Here is my tribute to being single in a couples’ world. “You are enough” is dedicated to the huge percentage of people who, as a result of being single, go forgotten on Valentines Day. It’s for those who aren’t a fan of commercial businesses reminding them of what they apparently “lack,” those for whom February 14th couldn’t come and go fast enough.
Archive of ‘wellness’ category
“Ode to Failure” – A short film
Written, illustrated and produced by Tamara Levitt
For those who have fallen, or have yet to fall.
I call this painting “Teenage Angst.”
I posted it on my Facebook wall the other day and received comments and emails to the likes of “That was so me in high school,” and “Wow, I dated that girl,” and “That’s a spitting image of my own teenager…”
Everyone knows Teenage Angst – many of us carry it right into adulthood.
However, as we become older and wiser, we have opportunities to become more skilled in learning how to navigate angst. Ultimately, the best way to work with it, is to stay with it.
Learning how “be” with our pain is essential to compassionate awakening. But it’s a case of the hardest thing being the best thing.
Our instinct is to run—to be anywhere but here—but “here” is where truth and freedom live.
Pema says it best:
“To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.” ~ Pema Chodron
Learning to stay with emotion is tricky business. But with practice, it gets easier.
For me, breaking my habitual patterns has been excruciatingly difficult. But with patience and practice, it’s often possible. Here I share some of the tools that have been most helpful for me in attaining a bit of Prajna; a clear seeing of what is really happening, which is the most crucial piece when looking to break patterns.
With a focus on how to get unstuck from our shempas, and bring awareness to our habitual reactions, I also share a 4-step technique Pema Chodron has offered called the 4 R’s.
In my most recent video blog, I discuss the challenges and importance of working towards forgiveness. I share tools and techniques that have aided in my own forgiveness practice along with resources to hopefully support your own.
Penny Lockwood interviews Tamara on “One Writers Journey”, where she discusses her recently published book, and personal writing process.
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.
Tamara Levitt joins hosts Liza Fromer, Dave Gerry, Kris Reyes, and Rosey Edeh on The Morning Show to discuss the message of her book, and why parents need to be offering children the room to fail in our achievement oriented world.
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.
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.