Where science and art meet

Where science and art meet,

Is a very special street,

 

That is more of treat than a destination,

A special universal creation,

 

The speaks the truth of this moment,

As we see it,

 

Do not try and understand,

Simply “Be it”,

 

For whether this place lies under you feet,

Or becomes the seat,

 

That you chose to dwell upon,

You will always find Love,

 

In every direction you look,

If only you can let go of the hook,

 

That keeps you trapped in the mind.

 

Learn to be kind,

And awken the blind,

 

Within you.

 

Those who understand this are few,

But still seek out this special crew,

 

Because this “peace” in life is long overdue.

 

12-6-16

Right now I am feeling quite blessed to be in London, spending the night in a hotel room with my beloved father who I owe so much to. So humble, so caring, the man who taught me what sharing was all about, modelled through the way he lived his life, and the way he provided for his family.

Sometimes when you are the recipient of great genenrosity there can be an immense pressure to reciprocate rather than appreciate. At present I choose to focus on the latter, and perhaps it is my deep connection with the arts that I can see things from a number of perspectives.

During the last 48 hours I have had a brief trip through “London town” which has felt quite special, if not magical, meeting and reconnected with family and wonderful friends. In such a short period of time I feel as if I have journeyed through a diverse range of geography, society, history, and art.

Some of the many highlights include a brief stay with my father in the centre of London, both of us respectively on transit between medical conferences, and having a brief yet meaningful walk along the Southbank of the Thames river. I also managed to pleasurably catch up with a range of friends and relatives including during a short space of time.

This included a dear old friend and flatmate who introduced me to the world of playback theatre many years ago and is now a dance movment therapist; an educational child psychologist who is nearing the end of her doctorate on the use of mindfulness training in schools; a special primary school friend who I have kept in touch with from the days of attending a British international school in Saudi Arabia during the 90’s, and of course the friend who introduced me to a form of mindfullenss training during my PhD fieldwork in Sri Lanka, himself an interesting medical doctor, and researcher in mindfullness medicine.

Finally, my stay in London culiminated with a night out with my dear cousin and her dancer friends in Covent Gardens. My cousin, herself an performing Flamenco dancer, and successful business woman and my old medical muso friend from Sydney, who happened to be visiting London, catching up with his own old friend who likes to experience life to its fullest.

I couldn’t help but reflect that after a weekend of exploration through science (a world that I am embedded within), mindfullness, and travel, it was the perhaps on the dance floor of what seemed like an exclusive London arts club that I again remember the salient importance of music, dance and art, and the quote shared with me by my cousin earlier that night.

“civilizations aren’t remembered by their business people, bankers or lawyers. They are remembered by their arts” – Eli Broad.

This morning as I was leaving on a bus to Victoria station where I would catch a train to the airport, I couldn’t help but notice, one more time, the increadible depth of art that I was surrounded by in London.

Onwards and upwards to #smaccDUB

So as I head towards one foremost conferences in critical care – SMACC Dub (Social Media and Critical Care) I am looking forward to experience more science, and but also more art and creativity. For whilst this conference that is touted at being one of the most dynamic in the arena of critical care, it has also proved to be a meeting place for some of the brightest and creative ideas in health care of modern times.

I am so looking forward to Dublin!!

 

Related posts

Meditation, Surfing and Thesis writing

Emergency Medicine and the loophole of Love

Half way around the world in 77 days

#smaccGold reflections

 

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Return to Kandahar – Benjamin Gilmour Films

Today I received an email from an friend, author and filmaker is continuing to work his artistic magic by creating films with meaning.

Excerpts from the interview:

Return to Kandahar is about hope, it’s about friendship, it’s about hospitality, and its about forgiveness”

we don’t need pro-war, anti-muslim propaganda films anymore”

what we need are films that promote peace, that promote understanding”

if you believe in justice, peace, in dignity, in fairness and equality, than I think this is a project that you should get behind”

please support it – we need your help”

 

About the Filmaker

Ben Gilmour wrote a book called “Paramedico” which was an exposition of short stories about the tales of an international paramedic who cherished the adventure that his job entailed. I was instantly attracted to read the book whose title seem to fall on my lap, as often is the case with books that I’m meant to read, when enjoying a chai in one of my favourite cafes in the world “Gertrude and Alice – café and bookstore” in Bondi, some years back.

I was lucky enough to meet the man behind the printed words his book launch in that very café/bookstore and we instantly became friends, perhaps connected by a shared passion to improve the world in a small way through combining our backgrounds in health care (in his case being a qualified ambulance officer), research, and of course creativity.

Shortly after meeting ben I saw the trailer for his movie “Paramedico” and was further inspired by his aristic achievement.

Today I read the blur about Ben’s latest movie “Return to Kandahar- one which he is seeking crowd funding support. I instantly watched the 2 minute short film/interview and dontated $15 to the cause and wrote this post.

I hope that 15 minutes of my time can help in one step forward supporting what seems to be an epic film that I would like to watch, as well as a creating a culture of films that the world is so ready for.

Good luck Ben – you’re a legend and inspiration!

Thank you for your work!

Love is awareness… (the travellers mindset)

Love is awareness,
The I don’t-care-ness,
That blesses those who awaken,

To the voice inside the whole,
Perhaps, the seat of the soul,
If such a thing exists?

Observe and see what persists,
The truth that sometimes resists,
Only waiting to be uncovered.

19-7-15

I’ve have just travelled in a plane from Sydney for 14 hours and right now am on a 3 hour stop-over in Abu Dhabi. So much has happened in the last 24-48 hours; finishing up my last shift at the emergency department to go on a much awaited 2 week break, graduating from a 9 year journey in research, followed by embarking half way across the world to be reunited with the woman I love. I have only been in Abu Dhabi for 1 hour but have noticed myself slowly slipping back into the mode of the “traveller mindset”. It is in this space that I have recieved much inspiration throughout my life.

The most incredible things have happened to me whilst travelling. I used to think that actual “physical travel” was necessary to get to this state, that is, until I discovered surfing and meditation. I have realised that travel is as much a state of mind as a state of being and cirucmstance. For example, the fact that I am now “travelling”, is more than a “situation” that has arisen by working in a job, booking leave, and then jumping on a plane to travel to a specific overseas destination. What I’m experiencing, and viewing through my mind, even before arriving at my chosen destination in Sweden, is far more than the situation of arriving at the destination. The process, that I have grown to know and love has already started.

Here in the airport transit lounge itself I have noted myself experiencing a state of total immersion in the essence of travel. I feel the sensation of arid heat upon my face as I look through the terminal glass out a the airbus’s and parked boeing aircrafts, standing on sunbaked tarmac, surrounded by a haze of dessert dust. I can hear the CNN, american accented, newscaster talking about reports of terrorist attacks from TV screen above and behind me, whilst sipping a latte that tastes quite different to what I am used to; perhaps it’s the different coffee bean, or the dairy product that is not quite the same? All these thoughts and sensations are in constant play, keeping me entertained and alive.

In amongst all this I have again embraced the interesting social dynamic of travel, where I can easily engage with other random travellers about a number of things ranging from travelling tips, to the reflections about deeper aspects of life. Since jumping on the plane at Kingsford Smith International airport in Sydney last night, I have already met a gentleman in his 50’s on his way to Athens, who shared the wisdom of his life experience including the assertion that if one believes and focusses on anything it can be achieved, and the refelction that by far the the most important thing in this life is family. Then there was the lady traveller from returning from India to Brussels with a colourful clothes reflecting that cultures of subcontinent, and the young Russian lady who sat next to me whilst having coffee, reading “eat, pray, love”, just about to embark on a travel adventure that included Thailand and other neaby South East Asian countries.

All these experiences perhaps occurred because my consciousness was not dulled by a circulating and never ending list of “tasks at hand”, something that seems to characterise modern urban living.

Travel encapsulates the everything that is occuring, the body sensations, the sights, the sounds, the human interactions, all being noticed indiscriminately, with curiosity and sometimes with bewilderment and awe. To me it is this observational mindset, which I call the “travellers mindset”, that is at the heart of travel.

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Artistic Solitude

The serene surroundings,
Echo a warmth from within,

And in the stillness of being,
Awaken’s the voice of inner calling,

Enthralling… as the “to-do” lists may be,
We first must be blind in order to see,

What is beneath the surface,
Perhaps our true purpose,

But either way generosity and kindness are the key.

15-7-14

I just had the good fortune of staying with old friends at an amazing house located within an inner city suburb of Sydney, and in the last 24 hours have experienced a taste of architecture and creative homeliness. This couple has put a lot of effort into designing and crafting a beautiful home, and it has been a privilege for me to see the journey unfold.

Last night I stayed in the guest room of their house but it could easily have been a boutique hotel’s main room. The interior designs beautifully wrapped around and with the house exuded flavours from all over the world including, Morocco, France, China, Tibet, and even heritage Sydney.

For me what really added to the experience of this place was the depth of the art that surrounded me. Whilst it would be feasible to professionally hire an interior designer to create a luxury space along similar themes; such as world travel, antique artifacts, and local heritage, there would be something missing which was ever present in this home – a “depth of authenticity”.

Reflecting in this mornings solitude when I had the place to myself was an awareness of surrounding art that was more than mere decoration, they actually exuded elements of a couple’s personal travel adventure, and home planning that had exceeded 10 years. I remember staying in this very house almost a decade earlier, whilst the new house designs were simply a blueprint coyly displayed on the corridor wall, where it seemed like a dream that may or may not eventuate. But the quest had already begun with items from trips to Morocco were being stored in parents garages, during numerous trips to Europe, whilst doing the classic “Aussie – UK OE” (overseas experience, or Work abroad program).

I’m sure many travelers have had dreams like this, to take bits of the travel that compose such fond memories, and embed these memories into a more conventional life on the other side of the world, through the medium of art and interior design. However, few that I know have actually managed to pull it off so well. It’s been a long road but I can proudly say that you guys have done something amazing – well done Romesh and Geetha – thanks for having me over again – I love the way that this dream has panned out!

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Dreams and Reality

To travel is to be free,

The allow our consciousness to see,

That we are not trapped in our minds,

But at the mercy of what one finds,

On this wandering path of life,

So when we dream a life without strife,

It can cut like a knife,

Through the deception of our misbelief,

For “this” the real thief in understanding,

What truly stands before us,

And whether you agree or not,

Reality will neither deny nor ensure us,

For “we see” what “we believe”,

And it works in that order

Positivity or negative is the habitual boarder,

As we chose the way of our predetermined destiny.

 

5-4-14 As Sanna and I set off on a trip to Melbourne for the wedding of Sri Lankan friends, something suddenly hit home about my own life and state of being. I am most at peace and in harmony when I am travelling in any form. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, but it is the activity of travel that sets me free. Perhaps it’s the state of “flow” that comes with travelling that does, but whatever it is, when travelling I seem to be free of the constraints of the mind.

 

This seemed to play out clearly for me this morning. Within minutes of hitting the airport at 6:45am, I started to notice the beauty of the morning sunrise streaming down through expansive horizontal cloud in the airport car park. All my worries; ongoing challenges of medical training, the never ending list of to do items that exist in the wake of shifting home, and of course that old chestnut called “the future”, were all let go, leaving only that old friend who I lived with when I was a child… “the present”.

 

All we had to do is get to Melbourne and enjoy the ride. Within minutes of hitting the terminal, whilst Sanna went to bathroom I had already struck up a conversation about travel with the people who standing in line next to me in the long and winding Tiger-air check-in line. The two fellow travelers who were directly behind me happened to be Swedish backpackers from the southern Swedish city of Gothenberg, a city that I’d briefly lived in a few years previously – the conversation started and continued to flow and with this the magic of travel had again begun. These two were on holiday travelling through Asia on to Australia, and had just spend time on a surf-camp near Byron Bay Australia. Imagine their surprise when this Sri Lankan looking New Zealand sounding Australian resident asked them the question “Hur mar du?” as soon as they said they were from Sweden? After Sanna returned to the airport check in line, there were introductions and then some non-stop Swedish banter until we hit the check-in – yet another free language lesson for me. These random conversations underpin the joy of travelling for me. It’s the sharing of experiences and the discovery of new things quite by chance. To me this is freedom, and this is where dreams and reality coincide.

Sculptures in the Sand!

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Here are some pictures of us creating sculptures in the sand last Sunday!

This was a perfect relaxing end to a stressful weekend, and it was so wonderful to be able to stroll down to Bondi beach for a swim with Sanna and Happy. Finishing the day with some creativity was just what was needed!

This is how it happened;- the three of us first randomly drew in the sand after our swim and some impromptu beach Yoga. I drew a heart, Sanna drew a dolphin, and Happy made a giant “peace sign” that encompassed both our drawings (but unfortunately it went right through Sanna’s dolphin -Oops! But fear not this potential tragedy created an opportunity further down the line…read on and find out what happened!)

We were already content with out two dimensional images, but then suddenly, as if by magic, we were driven to carve up the sand around the images to make them enter into the third dimension! These once lifeless symbols began to take on a new form, with a sense of life and vitality injected into their core!

Whilst we were carving some people would stop and watch us as they walked along the beach. Everyone was quite interested in what we were doing, and some even looked at us as if we knew what we were professionals (little did they know that this was the first time I’d done anything like this in my life – how ironic!)

What touched me the most was the fact that all the little kids were so fascinated by these 3D drawings in the sand. Honestly, I never imagined that they would be such a point of interaction!

We would say “so what do you think this one is?” – and a delighted little one would say “er.. I think…it’s a Love heart!?” looking at the image of the heart. Or when we pointer to the sunflower “it’s a flower!” to which we would reply “that’s good! It is! Do you know what kind of flower it is?”.

We also asked the interested children whether they would like to join us in the carving process but most were non committal – and perhaps justifiably so. After all sand sculpting appeared to be an onerous and slow task (much like data analysis- little did they know what I have been doing with my time of late!).

However, breaking the popular trend, was one 8 year old girl who came back to us, after her sea bath, and started carving out the third drawing without any encouragement!

Prior to her arrival it was clear that this image had been unfairely left out. It was bad enough that it had been dissected in half (in the name of a peace symbol) but our subsequent lack of attention in the sculpting stakes, gave the impression that it was playing second fiddle to both the heart and the sunflower! Lucky for the dolphin there was this talented young girl who diligently and gracefully resuscitated life back into its yet undiscovered form. Bravo to the creativity of Children! She’d managed to create a masterpiece by the time she was being called to go home, and better still – she agreed to pose in front of her artwork right before the sea would take it back to it’s point of origin!

So there you have it – “sand sculpting on the beach” – it was such fun and I fully recommend it next time you head to the beach!

PS – If you like sand sculptures – also check out this short film which makes amazing use of the beach for motion picture art!

Half way around the world in 77days… and leaving Sri Lanka

Hi there!

 

This is a belated update on the epic journey I just had in Europe and America.  I planned to write this a few weeks ago after returning to Sri Lanka but the time completely disappeared and now I’m writing this en-route to New Zealand!

 

The Epic TRiP – “Half way around the world in 77 days!”

 

6 weeks ago I returned to Sri Lanka from a magical trip abroad where I had a wonderful time catching up with family and friends! “Thank you” to everyone who made this trip so special!  I really appreciated the effort made in catching up! The PhD can be a bit of lonely business at times and this is exactly what I needed.

 

Thanks also my University supervisors who agreed to my request of having some much needed ‘time off’ from my PhD studies!). Now i’m feeling rejuvenated and ready for some “thesis write-up” action!

 

— So what were the highlights of the trip??

 

Well, I feel like i could write a book about the whole experience (…and may be I will one day), but for now I’ll try and give a brief outline of at least some of the highlights.

 

LONdoN ToWN… where all good European travel begins!

 

Catching up with friends in London and heading to the Duran Duran concert was a real blast! Also, sharing a few stories from the heart at “speakers corner” in Hyde Park was a mini-dream come true! It was an amazing experience – especially with the awesome support crew at my side! (Davina, Yo and Sandra, Laki, Su, Dan, Kelly and Sud – and of course Annabelle who who came equipped with sandwiches and champagne!).

 

 

http://bishansworld.posterous.com/duran-duran-in-the-parkAnother big catch-up happened at Dirty Martinis in Covent garden on the second weekend and this rocked just as we planned!

 

None of the UK fun would have been possible if it weren’t for Yosanta and Sandra organising so much “good stuff” for me, and for treating me to their fabulous apartment – so a “big thumbs-up” to you guys! (Thanks Bro for the good times!)

 

GeneVa – city of worlds affairs, with it’s own cosmopolitan flare!

 

It was great hanging out with my Danish “Nangi” Celie -again, and my long lost uni buddy “Hunter” in Geneva, even if it was only for a couple of days. Geneva as fantastic – i loved the ‘international vibe’ – I even managed to meet some people from the WHO (world health organisation) to talk about trying to support the resuscitation training project that I was working on in Sri Lanka, which was a great opportunity.

 

SeViLLe SpAIN – Land of sun, food, fun and festivity… ‘Da puta madre!’

 

The brief Swiss trip was followed by the first part of the European holiday with the fantastic tour through Andulacia (Spain) that was given to us by Sandra’s family! It was a week of relaxation , gourmet food, sun and festivity. “Mucho Gracias -nos encanta!”

 

 

GREece – HeLLeniCA – uniquely ancient and picturesque!

 

Then there was the amazing Mediterranean trip that Yo, Sandra I did. This started with a road trip around mainland Greece along with Taz who came for the ride. Next, us “three amigos” (Bish, Yo and Sandra) ferried on through beautiful Greek Islands;- Diving in Paros, chillin’ in “stunning” Santorini and touring Kos (where Hippocrates came up with the famous “Hippocratic oath” and the first hospital of modern times).

 

TURKYE:- magical, mystical and delightfully beautiful!

 

Thereafter we toured through southern Turkey, which was incredible! It was full of such warm and friendly people, and was laden with beautiful beaches and ancient ruins to match. The waters were warm, and the diving was great! We finished off with 3 days in Istanbul full of history and beauty, and a great historical yet funky vibe! ‘Teh shekaderam turkye’

 

LOS ANGeles – sunshine and fun-time!

 

Yo and I carried on to LA for the ‘finale’ which was Amy and Kanishka’s wedding in LA – We had such a great family reunion!

 

NYC & BoStOn – city that doesn’t sleep, and the ‘Academic Haven’ that’s earned it’s keep!

 

On the way back to home, we stopped through New York and, thanks to Sanjay and “Napkin’s party house” we had a great ‘big apple’ experience! Of course we also rocked the house with Meena, Maz, Dinsy, Bunmi and the rest of the crew in New York City!

 

I also snuck in a visit to Boston, and thanks to Chuck Pozner who took me into his home, and showed me his amazing simulation center at STRATUS which was affiliated with Harvard Medical school- Such a great and inspiring time!

 

Finally Su and Dan were just superb looking after me in that crucial London pit stop before heading back to Sri Lanka (where we snuck in a visit to the old haunt “Ministry of Sound” courtesy of my cousin Dilini! – who has to be the undisputed queen of dance partying!).

 

Whoah, what a trip!

 

KaNdY – peace, tranquility and perspective!

 

The meditation retreat (which was one of the SN Goenka 10 day retreats) upon returning to Sri Lanka was just what i needed – and the perfect way to round off this mega trip. This vipassana retreat was something that i’d been planning to do for a while, and it turned out to be a fantastic experience. Experiencing the “moment” and letting go a little helps so much with finding true peace in this rushed old world that we live in!

 

(I set up a discussion group about Vipassana meditation in daily life, so anyone who is even slightly interested, why not join? – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=174210874782 – it’s very low key but I was inspired so much after the course I set it up all the same, and it could be quite interesting if others also want to contribute?)

 

The CuRReNt MIssiOn – “Finishing the PhD”

 

After emerging from my retreat in Sri Lanka I went straight back to the PhD work and have been working hard out in Anuradhapura and Kandy. Between hanging out with my visiting supervisor, and tying up loose ends in my data collection I so busy that I didn’t make it to Colombo until the weekend just gone.

 

I’m really sorry for not being in touch with everyone, and feel bad –but I guess the time has come to get this PhD finished! My challenge right now is to convert some of the multitude of information that I have collected over those 3 memorable years of working in Sri Lanka into a final finished product. My plan is to submit my thesis in May next year.

 

It sometimes feels like a mountainous challenge that lies ahead, but I know I can do it, just as the Beatles song went.. “with a little help from my friends”. All the support I have received along the way has been so amazing – so again… thank you!

 

LeAvINg Sri LanKA!

 

It’s very sad in many ways to be leaving Sri Lanka as I’ve had such an incredible 3 and half years here. However, deep down I don’t feel like I’m  “leaving for good” because my master plan is to come back and live here after finishing my emergency medicine training, in some “yet to be defined” capacity….so watch this space!

 

 

WhErE to FrOm HeRe?

 

I’m currently on my way to New Zealand from Sri Lanka where I’ll spend a week, and then I’ll be off to Melbourne for an Emergency Medicine conference from Nov 14-21st.

 

Thereafter I’ll be between Sydney and Canberra for the next 6 weeks. I’ll be back to Sri Lanka just before new years and for January 2010 thereafter returning down under to finish my Thesis write up.

 

In the medium-term, I’ve got a job lined up as at the Prince of Wales hospital in Eastern Suburbs, Sydey, starting next July – so I guess it’s “goodbye Sri Lanka –  hello Sydney!”… at least for the next little while.

 

Again – Thanks again for the great times everyone!

 

May you all be well and happy!

 

Peace out
Bishan 🙂

 

Always follow your heart and your “own” dreams as life is too short to follow someone else’s dreams 

 

Life is not a race, but unfortunately we live on a race course 

 

 

 

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