December 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 14
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.
Letting Go (Part 3)
Clem S. Estrera. Jr., CIM '72
The price of living
Mistakes are like manure. If we learn to see them as enriching our life rather than diminishing it, like fertilizers to plants, they promote growth. Mistakes give us a run for our minds. They make us struggle and often force us to think of how to express our energy and creativity in a more productive way, leading to an experience that gives us the satisfaction, challenge, and fulfillment. It's the struggle that makes the victory sweet and meaningful, a victory won not because we constantly feel the need to win, or our pride or ego won't let us accept a loss, but because when we stay focus on our goal and keep our eyes on the prize, we can let go our frustrations, regrets and disappointments, and move on. Written on the wall of one of those coffee shops I've been into is this: "As you ramble on through life brother, whatever be your goal - keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole."
But if we see mistakes as poisons to our growth, development and progress, then we'd get stuck within our self-imposed boundary of what we can't do, not what we can, unable to move beyond the status quo. For seeing them as poisons, mistakes would doom our thoughts and dash our courage and confidence, making us see them as something to fear and avoid. They would set our limitations we could not move beyond. They would become like old pains and old scars that we would be dragging around from the past. They would drain our life. They are like idols to which we sacrifice our future that are not worth the worship.
Mistakes and failures are akin to tests and trials that determine what kind of stuff you're really made up. They are times and opportunities when you get to meet - the real you! They test and temper you like steel in the furnace. It's not the mistakes you've made but how you deal with them that is a mark of your character.
When the only acceptable outcome is perfection, or making no mistakes, achieving would become too consuming. The pursuit of perfection readily turns commitment into compulsion. Instead of a challenge, the pressure to achieve becomes a burden, and the thought of making mistakes induces fear and paralysis. As a result, the fear of making mistakes leads to the fear of making decisions. Suffice it to say, making no decisions becomes a more appealing choice, because making no decisions is the easiest way of making no mistakes.
Great sources of education
I don’t know about you, but to me, the best teachers that give the best education in all components of life – physical, emotional, spiritual and even intellectual - if we pay more attention to them, are our own children. One drawback however is that, when we make mistakes, it is often too late to correct them, not because the children have grown so fast, but because we rarely if ever admit mistakes let alone apologize to our children. Instead, we routinely deny our mistakes by getting angry, threatening and intimidating, or justify them by blaming the children and making them feel guilty. By the time we realize our mistakes if we ever do, the children have grown and their attitude and behavior are already firmly established. It may already be hard to talk to them without the usual verbal skirmishes, curse, scream and banging of the door. But it may be good to keep in mind that teenage kids in particular need more patience than reason.
In any event, to avoid making the same mistakes again and again, the wiser thing to do when it comes to the children is to step back, relax and simply watch them grow at their own pace and at their own ways toward their own independence than fighting to accelerate their pace, push their progress, change their ways and shape their life the way we want it to. It’s true that we are happy for them, sad for them, proud of them, humiliated for them. But the reality is - we are not them. Their lives are their own. And since we are not them, we cannot be held responsible if they fail, any more than we can take credit if they succeed. We are only responsible for the mistakes we’ve made like showing them bad examples through the way we, ourselves, behave. Kids may not listen to what you say, but they almost always watch what you do. If you no longer have the chance to correct your mistakes, the best thing to do is to let go, and again, step back, relax and be there when they need you.
I know, I know. Many parents would disagree with me and argue against all these. But as far as I’m concerned, I have learned more lessons in life and acquired more wisdoms listening to my children, observing them, growing and enjoying with them than by any other means. Where and from whom else can you learn and understand the real essence of love, trust, hope, respect, responsibility, pride, prudence, discipline, determination, compromise, courage, cooperation and the ability to cope with hardships? Who else could give you the toughest challenge in life, could frighten you, motivate you, drive you crazy and change your life for good?
Who else could make you summon your greatest strengths and your greatest fears to reach down inside yourself to places you’ve long forgotten and pull out something extraordinary you thought you never had? Who else could keep you awake all night struggling with sorrows and pains and longing for peace of mind, joy and happiness? Who else could shake the core of your being, stir the standard mixture of your own beliefs, shatter your logic, splinter your instinct, send you to church regularly and make you spend more time on prayers? If you have seen the Disney movie Finding Nemo, you know how tough the challenge your child is giving you. That movie clearly depicted what some of the parents have to go through for their children. If you think the challenge is not tough and you haven’t acquired any wisdom from your child or children, then you haven’t been a parent.
Understanding ourselves better with introspection
During their early teenage days, my three wonderful kids loved listening to rap, rock, hip-hop and other loud music and songs that initially had given me a hard time adjusting particularly inside the car when we were driving. I had to argue with them about choices of music and songs. But the more I argued with the kids that their music and songs are actually noises because they don’t have harmonious melodies, the more they ridiculed me as having past my time, an ancient man in a modern world still prefers to listen to ancient music and songs as if he never accepted that the sixties had ended. That ridicule stung and hurt my pride or ego initially. I had to take deep breathes and hum my favorite tune just to soothe and cool the fires inside. I was sort of forced to introspect – to go within myself, confront my feelings and reflect. This made me realize and admit to myself that I was really past my time, for the songs and music change every so often. I had my time and it’s the children’s time now, I told myself.
So instead of nursing my wounded ego and allow the loud and unmelodious songs to annoy me, I decided to simply listen and try to decipher its lyrics hoping to understand its meaning or what the songwriter is trying to preach or promote, and surprisingly, I found myself tapping my foot and singing with my children. At least those songs kept me awake while driving. But my wife could not adjust. She fought with the children like a tyrant, putting off the stereo and asserting herself as the authority as if what she says goes. But getting restless without the stereo playing their favorite songs, the children argued and fought with their Mom criticizing and ridiculing each other, and the more they fought, the more their Mom got upset.
History has shown that “control” only breeds rebellion. But like many parents, my wife used to exert complete control when it came to dealing with the kids. Asserting that control, she could not settle down, let alone let go the situation with the kids’ rebellion against her authority not to play their music and songs. Instead, she justified her anger, upset and arguments by complaining that those music and songs gave her migraine headaches. Like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object, it took several long distance driving before “something’s gotta give.”
Being a “control freak” as the kids called her, my wife hopelessly failed to realize that the more upset she became, the farther away she got from the peace and quiet she wanted in the first place. It was not those loud songs that gave her the headaches. It was herself with her unyielding behavior and inability to let go. There is no wisdom in control and rigidity. There are only disagreements, anger and resentment that would lead to rebellion and the headaches as the side effects.
Thinking of compromise, the kids came up with an idea of buying their Mom a couple of earplugs so their Mom could have her own peace and quiet during a long drive while they play their own music and songs. Mom resisted it initially, but realized later on that she was actually behaving more like a child than the children did and was only making things hard for every one including herself. So she finally learned to let go and let the beats go on.
Now haven’t you noticed that surrender is frequently the best solution than fighting whatever it is that is upsetting you? And have you ever had the feeling that God never intervenes with your fight? But once you surrender to the gravity of whatever your problem is after some soul-searching or introspection, God steps in and things become easy the rest of the way. I guess it’s because fighting with your problem keeps you occupied and thus it leaves no room for God to enter. As many religious people have a way of saying: “Let go and let God.”
Finding opportunities behind losses or adversities
Losses or adversities in life come in many different kinds. Financial setback, personal illness, family crisis, professional dispute, legal problem – whatever it may be, it often takes us by surprise, or it’s not what we had hoped for or expected. Many of us become consumed with the problem, and find no peace until it’s resolved. But we know only too well that if we don’t slow down the bursts of adrenalins brought on by the tension and stress the problem is giving us, sooner or later, they would take their toll on our health.
Certainly, there are losses or adversities that are hard to let go. Illness like heart attack, for example, can make you depressed and lose your enthusiasm, but it can also make you resolve to change your lifestyle to a healthier one. Cancer can stop you from smoking. Grief can consume you, but it can also make you gather your strength and resources and move on. It’s simply up to you how you see things, what you choose to do and how you want to live your life. It’s prudent to keep in mind however that dead is dead, and life is for the living. Thus if you want to live and experience a sense of well-being, you’ve got to let go the excess baggage of the past. As has been said, let the past bury the past.
Every loss or adversity is significant. It’s at least emotionally disturbing. When we lost electricity for two weeks after hurricane Isabel hit us, it was hard for every one involved including myself, at least initially for me. Many people were angry and frustrated, and some of them were ready to turn those non-functioning electrical wires into spaghetti and eat them. But many a time an adversity presents an opportunity if you look for it or at least keep it in mind.
Honestly, it was when I was called for an emergency in the middle of the night during the third night of the aftermath of Isabel while I was sitting inside my car in our driveway meditating for few minutes to try to modify my frustrations with the uncertainty of when we would get back our electricity, when I saw the opportunity of being captivated by the beauty and brilliance of the stars that against the deep sea of total darkness, they winked and blinked and sparkled and glittered like they were on steroids. Illuminated by myriads of galaxies, the sky was the most beautiful sight to behold – God’s perfect creation. There was nothing like it. It was like a dream, or a mirage in the mind of a complicated man. In these modern day and age, you have to go to the mountains or far away into the ocean to have an opportunity to behold and admire such spectacle.
“When one door of happiness closes,” said Helen Keller who was blind, “another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” A Zen poem puts it another way: “Since my house burned down, I now have a better view of the rising moon.”
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to every one of you!
KINSA SI F. RAMOS?
Kaniadtong nagtung-ha pa ako sa CIM kada adlaw sa tingtungha-an mosakay ako ug jeepney nga de pasahero ug musulti ako sa drayber, “Ramos!”. Apan sa tibo-ok nakong mga tu-ig nga nagtu-bo sa Sugbo,wala gyod ko kahibalo kon kinsa si “Ramos”. Kining pagkaignorante natong mga ka-edad bahin sa sugilanon sa mga dalan sa atong kaugalingong lalawigan usa ka epekto sa sayop sa atong edukasyon nga gitudlu-an kita sa mga bantugan nga mga Tagalog o Amerkano pero gikalimtan ang mga lumad natong mga bayani sama ni F. Ramos.
Si “F. Ramos” sa dalan sa CIM ma-o si Fructuoso Ramos nga mayor sa dakbayan sa Sugbo gikan sa tuig 1910 hangtud sa 1922; o dose anyos! Wala pa siguroy “term limits” adtong mga panahona.
Ania pay mga sugilanon sa pipila ka mga dalan sa Sugbo:
Gen. Maxilom-Arcadio Maxilom nga gikan sa Tuburan nga nagiksang-ka batok sa mga Amerkano sa 1890’s.
Tres de Abril-Ang premerong sang-ka sa mga Katiponero nga Sugbua-non batok sa mga Katsila ni-ugbo didto sa kanhi Valeriano Weyler St. nga karon ginganlan nag “Tres de Abril sa Abril 3 1898.
J. Climaco-Juan Climaco nga gikan sa Toledo kauban ni Arcadio Maxilom pagrebelde batok sa mga Amerkano. Nahimong Gobernador sa Sugbo sa 1902.
D. Jakosalem-Dionisio Jakosalem nga taga Norte sa Sugbo, Gobernador sa 1907-1912.
Daghan pa ka-ayong mga dalan nga ang mga kasaysayan wala nato mahibalo-an pero akong isugilon sa mga uma-abot nga mga bulan.
Aniay mga pakatawa :
Amo nga Amerkano: “You idiot”!
Atsay nga Bol-anon: Ajawg siyagit Sir! Unja na ta mag -ijot iniglakaw ni Ma’m!
Bertoldo (premero pang nakasakay ug ayroplano): Puerte nang ta-asa sa atong lupad no ‘Doy! Tan-awa sa ubos, mura nag hulmigas ang mga tawo!
Balodoy: Uplok ka man diay ‘toldo, tinu-od nang hulmigas! Wa pa ta ka tugpo (take-off)!
Pete Gomos, M.D. of the CIM Class 1966, passed away on December 3, 2003 in Avon, Ohio. He had a prolonged illness of Diabetes that led to renal failure. He was awaiting renal transplant but was unable to get a kidney for the transplant. He was in and out of the hospital during his last few months of life because of complications such as stroke and heart attack.
Pete was a very helpful friend to his CIM colleagues in their area, a mentor and confidante. He will be truly missed.
From the Associated Press. Three hundred scientists from 53 different countries are participating in the $1 billion study for the census of life in the world's oceans. Scientists believe the oceans hold about 20,000 species of fish and up to 1.98 million species of animals and plants. By the time they're done in 2010, scientists say that they may find more than 2 million different species of marine life. According to the first interim report, three new fish species a week on average are being discovered and it is predicted that there are as many as 5,000 unknown fish species may be lurking undetected. So far, the Census of Marine Life comprised 15,304 species of fish and 194,696 to 214,696 species of animals and plants, estimated to be roughly 10 percent of the world's total. The census is adding about 150 to 200 species of fish and 1,700 species and plants each year.
From ZDNet(UK). Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) has built a supercomputer, the so-called "Big Mac", from 1,100 dual-processor Macintosh G5 PCs that is costing only a relative pittance. The Richmond Times Dispatch reported recently that the "Big Mac" of Virginia Tech has just achieved 9.6 teraflops, 9.6 trillion bytes per second. It is now officially ranked as the No. 3 fastest machine in the world. In a world where the top machines traditionally cost $100 million to $250 million, and take several years to build, the Mac-based system cost just over $5 million, and was put together in about a month. Japan's Earth Simulator is ranked No. 1 and was measured at 35.8 teraflops last year, and is estimated to have cost up to $250 million. ASCI Q, a Hewlett-Packard machine is ranked No. 2 at 13.8 teraflops. The fourth-ranked computer system on the official list is the one built by Linux Network for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that runs at 7.6 teraflops. However, its new processors would achieve 8.6 teraflops.
From Barbara Levine, PhD, RD, Director, Magnesium Information Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City. More than 60% Americans don't get enough magnesium. This deficiency may cause migraines and contribute to diabetes and heart disease. It also can cause problems for pregnant women and low birth weight in newborns. Recommended intake: 300 to 400 mg per day. Good food sources: Dry roasted almonds (86 mg/ounce); bran flakes (60 mg/half cup); cooked soybeans (54 mg/half cup). Magnesium should be taken with calcium to keep bones healthy. A daily calcium-and-magnesium supplement is helpful.
Coffee to prevent diabetes?From Frank Hu, M.D. PhD, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, and leader of a study of more than 100,000 people he presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association. Four to five cups of caffeinated or regular coffee a day can cut diabetes risk by 30%. Drinking more has no added benefit. Decaffeinated coffee has only slight effect. Tea has none. Other caffeinated beverages, such as colas, were not studied. However, a caution - more study is needed before researchers can recommend coffee to protect against diabetes.
Useful Web sites:
http://www.hoaxbusters.ciac.org. Before acting on E-mail hoaxes about computer virus warnings, giveaway offers, safety alerts, etc., look them up at this web site. This site is sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy.
http://dir.yahoo.com/reference. For finding it fast about acronyms, abbreviations, almanacs and scientific data bases.
http://medlineplus.gov. An outstanding resource from U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. It provides up-to-date coverage of diseases, drugs, procedures, etc. - plus a medical dictionary and encyclopedia.
www.byways.org. If you're interested in maps and other information on rustic roads, historic highways and other not-to-be-missed routes.
From Michele Weiner Davis, MSW, an internationally renowned seminar leader and marriage therapist in Woodstock, Illinois, author of The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido. When couples have mismatched desire, one spouse yearns for more touching and physical closeness while the other doesn't understand why sex is such a big deal. To the more sexual spouse, sex is important because it is about feeling wanted, attractive, loved and emotionally connected. Frequent rejection leads to resentment and hurt feelings, causing a rift in the marriage. That could result in infidelity and divorce.
New research suggests that for more than half the population, sexual desire doesn't just happen. Most people have to be physically stimulated to feel desire for their partner. Ironically, this means that people who think they need to be in the mood to have sex might in fact need to have sex to get in the mood. www.sexstarvedmarriage.com
A man went to the optician's: "I keep seeing spots in front of my eyes."
Receptionist:"Have you seen a doctor?"
Man:"No, just spots."
A woman went with her husband for his routine medical check-up. But afterwards the doctor took her to one side and said: "I'm afraid I have some bad news. Unless you adhere to a strict routine, your husband will die. Every morning, you must give him a good healthy breakfast and you must cook him a nutritional meal at night. Furthermore, you must not burden him with household chores and you must keep the house spotless and germ-free. I know it places a great deal of work on your shoulders, but it really is the only way to keep him alive."
On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor had said to her. "Oh," she replied, "he said you're going to die."
A husband and wife were both keen golfers. The wife was feeling neglected and wanted to know how much he loved her.
"If I were to die tomorrow," she said, "and you remarried, would you give yor new wife my jewelry?"
"What an awful thing to ask!" exclaimed the husband. "But no, of course not."
"And would you give her any of my clothes?"
"No, honey, of course not."
"What about my golf clubs?"
"No. She's left-handed."
The Courage To Hope
The recent fires that ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres in all four corners of San Diego County put a lot of things in perspective, at least, as far as I am concerned. For the one full week that the fires were burning, San Diego was at a stand still, and life was virtually on hold. Schools, businesses whether big or small, and offices were closed. For a little instance, we became prisoners in our own homes, as there was no place to go. Advisories after advisories came on TV every so often, telling people to stay home because of the unhealthy environment.
At 7 in the morning of that Monday following the weekend fire, I drove to my office, notwithstanding the advisories, to check on stuff at work. The 805 freeway, which I normally take on regular mornings, and which usually is packed with vehicles of varying sizes and denominations on regular mornings, was deserted. Save for a couple of fire trucks and police vehicles, the freeway was mine.
The 15 minute drive was dreadful. The sun did not shine – if it did, it peeked from time to time, no one had seen it. The cloud was thick and dark, the sky was sad and gray. I could not see what was in front of me or beside me because of the dense smoke. There was an eerie kind of quietness that I have not experienced before. Looked like a scene from the movie “Independence Day.” I got to my office, did what I needed to do, then got ready to go home – all in a half hour time. As I was turning on the ignition of my truck, the KYXY radio news came on about several emergency shelters needing people to help. One of these shelters was just a mile away from where I was, so I went.
My mouth literally dropped when I got to the shelter. The place was packed to the rafters. There were already a lot of volunteers who came way before me. There was an air of sadness, and gloom, and despair, and frustration as families who lost their homes, clung to one another, at a loss as to what to do next. Rich and poor, young and old were one and the same in the struggle to find meaning to what just had befallen them. I, too, was very perplexed as I struggled to understand what just hit these hundred or so families whose lives are now completely turned upside down by this disaster.
Huddled in one corner was an elderly couple, hugging each other, and unmindful of the chaos surrounding them. I went near them, with a mug of coffee and doughnuts, as they obviously had not eaten any breakfast yet. The elderly wife had her arms around her husband, brushing his thinning, slightly graying hair and patting his cheek occasionally, as if to say, “It’s okay, things will be all right.” I positioned myself close to where they were huddled, starting a conversation. I don’t know how much I could possibly do for this couple, I don’t even know if they would want to talk to me. The elderly husband was quiet, not really unfriendly, but just not wanting to be bothered. He was lost in his own thoughts. The elderly wife was very welcoming, and pleasant, and really appreciated the coffee and doughnuts that I brought.
This couple just moved to San Diego some few weeks ago, looking forward to a retirement that both of them dreamt about. The husband retired from a blue-collar job several years back, the wife had never worked all her life. From the day they were married some fifty five years ago, she took care of him. They had no children. They dreamt of San Diego from as far back as they could remember to escape from the blizzards of Montana and the gusts of its long winter’s biting cold. They dreamt of the warm weather and the Southern California sun. They had not even completely unpacked their household possessions yet, as they just started to set up their modest two bedroom house in the canyon. Theirs was the second house that burned. There was no time to save anything. All they had was the clothes on their back, and the little Chihuahua he gave her for her birthday a few months ago.
But yet, the elderly wife, talked about bouncing back by exercising her faith expecting the light of God to penetrate the darkness. She believes that there is no crisis that will last forever. She believes that God is working behind the scenes to ensure that dawn will come again after a long night. She was thankful, endlessly, of the fact that she and her husband came out of it in one piece.
What a woman! What Faith!!!
It was difficult for me to sleep that night thinking of the victims of the fire, but most importantly, the elderly couple from Montana. Everything that she told me was true.
No matter how difficult our circumstances, no matter how vexing the problem, no matter how deep seated the issues may be, all we need is cling to the hope that there will be an end to darkness. We have to continually remind ourselves that better days are coming, the storm will cease, a solution will present itself, help is on the way, darkness of the soul will give way to light, love, and peace. Emily, the elderly wife, said, “the battle will be tedious, and the days ahead will be difficult and stressful – yet she will remain joyful in hope and faithful in prayer because she believes that her God promises a victory that is rewarding and revitalizing.”
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The law of worthy life is fundamentally the law of strife. It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy, and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”
If , Emily, at 78, can garner the courage to hope, so will we...
The most penetrating statements in George W. Bush's speech to the Western world's leaders especially the European leaders during his recent visit to London are these:
"As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found."
" Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."
"Hinaut unta nga ni ining kapanahunan sa pasko,hikaplagan nato ang tinuod nga kalipay ug himaya diha sa gugma ug kamatuoran ni Kristo! Malinawong bag-ong tuig!" ---Nagmahal ninyo sa kahanturan, Beeboy ug Helen Racoma......
"Para sa akong mga kaiskuyla sa class 1972 ug CIM alumni: Gikan sa akong banay, ngadto sa imo ug sa tanan natong mga kauban kanhi sa saring sa CIM ug mga kahigala-an: Malipayong Pasko ug Mabungahong Bag-ong Tuig!" Hector and Olga Vamenta and family
I Am The New Year
I am the New Year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it out with more determination.
I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to Him who said: “Behold, I make all things new.”
I am the New Year.
Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a New Year that brings you all the love, friendship, prosperity and happiness you all deserve. --from the Brain Waves Staff and the CIM Class 1972