Medicine and Creativity

thrive to lead creativity

In her book, Big Magic, the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, dismisses the idea that there are those that are creative and there are those who aren’t. She describes how her own creativity often stems from and is sustained by her profound curiosity, particularly on those days when passion seems in short supply. “Curiosity is the truth and the way of creativity.” This idea of curiosity as a source of creativity throws the door wide open for those of us who may have felt that we were on the outside looking in at the gifted few. We can all be curious. Without going into the innumerable definitions of the word “creativity”, perhaps it is useful to think of it as a source of individual expression. Its expression, whatever form it may take and however challenging to bring it to fruition, can provide an often indescribable sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that both taps into and renews our inner spirit.

A Medscape article (7 Doctors who didn’t Sacrifice their Creativity for Medicine) profiles seven physicians who have found ways to integrate a creative pursuit into their lives. There is a two-way connection between their art and their profession:

  • A surgeon who writes young-adult novels as a way to promote understanding, empathy and compassion.
  • An anesthesiologist whose writing fulfills her “other” self.
  • An occupational medicine physician who sees his botanical paintings mirroring the individuality of his patients.
  • An interventional cardiologist who found that his artistic eye influenced his work as an angiographer.
  • An Indian Health Services primary care physician whose documentary photography increased his awareness and sensitivity to his patients’ social challenges and conditions.
  • An internist who fosters the healing power of music as the Founder and Maestro of the Medical Music Group.
  • An internist who finds that his poetry and medicine constantly feed each other.

When time constraints feel like they are withering your world to a narrow, constricted path, take a moment to ask yourself if there is a seed of curiosity dancing around in your brain, just waiting for permission to come to light.

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