Hi! I'm Eric K. Carr. You could say that I’m an artist, poet, designer, and tea consultant living in Tucson, Arizona. I studied Chinese tea and tea culture for seven years with ZhuPing Hodge and am a licensed practitioner in the Urasenke School of Japanese tea. I apprenticed with renowned portrait artist Vita Solomon, and I mentored with international best-selling author and poet Dr. Sophie Nicholls. I've also been an ordained minister running an international ministry, a certified clinical hypnotherapist with a top self-help podcast, a ghostwriter for three major publishers, a partner in an interior design firm, and the Arizona Director of a major educational company, but I've left most of those titles behind in order to live a life beyond titles. Now I spend my time traveling, learning, writing, painting, consulting, and generally doing whatever sparks my creativity, engages my spirit, or ignites my passions. And, of course, I drink a lot of tea.
My Story: Quantum Identity
I love the idea of being a "multipotentialite." I've never been the type of person to settle on a single identity or career, and that's evident in the myriad passions I've pursued. I believe that everyone has infinite stories, and that a human life is unquantifiable. I call this "Quantum Identity," a concept that probably all of us, in some way, have some sort of fluidity in our personalities, identities, and stories.
A popular way to describe quantum physics is in examining "wave particle duality." Basically, every fundamental particle or quantic entity cannot be fully described except as both a wave and a particle, and this state of being might even depend on the observer. I think humans (and probably a lot of other things) can be described in this manner as well. For example, I'm male, and I was born male, but due to a chromosome translocation, my body produces only "female" hormones.
When I hit puberty my body naturally started to develop female secondary sex characteristics. To stay my born sex, I have to take testosterone daily, and due to the late diagnosis of this, I've lived life somewhere between gender. Am I male? Absolutely. But do I identify as completely male? Hmmmmmm. I'm not sure I could really answer that in a simple way, without asking a lot of other questions about identity, semantics, social constructs, sexuality, heteronormativity, etc. And I'm not gender fluid, either, and I don't cross dress or anything like that - but this genetic condition has forced me to examine my assumptions about myself, my identity, health and medical choices, my emotional identity versus my physical identity, my body, and where it all fits into this giant thing we call life. And that's just one example! I think almost anyone could deconstruct their identity if they just took the time to really think about it. That's part of my story, and it finds its way into almost everything I do. You can read a poem about it by clicking here.
I also love cultures of all types, but the ones I resonate most with are Chinese, Japanese, and Tohono O'odham. Since 2001 I have been participating with Stella Tucker (and now her daughters Tanisha and Stacie) in the Tohono O'odham sacred saguaro harvest. I have also been given a Tohono O'odham name (Juñ), and when Stella's health began to affect her ability to lead the harvest, she turned some of the harvest duties over to me, along with her daughters. I also studied himdag, the Tohono O'odham traditional way of life, with Stella, as well as with Helen Ramon, a Tohono O'odham medicine woman. Even so, I do all of this with an acute awareness of my white male privilege, my ancestors' history of subjugating other cultures, and the fact that no matter how much of the traditions and customs I respect or even adopt, I will never be Tohono O'odham, and I am not entitled to any part of this culture.
One way this plays out in my life is that most of the saguaro seeds left over after the saguaro harvest each year are given to me by the harvesters for my artwork. I incorporate these rare and sacred seeds into many of my artworks, which you can see in the gallery. This is deeply symbolic and rich with meaning for me, and speaks to the dynamic tension inherent in the idea of quantum identity.
This idea of Quantum Identity or multipotentialism allows me to express myself in myriad ways without feeling like I have to ascribe to some static identity. I think most of us can identify with the feeling of "not being ourselves" at times. Well, I feel that way sometimes too, but most of the time I feel free to explore the dynamic tension of feeling fully myself while savoring the mystery of the fact that we are also able to plumb the depths of mystery in getting to know ourselves. I feel like the human experience is inexhaustible, and that my awareness of my existence is only part of my actual existence. If that's true, how can I ever really say who I am? That being said, I hope the stories I tell about myself are as true as possible, and at the very least, are truly and deeply honest, authentic, and vulnerable.