Radio Maine Episode 13: Lisa Belisle in Fort Lauderdale





Hello. I am Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to, or watching, Radio Maine. It's really been a wonderful experience to start this new creative endeavor over the past several months. I enjoy having the opportunity to speak to people who are engaging in creative pursuits and who also have shown their resilience through the interesting and challenging times of the past year of Covid.

One of the things that I am often struck by our definition of creativity. My mother often will say “I am not a creative person.” Those who know my mother understand that she really is a creative person. She may not be a painter. She may not be a writer. She may not be a sculptor. But she is a mother. She's a mother of 10 children, she’s a teacher and she's been a lifelong educator and bringer of souls into this world. And there couldn't really be a more creative endeavor than that, than bringing souls along through and into their lives.

This is also something that I have spent a significant amount of my life doing; that is, creating and being part of the creative collaborative that brings children into the world. As you may know, from our former podcasts and video casts, the main part of my professional career is medicine. I am a doctor and I do acupuncture. 

In fact, the reason we have the head located directly behind me on the table, for those of you who are watching this on video, is because I borrow from traditional Chinese medicine and also Asian cultures in the work I do with acupuncture in my family medicine practice. I've been doing this for a very long time. But we also have this figure on the table behind me because it has quite large ears. This is an indication that, if you are listening, then you’re really participating in the energy or the qi of the world. 

So this is something I keep in mind, whether I'm being a doctor, or whether I am being a parent, or whether I'm just being a part of the world at large, I am always bringing things into myself that enabled me to be a creative soul and a creative spirit as I walk the planet. 

This piece behind me is a piece by Phil Barter, which shows us Low Tide.  If you're watching the show, you can see that there are beautiful circles and squares, indications that life goes on. Even if the water is out, even if the river is not fully flowing, life goes on. And sometimes that's the way we feel in our lives. We feel like maybe  the tide is kind of low. We're feeling a little depleted, especially as parents, when we're trying to raise our children. And maybe as parents, when we're trying to raise our children during COVID, we put all of our energy into this, this kind of grimy low tide phase of our lives but what we may must realize as we're just trying to get through the low tide that there's still life there. There's still life at low tide. It's just a different sort of life. It's a different sort of creativity. 

And this is what I found when I was raising my children. I had one child in medical school during the second year, one child during the fourth year of medical school and my third child when I was in fellowship training.  I was always a writer and someone who liked to photograph things when I was in medical school and going through training and raising my babies. There wasn't a lot of extra time to write. And I certainly wasn't picking up my camera very much. But what I was doing was reading to my children. I was talking to my children. I was engaging in their lives. We were walking in the low tides zones on the coast of Maine where we were walking along the rivers. And there were a lot of things that I was listening to and watching and paying attention to that became integrated into myself and into my spirit so that when I was able to emerge again and engage in creativity in a more traditional sense, in a writing sense or in a photography sense, it wasn't as if the time had been lost.

It was maybe this idea of fallow ground. I think a lot of people this past year have felt as if maybe we were in a time of fallow ground. Many retreated behind closed doors due to COVID. We didn’t engage in activities that made us feel alive, but just because we haven't felt alive, doesn't mean that our spirits have not been alive. Even through dormancy, we have the opportunity to continue to grow and to change. When I when I look around me now, I see babies that were born during COVID. I see babies that were conceived during COVID. I see marriages that began during COVID. 

I see a father in my own family who actually has made it through an entire year of chemotherapy for stage four metastatic stomach cancer, something that we never thought he would make it through but he's living. And he has been able to continue to knit himself back to a place of healing with the help of his doctors and my mother, his caregiver, and his family and his community. He did this through COVID. 

So it's this strange reawakening that we're all experiencing as the spring time has woken up the birds and the buds are on the trees. Some of us are planting our gardens. We are realizing that things that we thought we lost over the last year were there all along. Maybe that's what creativity is, the ability to have things continue on. Maybe despite us, while our focus is elsewhere, things could still be happening, dormant but laying in wait in the fallow field, ready to emerge when the time is right. 

Obviously COVID has been a challenging time for many, I would never discount the idea that people have found themselves to be anxious and angry and sad and frustrated. I know that many of my patients have told me that they are struggling right now. Many of my colleagues are struggling right now, but on the flip side, I've had people who have really started to understand some profound truths. 

They've really started to understand that, through sadness and anger and fear and frustration, you learn about yourself. You learn about things that enable you to be resilient and enable you to engage in the creative spirit. 

So I invite you all to be part of my ongoing creative community. Those of you who have been watching our video casts or listening to our podcasts all these weeks, I really appreciate your taking the time to hear the conversations that I've had with artists and other fellow creative spirits. And I give you credit because I know that within you, just as within the people that I've interviewed, you have a creative spirit yourself, and you've remained strong through all of this. Even some days when you don't feel so strong, even some days where you feel like the tide is low, you know this is the ebb and flow in life. This has been an enormous ebb and flow that we've experienced over the last year. So I appreciate your continuing to be part of this world and to be part of Radio Maine. 

This is Dr. Lisa Belisle. I hope you've enjoyed this time with me today. Please do reach out if you have the opportunity. Let me know what types of people you'd like to listen to and what types of conversations you'd like to be having with us because this is a collaborative endeavor an we are celebrating the creative spirit right here of the coast of Maine. Thank you.