Radio Maine Episode 64: Dr. Lisa Belisle

 

5/29/2022

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello, I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to, or watching, Radio Maine. Today, I have with me in the studio two of my favorite guests, Shark and Newt. These are the doggies responsible for inspiring me creatively on a daily basis. Today's a different kind of episode. What I wanted to talk about was gratitude for the last year. You have allowed me to come into your life along with my friends, primarily artists or other creative sorts from the Portland Art Gallery. And talk to you about art, creativity, resilience,  shared humanity, and a whole range of things that I think are really important for us all to have access to.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's been interesting to be part of the Radio Maine experience over the last year because of course, as all of us understand, we've also been dealing with the pandemic as well as other national and international things that are sometimes deeply troubling, sometimes extremely interesting, and always providing us with sources of things to ponder more deeply. In my case, one of the things that I've continued to ponder very deeply is an ongoing love of learning. The good thing about Radio Maine for me is that, as a doctor, I get to explore something that a lot of doctors don't have the chance to explore. And that is visual art. I didn't learn a lot about visual art when I was getting my education. As you might imagine, mostly I was focused on things like biology, chemistry, and physics. I also had an ongoing love of words and spent a fair amount of time on English, literature, music and other types of liberal art courses that were offered at my alma mater of Bowdoin college in Brunswick, Maine.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I've always found these topics to be interwoven. There's really nothing that I've studied in my life that I haven't found to have relevance to other things.  I began being very interested in words, for example, when I was quite young. I was that child that used to wander down main street with an enormous LL Bean tote bag full of books from the children's section of the Merrill Memorial library in Yarmouth, Maine. There were probably more books than my little body could actually handle. And not only would I read these books once, but I would read them repeatedly, until I had read most of the children's section. I moved on to the adult section and would read almost anything but my favorites were generally fiction, novels and children's novels.  This is because it all revolved around the story. And for me, it's always all around the story.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

This is what has enabled me to continue to have a passion for the practice of medicine and the practice of communicating and the practice of living.  For me, Radio Maine is the opportunity to do something that I love; that is talking with people and learning their stories and understanding how they communicate and understanding how we relate to one another. This is something that not everybody has the chance to do. I have the chance to do it as a doctor with the patients and my colleagues that I work with.  And now, once again, with Radio Maine and the podcast that we do with the Portland Art Gallery artists. We don't all have the chance to do this in our everyday lives.  We're very busy. We can't spend half an hour on a conversation often. So when I bring people into the Radio Maine studio, or I interact with them through our distance-based interviews, we're able to spend time that feels very precious.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

And I know it's precious time to you. So when you listen to us, or you watch us, I know that you're giving us space in your life. That is as precious as the space in the artist's life, or my life. And we really appreciate that. That is the ongoing gratitude. The other thing I've been grateful for, in addition to my dogs, is the love of my family. One of the things that I've enjoyed doing with both of my parents, neither of whom are artists, is every week, they will listen to the Radio Maine podcast or watch it. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

One of the things that I'm able to do every week, as a result of Radio Maine, is to share an interesting experience with my parents that I would not otherwise have. My parents are probably my earliest and biggest supporters. My mom read everything that I ever wrote and now occasionally sends those past documents back to me in scanned form via email.  My father kept one of my earliest print articles on the wall in his office for decades and recently gave it back to me after he retired. And now, they have watched Radio Maine, or listened to the Radio Maine podcast, every week. And they give me feedback. My mother, a retired teacher, and my father, a retired physician, are often sending me their thoughts about the artists themselves, or about the art that they've seen on the walls behind us, or about processes such as encaustic.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

They're as equally fascinated by the stories of these artists and where they came from, whether they're artists who had other professional careers, whether they came from large families, whether they're non-artists such as a physician who just loves art, or whether they're interior designers.  It's really something that my parents and I have connected over because in the end, it really doesn't matter what your academic background, or your professional background, we can bond over shared experiences. For me, Radio Maine is really about that. It's about shared experience and the creative spirit and how this all contributes to resilience and how the human story is really one that is replicated over and over and over again. And it's a story about communication. It's how we communicate with our friends, with our colleagues, with people we know, with people we don't know.  


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's about the words that we speak but it's also about a small gesture. It's about a pause or a silence in the communication. It's about how we communicate over the airwaves doing remote interviews. It's about how we communicate with our pets. 

 

Actually, Shark and Newt are being very well behaved right now. Aw, very sweet. She knows exactly how to communicate with me as she gives me a little lick on my cheek. 

If you wonder why it is that I, as a doctor and leader in a healthcare system during the pandemic, has taken the time to do a podcast about the creative spirit, the answer is simple. It really is all about the ability to communicate in a different way, in a different setting and learn different things from different people. And it is something that I have been profoundly grateful for.


Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

 I appreciate your taking the time to listen to me today and to listen to all the conversations that I have and will continue to have with artists and other creative spirits. This is truly a unique opportunity that I have been presented with. And I thank the Portland Art Gallery. I thank my wonderful husband, Kevin Thomas, for producing this radio show. And I thank Shark and Newt for being as quiet for us every week (well, as quiet as they possibly can be as little dogs who watch people walking by at our island home) This is a wonderful joy that has emerged out of a strange couple of pandemic ridden years which as a physician I have experienced on the front lines. So I really hope that it has brought you as much joy as it has brought me. And I hope you will continue to join us regularly on Radio Maine. I hope you'll reach out and let us know what you think of the artists that you see on our Radio Maine. Let us know what you think of the art. There's really no wrong answer here. We're all just learning and communicating and being human and enjoying the life that we have now. 

Thank you very much. I am Dr. Lisa Belisle, and this is Radio Maine.