Ellie Bass: Member Highlight of the Week
Every week, we interview a member of The Wellness Intelligence Collective ... everyone has a story to tell! We h
ope our interviews are fun and help you get to know others in the community better. If you would like us to interview you, please let us know! This week’s member highlight is Ellie Bass ... Ellie is a Mother, Coach, Educator, Intuitive, Healer, Listener, Mover, Meditator, Mediator, Manifester, Podcast Host, Nerd, Aspiring Monocle Wearer. And there's more. I am sure that we connected with each other immediately due to our mutual long list of titles we use in our bios. :) Ellie believes that listening is the basis for everything, and does it well. When people work with her, she combines her gift for powerfully targeted intuitive insight with an educational perspective that draws on spiritual, psychological, physiological and self-development texts, and includes work on all four bodies, which offers her clients practical strategies to support you in achieving results with lasting change. I loved talking about prayer and life with Ellie in our Conversation in Wellness Intelligence and delighted that she took the time for this interview because you will gain so much from reading it though. You are a Mother, Coach, Educator, Intuitive, Healer, Listener, Mover, Meditator, Mediator, Manifester, Podcast Host, Nerd, Aspiring Monocle Wearer … how is this possible? Yeah, it's a pretty extensive list! The way it works for me right now is that I think all of these speak to each other, they are all different permutations of embodied healing, creativity, curiosity and being in a deep state of listening - to self, to others and to God. They are all just inner and outer expressions of the same roots.
How did you come to live in Toronto? Does it feel like home? I was born in and grew up in Toronto, which I was never very excited about until I started to travel extensively. I think it feels familiar, so in that way it feels like home, it has my family and incredible group of friends and my community so in that way there is a lot of feeling of home here. I think as I’ve grown into a deeper internal feeling of home within myself I don’t associate “home” with a place as much as a feel or a relationship. Do we all need to follow rules in life or can we just make it up as we go along? I think we are all following rules whether we are conscious of them or not. Whether it’s our guiding values and principles, both conscious and unconscious. We are a part of the rules of nature and gravity, we stay attached to the ground when we walk, and we all age. We take on the rules of our city or country or culture. Rules are just the structures of a system, how it works, and when we align ourselves with
them we are figuring out how systems work and our part in them. I think that systems are good if they are good, and there’s lots of room for creativity when we have rules and structures, in fact that can often push us to get even more creative. As a former improvisational dancer it was the structure of the improvisation that created the container for real creativity and curiosity to emerge in performance. I think what we often push back at in relation to rules are rules that we don’t understand or that are inane or unjust, or we push back at the idea of responsibility, which is a part of life. Making it up as we go along is a beautiful aspect of the play of life, and we can be doing that fully while taking responsibility for what we are here to ultimately do in this world, and for the people that are in our sphere of influence as well as our own growth and healing. Do you like to travel? Yes. I discovered early in life that travel was a way to get a sense of who you are outside of the familiar settings you’re used to. Plus I love seeing the world, leaving the bubble of North American life and seeing how vast and incredibly different people and places are. I would love to travel more and have a long list of places I still want to go to.
Do you have a favourite Jewish holiday? In the Jewish community this is a bit of an inside joke… like every holiday that is about to happen is your favourite… because you learn about it again and remember all of the cool messages and deep ideas that this particular holiday brings to light and you fall in love with it again. I think the one I lean towards is Shabbat, which is a weekly full holiday and is just so deeply layered with deep meaning, the ability to remember that we play a part in creating the world we live in but also have to surrender control and learn to let go, and it’s weekly focus on disconnecting in order to connect. I love hanging out with family and friends with no devices or distractions for 25 hours every week, just eating, drinking, learning, talking, walking and chilling together is a gift every Friday night to Saturday night. A weekly reminder of what’s really important.
Do you believe prayer is an essential practice for everyone? I think having a practice is essential for everyone, that we should all have things we do that regularly connect us to ourselves and contribute to our healing and wellbeing, and remind us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Prayer is a part of that practice, and a valuable tool and mechanism for creating deep self reflection and connection to God if you use it properly. In Judaism we mandate prayer and see it as an essential practice that has tremendous value in terms of developing healthy relationships. I think everyone should figure out what are the practices for them that do this, and prayer is worth exploring if it is a part of your spiritual heritage, culture or religion. Listen to our conversation in Wellness Intelligence with Ellie and Erica Layton Weiland where we discussed openly the question "Do I need to pray daily to be well?" Below is a three minute clip, and click here for the full conversation. Can anyone choose any religion for themselves? I believe in the concept of free will totally, so yes anyone can choose most things for themselves, including their religious affiliation. (I say most because there are some things that are harder to imagine choosing such as our biological parents, our dna, our ancestry etc.). If you're asking how Judaism views this,
that's a much broader and deeper question about what each unique soul is here for. Also, as a convert myself choosing a religion is like choosing a relationship, we are hopefully very clear on what we are looking for and why, and it involves both falling in love and at the same choosing relationship and connection in each moment. If I substitute the word “relationship” for religion in your question to me that is how I view it.
Do you take days off?
As above I have every Shabbat “off”.
What does a healthy family dinner look like to you?
Healthy food with real conversation and a feeling of grounded connection with a splash of chaos.
Are your kids interested in your work?
I have teens, so not always, they are more into their own interests and what’s turning them on right now, but we talk about stuff at the dinner table and when we are together that includes ideas about life, growth, relationships and religion… they like to debate and push back on set ideas which is a lot of fun.
Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes, my mom is an incredible cook, a real maverick in the kitchen, and I thankfully inherited that from her. I also worked in restaurants for years when I was a full time dancer so I learned to have bougie taste in food. Mostly now I love hosting and eating with people I like and want to get to know more.
What makes a good teacher?
I think that part of that would be a teacher who also has mentors and teachers themselves, that they always see themselves as both a teacher and a student. Another would be a desire to serve, a curiosity about their students and what they are looking for and thinking about. I think great teachers are passionate about their subject, and love sharing ideas around it and being challenged by other teachers and students so they keep learning and growing. I think they care deeply and that the best teachers aren’t just about the content but impact through the relationship just as much.
Sunrise or sunset?
Hiking or swimming?
Hiking first and then a good swim in a clean cold lake. Sorry I don’t usually do black and white choices if it’s not absolutely necessary.
Babka or rugelach?
Oh, depends where it’s from. Marzipan rugelach in Jerusalem is the best, and my friend's chocolate babka made fresh is also the best.
Movement or stillness?
Depends on the moment, both are essential. I would say whichever one in the moment is being done out of listening, not anxiety.
Do you believe that technology is a blessing or a curse?
Depends how we use it, but so far I’m a techno-optimist and think it’s bringing a lot of possibility of good and connection to the world, it’s how people use it that make it a blessing or a curse.
Is being Kosher only for Jews?
If you mean keeping to the kosher dietary laws then yes, that’s an obligation that is mandated to the Jewish people only. Something “kosher” is done in an appropriate manner that is in line with the halacha (spiritual laws) and purpose for which it was created. One of the ways we understand what Kosher means is “separate with a purpose” and that purpose is related to being in line with God’s mission for us in the world, so I think we can all see ourselves as unique and separate from each other with a unique and separate purpose in the world that is a part of a unified whole. If we think of that idea of kosher then it would apply to everyone in different ways.
What are you proud of as a mother?
That my kids are still alive lol… for real though sometimes that amazes me, not that it’s all on me, There are lots of others that make that possible, but that I had some part in that. I’m proud that I’m always learning to be better at it, and it’s made me in many ways into who I am now. I’m proud that I have had some hopefully positive supporting part in these people’s lives that I think are amazing souls who have so much to offer the world.
What does Wellness Intelligence mean to you?
I love the term, and it speaks to what I’m trying to work towards in my own life, which is increasing our knowledge and experience of a broader sense of wellness. To me it means being informed and intelligent about our wellness, as well as making sure that wellness and health is informing our knowledge and information and choices.