ChIME Student Interview with Lisa Steele-Maley

Why did you decide to attend ChIME?
I came to ChIME after a major life transition. I had the sense that my heart was broken open and that, in this openness, there was a new capacity and potential that I didn’t yet understand. I came to ChIME to explore what my open heart was capable of and how it might be of service in the world. 

You chose two components for your internship: supporting the organization Renewal in the Wilderness, as well as hosting presentations on your recent memoir, Without a Map. How has this work impacted you?
I have been exploring different ways to connect deeply with others. When people come together to share stories or to take a walk in the woods, they step out of the isolation that divides us and into the interconnectedness of this world. There, in our connectivity, I feel the divine grace that heals human relationships to one another and to the Earth.

How have you grown as a person through your experience at ChIME?
I have grown more fully into myself. I have shed layers of cultural expectation that don’t fit and given air to stifled flames of inner knowing. With ChIME by my side, I feel myself stepping into the world with greater clarity, intention and purpose.

What have you been surprised by? What has met your expectations?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the caliber of our teachers and readings. The program introduces us to the complex academic underpinnings of concepts and also offers tools and guidance for integrating new understanding into our personal lived experience.

What has been most rewarding about your experience? What about most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of the experience has been the strong sense of community in my class cohort. Over two years, we have shared joys, grief, struggles, explorations, and concerns. I am so grateful to have had their love and company on this journey. 

The most challenging aspects were some of the aspects of self-exploration that required excavating painful old experiences and reactions. While this is a critical aspect of building self-awareness, it was hard to address fully in the limited time allowed by our full curriculum. As a result, the excavation and reconciliation that it demands has become ongoing work. 

What thoughts would you share with a prospective student?
ChIME’s program is challenging: It is also life-shaping, life-giving work. This program requires dedication and a significant commitment of time, resources and emotional energy, but you will not be alone. There are many layers of support for offering assistance, nurturing and encouragement along the way.