MY FIRST OFFICIAL BLOG POST – Musings on Twyla Tharp’s book – The Creative Habit

By July 15, 2013 January 15th, 2016 The Art of Medicine


I’m reading a book called The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp.  She is one of America’s most talented and proliferative dancers and choreographers.  It was recommended to me by a woman in my writing group.  A group I joined to make myself start blogging and to help create a structure for the book I am writing. 

Well…..I have been in the group over 4 months and have done a ton of writing, but I have yet to publish my first blog!!The irony is that I actually love to write; I am simply not in the habit of doing it regularly.  Having lived a life in the sciences, I always looked at other people and thought….oh my gosh…they are so creative, I wish I had just one iota of that creativity!  They write so well or they make beautiful art or they cook and create a dinner party with such artistry or they can decorate a home with impeccable taste, textures, and colors.  Well, reading Twyla’s book made me take a step back and realize just how much creativity is involved in the work that I do.  The juncture of science, humanity, and education, leaves a great deal up in the air for the “art of medicine”.

When I reflectively look at the years I have put in to listening to patients’ stories and illnesses, moving the puzzle pieces around, and coming up with a plan that not only works for the patient, but that is doable by all the family members, affordable, and implementable, I thought hmmm, maybe I am creative in my daily medical practice.

When I first started practicing medicine, it was all about how to creatively select the medications I would be using to treat the symptoms of various illnesses:  colic, reflux, eczema, ear infections, asthma, constipation, and the list goes on.  Which medication is the cheapest for the patient”s insurance plan, which tastes good enough that the child will take it without too much of a fight, and which steroid has a high enough potency to decrease the inflammation, but low enough not to cause too many side effects (whether it is oral, topical, or inhaled).  I prided myself at my ability to put together combinations of medications that would alleviate all of the child’s symptoms….. allergies became my favorite because we have so many drugs to choose from …. eye drops, nasal sprays, oral anti-histamines, and topical anti-itch lotions.

However, when I started learning about integrative medicine and the concept that perhaps I should be looking at the root cause of symptoms, it was a game changer for me.  I revised all of my carefully crafted handouts to not only include the medications we might need for acute symptoms control, but also to educate families on how to decrease their exposure to their allergens, how to look at nutrition to optimize nature’s natural anti-inflammatory foods, and how to remove the foods that can be extremely pro—inflammatory.  It’s amazing how environmental allergy symptoms improve when one cleans up their diet.

I digress, the message here, is that I am going to humor myself into thinking that I do have a wee bit of creativity in my medical work and in writing.  And I would like to make a proposal to any of you reading this post.  Is there anything you have been wanting to do for a long time: painting, writing, throwing pottery, playing tennis, cooking more?  Have you been putting it off to a time when you “have more time”?  It took me a year of saying I was going to start this blog before I actually started it.  So if I can help ignite something in you to get started on your project a little quicker than I did, that would be fantastic!  I will commit to writing this blog once a month for now and when my “creative habit” gets easier and easier, I anticipate doing it weekly or even every other week.  Please consider joining me in whatever creative pursuit moves your spirit.  The only reason I am starting this now is that I told my women’s business group that starting a blog was my goal for this month.  And it would be too humiliating to face the group next month without having done it.  So If you are anything like me and you need the threat of public humiliation to get you started on something new, consider me your accountability partner in crime.  We can establish our creative habits together and share tips of success and tips of what not to do:)

I am going to look ahead and select topics to discuss over the ensuing months.  If there is anything you would like me to write about, please let me know.  And if any of you out there are writers and would like to be a guest blogger on my site and/or if you would like to post my blog on your site, please let me know that also!

I look forward to some great discussions!  And I promise they will not always be this long!