Some inspiration on those difficult days…

I love mutts.

I’m referring to the comic strip by Patrick O’donnell – not the dogs. Although I’m a fan of them too.

His comics tend to be so simple and yet so profound. One of my favourite combo’s.

Here is some inspiration for those difficult days. Those days where we have to dig deep to find enough strength to pick ourselves up and change the world.

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Sometimes our resilience isn’t as out of reach as it seems.

Staying with Pain and the Uniting Force that it is.

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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.

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Breaking our Habitual Thoughts and Emotional Patterns – Working with our Shempas

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.

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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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