Most practitioners of medicine (any modality) begin their careers with the intent to be healers. Many artists (any modality) enter their chosen modes of creativity to be vehicles of healing for others, through expression. The skewed concept of values that our society impose on us takes many of us further away from “the work” and deeply entrenches us into the mechanics of selling it.

When we’re growing up, usually in our teens, we begin to make decisions regarding our livelihoods. So many of us embrace the idea that the work we will find in the world will be in the vein of helping others. In fact, as children are we not encouraged to follow our altruistic impulses?

The basic urge to help others, for the sake of simplicity, could easily fall within the realm of the healing arts no matter how expressed. Artistic expression summons a vitality that we know affects others in positive ways. We “bring joy” to ourselves and others by our playful performances, visual representations, and song, dance and music. Joy heals.

All around us we hear of athletes, actors, artists and singers who, by expressing themselves fully, inspire the rest of us to stretch our own perceived limits. This form of healing, which includes connecting individuals with their larger communities, was once recognized and embraced as the primary form of “treatment” available to the regular Joe or Josephina.

Those of us who choose to pursue one form or another of medicine (Isn’t this interesting: even I, after years of exploring the vast world of the healing arts still automatically refer to things in the realm of treating illness and injury as “medicine;” only one aspect of healing!) are first indoctrinated into an approach that almost wholly relies on facts and figures and the memorization of data, turns human beings into projects, and seeks solutions that are designed for the masses rather than the individual.

In the world of “the Arts” itself, early schooling for most is more about learning the boxes that we’re allowed to fit in to rather than seeking the full expression of the individual. So much of our so-called education is about the re-cycling of old information rather than an emphasis on the creation of something as yet unseen. Even worse, the career/economic paths they offer define the boxes that we are shuffled into.

But all this is only the start of an insidious process.

Economics typically enters the picture as soon as the course of study/indoctrination is completed. Individuals find that they must focus a significant amount of their energy and attention not to the individual or task at hand, but on how to provide a service and derive profit from it. The reason for this is that our advanced schooling system requires that we place ourselves in debt to take advantage of it. Essentially, most actions taken in the pursuit of healing others have to be wrung through the filter of their economic consequences early enough in the process so that these seemingly incompatible elements are joined at the hip and color everything we do.

It is no wonder that so many talented and inspired people discover that their experiences in their chosen professions are soul-less. What once was a calling becomes a vehicle for economic support. Stability takes precedence over innovation and exploration. We all suffer for it.

Author's Bio: 

Russ Reina, a firetender, shares over 40 years exploration in the healing arts through the vehicles of counseling, art, music, workshop facilitation, photography, music and more. He trusts that you know what you need and you'll take the time to find it through his works if that's what's needed.