Revelation and Revival
Those are the words on my mind for this newsletter. We as members of ASPN, ISPN, and the broader healthcare spine and nerve community are committed to alleviating suffering and improving quality of life in all those we encounter who need our help. Despite this empathy and giving nature that most of us possess, I feel, as I travel around the world, and around social media, that something is missing. There is an emptiness or longing in many of us that leaves our lives unfulfilled, even at moments when we should be elated. What causes this burnout, this dull view, this failure to emotionally thrive? I think I know.
Recently a major United States newspaper criticized physicians for making too much money and being too focused on reimbursement. While everyone reading this newsletter would agree that after many years in school and training, much debt, and the application of special skill sets that are rare, doctors deserve to be compensated. We are missing the point. Happiness is not from the measurable, material, and economic bounty, but happiness is much deeper than that, and if you don’t seek it, you will not find it. As I traveled the Serengeti these past several weeks, and swam in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar, I came to the realization and yes, the REVELATION, that we are, as modern medicine men and women, missing one of the most important points: you have to let inner peace find you, and this happens by opening your mind, body, and yes, your soul, to a new awakening. For me this was found in the experience of natural beauty and the interaction all things have in a way that impacts so many other parts of the ecosystem. As I watched the great migration, the hunt of the mother lioness, the river journey of the hippo and croc, I found myself thinking that maybe we could be more impactful if we focused on the natural instinct to lend a helping hand, stand by our friends, protect each other from harm, and when needed, bring together all of our strengths and alliances to win the battle when it arises. Inner peace doesn’t always mean harmony, just better self-awareness.
The exact RVU, or the new contract, or in some settings, the seriously complicated process of building a new office or ASC are issues that are so important and lead to many sleepless nights, bad attitudes, and a constant state of unrest. I urge each of you to try to search for the more important inner peace, since the outward things will constantly frustrate you and you will always be in a continuous loop of turmoil. This leads to my call in this newsletter for a revival.
A revival is a restoration of life, consciousness, vigor, strength, or other valuable inner emotions that lead to a new being. I know based on my experiences this summer and throughout the last few years, it is time for a revival amongst most of those in the Pain, Spine, and Nerve community. We are reviving the field by doing great research, making procedures less invasive, mentoring each other, and creating new standards. You will see this commitment in the NEURON projects, highlighted by David Lee in this newsletter, but I ask that you demand more of yourself and your friends.
Let’s set some revival goals.
- Make yourself a better person by finding something that gives you a new mindset. That could be travel, exercise, meditation, or prayer. Find your “thing” and master it.
- Make your fellow members of ASPN and ISPN better people by bringing a revival of support and inclusiveness that overcomes all hurdles. Commit to a revival of community and love for your friends, and yes, even for your enemies.
- Make the world better for your patients, family, and those you encounter. That is why ISPN is such an important part of the makeup of ASPN, in that we need to improve access to care, quality of care, and have a resolve to help more people and colleagues as we go on our journey.
So I leave you with a hope to have a revelation to have a new inner peace, and do whatever it takes to get yourself to a better place. If you find that hard to achieve, lean on your friends at ASPN, and make our community even greater. The ASPN family is real; all you need to do is join it and make your mindset towards being a positive force.
Lastly, resolve to have revival to make everyone around you better, and remember that journey starts with love.
See Y’all in Dubai.
Tim Deer, MD