The Self-Acceptance Project… wrap-up with Tami Simon

    —
June 6, 2013

I loved hosting The Self-Acceptance Project, a free 23-part online video series in which I interview leading spiritual teachers, psychologists, writers and researchers about how to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves in any and every situation. I learned so much from hosting this series that I even created a final wrap-up video in which I share the seven key insights that were true “take-aways” for me. If you are interested, you can watch the video here. 

One of the most important lessons that I learned from the series was how important it is to TURN TOWARDS difficult emotional experiences instead of our habitual response of turning away (turning to distraction or food or our iphone or other ways we self-medicate and try to numb ourselves). This is a teaching that I hear so often in Sounds True recordings and books (and as an aside, there are a number of self-acceptance themed titles and programs on sale this week – visit our self-acceptance tools and teachings page).

What I find so interesting is how I continually need to be reminded to turn towards difficult feelings. It is such a natural tendency to try escape feeling terrible! Sounds True author Bruce Tift (who along with 22 other Sounds True authors is featured as part of the Self-Acceptance series) said that the reason for this is that it is actually COUNTER-INSTINCTUAL to turn towards what is difficult. Our natural animal instinct is to avoid pain, which of course makes a lot of sense. But if we are to be intimate with our emotions and therefore intimate with ourselves and intimate with the flow of life, we need to make the counter-instinctual move and turn towards what we are feeling, even if it is difficult and painful.

Okay, so let’s say we accept this basic premise. How do we do it? Many of the authors in the self-acceptance series offered the same advice, first become aware of what’s happening (for example, I am mindlessly surfing on the web but what is really going on inside me is that I feel a terrible ache in my stomach). The next step is to stay with the experience of the uncomfortable sensations. This can sometimes feel like staying with a fire that is burning on the inside. I love the phrase Bruce Tift uses for this – embodied vulnerability. We actually stay with the uncomfortable sensations and soften to the experience. When we do this, we are beginning to accept every emotional experience as part of the flow of life.

In the final episode of the self-acceptance series, I asked Sounds True listeners to write to me at acceptance@soundstrue.com about the main lessons they learned from the series. To date, I have received dozens and dozens of letters about how life-changing the program has been for people. One of the main themes I have heard is how NORMALIZING it has been to hear renowned spiritual teachers and esteemed psychologists talk about their own struggles with self-acceptance (of course, I got personal in the interviews because that’s where so much of the action and learning comes from). Seeing the universality of the challenge helped people to be kinder to themselves. Yes, we can release ourselves from being hard on ourselves about being hard on ourselves!

As I said, I loved hosting this free series, and I encourage you to check it out.

SAP

Tami Simon

Photo of ()\

Tami Simon started Sounds True at the age of 22 with a dream and a tape recorder. Though she had no experience running a business and only a vague idea of what she wanted the company to be, Tami had her guiding principle strongly in place: to disseminate spiritual wisdom. Over its 36-year history, Sounds True has grown into a multimedia publisher that has produced over 6,000 titles, has been included twice in the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing companies, and is North America’s leading publisher of spoken-word spiritual teachings.

One of the world’s very first organizations to focus on multiple bottom lines as part of its founding mandate, Sounds True has expanded steadily over the years while staying true to its original mission. Partnering with the leading spiritual teachers of our time, Sounds True now has a successful book publishing program (distributed by Macmillan) and has grown to produce events, certification programs, and transformational online learning experiences.

Tami hosts the popular Sounds True podcast, Insights at the Edge, which has now been downloaded more than 20 million times. She is also the founder of the Sounds True Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing spiritual education to people who would otherwise not have access. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, and in British Columbia with her wife, Julie Kramer, and their two spoodles, Raspberry and Bula.

Author photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

Tami Simon: Being a Spiritual Entrepreneur

A magazine article about Sounds True founder Tami Simon referred to her as a “spiritual entrepreneur.” At first, Tami wasn’t sure about the label. Yet over time, she came to appreciate and embrace it. Today, the art of spiritual entrepreneurship is a central facet of Sounds True’s Inner MBA® program. 

In this host-only episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami shares her thoughts and feelings about what it means to lead a company dedicated to the well-being of its employees as equally as it is to business success. For anyone looking to bridge their innermost values with how they make a living, Tami reveals seven principles of the spiritual entrepreneur, with insightful guidance on honoring the voice of the heart; leading with presence; why relationships need to come first; creating a culture of care, engagement, and well-being; alternating between high performance and good rest; how to embrace challenges as growth opportunities; claiming our personal agency and doing the work of “cleaning up”; business as a means to address real social needs; maintaining trust in the unfolding process; making a commitment to “lift each other up” in the way we do business; recognizing our interdependence; and more.

Standing Together, and Stepping Up

Dear Sounds True friends and community,

While holding a mirror to our own organizational accountability, Sounds True unequivocally stands in solidarity with the Black community, the family of George Floyd, and the many others who have been victims of police brutality and ongoing racial injustice.

We stand with and for our Black employees, our Black authors and colleagues, our Black customers, and all of the protestors and social change activists—past, present, and future— who are working to put an end to racism in every corner of our society.

And we are committed to not just stand in solidarity but to step up.

Since George Floyd’s murder, we have been having many in-depth discussions among the 125-person staff at Sounds True about the most meaningful actions we can take as a transformational learning company to help educate ourselves and our community and contribute to the dismantling of racism.

We have been asking ourselves questions such as:

  • How can we best use our platform to better amplify the voices of wisdom teachers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)?
  • What’s in our Shadow, as individuals and as an organization? What unconscious areas must now be brought into awareness?
  • And how do we actively address these areas so that we can evolve as an organization and be a force of genuine service in the world?

The answers to these questions are not simple, quick, or easy. It has taken me a while to write this email to you, our beloved customers and Sounds True community, because we have felt as a team the need to listen carefully and look deeply within in order to lay out an action plan moving forward that will contribute to meaningful and substantive change.

Anything less falls short of what I believe this moment is asking of us.

We also want to learn and evolve in partnership with you. We are learning and growing together as a community, and it has been important for us to create a moving-forward action plan that invites engagement from our entire audience.

With arms wide open, I invite you to witness, support, and step up with us in the following ways:

  • Over the next two years, Sounds True will be undergoing an in-depth Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training in the workplace. This training initiative has been in development for over a year, and will be provided by TMI Consulting, led by Dr. Tiffany Jana. Dr. Jana is coauthor of the books Overcoming BiasErasing Institutional Bias, and Subtle Acts of Exclusion. As part of the training, we will be uncovering how unconscious bias, microaggressions, and micro-acts of exclusion show up in the workplace, in our personal lives, and even in our products. The training also includes a thorough audit of Sounds True’s hiring practices, HR policies, marketing materials, and more.

  • Sounds True also wants to include our customers, authors, and partner businesses in the introductory phase of this training process that we will be embarking upon. With that in mind, we are hosting a three-part webinar series on “Healing Racism” with Dr. Jana, beginning on Wednesday, June 24, at 8:00 pm ET | 5:00 pm PT. The series is free, and we are inviting our customers, authors, and business associates to join the Sounds True staff for this online training and to walk this part of our journey together. As someone on our email list, you will be receiving all of the details in future emails.

  • It is clear to us at Sounds True that we need to publish and otherwise amplify the voices of more authors and presenters who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. If you have ideas about new BIPOC authors you would like to see published at Sounds True or included in our summits and online offerings, please write to us at acquisitions@soundstrue.com.

  • The Sounds True Foundation, formed in 2018, is increasing its efforts to raise scholarship funds for BIPOC students to attend our Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program and become trained as mindfulness teachers who will bring this practice to diverse communities all over the world. We will be hosting a virtual fundraiser on June 30 for this initiative and will be emailing you with more details.

As I mentioned, working to dismantle and heal racism—in ourselves, in our organization, and in our world—is not a flash-in-the-pan effort at Sounds True. This is a long-haul commitment to the creation of a different world that is just, kind, and equitable. And we have a heckuva road to travel with you to get there.

And we are committed. We don’t want to simply talk about spiritual awakening. We want to embody it … as individuals, as a company, and as a force in the world. Humbly and boldly, we are going to give everything we have and invite you to do the same. This is the time for us to step up, together.

With love on the journey,

Tami Simon

Founder and Publisher, Sounds True

P.S. You can learn more about our commitment to creating a more compassionate world here.

 

Happy Holidays from Sounds True

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

—Meister Eckhart 

I believe that if people from all of the different wisdom traditions gathered together and were asked to agree on one focus for a special day of reflection, “giving thanks” would be somewhere at the top of the list. 

Gratitude changes us. Instead of looking at what’s wrong, we turn our hearts for a moment to what’s right. And there are so many things that are right. 

For example, the appreciation of one complete breath (as corny as it sounds, whenever I turn my mind to gratitude, this is the first place I start)—feeling the fluttery exhilaration of the inhale, the excitement at the top of the inhale, the relaxation of a full and deep exhale, and then the interesting open space that awaits when our exhale is complete (you can tell I feel grateful for breathing). 

And then there is the feeling of air on our skin, and the faces of the people we love, and the beauty of trees and the natural world … and we can each go on and on and on and on. 

And let’s do that! Let’s go on and on and on and on about all of the ways that we appreciate what is right and beautiful in this moment (and if you’re at all like me, with a tendency to focus on problem-solving, this might not be your usual perspective). 

And if you do go on and on and on and appreciate the beauty that is right here, you probably won’t need science to tell you that you have shifted the neural pathways in your brain (although scientific studies will certainly confirm that)—you can feel the immediate shift.

As I write this, I feel appreciative of so many beautiful “presences” in my life, including the presence of YOU. I am grateful that you read these posts, that you feel in some way connected to Sounds True, that you are interested in personal transformation, in being wholehearted and of benefit to others. I am grateful that, even though it is through this weird form of a mass communication from me to you, we are connected. 

At Sounds True, we are grateful to the entire ecosystem of which we are a part: to our authors, to the ideas themselves, to our vendors and manufacturers, to the buildings that house us, to the natural world, and to future generations. 

And most of all, we are grateful to you, the individual person who enjoys and derives benefit from the learning programs we create. And we want to make sure we are meeting you “where you are at” and that our programs are accessible and you feel encouraged to explore and learn from different teachers. Like most companies, our deepest discounts of the year are available between now and the end of December, and I want you to know about this, if you are interested. To learn more about these special offers, just click here

Gratitude creates a circle of appreciation. When we express our gratitude, the recipient feels it, lights up, and appreciates our existence in return. I love being in a virtuous circle of appreciation with you. 

 

With love and a grateful heart, 

Tami Simon

Founder and publisher,

Sounds True

 

 

P.S. Once again, our deepest discounts of the year are now available. Please click here to learn more.

You Might Also Enjoy

Ep 9: Live the Questions Now

When it comes to building the Great Turning, it’s natural to have questions: What is my individual role in it all? How do we win? Who do we fight? While Jess wrestles with her desire for a “prescription” of what to do, Joanna invites us to “live the questions” instead. In this episode, we learn about the three dimensions of the Great Turning and the way forward: community, relationship, and solidarity. 

In this episode:

  • There are no perfect road maps, but if we come together in courage and community, the way will emerge
  • The climate crisis is not just an environmental issue but a spiritual crisis of disconnection
  • Bonus Exercise: The Bodhisattva Check-In

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Ep 8: Eros and Thanatos

This episode explores the powerful role of Eros (sensual love) and Thanatos (death) in fueling our connection to the world as we contribute to the Great Turning. Joanna and Jess discuss how we might learn to see our world as our lover (and as our self), the gifts of cultivating a sensual connection with the world, and how facing mortality can make the gift of being alive feel even more precious. They also reflect on the closeness of Joanna’s own death, which Joanna sees as “going home” to rejoin the cycle of life.

In this episode:

  • Using our love and awareness of impermanence as fuel for activism
  • Discovering ways to truly feel interconnected with all life through sensual presence
  • Reflections on mortality and our place in the cycle of life

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

The Greatest Wealth Is Found When We Gather Together

When people ask for my personal secret to living a life that is authentically happy and liberating, the first thing that comes to mind are my friends. I’ve known for a long time that I am a wealthy and blessed person. The wealth that I’m referring to has nothing to do with my bank account balance. The wealth that I’m talking about are the meaningful connections that have sustained me over the years. What I lacked in familial bonds, the divine provided in long-term platonic relationships.

One of the clearest indicators of someone who is flourishing is their ability to build and keep meaningful connections and quality relationships. When designing a life that supports your becoming the most fully expressed version of yourself, the people who are closest to you can either support or hinder your progress. This is why I’m adamant about being intentional about my connections.

My “Presidential Cabinet,” which is basically what I call my trusted circle of friends, is filled with some amazing folks. I’m forever grateful for my community of friends that became family, strangers that became mentors, and colleagues that became accountability partners.

In the chapter “What About Your Friends?” from my book, Evolving While Black, I share with you that people who have strong relationships feel the support of family, friends, and others in their community. When you know you have a village of folks you can count on, it improves your ability to recover from stress, anxiety, and depression.

An agreement I made with myself in my early thirties was to commit to choosing connection and community over isolation. This decision is the gift that keeps on giving. The investment you make in choosing your connections is the greatest pathway to wholeness, prosperity, and longevity.

What you should consider as you’re continuing to build out your own Presidential Cabinet

Your connections should include people who:

  • Energize you and help you to create a life of ease
  • Encourage you to make your mental and emotional well-being a priority 
  • Consider you for opportunities when you’re not in the room
  • Show mutual support and respect 

Now that you know what to consider, use these prompts to create a plan

  • Who’s in your Presidential Cabinet, and how do they support you? 
  • Who do you need to add, and how will they support your journey? 
  • If you change nothing, what will your life look like three months from now? How does this make you feel?

My hope for you is that you attract meaningful connections that bring you joy and make your heart smile, laughs that make your cheeks hurt, and love that covers you like a warm blanket. You deserve to feel loved, supported, and cared for.

Until we meet again.

Currently evolving,

Chianti


Evolving While Black
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True


Evolving While Black
Sounds True

Chianti Lomax is a sought-after international speaker, certified mindset coach, and leadership trainer who thrives at the intersection of mindfulness, technology, and transformative coaching. As a registered yoga instructor, certified personal and executive coach, certified workplace mindfulness facilitator, and positive psychology practitioner, Chianti teaches doable habit changes to help increase our well-being and elevate the overall human experience. For more, visit chiantilomax.com.

Author photo © Ambreia Williams

  • flo says:

    snarling can be the face of enlightenment. see Reggie’s “Practioner’s Notebook” –Custodians of Our Karmic Package….

  • flo says:

    thinking about my student whom says “You stink!” when we least expect it. It’s soooo refreshing, especially when I’m laughing inside and my face says, ” That is not appropriate behavior…..”

  • Sunnie N C Ezeanya says:

    Tami,
    You and your out-fit have been a huge source of blessing to me. Please continue the good work you’re doing.

    Sunnie

  • Erny says:

    Thanks so much for starting this program. It is as you said in the video with Kristin Neff, I had and gave therapy for 25 years, and 10 years of meditation, but the habit of strong judging myself in a deep level seems hopeless to Change and causes a lot a suffering. So thanks for this program, How can I join in…

    • Matt Licata says:

      Hi Ernie, thank you for sharing your experience with us here and we’re so happy you enjoyed the video with Dr. Neff. As for joining in, have you had a chance to watch all of the videos? We’ll be offering a new series early next year where we’ll continue our dialogue, this time focusing on intimacy and intimate relationship. Thank you again for sharing with us.

  • Lisa says:

    Tammy,

    I just discovered your podcast series and have been listening to many of them. Thank you so much for making them available for free. I can’t wait to discover and listen to this new series. Sometimes I feel so guilty about things that I’ve done in the past, or things that I still struggle with daily to be the kindler, gentler person that I want to be in the world. People tell me that I’m very hard on myself. So, this topic is very timely for me, and I will report back to you once I’ve listened to it all. I have felt much better and I feel my life transforming in so many subtle ways just from listening to the sounds true podcasts and taking a quiet week just for myself to get back into being in touch with my own inner wisdom. Thank you again for sharing so much with the world. I love the sounds true music, too!

    This all started when I was mesmerized by some music and books in a local store, by the way.

    With gratitude and love,
    Lisa

  • >
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap