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Interview of Carleen Ellis by Hou Ieong Loi

CSL project: Interview of Carleen Ellis

Recently, I have an opportunity to communicate with Carleen Ellis, who is a yoga and meditation teacher and a contemplative writer. Since she has different identities, I am wondering how she is able use these advantages for writing and whether these would make her to have different thoughts than others. Thus, it is a pleasure to interview with her.

As a writer, she believes the best way to elucidate your thought from head to heart is writing (cited from her website) as words hold power. She also believes life is the grand master since it is a continual process that breaks down to a certain awareness in any one moment which allows people to learn how to overcome the difficulties in the life. Furthermore, love and heart wisdom are the main theme of her writing. She focused on the right relation between love and heart wisdom instead of stereotypical, maudlin and idealistic love.


Here is the Q and A conservation with her.


Q: What made you start writing? 

A: I’ve always found it enjoyable and creative to express myself through writing, even as a child. It’s where my creativity flows. Whether it’s journaling, expressing an opinion or inventing a scenario or story, writing is cathartic. I can best compare it to a kind of full body stretching, it feels great!


Q: What do you plan to write, books in the future? 

A: I’m working on a graphic memoir with my mom and brother… Poor White Kids, it’s satirical and filled with laugh out loud humour…at least to our readers. With just enough dark places to bring in contrast the humour really shines. It’s the most fun writing I’ve ever had… and a great way to spend time with family!


Q: Why do you think life is the grand master?

A: As I see it life is a continual process that breaks down to a certain awareness in any one moment. That awareness is always meeting circumstances. External circumstances, like road construction, job loss and environmental disaster as well as internal circumstances such as injury, illness or disease. Of course, these could be positive circumstances too. We like to think we create our circumstances, or at least have some control over them, but really most of what happens to us is delivered by life. The time period and country we are born into, our genetics, who are parents are and how we were raised, those are the biggest life circumstances and we have little control over any of them (true we can influence gene expression with behaviour but not totally). The only real control we have is how we respond to life circumstances moment by moment. In addition, I see life keeping a certain balance. It is not always apparent from a narrow or personal perspective but standing far back and looking with a certain objectivity it becomes apparent. This balance is referred to as the Tao Te Ching, or the Tao. I see the Tao as life, life is the grand master.


Q: What makes you believe words hold power?

A:Spoken words are an utterance of vibration through the physicality of our vocal cords. There is an oscillation of sound, a tone and a cadence… and behind all of that there is meaning and intent. We know that everything material breaks down to either a wave or a particle. In essence a subtle vibration. Like sound. Like our cells. We hear sound and feel something. Whether we hear our mother’s recrimination or a great song that makes us want to dance, the experience of sound creates a set of physical reactions in us. Both experiences are really just a set of oscillations we received in our tympanic membrane being interpreted as something we like or don’t like. Both scenario’s could make us cry but for very different reasons. That seems powerful to me. The written word is just as powerful, but the oscillations begin with sight or sensation and end with the feelings felt from meaning. We read a story and laugh, cry or rage, all while sitting comfortably in our living room. Words we hear, words we see or literally feel (brail) are representatives of larger meanings and the internal memories and stories we live. If I were to draw the neural map of a simple, single word like God, it would look like an unruly bush and that bush would likely be different for every person. Just a simple three letter word. So much power.


From this interview, I have glad to the interview with Miss Ellis since she let me know that “life is the grand master” and “words hold power”. Since words can offer a chance for people to comprehend others’ sentiment and thoughts. Also, life allow us to gain knowledge about different things include people or objects, which we might have never step into because it happens around us everyday, but we never pay any attention on it.

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