Awakening the Light: A Survivors to Thrivers Going-Forward Story is a book for survivors and their loved ones. The book first invites readers into Tambry Harris’s story of loss, abuse, and eventually healing. Then Tambry walks readers through the stages of forming, launching, evolving, awakening, claiming, and thriving. Her mindful method guides readers to explore their own stories and see the main characters (themselves) more holistically and maybe even more compassionately than ever before. Readers claim a vision for their going-forward stories, the future chapters of their lives. The overarching hope of this inspiring book is to create a community of people who are moving from surviving to thriving and journeying together.
Tambry Harris is a leadership and life coach, survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and founder of Going Forward: Survivors to Thrivers, an organization that provides individual guidance, retreats, and speaking engagements to bring awareness and light into the shame, silence, and darkness that surrounds sexual abuse. Tambry has a master’s degree in applied psychology and certifications in leadership coaching, spiritual direction, diversity, and change management.
There is a phrase, “You often don’t know what you don’t know.” This is incredibly true in the area of book publishing. As a first-time author, I am incredibly grateful to SPARK Publications for helping me navigate this unknown world and helping me to accomplish the dream of offering my story of hope and healing.
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
I was increasingly asked to speak to various groups about my story of hope and healing. People would come up to me after my talk and tell me how encouraged they were to do their own healing.
I began offering retreats to help others with their healing. I realized that because of the vulnerable topic, people did not want to participate. Perhaps translating my retreat into a book that somebody can work through in the safety and privacy of their own homes would reach people effectively. Sharing through a book can reach so many survivors of trauma and abuse and give them a guide to do their healing work at their own pace.
Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?
I have been so touched by all the positive reviews I have received from therapists, survivors, faith leaders and other authors. My goal is to help practitioners in the various healing fields (mind, body and spirit) see this as a resource to them and those individuals with whom they work. For example, SAFE Alliance, an organization for domestic violence here in Charlotte, is going to have the book available to survivors.
I am also excited about the possibility of Zoom calls where we can explore my story, my healing, and offer ideas to survivors on how to thrive and to supporters to help the loved ones in their lives. Even though my specific audience is victims of sexual abuse, the book really speaks to anyone who has experience trauma or abuse. It can even be a resource for the loved ones of a survivor to expand their experience of the dynamics that exist in the lives of abuse survivors.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
There were two things. First, the wisdom that comes from all the reviewers along the way. Insights and input made the final product something that I am incredibly proud of and could not have done on my own. I was also touched by the fact that although their role was reviewing, they gained personal value from reading the book and felt my heart.
Then there was the writing itself. I had to continue to work through some of my pain points. I felt that by capturing my story and sharing it with others, I evolved in my healing. Two of my limiting beliefs were that I need to stay small and I’m not worthy of having a voice. Writing and publishing a book is the opposite of that.
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
SPARK Publications was intentioned from the beginning to understand my vision for the book. They helped provide me structure to ensure my message was clear and meaningful. Melisa helped me refine my thinking as a writer. The creation of the cover design was fun and I grew increasingly excited as the final product emerged. Everyone who has seen it loves it.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Given the trauma I experienced as a child, one of my limiting beliefs is that I cannot rely on anyone and must do everything myself. By opening up my vision and work to others, I have found a community of advocates. I am reworking that negative belief into a life-giving one—just like I encourage others to do in my book. I would encourage authorprenuers and aspiring writers to both see their limiting beliefs for what they are and seek to overcome them. By involving others, you can benefit from wisdom as I did.
Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?
The book was launched on October 1 with a Virtual Launch Party for all of my supporters. The event included voices from the three different areas of mind, body, and spirit. I used a Kickstarter Campaign to help me fund the cost of publication and promotion and through that have over ninety backers. Fifteen reviewers have kindly read book, and I’ve collected other cheerleaders along the way. I was able to celebrate with all of them and talk about going-forward plans.
My second Virtual Launch Party is geared to the next layer of people who could use this book. I mentioned before that my vision is for doctors, therapists, and faith leaders to see this book as a resource to them and their community. I asked the participants of my first launch party to reach out to practitioners in their life and encourage them to attend this second event. Together, we will continue to explore who needs this book. We will collectively shine light into the darkness that surrounds sexual abuse and bring hope and healing to survivors everywhere.
What does success mean to you?
Success is hearing this kind of feedback:
“Tambry Harris takes the reader through valuable meditative exercises towards self-discovery, while offering enough personal commentary to create an intimate and meaningful dialogue. Through her own awakening comes valuable insight, support, and a hands-on approach to healing and wholeness for those who have experienced similar circumstances. This book offers a welcome haven in this #metoo era for all survivors of abuse.”
– Linda Vigen Phillips, author of Crazy and Behind These Hands.
“Reading the book truly reassured me that there is hope for victims and that in healing, you can truly see the light of a stronger, better future and self.”
– Ally, Survivor
“The bottom line is that Tambry has thoughtfully and lovingly provided a gift that is not only a source of individual healing, but also one of community connection and empowerment for the very group of people who need it most—survivors.”
– Leia Charnin, Ph.D.
“Bravo. This book effectively speaks to this invisible community who has experienced painful abuse and to a topic that is easier to look away from than to bring light into.”
– Bentley Ball, MA Counseling Phychologist
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