Awaken the genius within

Awaken the genius within,

Start to sing,

The songs that have no meaning,

 

 

Brush aside your heart-strings,

And begin the journey of your soul,

Don’t put it on hold,

 

 

Keep your mind on this gold,

For you never know what will unfold.

 

Yesterday I met a poet at the hospital registrar orientation and it was a very inspiring encounter indeed.

So often it is easy to feel lost in one’s workplace, which is a conglomeration of people who have gathered to work in similar roles, from varying disciplines. On the surface they have a common goal, perhaps even holding the same “job title”. However, their backgrounds, hopes and aspirations all differ quite dramatically – if only we take the time, and perhaps have the courage to enquire what inspires them in life.

One person I met was an avid kite-surfer, who also happened to know people from Canada who were my research mentors. For example, Eddy Lang is a guru in the research on “knowledge translation”. Knowledge Translation is a field that involves strategies of translating evidence into practice (which is outlined in this hallmark paper published, http://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(06)02142-1/pdf , The principles outlined in this article had a strong influence on the theme of my PhD thesis, and i’m very grateful for this).

Later on in the day I spoke with a poet who had a passion for many things that brought meaning to her life including a fascination with animal kingdom. Perhaps the reflection from this encounter was that I would have never learned about so many interesting things, had I not asked the initial questions about what it was she was passionate about. The other side of the same coin is that we can easily shy away from “sharing” what makes us tick because of the fear of not being valued through what has become a narrow focus in our modern fast-paced world, and I have often found myself falling into this trap.

I find it ironic that in a caring profession like medicine, which is based upon uncovering the stories of our patients, we have a culture that is often misses the richness of the experiences of those with whom we work.

I am very passionate about music, and wisdom, and I would like to share an early rendition of a song I wrote years ago now.

The song is called “Peaceful Revolution”, and the song is also about how I discovered wisdom in the simplicity of the villagers of rural Sri Lanka, compared with the hustle bustle of my western urban background. Here is an earlier version in all its raw simplicity…

Believe in Yourself!

This is the message that came from the words that better describes the song that I just recorded. that I originally called “study jam”. As I pushed record on my computer I entered the words “study jam” because that was exactly what it was – some random chords and sounds that needed to be released quickly before heading to the office on a beautiful sunday to do some work.

Today I need to re-analyse data that collected in 2008 to try an answer a question related to understand what drives doctors to make clincial decisions. I never dreamed that I would still be doing this in March 2013.I am afraid of doing this data analysis which is why I needed to start with some inspiration.

Research and writing can be a lonely world, but I believe it is rewarding in the end. One of the reasons it’s so lonely is that I feel that very few people can understand what you’re talking about half the time, but still I try to explain. The reason I feel fear is that analysing data is not straightforward, and it usually take far longer than one imagines. I am also afraid becuase if what comes out of this analysis changes my findings, then i have to re-think the problem again and write about it in a different way (ie. “back to the drawing board”, yet again!)

“Why am I doing this?” is the question that comes to mind a hundred times over, but it’s already been answered a thousand times back. I had a dream in 2008, when working in the rural hospitals of Sri Lanka, of making a difference to the systems medical education in low resource settings. The research I was involved with opened so many doors, in my mind, mainly to do with understanding how making a change could be possible. However, not long after I had the vision, came a realisation that it would take a lot of time and committment and perserverance to make it all happen. These were all things that frightend the life out of me at the time, but I ignored it with enthusiam and a belief that it would be a breeze. Only much later when facing many road blocks I had to face the reality that writing up my research findings was going to be harder than I had hoped for.

Whilst I don’t expect many to understand the details of what I’m writing about, there is one concept my struggle, and occasional loneliness illustrates:-

“it is not easy for anyone to understand (and therefore judge) anyone elses struggles, no matter how trivial or signigficant they seem on the surface.”

This is why I try to maintain a deep respect for “all” human being because the chances are that I don’t fully know or understand their struggle. I believe the common suffering is the thing that binds as all, and it is something that we can embrace. Buddhist philosophy suggests that the struggle is common, and perhaps solution can be shared by all.

But what about the conditions – aren’t some people put in far more tricky situations?

Perhaps? Perhaps not? I the only thing I know is that I don’t know.

Again, I don’t profess to know about anyone else, after all i’m just getting to know myself!

I believe that the conditions of one’s external reality (ie what’s going on in your life) can really shape and affect our inner world, but only as much as we let it. It’s hard to change the external world quickly (or at all), but what we can do is change our “realtionship with that reality” at any given time through our “attitude”. Holding an attitude of hope, positivity, and friendliness, allows us to see pick up wth most import data points in the experience soup that hits our face on a daily basis.

This morning when I went out surfing the rough seas, with 4 friends, it looked like madness, but we did it with an open mind, and the result was amazing. We didn’t catch the best waves of our life, but we all had a fun time, and learned something. Ultimately isn’t this a valuable thing – this is my definition (at the moment) of what life is about – to learn something and try and have some fun in the process, and even better to share it with some others!

I hope you have a good Sunday whereever you are, no matter what the conditions.

My song has provided me with enough fun and inspiration to allow me to go and face the fears of the analysis in the office.

Adios Amigos!

ps I hope you enjoy the song!

Bish_and_boyz-sufing

(Photography courtesy of Kester Boardman)