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Tanis Phillips

Date:: July, 2012

Tanis Phillips is General Manager at Banyen Books and Sound in Vancouver. Tanis embodies what Banyen offers, wisdom through experience, learning and precious objects, sounds and art that tell a story. The personal artwork I have seen of Tanis’s has a sense of bold peace, a zen quality that also reflects great strength.

The Spice Mistress is honoured to welcome Tanis Phillips as the focus of this month’s Pancha Q.

Tanis is an artist and someone who understands beauty and lives by it. Whether it be the sensitivity to the environmental aesthetic, her own personal environment, the connection created with those she spends time with or the grace with which she approaches life, Tanis brings presence, real listening and a sense of meaning to everything she does.

Tanis is General Manager at Banyen Books and Sound in Vancouver. Tanis embodies what Banyen offers, wisdom through experience, learning and precious objects, sounds and art that tell a story. The personal artwork I have seen of Tanis’s has a sense of bold peace, a zen quality that also reflects great strength.

I am honoured to call Tanis a friend, colleague and tea-drinking companion and I am thrilled to interview Tanis for this month’s Pancha Q.

1. How do you begin your day?

Tanis: I start my day with a cup of tea and my practice of Tai Chi.

Being in the quiet of early morning with the heat and texture of a simple pottery cup under my fingertips and savouring the subtle, earthy aroma and taste of the tea followed by its warmth and uplifting qualities when sipping it, is a favoured way of gently waking up my body and opening my senses to the day.

Tai Chi sets my body/my intention, bringing me to centre with principles I try to bring forward throughout day.  It trains me to be mindful of the ongoing opportunity to stay present and let go, to move in freedom with the harmony of nature.

2. What’s one piece of life changing health advice you can share with others?

Tanis: Exhale. The elegant practice of returning to the breath can be a powerful tool for developing mindfulness and is literally life giving.  To just quietly return to the breath and be present is a wonderful practice, particularly in stressful moments when we often hold our breath.  A mindful exhale clears the body of stale air and then just by releasing the body to the inhale – the chest will automatically expand quietly, fully, with fresh air.

3. What’s one thing that gives you hope for the future?

Tanis: Urban agriculture.  When I see the passion and innovation people bring to their gardens and urban farms, it fills me with hope and renews my trust in our innate capacity to connect with the earth in harmony.

4. Any lifestyle ‘Crimes against Wisdom’ (Prajnaparadha) that challenge you?

Tanis: I’m intrigued by Wade Morissette’s answer to this question, “I don’t believe there is such a thing as crimes against wisdom.  There is only unconsciousness and consciousness”…

While I’m reflecting on that response, for now I would say I’m interested in gently removing obstructions that keep me going to my head instead of my heart (using the concept from my Tai Chi practice that views the heart as the whole, all of who we are from the tan tien) and in doing so, to engage in more self-care practices in my body – more movement away from my computer, more fresh air, more water.

5. A moment of beauty that inspired you today?

Tanis: The movement of the trees in a breeze – beautiful strength, flexibility in a play of light – somehow filling me with a sense of all of us, everything, moving together in the currents of life.

Thank you for the interview, Tanis. Om Shanti!

Banyen Books & SoundFind out more: Banyen Books