?

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Beautifully Organic for Life Interview with Tamara Levitt About her Book and Purpose

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Tamara, please tell us about your wonderful company Begin within Productions and how your latest project, the children’s book ~ Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands~ has been born out of this creation?

My intention in creating Begin Within was to create a space in which to share the tools, techniques, and teachings that have assisted and continue to assist me on own personal path.

I have been writing, illustrating and producing books in which to support others to find the calm within the chaos – at times, a difficult feat. I’ve primarily been developing properties designed to nurture children’s growth, enhancing their emotional intelligence. Children today face daily challenges as they navigate a rapidly changing world. Begin Within offers the support and education to children and educators to inspire their inner transformation.

Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands is a modern day story about the search for happiness, and one girl’s discovery that even in the face of failure, peace can be found. It’s the first book in a series called Lyle and Leela that was designed to help kids navigate the complex world of today.

Your business message is how to find the calm within the chaos. What does this mean to you and how might we achieve this day to day?

In my own life, I’ve worked hard to deepen my own self-awareness and equanimity as a woman.

To me, finding the calm within the chaos involves deepening awareness and cultivating equanimity. It’s about enhancing self-acceptance, self-compassion and honoring ones limitations and experiences. These are some of the ways to find peace in this roller coaster of a world that we live in and some of the themes of Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands.

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When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

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There’s something you and I likely have in common: a familiarity with the well-known children’s book The Little Engine that Could.

I’ll admit it’s a cheerful and uplifting story. We enjoyed it as children and now we read it to our own.

But here’s the thing. The message, ‘If we try, and we try, we’ll eventually reach our goal,’ has not always reflected my reality.

My experience is that sometimes we try and we try, and we end up falling on our face. And so do our kids.

I’ve thought long and hard about the messages we teach our children (and ultimately maintain as our core beliefs as adults). To expect our efforts will always result in consistent success is misleading at best. We’re setting kids up to have unrealistic expectations that life should and will be perfect, and that’s not the real world…

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Yoda Had One Thing Wrong: It’s OK to Try

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So I know Yoda is a Jedi Master and all that, but he’s got something wrong. One of his most favourite claims — “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try,'” — has a big hole in it.

I get his point: Words have power and the word try carries a defeatist attitude. But he’s suggesting that if you make enough of an effort to achieve a goal, you should be able to reach that goal. And that if you fail, your effort or conviction was lacking.

That certainly hasn’t been my reality. Sometimes I try my best, yet I still experience failure. There are often external factors that are part of the ‘success’ equation. To conclude we are to be blamed for our failures is to be denying ourselves of the acceptance and self-compassion we all deserve. It’s difficult enough for adults to grapple with these issues. Imagine how difficult it is for children.

I want my nieces and nephews to know that if they try to reach a goal, but can’t achieve it, that’s OK. Regardless of whether they win or lose, they are still amazing; their self-worth is not determined by achievement. By learning to simply enjoy the game as they’re playing it, they’ve already won…

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