Interview with Carmen Harris (author of the book Sh*t Happens, Magic Follows (Allow It!)
BACKGROUND, ACTIVITIES BEFORE BOOK
As a child I was distributing hand-written comics in the playground for pocket money, and as a good speller and an avid dreamer, I won various creative writing competitions. So, I began early, though I didn’t recognise my path at the time. It was after leaving university and deciding not to pursue a 9-5 job that I discovered that writing was my vocation. You see, I’d been a single parent at the age of 19 and had been doing part-time and full-time rubbish jobs to earn an income since about the age of 15. By the time I went to London University and left with my Sociology degree I knew enough about the working world to know that I didn’t like it too much and that I needed to find something that would ignite a passion to be in the world! Within 6 months I’d written a novella. Though it was purplish and overblown and never found a publisher, it was the start of my writing career. I began by writing children’s books – two published by Heinemann and two by Orchard Books – as an outgrowth of making up bedtime stories to my daughter. From then on I formed a theatre group as a vehicle for my stage plays, but it was winning a Noel Gay comedy-writing competition that brought me to television. I was part of the core writing team at EastEnders for 10 years and during this time I did lots of other writing work, from penning training scripts and videos for a central London management consultancy, to scripting two series of my own original BBC 1 Sitcom – Us Girls – to writing for radio and various TV soaps and comedies, including Rastamouse.
Everything and everyone! I’m that people-watcher person who stands at the foot of the stairs at a party, fascinated by the crowd of other people. I love stories! I love personal growth! I love reading! I love helping others to improve and to reach their goals! The people who have inspired me are too many to mention, but I guess one of my earliest motivators was my primary school teacher, Mrs Christmas. She was a dumpy, droopy-jowled, short-tempered Anglo-Asian woman who wore too much white face powder and who seemed to hate children. If you didn’t get your spellings right she would jab you viciously in the spine with her sharp forefinger – an entire world of anger and pent-up frustration vibrated in that attacking finger. I was a very sensitive child and would do anything to avoid the pain of the jab, so it wasn’t surprising that, though I was an immigrant child, I rose to become the top speller in the class. I must also mention my Social Theory lecturer at university, Steve Schenk, for whom I had a real fondness. He was the first person who sanctified my world of dreaming by elaborating on my themes and pointing me in the direction of amazing social, philosophical and psychological thinkers such as Freud, Durkheim and Weber.
MAIN IDEA/MESSAGE OF BOOK
My book Sh*t Happens, Magic Follows (Allow It!) grew out of the failure of my Big Novel that, after a 5-year saga during the ‘90’s, also never found a publisher. I’d been writing a journal for several years and, during this period, it seemed to be documenting my big ups and downs with the novel, including my Dark Night of the Soul – when it appeared that the entire universe had conspired to damn me as a failure. I was at such a low ebb, knee-deep in the brown stuff, that I cried out and swore at whoever is up there to f***ing well tell me what to do with my life! That same week, my life changed forever. I found myself at the hospital bedside of a friend’s daughter, terminally ill with cancer, and in a state of total unresponsiveness. The energy of healing came into my hands with such a shocking presence, to this day I still reel from the memory. Suddenly, my entire future was facing a whole different direction! Life is a series of tests and challenges, that’s what we bought into when we agreed to come here. We can either unleash our emotions at what comes at us – the fear, the anger, the sadness – victimise ourselves and allow those emotions to bury us, or we can experience our most negative feelings as a natural flow, knowing that Magic is waiting to fill the apparent void every time. You’ll see from my book, both a memoir and a self-help, that I am not just talking theoretically. Many magical things have happened in my life, and each time it has been because I have fully allowed the suffering whilst believing in the end of suffering
One thing is for sure, I’m never standing still! There’s always another rainbow, another idea around the corner, another excuse for me to indulge my imagination. I started a women’s meetup some years ago with the intention of disseminating knowledge about subtle Energy and Healing – the very real fact that we are all Healers and we all have infinite access to those invisible dimensions that science has yet to embrace but the East has been fully cognisant of for centuries. So, I’m always gathering information, learning techniques and devising workshops that stretch my own body of knowledge so that I can pass on good stuff and help to empower others. Alongside this, I’m still knocking out the odd piece of creative writing – my most recent is a stage play that delves into the esoteric world behind the veil of this so-called ‘reality,’ using the vehicle of a couple drifting into marital breakdown. Their story reveals the deeper stories within their emotional history and asks the question: why am I like this? It’s at first draft stage but I love the opportunity to express my deeper knowledge and ideas in a completely different way. I’m also at the very beginning stages of a new project teaming with a small group of female friends. I won’t talk about it now, but if/when it takes off, it could see me combining my three loves: teaching, healing and travelling to the sun!
TIPS FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO MAKE THEIR DREAMS REALITY?
My favourite word is ‘potential.’ Nine letters, like a tiny acorn that, when cracked open, contains the enormous possibility of an unbelievably giant tree! That acorn is every single one of us! We have that power – once we learn to stand outside of ourselves and recognise the various programmes that have been dictating our lives since the day we arrived on this earth and started trying to make sense of it all! These programmes are not us! They belong to other people, well-intentioned or otherwise – parents, teachers, siblings, friends, church leaders, the media, etc. We all dreamt freely and played make-believe as children, but over time, and as adults we find that our dreams are easily squashed. So, what do you do about it? If you have a dream, the first thing is to notice the feeling that you feel when you dare to even think about pursuing it. You’ll notice an emotion arise somewhere in your body – for instance, a sickening feeling of fear in the stomach, a heart racing with anxiety, a grief-stricken tightening of the throat, a hopeless hunching of the shoulders, etc. These are all signs of your programme at work, other people’s beliefs that over a lifetime you have unknowingly adopted as your own. That programme is what is preventing you from pursuing your dreams. No-one in their right mind wants to feel pain or to suffer, so in order to avoid those sensations we delay, evade or sabotage those important steps we need to take in order to realise our dreams. My advice to anyone reading this is to sit quietly with yourself, do the exercise I’ve just described. Once you identify the emotion and where it is lodged in your body, ask yourself: whose programme is this that is running my life? It certainly won’t be your own! You’ll realise that all this while you’ve been travelling in a car with a ghost driver. It might be your mother, cautioning you to not take risks; it might be your teacher telling you that you’ll never amount o much; it might be seeing your sibling as a child gathering all the praise and leaving you far behind; it might be seeing your father lose all his money on the stock market. Once you identify these steps it will be like taking over the driving and easing your foot off the brakes. The next stage is to learn some clearing tools and techniques or find yourself an energy healer to help you to dissolve the dense emotions of your unconscious programmes. Before you know it, you’ll be going full throttle towards your dreams! My Youtube video below will also help:
Book available on amazon