Author Interview – Tracy Thomas – Zen In The Garden
Tracy J Thomas
Is this your first book?
I was honored to be a contributing writer to the 2012 Seal Press anthology “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small.” My fellow contributors include Samantha Dunn, author of “Failing Paris” a PEN West Fiction Award Finalist; Nina Burleigh, NYT Bestselling author of “The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox;” and Amy Ferris, author of “Marrying George Clooney” which became an Off-Broadway production.
“Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature” is a motivational little book filled with anecdotes about life, inspirational photographs, gardening tips, and nature challenges. It is essentially a beginner’s guide to the Zen philosophy of mindfulness and encourages readers to live in the moment by opening their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them in their daily lives.
I was inspired to write this transformational book when I was diagnosed with skin cancer. This diagnosis and the treatment that followed caused me to re-evaluate my life. I was moved to seek out the beauty in my surroundings in order to relieve the enormous amount of stress I was under. The act of writing the book, spending time in my garden, taking photographs in nature, and making a point to release my fears created a sense of peace that helped me to heal body, mind and spirit.
When did you first know that you had a passion for writing?
Writing has been my chosen form of communication since childhood. I was always the quiet, shy observer type who needed time to ponder before making any statement. When I finally had something to say it always came out much truer to my soul when I wrote it down. This passion has continued into adulthood although I have learned over the years to embrace the spoken word as a communication tool in addition to my writing.
What type of work do you do? Is it related to your work in some way?
I spent years pursuing a traditional career and ended up doing very well in the consumer software and internet industries in International development. There was a modicum of creative energy involved in those positions including the application of my writing skills. I made great money and was able to travel to Europe and Asia. The downside was the long hours and tremendous stress involved in the position. It left little time for me to pursue my creative interests and made me feel something was missing. When the internet startup bubble burst back in 2000 and the industry came crashing down it was the perfect opportunity for me to re-evaluate life and follow my passions.
Since that time I have worked as a professional photographer, artist, author, and educator. Due to my own experience, part of my drive now is to help others be true to their own passions, pursue the leanings of their souls, and focus on personal growth and spiritual healing.
Was there someone special in your life that encouraged you to follow your passion?
I have had many teachers in life who have encouraged me to write. One of my high school English teachers loved one of my short stories so much she wanted to submit it to Scholastic Magazine. She felt certain it would be published after making a few edits. I never felt brave enough to let her submit it for me however. My teachers always saw more in me than I saw in myself. It took years before I was brave enough to submit a piece for publication but once I became published this little bit of validation helped me to understand this was what I wanted to do.
What’s next? Is there something you’re working on now?
I have several works in progress with plans for release in the summer and fall of this year. The first is titled “30 Days of Grace: Falling Into Happiness Through the Act of Compassion” which is essentially a motivational book to encourage small acts of kindness. The second is an illustrated book that features my photomontage work to tell the story of a character named “Borg” who struggles to find his path in life by trying on every hat but his own passion.
What do you hope readers will “take away” from reading your book?
My hope is readers of this book will begin to recognize the small, simple beauty that surrounds them on a daily basis. We become so caught up in the noise and stress of our world we forget to live. When we allow ourselves to become more present in the moment, peace and healing begin to fill our lives and we spend less time wasting our energy on the things that really don’t matter.
A simple, inspirational book that encourages the practice of mindfulness while in nature to help you achieve personal growth and spiritual healing. This transformational guide encourages spiritual awareness and helps the reader to open their eyes to the beauty in their surroundings.
Connect With Tracy
Author Website: http://www.tracyjthomas.me
Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tjthomasphoto
Book Title: Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature
Book Genre/Subject Matter: Nonfiction/Self-Help/Personal Growth and motivational. Practicing mindfulness by getting back in touch with nature in the midst of our stressful lives in order to promote peace and healing.
Book Order Page: http://amzn.com/B00TN2GQHM