137. For One More Day

By Mitch Albom

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“Here is what you are going to find out about marriage: you have to work at it together. And you have to love three things. You have to love 1) Each other. 2) Your children (When you have some! Hint! Hint!). 3) Your marriage.

What I mean by that last one is, there may be times that you fight, and sometimes you and Catherine won’t even like each other. But those are the times  you have to love your marriage. It’s like a third party. Look at your wedding photos. Look at any memories you’ve made. And if you believe in those memories, they will pull you back together.”

Learning more about each other, ourselves, and our relationship day by day.

Wanting to do things that matter when I breathe by last. Meeting Gitty is one of them. We talk about life, death, meaning, peace, simplicity, happiness, the present. We are going to live in the present and savour the experience. She lent me The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,  and Happiness is a State of Mind.

136. Tuesdays with Morrie

An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson

By Mitch Albom

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“Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

“When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

“Building your own little subculture… The little things I can obey. But the big things- how we think, what we value- those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone- or any society- determine those for you.”

I can’t remember when exactly I first read Tuesdays with Morrie. I so easily get distracted by the hustle of activities. I become oblivious to the plights of my patients in the midst of getting the job done. And of course, trying not to do stupid things and end up delaying things. Empathy disappears when I’m stressed, and I don’t like that. I don’t want to be lost in the moment and only reflect on and rue the moment I have lost.

Can I live by my own rules? How do I stay on top of the my game so that I can enjoy the moments, the interactions with my patients while I work? So many questions, to which the answers come later on with hindsight.

 

135. Changing Lives

Hard truths about helping the poor

By Robert Kee

135 Robert Kee Changing Lives Hard truths about helping the poor

These are rough times. Marawi, London.

How should I go about doing my part for charity? Seems that the best way is to give through your profession.

How much can I give? It feels wrong to be enjoying such comfort when there people with no food, no clothes, and no hope.

 

134. Medicine in Translation

By Danielle Ofri

Journeys with my patients

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First of all, and most of all, I am a doctor. Regardless of the capabilities that I master and the self-fulfilment that accumulates, it is not about me. It is not about how smart and amazing I become. Even if that feels good. All this that I’m learning, it is for the patients, the ones who are suffering and the ones who come with all their pain and vulnerabilities.

It is not just a broken bone or a torn tendon. I am treating a whole person. May I always have compassion, patience and respect for my patients.

There is so much suffering, so much injustice, so much that cannot be explained. Why them, and not me? We won’t ever fully know. So, we can only, and should only move forward. What can I do for them?

133. Touching My Father’s Soul

By Jamling Tenzing Norgay and Broughton Coburn

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America is a young country with a dynamic and […] immature or formative culture. In terms of technical and material progress, it is far ahead of the developing world. In terms of culture and tradition, it is less advanced. I felt that meaning and connection were missing from my life in the United States, as if the country were lacking a spiritual core. All momentum and no center.

The absence of the “sense of sacredness and spirituality”is the source of restlessness, dissatisfaction, and confusion that I saw afflicting many Americans. Wealth and material progressions haven’t eased their malaise. Perhaps they have only aggravated it.

I found America to be organized, prepared, and on schedule. I could easily reassure myself that I was doing something important there, though I grew to wonder what I was actually accomplishing. And what were the people around me achieving? Success was the universal holy grail, and my American classmates had begun to pursue it even before they graduated. What did they expect to gain from it? More leisure time? More material goods? America has countless time-saving appliances and conveniences, so why is that Americans seem more pressed for time than those who don’t have them?

In the mountains, worldly attachments are left behind, and in the absence of material distractions, we are opened up to spiritual thought. When we look out at the ocean or gaze at the sky and the clouds or even the rock wall of a mountain, it is difficult for our minds to form labels. What is it really that we are looking at? There is no real thing there- just color and shape. And when we stop attaching labels to what we see, a sense of quietness flows in to fill the gap, bringing us a step closer to the understanding of emptiness.

We shouldn’t need to go to the mountains […]. We should be attempting to carry the spiritual experience of the mountains with us everywhere. When we return to normal surroundings, the mundane can begin to feel like something of a meaningless state. We need to return to the mountains to feed that liberating experience, because we depend on external landscapes and events to aid our understanding. Rather than allowing the quality of being fully present, fully aware, to develop around us at all times- and in a safer environment- we become addicted to a certain quality of circumstance and experience.

Focus on the substance of the pursuit, rather than on the setting they feel they need to be in for it to occur.

 

132. Doctor on Everest

By Kenneth Kamler M.D.

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I got this book when EBC was a done deal. When we had lived full and simple, and had the skies and mountains to ourselves.

Nothing is impossible if I see my reflection in her (Josiane’s) bright eyes.

Once more I needed her  enthusiastic support.

She maintains for us an island of quiet simplicity. I depend on it at home, in the operating room and in the mountains… She’s scared of heights and big dogs, but she has the courage to follow her heart when it’s for something she believes in. 

Though she is a doctor too, she put her career on long-term hold, enduring many disapproving glances from her colleagues, because she didn’t want anyone else raising our children. Whenever she’s asked her occupation, she replies “mother”, not “doctor”.

(Josiane) We always said we’re not going to live our lives by what other people think and you’re not going to be a prisoner of your practice.

(Josiane) Be careful. Remember how much you have waiting for you at home.

It was a huge mountain but insignificant compared to what I had at home.

The larger society where I have more choices and less time.


Simplify, Gloria. Breathe, Move, Smile, Love. Just Be.

 

131. Into Thin Air

By Jon Krakauer.

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We bought this book on 23/10/2016, in Kathmandu upon arriving. Books add romance to the experience. It feels fantastical, besides being objective.

Into the Wild touched me. Hence, reading Into Thin Air was a no-question. What’s more, he summited Everest.

“Some people have big dreams, some people have small dreams. Whatever you have, the important thing is that you never stop dreaming”  -Doug Hansen

“I can scarcely go on. No despair, no happiness, no anxiety. I have not lost the mastery of my feelings, there are actually no more feelings. I consist only of will.” -Reinhold Messner

I was more exhausted than I’d ever been in my life. – Jon Krakauer

Right now, I recognise that I am intrigued by Everest. I also recognise that I don’t have the conviction yet to climb it. My life now is as beautiful just by beholding Everest from afar. I have grown to love the Mountains, and am ready to profess that they are part of my life.