Martha Char Love retired to Oahu, Hawaii, in 2008 and immediately upon first laying on the sandy beaches decided to use her leisure time to begin her writing career. Three years later, she published as a co-author with her colleague Robert Sterling, a book that introduces a new gut psychology called What’s Behind Your Belly Button? It is a narrative of the maturation of sciences of psychology and neurology that explores gut feelings and is based on their lifetime career experiences as guidance counselors, educators, and school psychologists. Since that time, she has also published a cookbook called Mom’s Island Bakens to help people improve their lifestyle choices for healthy eating. Presently, she is working on co-authoring two other non-fiction books—Maggie’s Kitchen Tails as well as a second book on gut intelligence.
Your real name and pen name?
Martha Char Love is my real name and the name I use in writing by books. I have a nickname, Silver, which I often use in my blog and some past psychological professional journal articles are written as Silver Love. I also contribute authorship to the books that my husband writes under the pen name of The Silver Elves. In these books (we now have 32), we write about magic and enchantment and the Elven Way.
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
It was common for my family to move, as my father’s company business transferred him to many places. I loved the experience of starting over in a new town or even on a new block in the neighborhood. My favorite memories are of being with the family, both immediate and extended, because the family was my center of life. I was never anywhere long enough to be rooted in any community other than my own family. So my sister and cousins were my lifetime friends. Although, I will add that I loved all the towns I lived in as a child: Mobile. Alabama for it’s ocean nearby, great seafood, and little Mardi Gras; Jackson, Mississippi for it’s whippoorwills and sweet watermelons on a hot summer day; Little Rock for it’s many squirrels and its fishing lakes nearby; and Atlanta for its trolleys, beautiful trees and big houses.
About your education
In 1968, I received a BS in Elementary Education and in 1970 an MA in Educational Psychology, with a 5th-year certificate in Psychometry in the School Psychology department at the University of Georgia. Serving as a full-time counselor/instructor in the '70s and early '80s, I worked as both a career counselor and instructor at Meridian Junior College and later in a large progressive community college, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), in Gainesville Florida, followed by work as a licensed School Psychologist for the Alachua County Schools K-12. In 2005, I received an MA in Depth Psychology and continued the study of the intelligence of the gut instinctive response in a research study at Sonoma State University (SSU) in Rohnert Park, California. In 2008, I received a PMA in Art Therapy as I continued to study somatic responses.
What career did you plan during your education days
I honestly had completely different ideas while studying in school than what I eventually ended up doing. Originally, I planned to only work in the public schools with children but ended up being a college professor and counselor for most of my professional career.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
I would say that my mother, Martha Campbell Whitenton, was my greatest inspiration. She inspired me from the very beginning of my life and throughout it to become highly educated and be all that I could be. She loved me unconditionally and believed in me and thought I was special, as she did both of her children, her three grandchildren, and her great grandson. She encouraged me from very young and inspired me to be a teacher and to help others believe in their own ability to learn and grow and find fulfillment in a better life. As a teen in the early 60s, I watched her develop a literacy program for the entire city of Mobile, Alabama, of which she did not get the credit. I remember some man coming over once a week to pick up all the paperwork she had developed on the project so he could turn it in as the administrator. I thought this was wrong that she was not mentioned in the credits for this important program. But she did not care about the credit because she only wished that all people would have a chance to learn to read, no matter who they were, how old they were, how rich or poor. Her dedication to caring about people having the opportunity to learn inspired me beyond any theories I was told or books I read in college where I went to train to be a teacher. It was her inclusive nature and love for all people that became my lantern of hope and guidance. She was a true liberator of human beings and we are all grateful for her beautiful footprints to follow.
My mother Martha Campbell Whitenton
May 23, 1921—January 5, 2014
What hurts you most in this world
It pains me to see intolerance of others’ choice of religions or non-religion, customs, racial and country origins. I love individuality and diversity of people and find liberty to be the most precious gift of all right next to unconditional love.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
At 6 years old in 1952, I was quarantined for about a month with Bulbar polio (the especially fatal type of polio) at Grady Hospital in Atlanta Georgia, before being moved to Emory Hospital where I was in a children’s ward with other polio victims. And that month in complete quarantine, I did miss my parents and sister as I could see no family members, but I knew they loved me and I always thought I would see them as soon as I was well. I did not ever feel alone as the nurses and doctors at Grady Hospital where sweet and attentive and like my extended family. My dominant feeling was one of gratitude because the care I was given was so special. The nurses particularly were like angels and they came in my hospital room around the clock. They were so sweet and kind that I did not even mind that they gave me 7 shots a day.
The real challenge came after I left the hospitals and was in recovery at home. For several months, I was in a wheelchair and it took a couple of years to gain my strength back. It was in my neighborhood that I met with bullying and was beaten up by older children who did not like me “the cripple”. Now if you are reading this and about to feel sorry for me, please do not, because this challenging experience was my most important teacher in life. Because of this insidious bullying, I saw at a very early age how ignorant and hurtful it is to be prejudice against someone because of their physical condition or appearance. This was a notable truth that propelled me into viewing the distastefulness of the discrimination against the African American people all around me in the “White” world in which I was born in, which had still segregated Black and White cultures. I identified with how African American people must feel being discriminated against for a physical race and felt compassion for them in a world in which I was being influenced by others to separate Black and White people and cultures. It was this eye-opening truth at an early age due to the discrimination against me as a crippled child that helped me to see all of humanity as a human family and to be more inclusive than I was being taught and modeled to by my culture.
So you see, I am very grateful I was given this challenge. Perhaps no one challenge in my life has contributed more to my passion to understand and write about gut feelings and the common feeling consciousness of humans that connects us as one family. While we can all think many different thoughts in life, our gut feelings connected to our inner human needs are the same for all human beings. We all need acceptance, attention and love, and we all need freedom of our own responses to life. Being Loved For Who We Truly Are is a basic human need and how well this need is met from moment-to-moment is recorded in our gut feeling intelligence and memory.
What is your favorite genre and why?
I love to read and write non-fiction and particularly in the field of psychology.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the
Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct
I co-authored this book with Robert W. Sterling, my colleague and friend of over 40 years. It is not only a book that people can use as a self-help guide but it is also meant for professionals and students in Psychology and Neurology who are interested in new research on the gut instinctual response, the intuition, and a hopeful image of the human species that takes in account the new medical breakthroughs concerning the relationship between the head and gut brains, or the "second brain" (the enteric nervous system). We include a complete protocol for the Somatic Reflection Process that we created and some of our verbatim counseling sessions with people using this process on gut feeling responses to unite the body-mind and assist in healthy life decisions.
I have also written a cookbook Mom’s Island Bakens: Over 50 Altered Recipes For a Happy Gut and a Healthy Heart. The recipes that I have included are from my personal collection that I have created over a 40-year span of time and that I refined to healthy versions for gut and heart over the years, reflecting modern knowledge about excellent nutrition and well-being. In reading this cookbook, you will be given cooking tips throughout that will help you become a skilled and creative cook with gut and heart health in mind. Once you have learned these 50+ recipes, you will have not only a great daily diet, but also the ability to make up your own variations of a large selection of types of dishes and alter any recipe you find on the internet or otherwise into a healthy but very tasty version of your own that will serve your own dietary needs.
What are your forthcoming writings?
Presently, I am working on a second book with my colleague Robert Sterling. This book will address questions that our readers have asked us in emails and messages as they read our first book, What’s Behind Your Belly Button? We do not have a publication date but I am thinking it should be out by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
I am also working on a dog food cookbook named Maggie’s Kitchen Tails with 3 other authors, Doug and Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins and Linda Hales. It will be published on October 31, 2015. We will have a collection of original healthy recipes that you can cook for your dog, using all human grade ingredients, as well as some delightful stories about the dogs in our lives. This is going to be an exciting book because it will be helping to support a number of animal shelters that rescue dogs from abuse.
And I will continue to be a coauthor with my husband of The Silver Elves books on magic and enchantment. We are presently working on both an elven philosophy book and an elven book of art making. Also, we have a new release at the end of January 2015 called The Elf Folks’ Book of Cookery: Recipes for a Delighted Tongue, a Healthy Body and a Magical Life.
What genres you write in and why?
I write non-fiction in popular psychology about the exploration of trends in intelligence and intuition of our future human species. I invite you to visit my colleague and my blog on exploring gut feeling intelligence. If you are curious to understand your gut feelings and instincts and how they relate to your health, to your intuition, to your decision-making in life, then you will enjoy looking through the many posts we have written on our blog over the past 3 years. We have worked for many years as counselors with hundreds of people exploring gut feelings and we invite you to participate in our blog if you are interested in this exploration. Psychology students and teachers are welcome, as well as any person interested in intuition, gut feelings and instincts.
I also write about health and wellness and particularly am concerned with helping people make healthy changes to their diets.
What keeps you motivating towards writing?
Am still very interested in exploring and interacting with people around the understanding of the intelligence of the gut response, as this continues to be my lifetime passion and work. I have experienced with 100’s of people in counseling using the Somatic Reflection Process on their gut feelings how much healing both emotionally and physically takes place with the self-awareness gained from this process. The possibility of helping to lessen human suffering through self-awareness motivates me to continue writing about the exploration of gut intelligence. What I like most about being an author are the communications with my readers and hearing how they have used the material we have presented in their lives and in some cases, the lives of others that they are counseling/coaching.
What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
I only read paperback and find reading long text on any screen to be difficult on my eyes. Also, I like the feel of a book in my hands.
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
The four most important things in writing to me are be sure the organization is clear, say what I feel in my gut, research extensively, and make it worth your time reading.
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
I feel originality in content is particularly important in my writing. There is no originality or truly creative thought without imagination. All great scientists follow their imaginations into new explorations of the truth. I have never felt the urge to write something that has already been written by someone else. So, the content of what I write in psychology represents some truly original ideas exploring new areas of the psyche and delving into gut feelings more deeply than has been previously researched. Likewise, my cookbook has all original recipes in it. I would feel I had wasted my time and that of the reader if I did not give them something uniquely imaginative.
Your dream destination on Earth?
I live in Hawaii and I cannot think of a better place than this paradise, but I love to travel all over the world.
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and raised mostly in the South. As an adult, I moved to California, where I raised my children and lived over 27 years. Now, I live in the furthest West on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. In the last 3 years, I have had the opportunity to visit Thailand for 3 weeks, short trips to Japan 3 times, and Italy for 10 days. I loved all of these places for the people and food. I would love to spend some time in India, as I have a very dear friend from India and she has encouraged me to make that trip. Also, I look forward to visiting New Zealand and Australia, as well as Nepal. We have plans to visit France this Spring.
Your zodiac/ sunsign?
I am a triple Scorpio, sun, moon and rising signs all Scorpio. So, I guess you can see why I was drawn to depth psychology as a study and write in the field of Psychology.
Your favorite food?
Spaghetti, Pad Thai, and Indian curries are my three favorite foods today, but that could change tomorrow. Like most Americans, I like to eat a variety of foods from all over the world. I find it interesting that my friends from other countries eat mostly their own country’s dishes (even just their specific country region), where as Americans jump daily from one type of food to another— like Indian food tonight, Mexican food for lunch tomorrow, and Italian food for tomorrow’s supper. We get bored with any one type of food very easily and I am no exception. Another way, however, of looking at it is that we get excited about food from all over the world and try to eat all types within the week!
Your favorite sports?
I like watching Marial Arts. That is the only sport I like other than swimming.
What comes to your mind when you think of India?
When I think of India, I envision beautiful and gentle people, temples, chia tea and delicious curry dishes. I would love to visit India and still think I will one day.
First thing you do in the morning after waking up?
Drink a cup of Japanese green tea.
Last thing to do before sleep?
Check my email. So many of my friends on Facebook live across the globe and my night is the beginning of their day. So I need to message them right prior to my sleep at midnight so we can speak in real time.
My signature quote:
“We reflect upon the vastness within us but like the outer universe, cannot know its parameters…”
Links & other relevant details:
Twitter handle: silver_menehuni
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/martha.love.927
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5391506.Martha_Char_Love
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Behind-Your-Belly-Button/dp/1466429895/ref=la_B006L3QXUG_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345663595&sr=1-1
Book Website: http://careerstorefront.angelfire.com
BOOK BLOG: http://instinctualgutfeelings.blogspot.com
Author’s Den with Sample Writing from my Book: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=158678