Tamara Levitt’s goal is to help people find calm within chaos.
She’s the founder of Begin Within, a production company that creates and develops books, apps, videos and film properties, and her first book, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands, teaches that happiness doesn’t come from external achievement.
“Even in the face of failure, peace can be found,” Levitt said.
In a epilogue to her 38-page picture book, which she wrote and illustrated, she said that it’s the first of what she hopes will be a series.
“I wrote this story to offer an alternative to The Little Engine that Could, which claims that practice makes perfect,” she said in the epilogue.
“In my experience, no matter how hard we try, there are times we are unable to achieve a goal, and it is difficult to find peace in those times. By letting go of the idea that happiness depends on achieving a single, external goal, we free ourselves to discover joy from within.”
Levitt told The CJN that she can relate to the book’s protagonist, a little girl who couldn’t learn how to do headstands.
“If I relate, then others do as well,” she said. “We have to teach kids alternatives to equating happiness with success and give them a new framework to view the world.”
She said unhappiness is an epidemic in North America, and failure often leads to self-hatred or defeat.
“We are too hard on ourselves, and we don’t allow room for happiness,” Levitt said.
“Failure isn’t an issue. It’s how we deal with it that becomes the issue. We have to learn to cultivate feelings of self-worth and well-being. Each test we fail [we have the opportunity] to develop a healthy response.”
The book is relevant to readers ages six to 60, she said. “Parents need to pay attention, because their kids model their behaviour after them.
“The older we get, the more our habits are strengthened. We have to teach kids now so that when they age they have a healthy perspective on failure. They can be saved from tons of grief.”
Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands, is available on Amazon and on Levitt’s website, beginwithin.ca.