We have decided to launch a new intimate style of interview into TheAppWhisperer – the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website. We feel it is important that our community feel close to each other, as it is this support that helps us to nurture one another, gain confidence and continue to grow.
This is our twenty second interview, to read the others, please go here. Today, we are publishing this magically absorbing interview with Alexis Rotella from Arnold, Maryland, United States.
All images ©Alexis Rotella
I left home at age 17 to work as a secretary for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC which is where I happened to be introduced to my future husband, a young law student.
Private or State school?
No one I knew went to private school.
University or Work?
I graduated from Drew University at age 29 with honors. I majored in philosophy and did my undergrad thesis in Zen Buddhism which led me to the field of haiku poetry and other Japanese forms. At age 48 I started acupuncture school and at age 52 I started my own private practice in Arnold, Maryland. Since my late 20’s I have been involved in holistic healing having earned many certificates in various modalities including a doctorate in clinical hypnotherapy. I am happiest while learning and at present am a student of practical homeopathy.
Who was or is still is your mentor?
I have many mentors but the one that stands out is the late John Sarno, MD, author of Mind Over Back Pain. He was my doctor and I learned from him how stress causes back pain and a host of other ailments. I recommend his book to many of my patients and friends.
How physically fit are you?
I am far from being an athlete. In school while fellow students were tumbling and cartwheeling, I was hiding behind a tree.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
I think a person needs both, but what’s the definition of success? Sometimes I think just being happy staring into space is success. Treadmills are not for me at age 72.
How politically committed are you?
Very committed. Global warming is on my front burner and I am always recycling, even the tiniest scrap of paper. I just wish the people in charge would know what to do with plastics besides dumping them in the ocean and landfills. I care what’s going on not only in the United States, but elsewhere, as we are all connected in ways we don’t even realize. I am a registered Independent and have never subscribed to any particular party. “Unsealing Our Secrets” (short poems about sexual abuse) is an anthology I edited and curated last year. I am happy to report that it won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. It was one of the hardest projects I’ve ever tackled.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I am in the process of giving things away. Material things mean less and less. There are expensive technologies that I’d love to have in my clinic that work in the realm of quantum physics. I am constantly open to new ways of healing that do not suppress symptoms.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
SCIO technology for my clinic.
In what places are you happiest?
One of the places that stands out is a spot by a river in the Alps where one can see Mt. Blanc. I can still hear the sound of the sheep bells in autumn, can still smell its earthiness. After we were married we moved to Italy and traveled around quite a bit. Another spot was near Genoa on the sea, having a lunch of freshly caught mussels and pesto while inhaling the salty air. But most of all, I remember my backyard growing up. After school, I’d sit in a lawn chair and listen to the breezes move through the birch trees.
What ambitions do you still have?
Having published dozens of books mostly relating to Japanese poetry forms in English, and having won the Kusamakura Grand Prize in 2007 for a haiku I entered, I was thrilled to be able to travel to Japan to receive the award. I was just notified that starting in July 2019 I will be the 19th haiku poet to be included in the American Haiku Archives. I continue to write and publish in journals worldwide. And developing as a photographer and digital artist is what I aspire to.
What drives you on?
Having had some serious illnesses, I know what it’s like to feel like life has passed one by. Like Joanne, I have an autoimmune condition, mine is called Hashimoto’s and I have been through heavy metal poisoning and Lyme Disease. What drives me on is to be able to do good deeds, to develop as a mobile artist and writer and to push the envelope without sacrificing my peace of mind. A teacher of mine once said, “Life is a tragedy. Relish in the beautiful moments.”
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
The Universe seems to shine a light on my writing life and my accomplishments as a poet of Japanese poetry forms. I served as President of the Haiku Society of America (Japan House, NYC) in 1984, served as editor of its house organ, and started several journals including Prune Juice (Senryu) which has since had a number of editors. My work as a writer will live on long after I’m gone. What inroads I’ve made into the field of digital art thrills me and am delighted that I found this way of expressing myself because the Muse is not always on my shoulder feeding poems.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Close minds. Religious fanatics.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
She would say, “Good job, old girl. Thanks for taking me along for the ride.”
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
My grandmother’s gold locket.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Global warming, over population, the way women continue to be treated unfairly. Unhealthy food, electromagnetic pollution and toxic water.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Considering I have undergone past life therapy myself many times, I’d have to say yes, I believe in it though there’s no way to prove it nor do I wish to convince others. What interests me is this life and I can’t help but hope that all my studying in the health arena will be taken up wherever I land when my time here on earth is over.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
The school of hard knocks helps us build spiritual muscle. I have done the best I can with my life and while I once hoped to set the world on fire, I leave that to others. Who knows what’s around the bend? I prefer not to give my life a score.
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