COVID: A Catalyst for Change: An Interview with Lisa Carmel.
You were first introduced to Lisa Carmel a few weeks ago when she wrote a guest post called, “How Do You Use Your Voice?” She’s a very active member of the MEA alumni community having come to Baja for both a workshop and Sabbatical Sessions while also participating in MEA Online.
As part of our review of what we’ve learned from the pandemic, this is the second in our series of interviews with MEA alums about wisdom they’ve gleaned from this past year.
Chip: Welcome, Lisa. How is your voice recovering and, beyond what you wrote in your poignant guest post from early February, what are your on-going lessons from this ailment?
Lisa: Thank you for asking, Oy Vey, there has been A LOT going on. In February when my surgery surprisingly left me without a voice, I don’t think I thought I would ever be able to get back to doing what I do, but I’m happy to report, I’m Back! When I received a phone call from the San Francisco Giants in February, I purposely answered the phone. I knew it was my supervisor calling and answering was twofold, I wanted to catch up and see how he was doing and I felt he needed to hear my voice. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the lack of volume in my voice was not going to change the desire to have me work in Scottsdale for Spring Training, so, I went back to work!!! I work in guest services and my voice is such an important tool for the work I do, now I am getting the opportunity to do my work differently.
I would say that curiosity is a constant state for me while on this journey, and now I have the chance to step into my role and give 150% even though I feel like I’m operating with less than 100%, if that makes any sense. The number one takeaway for me, or lesson, is just how easy it is to take for granted our bodies, our health, our senses etc… I am not a “science” person, however, I am in awe of our bodies and systems and how they work! I feel so lucky that I was born with all of my body parts intact, that all of my internal systems functioned typically and development happened very on track! Being able to see, hear, speak, smell, feel as well as do all that our bodies can do physically is miraculous and at any given moment we can experience a change.
I guess this is a lesson of gratitude, I may have lost some volume in my voice but that came during a procedure which has left me feeling really great!! I won’t go into detail, but removing my Thyroid took care of some health issues that were serious, and those symptoms are gone and I feel fantastic. So now, I get to figure this out, for me, it's a learning opportunity. Here is what I have learned:
- Be patient with people who don’t understand me. It is difficult to adapt to someone with a voice issue, the more patient I am, the more patient those I interact with become, which leads to people having more empathy.
- I've purchased a voice amplifier and I wear it at work, it really helps to amplify my voice and helps to make it easier for others to hear me.
- Shockingly I've enjoyed not saying as much - I’ve learned to appreciate the direction that conversations go when I don’t jump in and comment - I think I actually learn more about others, one could say I’ve become a better listener.
- I have an ongoing challenge of not letting myself back away from opportunities because of my voice, or lack of, here are some areas that come to mind: Getting back to work at Oracle Park, getting back to work at Chase Center, to continue pursuing my new career choice of becoming a concierge and pursuing the possibility of meeting a life partner. It’s very easy to feel like I’m not enough without my voice, so I would say that is my ongoing work or practice.
- The combination of a very quiet voice combined with wearing a mask means for me that I need to pay attention to my body language, people can’t see me smile and they can’t hear the tone in my voice, and I like to convey kindness and happiness, so this is a constant work in progress for me.
Chip: You’re such a believer in MEA and MEA Online that you convinced your soon-to-be ex-husband and his girlfriend to come to Sabbatical Sessions for an extended visit to Baja. What is it about MEA that has most served you in this past year?
Lisa: I’m so glad you asked about MEA, as you are right, I am a big believer in MEA. Dan was curious about MEA and my experience(s), and I am always happy to share. My hope in sharing and encouraging people to go is that they see all of the beauty, not just the program, but the people - all of you, and I mean ALL! It takes a village to run and operate a place like the MEA campus in Baja and everybody there is so beautiful, I just want people to experience that beauty. For me, it is about the MEA workbook, my favorite practices are the practice around mindset, growth vs. fixed, being in flow and Appreciative Inquiry. I use these tools on a daily basis. They apply to my life differently every time I consciously practice them. I operate from a growth mindset, and have, throughout my life. That is how I have determined that I will live a very very long time!!! Being in Flow and Appreciative Inquiry take a little more consciousness for me, It’s so exciting to think about what’s next???
I first experienced MEA on a Mastery Week, then I had the lovely experience of a SabSesh, and now I am midway through MEA Online. I have forged friendships with people from all three programs, and in ways big and small these three different experiences have been life-changing. I know there is more on the horizon and that leaves me so excited for what’s next!!!
Lisa Carmel lives in San Francisco, where everyday she uses her MEA tools to navigate all that is going on, globally and locally.