A Review of Tasha Halpert’s Collections of Poems, Love Notes & Recipes for a Mindful and Joyful Life on “A Better World of Books” #inspiration #selfhelp

71-5ZakMn5L._US230_Tasha Halpert is a practical mystic, poet, and writer. She has been teaching the paths to inner peace and wellbeing for more than five decades. Tasha  lives in Massachusetts with her husband and writes a weekly column, “Good Earthkeeping,” for the local newspaper, and a weekly inspirational Internet column, “Heartwings.” She is staff poet and storyteller for The Unicorn.

It’s a genuine pleasure to feature two of Tasha Halpert’s books on “A Better World of Books.”  Although Tasha lives only one state over from me, and is a fellow yogi, we have only met through the virtual world of blogging. A few weeks ago she kindly sent me copies of her books Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life and Up to My Neck in Lemons: Love Notes, Poems, and Lemon Recipes for me to review for my blog feature.

Both of Tasha’s books offer an inspirational collection of poetry, anecdotes, and mindfulness exercises. Up to My Neck in Lemons also contains delightful recipes and medicinal uses for lemons interspersed throughout the pages. Perhaps this is why I particularly enjoyed this collection by Halpert.

41uEIP1BmoL._AC_UY218_Although Halpert’s two books are similar in nature, and are in the Self-Help/Inspiration genre, their content is unique. Tasha’s earlier book, Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is presented in eight parts, each of which focuses on a topic related to living a mindful and joyous life. Short, relatable poems flow into personal narratives and simple mindfulness exercises for readers to practice, if they choose to.

I particularly appreciated the author’s willingness to demonstrate growth through her own experiences as she shows the readers it is okay not to be perfect, and that imperfection is a seed for growth. Many of Tasha’s metaphors center around nature and the symbolism of the seasons.  Gardening is a central theme throughout, and is a healing, mindful practice central to Halpert’s own life.

One of my favorite poems of Tasha’s appears on page 32 of  Heartwings. It’s called “The Apple Tree,” and begins with these lines: “The bark of the old tree is dappled with lichen and shade/ Making a pattern like runes, like pebbles strewn for good or for ill,/ Leaves layer against blue sky, white clouds,/ Dapple them with green. / Thirsty to grow, small green apples drink the light.” The last line I find to be particularly lovely and illustrative of the interconnectedness of all life.

Pulled from a review on Amazon, J. White wrote this about Tasha’s collection, “Heartwings reads like liquid ambrosia, whether savored a few pages at a time or consumed all at once. Tasha’s writing style is comfortable and personal and her gardening metaphors resonate beautifully. Her perspective of mindful joy demonstrates that focusing on the simplest essentials can often provide the highest rewards.”

In her more recent book, Halpert takes a lighter tone, as illustrated by her title, Up To My415O+ebFhSL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Neck in Lemons, using lemons as her metaphor for a mindful and joy-filled life. I really enjoyed the layout of this book and the way Tasha wove her more serious pieces between the more whimsical recipes. I found myself looking forward to the recipes and historical anecdotes about lemons.  As with her earlier book, Tasha uses her own life as an example to draw upon for life experience. She is both honest and gentle with herself, as she is with her readers.

One of my favorite passages appears on page nine of the book, which contains a personal narrative illustrating gratitude titled “Thanks to Give.” In her third paragraph, Halpert writes, “There are now many things in life I am grateful for that I did not receive when I wanted them. I am now glad that there were roads I was unable to take, though at the time I thought them desirable. There are things I had hoped to accomplish that I had to give up trying to do. I now recognize these experiences and others like them as true blessings.” It is a beautiful reminder of how life has a way of leading us in unexpected was, which may at first appear undesirable or even disappointing, but there are always gifts to be found in the journey.

An Amazon reviewer, Doreen, had this to say about Up To My Neck in Lemons: “I keep this book near my favorite chair. Open to any page and you’ll have a delightful poem, poignant story or special recipe to help with life’s “lemons.” You are sure to smile, reflect or ponder. Tasha opens her heart to all the emotions, and writes so honestly and wisely.”

Both of Tasha’s books could easily find a home nestled on one’s favorite chair, on a bed stand, or on the shelf of a meditation or yoga room. It is clear, through her writing, that the author has led a full and contemplative life. Halpert has the soul of a yogi, ever-searching for meaning, and the admirable ability to pull the sweetness from what life gives her. Her books are filled with inspiration and wisdom gleaned from her life experiences. I am not sure if I can recommend one over the other. For readers who are searching out ways to lead a more mindful life perhaps they would be best served beginning with Tasha’s book Heartwings. On the other hand, if you are already on a mindful path and are looking to add some flavor to your life, particularly with the taste of lemons, I recommend diving into Up To My Neck in Lemons. You’ll find yourself relating to Halpert’s stories and poems as well as running to the store to stock up on lemons to try some of her sweet recipes.

To follow Tasha’s writing and teachings, please visit her website, Heartwings and Friends. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea

Meet Author Sarah Woodard on a Better World of Books #AuthorInterview

74453234_399629280711774_2903981337633357824_n.pngSarah Woodard is an author, podcaster, animal lover & communicator, vegan, Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, and woman on a mission. Her mission is to create a world in which all beings are respected and honored. To accomplish this, she writes books for kids and adults that encourage connection to self, soul, and the environment, lives an eco-friendly, vegan lifestyle & encourages others to do the same. She offers healing for pets and their people along with book coaching services.

Hi Sarah, thank you for being a guest on a Better World of Books! Can you begin by telling us how and why you became an author with a mission?

Hi Alethea! Thanks for having me. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. In fourth grade, I wrote an essay about why I want to be a writer and got to interview a local children’s author, Dorothy Marshall-Noke.

Like most of us, my life took a lot of twists and turns while I honed in on my path. Over time, it became clear that I have a unique perspective, one which made shamanism my spiritual path. With that, my connection to spirit became deeper and I realized that my path to creating change in the world is with words. I write for kids and adults based on what spirit gives me.

You have written, I believe, five books for children so far. Is there a common theme that unites them all?

That number keeps growing. I think there’s currently 5 or 6 on the market. I’ve got one with my illustrator, and about 8 or 9 “on deck” for him. And I plan to keep going. Richard Scarry, who was one of my childhood favorites, wrote 300 books. I’d like to match him in quantity, quality, and importance.

That being said, a common theme is change, and accepting it. Another one that will be more prevalent in the near future is being aware of one’s decisions and how they impact the world. Also upcoming, animal rights and the environment. I’m taking on some big stuff!

Your children’s books are what one might call picture books. Are they written for a particular audience, and if so why?

Although they’re picture books suitable for children, I believe adults can and do learn a lot from them as well. Therefore, my audience is anyone who’s interested in becoming their best selves and creating a beautiful world.

If you could choose one of your characters that is most like yourself. Which one would it be and why?

I love this question! Thus far, I’d say definitely Amber from Amber’s Sick Day. And I think my illustrator knew it (though I didn’t tell him) because she even looks like me, I think. Her story is about using change in a positive way, and I feel like transformation and change have been key elements in my life. I didn’t always love them, but I’ve learned to embrace them as an opportunity, just like Amber does in the book.

What are some of your inspirations for your stories and characters?

In a word, life. I know that maybe sounds simplistic, so I’ll explain. My writing process looks like this: something grabs me; be it a story in the news, a post on social media, whatever. I then say to the Universe, “hey, if it’s in my path, I’d love to write a book about this.” Most of the time, the book shows up in ways I didn’t expect. Sometimes it starts with a character name (like Molly Meow in a not-yet-released book about Trap-Neuter-Return). Other times, I get the story and no name (like the upcoming Carlos Makes a Discovery). In both cases, once I get the “nudge” I sit down, open (we call it the hollow bone in shamanism), and allow Spirit to use me as a vessel.

After the initial “dump,” I edit it, ask for missing info (like a name if it didn’t come through at first), and send it to my proofreader for her thoughts. Based on her feedback, I may change, add, remove, etc. as necessary. Once that’s done, it sits on deck until my illustrator is ready.

You’re also an author of books for adults. Can you tell us how your books serve to guide your adult audience as they navigate the challenges of life?

I am! Right now, my adult books cover two genres: spiritual self-help and poetry. The spiritual self-help books focus on mindful living and connecting with spirit guides. They’re workbooks, so readers can easily go through the process in their own time. My poetry book (more in process) was easily the most emotionally difficult thing I’ve ever written, but in a good way. My hope is that it touches people in their core; makes them think, and hopefully change for the better.

If there was one thing you could change about the world we live in, what would it be?

Gosh! This one is tough. There’s so much I’d like to see changed, but when it comes down to it, I think ALL the stuff that bugs me boils down to one thing: as a whole we don’t view all beings as worthy of respect and love. When I say beings, I mean humans, animals, insects, plants, rocks, etc. Everything we share the planet with.

So, if I could change one thing, it would be that – that everyone would view all beings as worthy of respect and love.

I think Sarah’s vision for the world sounds quite wonderful. If you’d like to connect with Sarah and her books, you can find her on:

Facebook
YouTube
Instagram
Amazon

 

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea