Interview with Carmel Lee Paul - Part 2: 3_Carmel Lee Paul – Where the focus goes the energy flows
Saturday, January 30th 2021
the world is for changing, not for enduring (Harald Welzer)
From Susanne BARTA
This project grew out of a conversation with my very valued artist friend Gabriela Oberkofler. It is snapshots from the Corona everyday life of people who came to my mind during this time and who describe what they observe from different perspectives. Part 1 was recorded from March to May 2020. Almost a year later, Corona continues to define our everyday lives and will likely continue to do so for longer. What has changed? What observations and experiences have been added? A second snapshot explores these questions. The Lockdown records are accompanied by Gabriela's drawings and an encouraging quote by sociologist Harald Welzer.
Carmel Lee Paul lives in Vienna and is an independent consultant, diagnostician and coach. She has international work experience in the USA, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Africa, CEE, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. She has also worked in South Tyrol. People like to ask Carmel Lee about her unusual first name, which goes back to her mother, who is Irish. For some time now on her already very busy agenda: Carmel Lee Paul is involved in a project in Uganda that trains young people and thus opens up future prospects for them. She contributes her coaching expertise there.
In my environment and also in myself, I notice that despite all perseverance, there is a great fatigue. This crisis demands a lot from us. Especially now in winter when it is grey and cold. To stay in a good mental and emotional balance thus is more and more challenging. When I look at myself, I find that I have managed 2020 very well. I've been mindful of a lot of things and applied some discipline to continuously do well. Such as focusing on what I am grateful and happy for, I also meditated a lot more than before. Of course, the summer and fall were easier, we could get out, even took a trip to Italy - my husband and I - and saw friends again. That was a nice phase that rebuilt us. But now we're more or less in lockdown for three months during this darkest time. I used to run from the darkness, but that's something to deal with now. Unlike the first lockdown, we are now very careful to stay mobile and agile. We walk, no matter what the weather, at least 6 to 12 kilometres four times a week, whether it's around town or going out of town. I also do mobility exercises every day. However, it always costs more effort to stay physically and mentally flexible and positive. There are many for whom this is a lot worse than for us. There are two of us, we have no existential problems, and we can go out. When I look at other realities around me, this is really starting to be threatening for our society.
In my work I have moved almost everything to online, in individual coaching sessions this is not a problem at all, some of it was already like this before, as I have many international clients. In team workshops, however, something is missing if you can't meet in person, at least in between. A lot of things were cancelled and postponed. But it has become clear that I work with teams in a different way. We look at how they can deal with the situation so that their teams don't fall apart. It's a kind of supervision at regular intervals to follow up on problems in the collaboration. It's different from team-building or team-coaching, it's a form of assistance, adapted to the situation. Another new addition for me is that I am working more in online diagnostics again. This allows me to do assessment and development centers with international companies, to work with people from all over the world. Especially for companies that used to be very conservative, this brings a huge learning boost because they can learn more digital skills and adapt better to today's world. I never thought I would be so good with this medium. From my approach, I "grasp" people and always thought I had to touch someone to really grasp them. But that's not the case, yet it comes off to me. But what really can't be conveyed via the computer is a certain ethereal radiance.
I would like to see longer-term changes, but I have my doubts. I believe that a certain number of people, my hypothesis would be 20 to 30 percent, will have changed things after this time. The larger percentage, I think, longs for things to be the same as they were before. Of course, I also want to be on the road again. I love to travel to other cultures and countries. But not like this anymore, a weekend there, a weekend there, then also flying and short, with a lot of stress and a lot of negative footprint. This is where I would like to see a massive change. In any case, it is clear that we will live it differently.
I also think it's important not to be too pressured about what you shouldn't do on a social relationship level. I hope that I will dare to say no more often and spend my precious time primarily with those people, whether professional or private, where I have the feeling that this is a win-win situation, materially or immaterially. I have also become aware once again of how fragile a life can be. In my family, despite the distance, we have grown closer.
Harald Welzer's quote is completely in line with my attitude. If one assumes that the only constant is change, then I put myself on that side a long time ago and not on bearing it. In terms of my attitude, I am open to change, I am solution-oriented, and I direct my focus on the things that make me happy and for which I am grateful. For me, the typical Austrian saying, "Nothing better will come along." also doesn't apply. Throughout my life, I've turned that on its head, because things have always gotten better. And I also believe now that something better will follow if we remain open and accept what fate brings us. If we all look in this crisis, what does this mean for me and what good does this mean for my future, then we can almost come to something like a new level of consciousness. We should therefore think carefully about where we place our focus, because: "Where the focus goes the energy flows". (Carmel Lee Paul)
Painting: Gabriela Oberkofler
Fotos: © Carmel Lee Paul