The Women of TTB is a series where we focus on some of the women who helped get The Tattooed Buddha off and running and also continue to keep it growing! We sent out a few interview questions to some of these writers and artists so that we could find out more about them and highlight their many talents!
Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? What is your living arrangement like?
Starting with a toughie!
I am a child and grandchild of Holocaust survivors, so my family’s roots are in Eastern Europe, but both of my parents moved to Canada when they were young. I left a city I love, Toronto, in 2010 to explore new possibilities for my life, and ended up meeting my now husband, who is Japanese, in Thailand, where we were studying various healing modalities, yoga and meditation.
We travelled through Southeast Asia and India for about three years before moving to Japan, and we lived there until just last year, when we relocated to Ottawa, Canada. The current state of the world has created a situation where we will be here for a while, while contemplating where we would like to establish roots. I am learning more everyday that the true home must be found in the heart, if we are interested in peace and contentment!
How did you get into the arts/writing?
My mother is fond of telling me that I was a really good drawer as a 1-year-old, but cannot find my “early work” anywhere, so there is no hard evidence of that! I’ve always loved drawing and crafting, which was just called “making stuff” at that time; this morphed into loves for photography, painting and embroidery/sewing. As for writing, I’ve been keeping journals since I was little, and it’s never stopped. I simply can’t imagine not encountering myself through the lens of the written word, or using language to create worlds.
Do you meditate? What is your practice like?
I do. I think my first actual time meditating was around 2001, when my then partner and I quite literally stumbled into discovering a Tibetan Buddhist temple nestled into a long residential city street just about around the corner from our apartment in Toronto (near an ice cream shop we loved!) It was an interesting experience but the time wasn’t ripe yet.
Around 2010, while traveling, I started becoming really drawn to meditation, and heard from a few people that Vipassana retreats might be something I’d enjoy, since I’d mentioned I was looking for something relatively non-denominational, and they were right. I’ve since done several, as well as Tibetan Buddhist retreats and meditation as part of yoga intensives. I meditate everyday, though my level of absorption in the practice varies.
As a writer and someone with a very busy mind, I absolutely love this time for quiet and stillness, and if and when insights come, I’m very grateful.
What is your spiritual home?
I love to think that my spiritual home is kindness, equanimity and the striving for true compassion. It is finding my body and self in the world, and the world in my body and self. Immersing in the natural world is an indescribably huge part of this process of awakening for me.
The words and presences of so many have been walking with me and guiding me on the journey home: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Amma, Thich Naht Hanh, S.N. Goenka, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, Peter Levine, my teachers Pancho and Beatrix at the Nong Khai Reiki, Yoga, Therapy and Astrology Center in Thailand … I also can’t discount the innumerable authors whose books, both poetry and fiction, welcomed me into the world of deep thinking, feeling and being from the time I was a child. There are countless others who have shown me such great kindness and have taught me so much in this life. All of this is home and I am so lucky.
What are your goals in life? What do you hope to do some day? Do you have a bucket list?
I am a dreamer, and my goals are endless! I’ve never understood boredom. In fact, part of my spiritual practice is trying to be less goal-oriented and more focused on being in the present moment—and hopefully, helping inspire others to do the same in this crazy world in which things are often falling apart and we feel that our productivity is the glue holding everything together (I can relate to this feeling very strongly). But there I go with the goals again!
I have so many books in the works—poetry, fiction, non-fiction—and it is a great aspiration of mine to find the right words to reach people as a light in times of darkness and confusion, whether personal or societal. I also dream, as a healer, of being able to knock borders of all kinds down and establish some kind of community-driven wellness center where like-spirited people can gather in a loving and sustainable environment, to visit or to live, to do the work of healing self and planet—they are one!
What do you do for a living?
I am a writer and healer—I am a Reiki Practitioner/Master, and I’m currently training in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. I also do story editing for Canadian filmmakers (I have a background in journalism and film), and work for a Japanese company teaching and doing proofreading and editing for skilled English learners and professionals, which I love for the opportunity it gives me to form many relationships with people I probably wouldn’t otherwise get to meet or learn from.
On the best days, work-wise, I am chatting with Japanese clients on the other side of the world, giving a distant Reiki treatment to a lovely human, writing poetry (a part of my daily practice), helping a filmmaker hone the story they will soon tell to the world, and working on a book.
How did you get involved with TTB?
I “met” Dana through our work as writers for other publications (we still haven’t met in person!), and being the amazing, intuitive person that she is, she knew I would love to write for a publication devoted to the human side of being a spiritual being. She was kind enough to let me publish poetry in addition to writing pieces about wellness, right living principles and also doing book reviews. It’s been wonderful!
How long have you been involved with TTB?
I would say about five great years.
What would you like to see TTB do in the future?
I would love to see more dialogue and engagement with readership. I love writing and reading articles, but I think that what can take a publication like this to the next level is to find a way to make turn it into a bonafide online sangha—a place where readers and writers alike can share resources in a public way.
Anything else you would like to add about yourself?
I’m eternally aspiring toward simplicity—of living and being. The thought of a world in which we are all living together simply and purely makes me so happy. I’m incredibly grateful to have such a beautiful and important platform as TTB for my voice alongside so many other brilliant and powerful voices. We are living in difficult times, and having a safe space for the free expression of our aspirations and also our fears is more important than I can express.
Oh! And … my name is still a work in progress!
I came into my “professional years” as Tammy Stone. After getting married, I started feeling drawn to incorporating my husband’s last name—Takahashi—into my own. I first became Tammy T. Stone, then Tammy Tahahashi, and I’ve now settled—I think!—on Tammy Stone Takahashi for my writing, and Tammy Stone for everything else, since it’s how most people know me! I know, a rose by any other name … so you can find me in all these incarnations on the interweb!
What I’m working on:
In the earlier days of the pandemic, I wrote a collection of poetry that currently exists only in PDF form called 100 Days of Peace and Hope and with it I hope to offer some solace to anyone in need of it during these times. I would love to share it with as many people as possible, on a donation basis. If funds are an issue, don’t worry. No one will be turned away. Please email me for a copy at email@example.com. My PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My books can be found here on Amazon.
I also offer distant Reiki sessions in which we settle on a time that is good for both of us, and you rest and settle in to receive the healing energy. It’s really nice to set an intention for your healing, something like aspiring for a general sense of peace and harmony, or something more specific you’d like to work on. After the session, I email you with a summary of the experience.
It can be a surprisingly powerful way to share space, connect and heal, and come into a deep sense of relaxation. Self-care at its best! You can find more information about it on my website, here: tammystone.weebly.com, or email me at email@example.com.
I write intuitive personalized poems! Just send me a photo of someone or something special (including yourself!) or tell me a story, or even just a word or theme that’s been in your heart lately, and I will transform it into a poem you can have and share forever, to capture this special moment or person in your life. Tammystonetakahashi@gmail.com.
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