Sometimes we see the things we need to see,

Other times we just know,


Some people let it show,

Others simply grow,


No matter how it may seem on the surface,

What really counts hides deep below,


For when we trust in the inner glow,

Perhaps this is when we hit “Flow”?



I felt inclined to reflect in the serendipitous nature of success. I write this statement in an element of “tongue in cheek”. Let me explain. This morning I started listening to the Audiobook titled “Success is for You” a book written by Dr David Hawkins, with an original manuscript that was initially drafted in 1991, and the Audiobook was recorded for Audible only recently, this year.


I was actually alerted to the recent audio version of this old, yet significant piece of writing by a comment made on this blog, to one of my blog posts. I was really chuffed to read the post as it was written by the person who had recorded David Hawkins book titled “Letting Go”. This book had a profound effect on me, beyond that cliché statement may imply. I actually refer to this book, and others, in talks that I give on wellbeing, stating that is wisdom that I have picked up from such text that help me on that path (towards inner wellness).


This morning I woke up and went down to the ocean to pay gratitude to mother nature, in more a physical sense rather than a verbal interaction. It felt divine, as it always seems to. I feel quite blessed to live so close to the ocean, for jumping in the water is a beautiful start to the day. I am very aware of the positive elevation of my consciousness, or at least my perception of this happening, as I submerge myself deep into the water and swim out to sea, and then ride the energy of the ocean’s wave back to the shore. The true joy of both catching a wave and missing a wave, in that state are equivalent, and effortless.


Jumping forward an hour or so, I start to listen to the new Audiobook I have just downloaded. David Hawkins, MD PhD and psychiatrist (translated through Peter Lownds, PhD) talks in his book “success is for you” about the power of “making it happen”, and the “aha moment”. He relates to concepts that I have been made aware of previously through coaching, and deep reflection. However, he seems to be able to effortlessly illustrate that the most important things in success is are to do with a “state of being”, something that is already within us, rather than “out there”. In this realisation there is an “aha moment” and sense of power, perhaps even an awakening that goes far beyond a desire or intention. I related to this deeply when I heard the words spoken, for it took me back to the moment of submerging myself in the ocean water this moment. In an instant the journey is effortless, and one of effortless joy. I am sure that the beach goers, swimmers, surfers and nature lovers of the world relate to this, although probably not in the same words. For in that moment there is no quest to having things or doing things, for this is already happening automatically by that enhanced state of being.


I do not profess to be able to present such simple, yet profound concepts in the insightful and eloquent prose that Dr Hawkin’s book lays out, however, I do feel the inclination to try and translate just a little bit of how an early part of that wisdom integrated effortlessly in to my being (and for this I am very grateful). A guess, the reason for doing so is that I have aspiration to champion “knowledge translation” , a movement I came into contact with when writing up my PhD thesis, some years back, and have thereafter incorporated in my way of being. To this motto I believe that the effective translation of even an ounce of wisdom, is perhaps more helpful, than holding on to a tonne of wisdom that stays buried and dormant within. To this last proposition, I reflect upon what I just read/listened to in the audio book, which talked about the  “aha moment” illustrating true power, the power of realising the greatest part of external wisdom was something we already know inside, and perhaps what we always knew. To me this moment is one of true Serendipity.

sunlight streamingfun in the waterawakened by the surfsuccess is for you

Book Reviews for anyone interested in Medicine, compassion, positivity or Poetry?

I was recently given the opportunity to write recommendations of up to 5 books that I could recommend for a book review section in a popular emergency medicine website that I occasionally write for (Life in the fast lane). 

Recommend up to 5 books, that for whatever reason, you think people interested in emergency medicine and critical care MUST READ. Fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, poetry, whatever… The world’s your oyster! Submissions will close on March 12 2012. I’ll pull them all together into a blogpost (or series depending on how many there are…)

As usually I left the writing of these recommendations until the last minute (as entries were due in yesterday), however, I did start drafting my responses as soon as I read about this wonderful project. 

Straight away I thought “wow – this is a great opportunity to write about that book that I has really inspired me in recent times” Medicine and Compassion, and a book that shares my favourite prose, “Poetry”, with the medical community. I also thought that perhaps I could recommend a book that will help with a subspecialty I’m passionate about – International Emergency Medicine, after all I slaved away writing a chapter in this book with my supervisor and after recently seeing the book in print I think it could be of benefit to the specialty, and finally I wanted to recommend a book that is all about what I believe is most important in life – positivity and motivation, and “healthy thinking”. As for the 5th book – well I guess there has always got to be room for new opportunities so i’m always on the look out – What would your recommendation be?

1) Medicine and Compassion: A Tibetan Lama’s Guidance for Caregivers
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche (Author), M.D. David R. Shlim (Contributor)

This is a great book gives practical methods of how to cultivate “compassion” and find our inner beauty so that we can deliver better care to our patients and each other. Compassion is a quality that is easily lost under the stresses and time limitations of modern medicine, but with the logical strategies given in this book perhaps we can all improve this situation? The co-author Dr David R Shlim, is an ex-emergency doctor who gave up the pressures of emergency medicine in the US to work in Nepal in travel medicine. He set up a travel medicine clinic in Kathmandu and there started treating the Tibetan Buddhist monks who ‘taught’ him how to be a more compassionate doctor, something that he previously thought that maybe was something you either were or weren’t born with. One such learned monk was Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama, who was encouraged by Shlim to share his wisdom and insight with a greater audience through this book. 

The preface goes spells out “The book is timely, as it presents an antidote to the current climate in medicine that is dominated by high technology, and an increased intrusion in medical care by financial considerations.”

The book starts with a line that perhaps many of us can relate to, “medicine and compassion – I don’t think I ever heard those words spoken together in medical school” and goes on to be a simply written, enjoyable and inspiring read!

(I believe this is a “must read” for all doctors!!)

2) Playing God – Poems about medicine,  
Glenn Colquhoun (Author) 2007
Glenn nicely describes some every day events from the world of medicine, and highlights their humanity through the wonderful medium of poetry with this collection of poems. 

As one reader said who gave this book 5 stars;- “It was a long time between poetry reading when I read this book. This made me remember why poetry is so wonderful, good for the soul. This is my favourite NZ poet and anybody who has ever had a loved one fall ill, who has been ill themselves or just who feels compassion will enjoy these poems.”

I remember meeting Glenn back in 2002 when I was about to embark on my first registrar term, which happened to be a rigorous 6 month rotation in Intensive Care medicine at Waikato Hospital, New Zealand, and at that time Glenn was a GP from a remote area had just finished the same 6 months. On that day I remember seeing Glenn at the ward round table and after handing over his overnight patients after completing his last night shift for the term he gave us, a group of scared newbies registrars about to embark on one of the most challenging (but rewarding) ICU terms in the country, some useful encouragement which I remember to this day. 

He told us that no matter how scary the situation there was always guidance in this job, which turned out to be true, and when ever you felt most alone and out of your depth he always heard a voice, almost like the voice of God telling him what to do (only to realise later that this voice was none other than the deep South African accent of John Torrance, or perhaps one of the other Intensivist bosses, telling you to what to do through the department mobile phone!). There was so much humility, humor and wisdom in what he said I really wanted to check out his writings later on when I heard that there was a poetry book published by him, and certainly his writing conveys the same grace that he had in person!

(This is a good book for doctor poets!)

3) Textbook of Emergency Medicine – Vol. 1 & 2 , 
David, Brown, Nelson, Banerjee, Anantharaman, et al., (Authors)
Wolters Kluwer Health (Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins),Delhi, India 2012

This is an Emergency Medicine compendium and the first desk reference reference of it’s kind that was developed and published in Asia. 
Word from the Chief Editor, Dr Suresh David, “Most of our emergency medicine textbooks come from the USA. From an EM academic standpoint the world is divided into the West and the East. We are currently modifying and adapting from the West. So we created a book predominantly for the Eastern hemisphere. This book is a One-Stop-Shop for EM students, EMS personnel, EM postgraduates and ED administrators. He also said that the literature came from authors who were experts in their field. For example, the chapter on Diving Medicine was written by David Greene who is an Ex-Navy SEAL. The chapters on Frostbite and High Altitude Illness were written by Ken Zafren who has experience from Alaska and Himalayas. 

Dr. Judith Tintinalli, in the foreword, mentioned that this textbook matches practices to the resources and cultures of the region, and makes clear that EM is a tangible specialty in India and South-East Asia”

I think this book is would be a useful desk reference for anyone wanting to practice International Emergency Medicine in Asia, and in particular work or teach in the Indian subcontinent!

(By the way I wrote the chapter on treatment of anti cholinesterase poisoning with my supervisor, who is actually world expert on the topic, which is how I know about this book – so I just thought I’d declare that conflict of interest with this recommendation!) 

4) Healthy Thinking: How to Turn Life’s Lemons into Lemonade
Dr Tom Mulholland  
Dr Tom is an irrepressable enthusiast. His career has included being a Doctor, Pilot and Entrepreneur. He has been been a NZ Forest Service Forester, won a First Class Honours degree in Molecular biology and Graduated as a Medical Doctor from the University of Otago. Inspite of his impressive CV Dr Tom learned through personal experience that life sometimes serves us lemons when he lost control of his internet business and his marriage faltered.He writes about how to turn life’s lemons into lemonade as he has. His book has become a bestseller and his and personal speaking engagements for individuals and businesses make him one of the most in-demand motivators in Australasia. He now now also has his own television show Dr Tom – The Attitude Doctor.” – take from an internet book review (link above)

(I have only read sections of this book, but what I read was fantastic! Also my mum is a great fan of his books and her recommendations are worth their weight in gold, which why i included it in the list. I’m definitely going to get my own copy after writing this review and read the book fully mysefl!)