Monday, August 15, 2011

A Little Zest with That Naturopathy?

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO
AANP Past-President (2008-2009)

Photo by Larry Neuberger via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
My sister, partner and I were in a local florist shop this past weekend to shop for some flower arrangements. It was the end of the day and we entered this tiny, one-room floral shop that had pieces of plants strewn on the floor, pictures of arrangements on the walls, and a few flowers poking out of a vase here and there. The owner explained that she had just finished several bouquets for a wedding. She excitedly brought out her iPhone, “Here, you have to see this. I am so excited about this arrangement. It was all plants!” She brought up a picture of a truly beautiful arrangement of succulents and grasses. We oo'd and ah'd and then, getting right down to business, began to issue forth our desires.

All I can say is that the next 30 minutes were pure delight. I never knew that buying flowers could be so exciting. She listened to every word, asking multiple-choice clarifying questions in a way that suddenly made us feel like flower experts. She exclaimed with outright glee at each mention of a particular: type of flower (“Oh, I LOVE thistle!”), shape (“Mixing textures is gorgeous!”), color (“Deep reds are so earthy, so royal. I love it.”). She was masterful. Somehow she helped us to create a gorgeous bouquet that we thought of all by ourselves but, truth be told, could never have come up with on our own.

We left all commenting on how wonderful she was, how passionate she was, and how much she loved her work. It showed, too. She had a book of her work and her arrangements were stunningly beautiful. We were all a little giddy, actually, and I realized that by her unadulterated and unbridled enthusiasm, she had transformed us into delighted beings, entranced with the simple and wondrous beauty of plants.

While one might argue that she has a fabulous medium to work with, there is no denying the fact that she is definitely in her groove. And the results are incredible both in her arrangements and in her impact on her customers. I can’t help but imagine the impact that being that wildly and ardently in love with one’s craft (in my case, naturopathic medicine) would have on my patients. I love naturopathic medicine and I embrace it to its core, but I have to admit that it is the rare moment when that zest for naturopathy flows out of me, unfiltered, to my patients. There are a million good reasons why this is just not proper, useful, conducive or even appropriate… and yet I do think that I, along with several of many patients, could, every now and then, use a good dose of juicy, succulent and untempered gusto for naturopathic medicine.

Perhaps letting the medicine out of its constraints every once and while could transform naturopathic medicine into a naturopathic superhero – capable of transforming dis-ease into exuberant health in an instant.

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