Saturday, 28 November 2015

Existence..

 

Leaves And Waves

Through the leafy bed of the shrubs and trees
I can see the wild waves running on the seas

The leaves of shrubs, the things we do or say
The leaves of trees, our thoughts, day by day

The wonderful breaking waves of the sea
the Love that is always there for you and me

Most of the things that we think, say or do
Have been already thought, said or done
But love is forever there and always new
Never been seen in any of the days bygone

If the leaves are too dense and too much
we cannot experience the waves as such


-------------------------------------------------
Sometimes we have to really stop
doing, saying and thinking
to experience the full Love with capital L
which is perhaps the main reason for living.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Intrinsically human...

If we reflect on what is making us intrinsically human,
so many possibilities are crossing our mind.

Is it the ability to love?
Can animals not love?

Is it the ability to think?
Can animals not think?

Or is it the ability to reflect on ourselves.

Perhaps animals can love and think,
but I think they cannot reflect on themselves.

Not only we can think, we can to a certain extent,
choose what we think about.
Not only we can feel, we can to a certain extent,
choose what we feel.

Throughout the years, I have come to value very much
the process of self reflection.

Just making regularly some time to think about our own life.
What is good, what is not so good, who am I in relation to the world
How do I deal with difficulties, How do I deal with luck
What gives me peace of mind
What makes me excited.

If on and off we make time to reflect on these things and other life questions
We tend to grow, not in length, not in size, but spiritually. Spiritual growth.
Perhaps the ability to grow spiritually is what makes us intrinsically human.... ?

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Yesterday

Yesterday we presented to a visiting community paediatrician from the UK,
many of the community efforts our departments had made through the years.
I have to admit I was a bit proud of what had been done in our departments.
But that was yesterday, the presentation was about yesteryears.
What is important, is that we keep the momentum on, today and tomorrow.

I look forward to continued positive great efforts from our whole team in the future.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Albert inspired

I was inspired by my my paediatrician at age 5. (my paediatrician inspired)

At age twelve, my standard six teacher brought the story of Albert Schweitzer with lots of passion to our attention and this story truly was a source of inspiration for the rest of my life.

Albert Schweitzer was a super successful doctor, philosopher and musician. He was born in the Alsace very close to the border between France and Germany. He coined the term reverence for life, which means standing in awe for all living creatures and seeing in each of them their intrinsic worthiness and value. I will write something on that later.

Even though the reverence for life concept is fantastic and speaks to my soul in a big way now, it was not that which gave me so much inspiration at twelve. What so dearly inspired me, was that in his late thirties (1912-1913) he spent all of his wealth (double the amount of most of our superb philanthropists of the 21st century) and almost 100% of his time -and also his wife's time- to establish a hospital for the poor in Lamberéné, Gabon (Africa).

The story and its details (which can be found about anywhere on the internet and in about every bookshop selling English titles), were giving me a WOW-experience. WOW, that is so great. It moved something deep inside of me and lighted a flame in my soul to move out of Belgium, after I would have reached my ambition to become a medical doctor (a paediatrician).

At that moment a very logical choice would have been the médecins sans frontières (Doctors without borders), but fate seemed to have something slightly different in plan...

------------
Note: even though Albert was definitely not perfect - he received critiques as  well-, I think it would be worth for any medical student to read about his wonderful achievements. :-)
 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Paediatrician at 5

I am a paediatrician, not just simply a paediatrician,
a paediatrician in my heart, in my soul, in my mind, in my body.

I became a paediatrician when I was 5 years old.
Yes you read that correctly, 5 years old.

Not a paediatrician who was treating children at 5 years,
but I became a paediatrician at 5 in my heart and soul.
Only the one in my mind and body came a bit later.

I became a paediatrician at 5 years old because I was inspired.
A paediatrician from Aalst (Aloste), which was 30 km from Nazareth,
the small village in Belgium, where I lived.

That man inspired me, and I allowed him to inspire me.
There were many paediatricians in Gent (Ghent)
This was just 15 km from my village.
But my parents took me to Aalst, 30 km far.
They took me there because they liked the man, they loved him,
they trusted him, they had faith in his judgement and they adored him.

If your caring parents adore a paediatrician, how can you as a child do differently
When we went to his busy place we had to wait real long sometimes
but when we were let in, it was a sea of friendliness that welcomed us.
He never looked tired. Just his own fresh sea of kindness was allowed to flow.

He was not boasting. He was humble. He praised my parents
He praised me as a child. I was the bright little guy.

My mother was worried about my eating habits.
He asked her in detail about what I really liked.
He found some healthy stuff among what I liked and just
asked her to give me more of it.
He didn't think it was necessary to force tomatoes on me.

My parents liked him. I liked him.
And for just being such a nice and kind man,
he got money, not small coins, but notes.

I was inspired. I wanted to be a paediatrician.
Not just any paediatrician, but a paediatrician, a bit like him.
One that would be loved by parents and children alike and still get paid for it
I wanted to be a paediatrician in heart, mind and soul.
I became a paediatrician in heart, kidneys and soul at age 5
and yeah a whole bit later, I became a paediatrician in mind and body too.

If you meet a person, good enough to be a source of inspiration to you,
allow yourself to be inspired, let them reach deep,
let them reach and move your heart, kidneys and soul. :)


Thursday, 19 November 2015

The biggest present

Yesterday, my newborn intensive care ward was busy.
My round finished at 1.15 pm, but then there were parents.
Their baby was very sick.

My stomach called me to go for lunch first
but my heart called me to talk to the parents first.
I managed to listen to and follow my heart.

We are never sure but from the facial expressions of the parents
at the beginning and at the end of counseling sessions,
we can have a decent guess on how effective the session was.

This time the faces of both parents had changed from extremely worried
to at least a bit of relief and acceptance. Our guaranteeing that whatever
happens, we will do the very best we can makes a change quite often.

It was their first child and, just imagining, this must have been perhaps
one of the very most stressful situations they have encountered in their lives.
They expected a healthy baby to be held, in mom's sweet arms
but there he was, in the incubator, connected to so much of equipment.

 When I reflected last night on my day and was searching for the best experience
I had had that day, there was only that one, jumping in front  of all other experiences.
Thinking about this session gave me this warm feeling in my heart,
my soul was at close to perfect peace and I was plainly happy.

Just making small sacrifices does make us happy,
happy in a very different way from the material happiness.
I think this is the biggest present we get from God.
True altruism does not exist.
The giver, the doer, gets always more than the receiver.
The giver, the doer, gets a huge present from God,
in the form of great peace of mind, a warm feeling,
moments of true happiness...

We were made like this!
Try it out today  :)

Monday, 16 November 2015

Inspiration

At age five I was inspired by my paediatrician
At age 12 I felt inspired by Dr. Albert Schweitzer
At age 16 by a doctor working among the poor in Southern Thailand

I am grateful to all people giving me a bit of inspiration
It always felt so good and has been such a great guide in my life

To be inspired means letting spirit in
Let the spirit of the magnanimous people
inspire you,

Read about many things
many people
Somehow you will get inspired
and get enthusiastic about life
about living a life full of love
full of passion
for that one ideal
for that one calling.

Enjoy to be inspired and
in turn go on to inspire others.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Politics and religion

There are several religions that do not want to separate politics and religion.
From a religious point of view, it seems logical that one would want religious values to be reflected in the politics.

However in practice, politicians are often so much more powerful than religious leaders and rather than religious values being incorporated in the politics, it is the religion that gets politicized

Surely in the past and the present, politicians have used and abused religion for their own profit and own agenda all over the world. And only when the two get separated this may stop. If religion is allowed to grow independently, the chances are that it becomes stronger and politicians will be forced to incorporate more values in their politics if they want to remain in power for long

Friday, 13 November 2015

Fish

(inspired by a story in a book of Osho)
A man was sitting at the side of a lake, fishing.
He was approached by an elder who said:
How many fish did you catch?
The answer was: None yet.
The elder: There is no fish in this lake. A little further there is a lake with lots of fish.
The fisherman: I know, the fish there has hardly a place to swim. Any fool can fish there. But here, the fish is very rare. To fish here is 'something'

What do you think about the above story?

Our ego wants to fish where there is no fish.
That which is obvious, which is available is not attractive.

All of us search for love
So much of it was planted in our heart
Where do we search for love?

All of us search for kindness
A lake full of it overflows our heart
Where do we search for it?

All of us search for truth
Our soul is a wonderful guide
But where do search?

The goodness of our Creator
is all around us and in us,
We pray to a far away God,

That is why so many people miss God
God is around us in great quantity
In great quality. So close, so abundantly
And we are not interested
We are not interested in what we have.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Golden Gate

A picture of my wife and my mother at the Golden Gate Bridge
Nothing special at first sight, but very special it is.

Two beautiful women, a generation apart.
Two beautiful women, half the world apart
Two beautiful women, my mom and my wife.

Now I realize how difficult it must have been for my mom.
She was Catholic, loved me and her family tremendously much.
I was marrying my Malaysian fellow student who was Muslim.

I was and surely still am an idealist.
My mom was super caring and very protective
She almost lost her baby (me) due to a severe infection in the first year of his life.
Was it not of her super alertness, swift action and superb care, I might not have been here.
And then that baby grows and gets it in his immature mind that he wants to be  a doc.
Not a regular one, but one that goes abroad to help like Albert Schweitzer had done.
Can you imagine the worries I was sending through her heart and mind by talking about this throughout my teenage years.

Somehow her love for me was so big. Even though she visibly was worried, she supported my eagerness to travel and go and do electives in my student years in America. We communicated through letters and the occasional extremely expensive phone call. At that time no internet, no skype, only post and fixed phone lines with a huge price tag on international calls.

Then in medical school I met my future wife. For me it was like something God had arranged and perhaps it was. For my mother lots of extra worries. Now she could see her son finding an easy way to move out of Belgium for long. And on top of that the future wife was not of the same religion.

We have gone through many hours of discussion, of deep religious talk, of consultation with other people even, we thought could give us some valid advice. In the end my mother made the fantastic and great-hearted move to accept my wife. In 1994, we made a trip to the US together with my father and my wife and a true friendship blossomed between my mom and my wife. They had sweet nick names for each other and I have multiple pictures of them together.

One of these pictures is near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A very special one indeed.
A beautiful picture of two extremely beautiful women with beautiful hearts and beautiful minds.
Two beautiful women, one with a son, the other one a husband with crazy ideals that stick like glue and do not want to leave, even when he is entering his 50 series.

I want to say a warm thanks to my mom, for her grace and extreme love and care. I wish she could hear or read it. But I hope I manage to let her care and love live on in my daily work and through trying to achieve my own  "crazy" ideals...

Her generosity and enormous level of understanding has been like a golden gate for me to live the live of my dreams and achieve my wi(l)dest aspirations.




Dear Cloud

Dear Cloud,
When will you break your silence
When can I hear the story
of your unthinkable journey
of the things you've seen,
of the winds that've blown

Dear Cloud,
When will I hear your tale,
the secret of your magic game
shape of sheep and then of fish
shape of face and then of birds
and then again completely formless

Dear Lady Cloud
How much I want to hear your music
How much I want to read your poetry
How much I want to see your dance
Please reveal to me the story,
the secret, your private art


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Driving differently

Many times when I am behind the steering wheel,
I calculate the estimated arrival time, based on the mean time spent to reach.
Then I try to pinch of at least a minute or two
and whenever I manage to do that I feel good about it.

This morning I drove to the hospital.
I was about to do the same
when I suddenly realized there is an alternative:
why not try to enjoy the journey as much as possible?
Whether you are on or two minutes earlier than usual
or not or even two minutes later, what does it matter?

So I put up a CD with some wonderful classical music
I listened to a piece of Mozart, Rossini, Strauss,..
I enjoyed the beauty of the trees and flowers along the road.
The skies were changing throughout the journey.
While i was in waiting for a traffic light I noticed a cloud
shaped like a fist. When it turned green, it looked more like an open hand.

I just went with the flow of the traffic
and amazingly when I arrived, the time I had taken was really short.

I thought that is the way I want to drive always
But tonight I had to go back to the hospital as I am on call.
When I think now.about my nighttime trip, it was back to old habits.

I am sure that I will try more to practice my new driving style from here on
It is a different experience.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Reciprocal

I love the leaves of the tree I planted
Not so sure the leaves love me back.
Still I enjoy to look at them,
to be in the garden in proximity of the tree.

A sparrow may love a gardener.
the way the gardener can love a sparrow
may be very different.

For 'in love', the 'in love' somehow needs to be returned
However for Love, the one with capital L
just one way
may be Okay

Love and 'in love' are completely different things
If in love is non reciprocal it is a nightmare.
Love on the other hand, the one with the big L can be one way.
So many mothers love their son or daughter without getting it back.
Still the Love with big L is more worth to them than giving up on them.

Unconditional Love....
I did not understand unconditional Love.
After having gone through years with a revolting teen,
I have learned so much about Love.
The one with capital L does not always have to be reciprocal

Just one way
may be Okay.... :)

Love can be tough, but if hatred is the alternative,
Love is still so superior.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Poetry

Quite some time ago, somewhere in 2010,
I started to write a few poems.
Initially I was afraid, that what I wrote
could not be classified as poetry
but rather as nursery rhymes
or something far less worthy.

I took a safe approach and chose an author name
I made a unique name which allows me to search
on the internet and get only sites referring to this poetry.

When I had about 10 or 20 poems,
I expected visitors to the webpage
where they were published, to read all 10 or 20.
This of course, never happened.
Now I have 203 and I do not have the illusion
that anyone would read all.

But every hit, every website listing or referring to one of my poems,
makes me deep inside somehow happy.
I think writing poetry and expressing yourself as such
gives you a wonderful soul-ego experience
Writing something a bit poetic definitely involves soul
Then your ego wants people to read it
Ego so happy for every hit, soul gets encouraged to do more.

Somehow I dream of it that at anytime in the future,
many people get some inspiration
many people get at least a smile,
many people get some support
through what I put up on the net.

I put here one of my own favorite poems,
I had written in a playful mood
for my lovely wife:

The Balloon

I went to the sea of love, this noon
I took it and put it in a blue balloon

I brought this balloon, so blue
all the way, especially for you

So, quick, quick, quick
Give this balloon a prick

let's bathe in its content
a sea of love, to never end




The grateful soul

The grateful soul
fights with the greedy ego.

Depending on who wins,
either both survive
or both die.

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When I was reading this 11 days after I first had posted it in this blog, 
I felt it was a bit strong, a bit opiniated.
Perhaps it would be better and a bit softer:

The grateful soul and the greedy ego
Sometimes they fight
If the first one wins, peace of mind is mine
If the second one wins, often I may feel full
but rarely satisfied.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Song of the bees

A simple story, a simple rhyme
I hope you enjoy the story
I hope you enjoy the rhyme...


I was sitting in a long and lazy chair
Enjoying the afternoon’s heat
With a breeze of lovely fresh air
And a book, a wonderful read

When out of the high branches of the trees
On my shoulder landed a swarm of bees
One of them climbed up near to my ear
What she whispered was amazing to hear;

“You know my human friend, we bees are quite wise
We like to work and make some honey, so nice
We visit the flowers every day of our life
No way we just sit and relax in our hive”

I thought that was a great message of the little bee
I thanked her for sharing her wisdom with me
She smiled and crawled back to my shoulder
Another one came up who looked a little bit older:

“Did you know my lovely, human brother
We bees care very much for one another
If one little bee hurts, no matter young or old
She is never left alone” was what I was told.

I was excited for all this wisdom to hear
From a group of little bees, so close to my ear
But this was not yet where it would end
Because up came another bee-ish friend:

“My kind human companion, did you know
Every day, every bee will make a bow
For we always thank our Creator so great
For every flower and all that He has made”

I was amazed to hear all this, more than a bit
These bees were so wise, no doubt about it
I wanted to hear so much more of my bee-bee friends
But soon they flew away and that’s where the story ends.

Strengths

A story about a teacher goes that she asked the students to write down something positive about each of their fellow students. She collected the information and rearranged it into a card for every single student. The students cherished the card forever.

It is so good to look for strengths in others.
Not so long ago, at the graduation of students, I had asked a few of their teachers to write a few lines about their strengths. Quite a number of questions came about the why and why not list both strengths and weaknesses and give them some advice on how to tackle their weaknesses.

It is not easy to tell people their strengths. Most of us so habitual in fault finding that it is even difficult to find strengths in others.
Why does it seem so difficult.
It is perhaps easier and makes us perhaps feel a bit superior if we can give advice (meaning we identify and try to help them tackling weaknesses)

We do not have a habit to praise
Maybe worth on developing such a habit?
What do you think?