Thursday, December 14, 2017

Interview with writer Ellen Wood about her memoir

Writer Ellen Wood is sitting under the spotlight today (not at all stressed out) to answer questions for me about her self-help, memoir, Joy! Joy! Joy! 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy.

Welcome, Ellen. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Taos, New Mexico and I am an award-winning author, (she said blushingly) a columnist and inspirational speaker. Five years after watching my mother waste away with Alzheimer’s Disease, my own cognition and memory began a downward spiral (I have the Alzheimer’s gene, APO-e4). I was determined to do everything in my power to reverse aging, so I developed a program of mind/body/spirit techniques. That program proved so successful, I couldn’t keep it all to myself. I then published Think and Grow Young, the prizewinning book which lays the mental and spiritual foundation for rejuvenation and provides vital first steps. With my latest book, Joy! Joy! Joy!, I expanded my message to thriving in deep-rooted joy and happiness at any age and give a step-by-step action plan for all 7 practices for growing younger and living happy.

Please tell us about your current release.
Joy! Joy! Joy! is a detailed self-help guide for relieving stress, reversing memory loss, and living happy, seasoned with stories of how 7 easy Mind Body Spirit habits dramatically and permanently transformed my life. It is endorsed by four internationally-renowned M.D.s.

This book is not about stopping anti-depressants. It's about ending habitual emotional patterns that abuse the body and scar the soul; it’s about creating new life-affirming habits to grow younger and dissolve that lingering depression malaise: the blahs, the blues. It’s also about being filled with quiet joy for no reason.

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother died of Alzheimer’s and five years later, I began a downward spiral of cognitive decline, low energy and painful joints. After a “wake-up call” to change my life, I put together seven mind/body/spirit practices that evolved into a daily program that worked so incredibly well for me, I had to share it.

Excerpt from Joy! Joy! Joy! 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy:
It was five years after Mom died of that person-snatching disease [Alzheimer’s] that my own mind starting deteriorating. My short term memory became very fragile and my tongue kept tripping on words – if I could even find the word. I tried sneaking around it, not asking a question because I couldn’t remember if I had just asked it, and using bumper crops of sticky notes. But my attempts at hiding my muddled brain didn’t escape my kids. They noticed the difference in me and insisted I go to my doctor for testing.
            So I did. He sat across from me on a short stool and in his tender doctor voice asked, What year is it, Ellen? I thought he was kidding me so I laughed. He wasn’t – that was the first question on the standard Alzheimer’s test and the next one was, Who is President of the United States? Well, I wasn’t that bad so I aced the quiz. Because I had asked for the Alzheimer’s test, though, it went into my medical records. Then when I applied for long term care insurance, they turned me down. They’d found the Alzheimer’s test in my medical history and they weren’t taking any chances.
            It was the “wake-up call” I needed.
            Even though I had correctly answered the questions on the Alzheimer’s test, the slow deterioration of my mental function was very real to me and my family. And very scary! That triggered me to put all my “fight” into recapturing the clear, sharp mind of my younger years.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The Five Tibetan Rites – the RIGHT Way

A major part of my self-help program is a series of physical movements for growing younger called The Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, which will be a separate book. Also called The Five Tibetans, they were developed about 2500 years ago by lamas in Tibet and kept secret in monasteries for centuries because they were considered to be a path to higher consciousness and youthfulness, ONLY for the initiated.

The Tibetan Rites were introduced to the Western world by author Peter Kelder and first published in 1939 in a book titled, The Eye of Revelation, later renamed, The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth.

I first learned about the Tibetan Rites in 2004 and have been practicing the Five Tibetans daily since then. My book will be based on a recently discovered manuscript of Kelder’s from the 1940s which gives additional details and information on the correct way to do the exercises. It was brought to light and edited by W.J. Watt in 2008. My experiences with The Five Tibetans and the way that I practice them will be emphasized in my next book.

To see how to do them, go to It’s the third video on my home page.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As feature editor for my high school newspaper and one of the top students in a class of over 200 kids, I was thrilled when a university initiated scholarship talks so I could get a degree in journalism (my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college). And then I got pregnant! Scholarship talks ended, I had to leave school (the law changed in 1972 with Title IX), my mother went to work at the Five and Dime and sent me to secretarial school. The twists and turns of this story are in my book.

Do you write full-time? No. If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For me, my daily practices are of primary importance (most of which take only one or two minutes a day, but my meditation in the morning is 20 minutes and in the evening is 15 minutes). I own and manage two vacation rentals in Taos, New Mexico, have a column in a newspaper and a magazine and I am also busy with speaking engagements. I’d like to say I have regular writing hours, but my writing time is more haphazard. Luckily, I don’t need a lot of sleep.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My writing group is composed mostly of poets, whereas my writing is, well… quirky and usually funny. For example, for a writing prompt: METAMORPHOSIS, I wrote a story that started, “Sally met a morphosis last Sunday…”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A nun or a movie star.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
In just minutes a day, by making these 7 mind/body/spirit practices into habits, it’s possible to change your life forever. If you’re stressed out and have the blues, and it seems like the whole world is going crazy, these habits can calm your mind and help you access inner peace and joy. If you are experiencing mild memory loss (and perhaps worrying about Alzheimer’s because a parent died of it), take heart: through these practices I was able to reverse early Alzheimer’s and overcome depression.

Joy Joy Joy site | Ellen’s site | How to Grow Younger site | Amazon

Thank you for joining me today, Ellen!

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