Archive for musings

Self-love

I believe honesty is at the heart of love – love to self and others.  I don’t want to be one of those people who outwardly professes to have complete self-love and contentedness.  Inevitably there are going to be times when I get frustrated with myself or find myself slipping back into feelings of self-loathing.   However, I am in the process of going through a honest shift or perspective.  Thanks to the many hours of driving and listening “The Art of Happiness” with the Dalai Lama and “The New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, the wisdom of these books have embedded themselves into my daily consciousness.  I’ll be talking about different aspects of my life and relaying the teachings as I incorporate them into my life.  This entry is about self-love.

The Dalai Lama was shocked to discover there is such a concept as self-loathing when he talked with psychiatrists and psychologists from western culture.  It amazed him so much because the discipline found in Buddhism is there to keep buddhist desires in check because they love themselves too much.  He goes on to conclude that even people who have self-loathing, in fact, love themselves by following the argument: we want people we love to be happy (i.e. not to suffer) and we want ourselves to be happy, therefore we must love ourselves.  I’ve also heard from another source years ago that depression is actually selfish.  In fact, it is down right ridiculous.  If we want ourselves to be happy, why do we become depressed?  A very good friend says it is part of the corporate monsters that control our lives and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the primary cause.  HOWEVER, we can still be happy if we:

1. Realize depression is selfish- it is helping no one and makes other people suffer because they see how sad you are and want to help, but don’t know how.

2. Find a goal outside of ourselves to pursue and achieve.  It is best if the goal is to help others rather pursuit of other selfish gains like money.  Although money is of importance, it should not be the primary goal.  If you live to help, the world will help you.

3.  Be comfortable with who you are.  Body image can  play a huge role in diminishing self-confidence.  I have been playing this game for 20 years (1st ten years don’t count).  I realize I’m never going to have a perfect body, but I can take care of the one I have.

4.  Have gentle discipline with yourself.  Having no discipline (couch potato) is almost as bad as having too much (burn-out). Excessive goals (running a marathon after never exercising) are unrealistic.  Small goals have the power to transform you (jogging 1 mile almost every day).   Relaxing with friends or family or meditating is just as important as studying.  It is amazing that sometimes I feel like I do not have enough time, but when I relax, I realize time is a bizarre concept.  Like Eckhart Tolle likes to say, “All we have is right now”.  No fretting over the past, no worries about the future.  NOW.  Live completely in the now, doing quality work and preparations for the future will take care of themselves.  Once you’ve fixed the problems that occurred in the past when you were not living in the now, you no longer have to worry about the past because living fully in the present makes the past obsolete.

Sigh.  Life is good.  I hope for the same enlightenment to dawn on all suffering people.

Advertisements

Kripalu

The weekend of “opening my heart” became more of a “drawing within” weekend. My absolute most favorite part was the option of eating my meals in complete silence. It is required for everyone in the big dinning hall to eat a silent breakfast and then during lunch and dinner you have the option to eat silently in a smaller room. I loved it! Most of the time I don’t like chit chatting with strangers and I usually feel like a freak when I sit by myself in large cafeterias where lots of people are talking and laughing and then feeling pressured to talk to any neighbors that happen to sit close by. Instead, I had the opportunity to just me. And it was comforting to see there were a few other people like me. It was nice to have their company, knowing that they have similar introverted tendencies. 🙂

What bothered me slightly was their apparent pride in saying the Kripalu yoga center is a nonsectarian institution established to help people become fully human/alive. Although this is a fabulous idea and has numerous attributes, Kripalu was originally founded as an ashram where spiritual discipline was a part of the life. I feel like that essence has been lost and without the spiritual discipline to follow and adhere to, people will remain self-indulgent. No matter how healthy the food, you can still indulge and the fact that we pay for these workshops, we feel entitled to only go as much as week like and they encourage us to “do what’s right for you”. So, Kripalu seem more like a very pleasant and mindful resort rather than a place of complete spiritual awakening. When I have the need to “get away” and self-indulge, I will probably go back, but I won’t expect any great spiritual experiences.

Love Hurts

I’m ovulating. I know it’s weird to share that information. Most men do not want to know these things, but I needed to share this because women’s behavior, thoughts and feelings change throughout their cycles. I remember learning in my undergrad endocrinology class that during the time of ovulation women tend to go out partying and dress up more often than during other times in their cycle.

Tonight I went to a “Dessert Party” for my friend who is putting together her third cookbook, which is a dessert cookbook. She makes all (or many) of the recipes in her books to have professional photographs taken and then invites people over to help her consume the dishes!!

I had the pleasure of hanging out with two incredible men in my life: an older swing dancing friend who’s house I’m staying at during colloquium and a younger friend I met because of our mutual enthusiasm for Osteopathy and our struggles with the Osteopathic Medical school system. Interestingly, I chose to wear a skirt and relatively “cute” shirt I usually only wear swing dancing. I had a lovely time talking to people and even had a chance to do a little dancing after the crowd thinned out. I’m not tired and as I was laying in bed I could feel tenderness in my LLQ (left lower quadrant). My last couple of periods have been very regular, the last one being exactly 28 days since the previous one. With this trend, I’m due to start menstruating on the day I take my COMLEX PE exam in Philadelphia (lovely!) and ovulating today would coincide with this schedule almost exactly.

Why am I writing such an extended analysis of my menstrual cycle? I think it has to do with a sense of unrest that I can’t shake. My friend who’s house I’m staying at is a good-looking guy, we get along beautifully and I love him dearly. The reason I hesitated to stay at his house was because I would have to require myself to suppress any romantic feelings I might experience. We are just friends and I like it that way. I’m comfortable, aside from suppressing some feelings of attraction. Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally”? The whole premise of the movie was that men and women can not be friends without some sort of underlying attraction. The kicker for me is that I can’t imagine anyone being attracted to me. My friend cares about me and he always makes me feel comfortable. It’s weird to think semi-romantic thoughts about him because I don’t think he’d ever return the sentiments. But then I think, “What if he did?” How awkward would THAT be?? It’s really a no-win situation, which is why it is best to avoid these situations altogether. However, I’m here, I’m grateful for the place to stay and I enjoy his company. Sometimes I wish the pain would just go away, but love hurts. Its nice to know I feel connections with some people, even if they are a little twisted and not completely healthy…

Home Coming

It is so interesting to be back on campus in Biddeford after being away for a year. I actually came to campus a few times during the year to go to the library or talk to my favorite Neuroanatomy professor. However, it’s different to be back with all my classmates. We had 4 hours of Emergency Medicine lectures this morning. I was constantly reflecting on my own experiences this past year and noticed my critical thinking was a bit different from the first 2 years of lectures. I had more insight into the clinical setting these docs were referring to.

The other interesting issue is interacting with classmates again. It took some effort for me to maintain confidence in my own experience when hearing about what other people have done or are setting up for the future. The most difficult part was talking to a G, classmate who was a bit of a friend last year until I realized the guy I was interested in was interested in her. She’s beautiful, tall, bright eyes, enthusiastic, chipper demeanor: everything I’m lacking except for the bright eyes. She went through a divorce last year and now she’s pregnant and getting married again. Although the divorce was a difficult time for her, I am ridiculously jealous of her. And then she wants to chat over tea. It hurts me to just think about her. I can imagine the torture of hanging out for an hour or so. No thank you. I appreciate the offer, but my heart doesn’t need that kind of abuse right now.

To Serve

I had a minor revelation that I think will help me through this next year and residency. My revelation was simply that my purpose is to serve. As corny as that sounds, that is why I pursued becoming a doctor rather than working in a biochemistry lab- academic or (gasp!) for a pharm company. I feel that ~80% of my problems with depression occur when I lose this focus. I am a naturally altruistic person and feel better when I help others. This medical school thing is very selfish and when I get into the selfish mode, I feel terrible about myself and the world. Even my anger with the Osteopathic medical community can be subdued when I return my focus to serving. I’ve decided that I have to accept my vocation as a sacred path dedicated to serving a higher power, similar to a nun. If I apply my heart and soul, then maybe the void in my heart where a family of my own should be, will be filled with love from another source.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Something amusing!!  😛  You gotta a take a moment to watch…

http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html

Where I’m at

I recent;y sent this message as a synopsis of who I am and where I’m at on my Path.

I’m a science geek fascinated by the deeper spiritual world.  I have a BS in biochemistry, MS in Animal Sciences and less than 1year away from my DO.  If I was to ever go back to school (God forbid), I’d pursue a PhD in physics, hence the nerdiness.  Since I was a teenager I’ve been fascinated with alternative medicine and when I learned about DO’s- where MD meets alternative, I knew I’d found my path.  Now I’m walking the line between allopathic medicine and knowing there is more to the human body and healing than the medical world will ever understand.  My greatest strengths include my memory, analytical mind, openness to knew ideas and making connections between different fields of thought.  My downfall is putting my energy into the anger I feel towards the close-mindedness of allopathic medicine (pharmaceutical corruption, insurance circuses and attention to nitty-gritty detail-genetics, without looking at the whole person) as well as DOs who refuse to speak any language other than “DO-speak”.  I’m trying to redirect my energy towards more positive avenues such as developing my palpation and manipulation skills and trying to honestly achieve an inner peace within myself, which is very difficult.

I get frustrated with people who claim to have “inner peace” but don’t live a life of peace.  I used to think I had inner peace, but now I realize I have moments of peace amidst a raging storm that very few people actually see.  I can have outward composure when I writhing with furry, crumpling with sadness or twisted with anxiety, but this in an outward peace, not an inner peace.  My goal is to be calm, collected, compassionate, open, aware and helpful to people.  I feel by acknowledging the fact I do not have inner peace currently brings me closer to achieving the real thing…eventually.

It’s all down hill from here!

I hit the big 3-0 today and hate birthdays more than ever.  Although, I must admit it was nice to have a friend with my b-day in her PDA AND she’s discrete enough not to tell anyone else.  We went out to dinner at Margarita’s and watched someone ELSE get totally embarrassed by the staff singing to them while we hung out at our table and I quietly thanked God that it wasn’t me they were singing to.  I just don’t get the big deal of birthdays.  I like the cultures where the birthday boy or girl GIVES presents to their friends because they are grateful to have people to celebrate with.  Why should we celebrate a day we had no control over?  If anything, it should be mother’s day for all she had to go through to give birth to you!

Understanding

I started this blog as a tool to record my thoughts and feelings while traversing osteopathic medical school.  A blog is unique because people have access to it through the internet as opposed to the privacy of a journal.  I like this aspect of blogging because I feel little more connected to people by composing my thoughts more thoroughly than I would if I was writing for myself.  However, it has created a good deal of misunderstanding between me and some of my readers.  Even when I think I’ve fully explained an issue, it gets twisted around.  This is SO frustrating because I think I’m being clear and I take pride in my deliberate thought construction.

Much of my life I’ve been angry, confused and depressed.  Occasionally, I look to others for help through counseling, but I honestly don’t think it has help.  Maybe I’m too stubborn and judgmental to be helped, maybe counseling is ineffective, maybe the source of my feelings is buried so deep inside that no one has any idea how to help me.  I put up an excellent front of competency, laughter and accomplishment.  I would rather make the counselors feel better than have them help me.  I even pointed this out to my last counselor while he was smiling with the “progress” I had made.  I told him I was angry and frustrated because I thought it would was best to be completely honest and he hardly recognized my feelings.  Maybe I should have yelled and had a tantrum.  I haven’t returned.  Is that a sign of my stubbornness or his ineffectiveness?  Was I getting somewhere and cut myself off from real progress?  Am I hopeless?  Patients who are in denial can only be helped to a limited extent.  Am I in denial?  What am I missing?

Funny, when it comes to helping patients I have all the forgiveness in my heart for their faults and struggles, but I constantly challenge, doubt and judge people who are supposed to be my teachers.  I feel like they have to prove themselves to me.  When I did this on my surgery rotation, the surgeon said I was automatically going fail (jokingly) because I showed-up another surgeon.  I was exasperated because we become stronger by challenging each other.

“Leave” the sun where it is!

It amazes me that a tree full of leaves can receive a gentle, constant breeze and only one leaf, aligned perfectly with no inhibition of motion, moves significantly while the rest of the leaves stand still.

Talk about “Hands of Light”!!

« Previous entries