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.
The first time I watched the “Happiness Doesn’t Come From Headstands“ video, as it was referred to me by my good online friend David , I thought: ”What an amazing message this book has for children!” I immediately contacted Tamara for an interview the next day. Poised, professional and very kind, Tamara took a fair amount of her time to answer my questions. I am very pleased today, to introduce you to a very inspiring woman.
Don’t forget to visit the Kickstarter page when you are done reading this fabulous interview 🙂 Only 4 days left in the campaign!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember – Be it through music or stories, it’s always been a way for me to help navigate this roller coaster of a world that we live in. Life is tricky. Expressing myself through music or on paper have been ways to express and make sense of it all.
Tell us about the ‘Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands’ campaign:
I’ll quickly describe the premise of the book first: 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.
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…
A Toronto artist, teacher and author has taken a new avenue to get funding to publish her new book.
Tamara Levitt is the founder of Begin Within, where she creates multimedia content that fosters self-awareness, emotional intelligence and interpersonal development. Her passion for teaching children about compassion and self worth led to her writing a book titled, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands.
Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is about a young girl who has a dream to do a headstand, but she just can’t do it. Her resulting feeling of failure makes her unhappy. The story unfolds to gives to children a positive message that just because you have failed, it doesn’t make you a failure. Levitt says it’s kind of an anti-Little Engine that Could message, “My feeling is that helping kids learn how to deal with failure will allow them to navigate through challenges with much more ease…”
In this age of hyper-achievement, where egos rule and our self-worth is measured only by our “success”, it’s a welcome relief to find a message for children which is focused on self-awareness, self-acceptance and personal resilience. Such is the message within Tamara Levitt’s book, Happiness Doesn’t Come From Headstands.
While you may not be familiar with her, Tamara Levitt is one of those magical souls that brightens a room whenever she walks in, or comes to you via social media. So it’s no surprise that she came up with the idea for this series of children’s books.
Recently I’ve been dealing with change; much of which is significant. The end of an old relationship, the beginning of new ones, my living situation, changing significant aspects of my career, etc… Often in my past, I’ve become overwhelmed with this amount of change. The feeling of wanting “a safe place to stand” would arise. I would feel desperate to find that safe place where I could rest my head in order to calm my fears.
For some reason, although much uncertainty exists currently, I am finding that these said insecurities are not transforming into the paralyzing fear they once did. Somehow, instead, I am able to maintain a calm mind, allowing me to make new, proactive choices. This of course, is due to my ability to surrender to the nature of impermanence; something that even a year ago, I wasn’t nearly as skilled at doing.