Arts and Culture | Local | Mind, Body & Spirit

Tucsonans’ ‘Way to Be’ designed to help people examine, transform lives

Shari Gootter, left, and Tejpal are coauthors of ‘Way to Be: 40 Insights and Transformative Practices in the Heart of Being.’ (Courtesy Shari Gootter)


all the chaos and uncertainty in the outside world in recent months, many people are looking for ways to stabilize their inner lives. Tucson-based authors Shari Gootter, MA, LPC, CRC, and Tejpal, MA, MBA, have written a book, “Way to Be: 40 Insights and Transformative Practices in the Heart of Being” (Franklin Rose, Inc.), designed to help do just that.

Gootter and Tejpal, both with backgrounds in psychology, co-led a series of local workshops called “Shift Happens” aimed at helping people examine and transform their lives. Their book builds upon what they taught in the workshops.

“We received such positive feedback from the participants in our workshops that we felt like we needed to do more,” Gootter says. “That’s kind of how the book came to be.”

Gootter explains that they wanted to be able to offer a new way for people to look at the self, at their growth and development, and experiences. And more important, they wanted to make it accessible to all.

“I think [the book is] accessible for anybody that’s curious and says to themselves, ‘OK, I’m stuck, I’m depressed, I have anxiety, what can I do?’” Tejpal says.

The pair could not have predicted that by the time their book was ready for publication, it would be more relevant than ever. They began writing in the fall of 2018 and had a scheduled release date of earlier this summer, but decided to push it back a bit because of COVID-19. Then they realized their concise book, with chapters ranging from “Be Kind” and “Be Playful” to “Be Wrong,” was exactly what people might need. In fact, the book is #1 on Amazon’s list of “Hot” Best-Selling New Releases in journal writing.

“We live in this world that is full of unknown, and the mind does not know how to embrace the unknown. Only the heart does,” Tejpal says. “The mind needs to become sensitive in order to become non-reactive and to be able to be more intuitive. All this knowledge was already there a couple of years ago, but for me it’s great timing because right now we can’t find happiness outside, we have to go inside, and this book invites you to go inside.”

Gootter and Tejpal are both Tucson-based healers. Tejpal is a life coach, Brennan healer, and Kundalini yoga instructor. Gootter is a therapist with a private practice and also has been teaching yoga for 17 years.

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Sofia Moraga is a student at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.