August 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 10
An Internet Newsletter publication for all CIM Alumni and friends.
Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.
Ma. Belen Rosales, M.D.
Ray Castillejo, M.D.
Clem S. Estrera, Jr. Ma. Belen F. Rosales Hector Vamenta Anny Misa-Hefti
Ma. Belen F. Rosales
Editor's ColumnAs two monks were walking down the road they noticed a young woman waiting to cross a stream. One of the monks, to the dismay of the other, went over to the woman, picked her up, and carried her across the water. About a mile down the road, the monk who was aghast at his friend's action remarked, "We are celibate, we are not supposed to even look at a woman, let alone pick one up and carry her across the stream. How could you possibly do that?" The other monk replied, "I put that woman down a mile back. Are you still carrying her around with you?" --Allen Klein, The Healing Power of Humor
Acceptance, we cannot let go without
Somehow it has become human nature to hold on to what once was and not accept what now is. Yet what we cannot accept, we cannot let go. It's like if we keep holding on to the stock investment value we used to have before the stock market dropped, then we won't be able to let go our losses. For we'd keep thinking of the money we could have had, not the money we now have.
But what really makes letting go difficult is the fact that ever since we were kids, and now as adults, we are constantly trying to change our surroundings, our situation, or the people in our life. We get upset and frustrated because we cannot. In fact, the common cause of a persistent dispute between friends, lovers, married couples or husbands and wives, and even between parents and older children, is the constant struggle of trying to change the other. We want others to change the way we want them to, instead of simply accept them just the way they are. Leo Tolstoy once said: "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
In many situations, our ability to let go depends on our ability to apologize and to forgive. But for an apology to be sincere, we have to be willing to accept what we have done wrong in order to let go our guilt feeling. Many people who don't know how to apologize also don't know how to forgive, let alone forget. Some of them would rather waste their energy in the struggle of justifying their mistakes by making blames and excuses, or by defensive reaction, intimidation and manipulation to squelch the fact and silence the truth. Indeed we can continue blundering and hurting others as well as ourselves, or we can make an effort to learn to admit mistakes, to apologize and to forgive, in order to be able to let go and see beyond the unpleasant situation we have created.
The past to remember and the past to forget
Many people think of their childhood bad and sad experiences as the main reasons for their unhappiness and dissatisfaction in their present life. They would insist on such thought as if they can do nothing about their present situation. They think that life would have been wonderful if things were only easier. They would have been happier. Thus they have constantly allowed their unpleasant past and childhood circumstances to render them powerless and to justify their inability to improve their life, their attitude, personalities and behavior. They hold on to their unpleasant past as if the past determines their future, and change is not possible. They keep blundering because they believe that it's what they have been and so it's what they will continue to be. Instead of taking charge of their life, they let their past take charge of it.
Thinking of all those rough and tough times you passed through life, would you be as strong today if it hadn't been for those experiences? Now think about those sleepless nights when we started our life in the U.S. - changing diapers, feeding our newborn every two to four hours, then driving the kids to school and to their extracurricular activities like our life was dancing with the rhythm of the song, On The Road Again. And with our duties in the hospital, some of us were not able to see our families for 2-3 days at a time. Those were hard struggles we had to undergo, passed through and survived. We ought to congratulate ourselves and be grateful for those experiences that should have made us stronger and happier.
And yet, those are exactly the kind of experiences that we would readily let go while those minor blunders we'd made and indecisions we had, are the ones we would hold on to, making us constantly think that life should have been better. Thus all too often it's not that life is not wonderful, or things are not easier. It is that our inability to let go our blunders, bad decisions and other unpleasant circumstances makes us unhappy, because it keeps us from seeing the reality that we are actually a whole lot better and stronger. It also holds us from becoming more aware that if we let go the unpleasant events of the past, we can change and reshape our future. We can change and modify our present way of thinking, our attitude, personality and behavior, and become a better and happier person if only we learn to let go.
Dealing with parents' flawed discipline
I myself used to think that if things were easier when I was growing up, life would have been wonderful. And my life would have been a lot better and happier. Every time I encountered difficulties, I used to get so frustrated and upset so easily, and I used to think of my behavior to have come from my childhood circumstances. I also used to believe that there is nothing I could do about it. Like probably many of us, as part of my discipline, I was being whipped or belted when I was a kid for making mistakes and doing something I was not supposed to do. I remembered when I fell from a broken branch of a tree I climbed to reach its fruits and I was crying because my left arm hurt like hell, I thought was broken. Instead of being comforted, my parents were upset and hit me with the broom. I was stung and stunned more by the confusion and embarrassment than by the pain of being hit. But it was then that I began to realize never to complain, let alone cry, and most of all, never to fall from the fruit trees of our neighbor.
Ironically, I initially did to my children what my parents did to me because I hold on to the belief that if it worked for me, then it should work for my children. The crazy thing about it was that I started blaming the weakness of my children for the failure of my inherited form of discipline. I had to let go that belief to be able to see things in a proper perspective and started making drastic changes, looking into my method for flaws, not on anyone or anything, when something goes wrong.
I had been grateful with my parents for making me think hard of my own life by the way they brought me up. I could never blame them for the unpleasant form of physical discipline I received. They did the best they knew how and they believed it was the right thing to do at the time. It was rough, it was tough and it was definitely not something for laugh. I was challenged to prove that what they thought of me as only a microscopic might would one day turn into a mighty roar.
I had been underestimated and criticized unfairly since I was a kid even by the people I loved around me and who loved me, and I have always risen up to the challenge not because I care about what they say about me, but because I care about myself. If you believe that what others say about you is not true, then take it as a challenge, rise up to it and do something. Do it for yourself. Don't just respond to it with passive acceptance, or react to it with aggressive denial. If you do, then it would not only prove to others that what they say about you is true, it would also make you lose or at least diminish your sense of yourself, your sense of self-value and self-respect.
Deriving strength from rough-and-tumble experiences
I used to get bogged down with the nagging thought that if only I did not have to quit for almost two years in college, my life would have been a whole lot better. But then I realized that those two years were actually the turning points of my life. I was strengthened by the rough-and-tumble experiences during those two years like going to Mangagoy, Bislig looking for a job with money just enough for one way ticket on a ship that took a week to reach there. And instead of a regular job, I ended up a salesman selling dwarf coconuts door to door, dealing with all kinds of people; the rich ones with big lands, and the rough, tough and never laughed kind with just enough money to eat once a day and while menacingly holding an ax in their hands, they would look at you as if you make them hungry.
After just less than three months, I left the place when I saw my cousin almost kicked the bucket catching El Tor cholera infection. It was an ugly and scary sight - liquid shits constantly leaking like a ruptured drainage pipe. My cousin who was relatively big and fat was reduced to one of those victims of the Holocaust. He made the cadavers in the Gross Anatomy Lab look a lot more alive and handsome. I imagined that if I kicked the bucket that way, no one in the family would recognize me. So I came home on a plane in a hurry that took a couple of hours instead of a week on a ship, with more money I ever had in my life during those times.
Then I worked in the Atlas Mining in Lutopan, Toledo, Cebu, for about seven or eight months as a laboratory helper dusting and mopping floors and carting huge glasses filled with water and chemicals up on a steep hill through a very dusty road that turned my mucus and saliva green from copper, and my perspiration into bits of clay from iron. Those two years solidified my determination and resolve to have a whole lot better profession and become a doctor. I would do the same things over again if I were to go back to the past. If it were not for the past I had passed through, I would not have been able to write something that would make some sense in sharing my thoughts, knowledge and experiences.
The perils of not letting go
When we do not let go our upsets, grudges, resentment, difficulties and disappointments, they become burdens on our shoulders. They drain our energy and make us exhausted, because we are basically transferring our time and energy away from the present to the past. Ultimately, they would poison our mind, and drive us nuts. Indeed it's hard to turn our back or walk away, let alone let go of a situation that we feel we've been wronged, or an argument that we feel justified. For even if we know that some things are not worth arguing for, let alone fighting for, we seem to be drawn too easily to argue and fight for being right. But when being right becomes more important than being happy like it's a life and death situation, a little disagreement is often more than enough to turn a minor skirmish into a major battle.
Inability to let go is often the underlying problem in mental illness. Many people have developed mental illness because they are stuck with guilt, fear, anger, or resentment of something they had done, or of the unpleasant things that were done to them or had happened to them that they are unable to let go, or get over. Although they are aware that these emotions are fixated on the negatives, they have allowed these emotions to become deep-seated by repressing them. They are like having a wound that cannot heal, because underneath the scab is a suppuration. We know only too well that for a wound to heal, the pus must be drained or evacuated. Yet these people have constantly struggled to wall off the pus of bitterness, anger, fear, guilt, or resentment. Repressed but retained, this pus has eventually produced spiritual toxins that has rendered their minds dysfunctional.
"I only flirt with girls who look like they have ground-floor apartments." --John Callahan, a quadriplegic cartoonist
Three kids saw a dog riding on the front seat of a fire truck which was raising along the road with its siren going. Each wondered what the dog is doing there.
"I think he is there to keep onlookers away from the fire," said the first.
"I think he is there to bring the firemen good luck," said the second.
The third said: "I reckon he's there to find the hydrant."
At a job interview, an office manager asked a female applicant whether she had any unusual talents. She said that she had won several prizes in crossword puzzle and slogan-writing competitions.
"That's very good, " said the manager, "but we want somebody who can be smart during office hours."
"Oh," said the applicant, "that was during office hours."
A businesswoman was explaining her delicate problem to a doctor. She told him she couldn't help passing wind, which was particularly embarrassing for her in board meetings.
"I just can't control myself," she said. "The only consolation is that they neither smell nor make a noise. In fact since I've been in your office talking to you, it's happened twice."
The doctor reached for his notebook, scribbled a prescription and handed it to her.
"What, nasal drops?" she said.
"Yes, we'll fix your nose, then we'll have a go at your hearing."
"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." - Unknown
"Every now and then, somewhere, some place, sometime, you are going to have to plant your feet, stand firm, and make a point about who you are and what you believe in. When that time comes, Pat, you simply have to do it." – Lee Riley (father of Pat Riley, NBA coach)
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." -- Abraham Lincoln
"Never mistake motion for action." -- Ernest Hemmingway
"What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence." -- Samuel Johnson
"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." --Art Linkletter
I don't know about you, but I throw my coins or loose change into a big jar in our family room for collection. But I have always dreaded counting them, put them in those coin paper tubes and take them to the bank. My children used to do them for me when they were small and were happy to go to the bank with me. But when my children became teenagers, they would just laugh at the prospect of collecting coins although they would still put their loose change in the big jars, but they don't help counting them anymore. So for the next several years, three big jars were filled with coins and I just didn't have the enthusiasm to count them anymore until 5 or more years ago when coin counting machines have started to appear in the grocery stores. These machines are blessings. I had been fascinated with the technology of these machines that I decided to look into how did it start and who is the genius or creative persons behind them.
Jens Molbak, while earning his MBA at Stanford University in the late 1980s, did a research by interviewing people about pocket change, and according to him, people, on average, handle about $600 worth of change each year. These people weren't going to sit down and roll it up and take it to the bank - that takes too long. Then Molbak conducted interviews at grocery stores around San Francisco. Molbak knows about retail business because the family owned gardening store near Seattle. The store business virtually evaporated after September 11th terrorists' attacks and so, Jens had to do something to avoid filing Chapter 11. Anyway, after interviewing 1,500 people more or less at grocery stores about their loose change, Molbak founded Coinstar and placed counting machines in four San Francisco area grocery stores as a start.
The machine counts your coins. All you do is pour your coins to the top of the machine whatever they are - quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies - and you only have to pay 8.9% of your change to use the machine. The machine processes 600 coins per minute. Now here is the fascinating technology behind it. Inside the box in the machine, an Intel Pentium processor figures out exactly how much change you've got and prints a receipt you can cash at the grocery store. This coin counting computer is connected to a wide area, digital network, allowing Coinstar to monitor every single machine, in real time, 24 hours a day. The company knows immediately when something is broken, what machine and where. It knows how much money inside each unit at all times. The precision of this network provides the company with tremendous scalability. Isn't that neat?
There are now 10,000 coin counting machines installed in every major grocery store chain in the U.S. In the last 10 years, these machines have counted 137 billion coins worth about $6.5 billion, during 190 million separate customer transactions. By 2002, each installed unit provided the company more than $6,000 per year revenue, a huge jump from only $115 in 1999. But only 17.5% of people living in the areas served by Coinstar company have used the machines according to an independent research firm. These machines have already expanded to Europe. U.K. has 350 units installed and counting. Loose change, huh!....
(Source: Porter Stanberry's Investment Advisory, May 2003 issue. To subscribe call: (888) 261-2693)
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why? Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever." -- Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.
"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." --Mariah Carey
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." --Brooke Shields, during an interview to become Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." -- Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." -- Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, D.C.
"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." -- Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.
"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it." -- A congressional candidate in Texas.
"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves." -- John Wayne
"Half this game is ninety percent mental." -- Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." -- Al Gore, Vice President
"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix." ---Dan Quayle
" It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another." -- George Bush, US President
"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?" -- Lee Iacocca
"I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version." -- Colonel Oliver North, from his Iran-Contra testimony.
"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." -- Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.
"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people." --Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." -- Bill Clinton, President
"We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur." -- Al Gore, VP
"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas." -- Keppel Enderbery
"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." -- Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." -- Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman
Aren't you feeling smart yet?
"You can learn to control your mind and decide to be happy inside with a smiling heart, in spite of what happens to you on the outside." --There Is A Rainbow Behind Every Dark Cloud
NOTE: The story below is taken from the e-mail circulation, from one of my American friends. I decided to publish and share this with you because it could have a way of bringing up some unpleasant truths regarding the ethics of many of us. We could pass the lesson to our children and grandchildren that they may grow up to maturity with better understanding of ethics than we do.
Catch of a Lifetime
He was eleven years old and went fishing every chance he got from the dock at his family's cabin on an island in the middle of a New Hampshire lake.
On the day before the bass season opened, he and his father were fishing early in the evening, catching sunfish and perch with worms. Then he tied a small silver lure and practiced casting. The lure struck the water and caused colored ripples in the sunset, then silver ripples as the moon rose over the lake.
When his pole doubled over, he knew something huge was on the other end. His father watched with admiration as the boy skillfully worked the fish alongside the dock.
Finally, he very gingerly lifted the exhausted fish from the water. It was the largest one he had ever seen, but it was a bass.
The boy and his father looked at the handsome fish, gills playing back and forth in the moonlight. The father lit a match and looked at his watch. It was 10 P.M. - two hours before the season opened. He looked at the fish, then at the boy.
"You'll have to put it back, son," he said.
"Dad!" cried the boy.
"There will be other fish," said his father.
"Not as big as this one," cried the boy.
He looked around the lake. No other fishermen or boats were anywhere around in the moonlight. He looked again at his father.
Even though no one had seen them, nor could anyone ever know what time he caught the fish, the boy could tell by the clarity of his father's voice that the decision was not negotiable. He slowly worked the hook out of the lip of the huge bass and lowered it into the black water.
The creature swished its powerful body and disappeared. The boy suspected that he would never again see such a great fish.
That was 34 years ago. Today, the boy is a successful architect in New York City. His father's cabin is still there on the island in the middle of the lake. He takes his own son and daughters fishing from the same dock.
And he was right. He has never again caught such a magnificent fish as the one he landed that night long ago. But he does see that same fish - again and again - every time he comes up against a question of ethics.
For, as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners to get the design in on time? Or refuse to trade stocks based on information that we know we aren't supposed to have?
We would if we were taught to put the fish back when we were young. For we would have learned the truth.
The decision to do right lives fresh and fragrant in our memory. It is a story we will proudly tell our friends and grandchildren. Not about how we had a chance to beat the system and took it, but about how we did the right thing and were forever strengthened.
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