To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Straying off the Path

I feel like I’ve been all over the place these few days. I’m directionless and because of that I rely too much on external factors to keep me happy and sane. I use exercise as morphine and BJJ to validate my worth.

Now that I’m injured (or rather, now that I admit that I am injured and I need to rest), I think I need to recalibrate everything and re-think my life. I know I’m going to throw myself into medicine and work towards becoming the best doctor I can possibly be, but I need to work out the little things. How can I keep sane?

Things I want to do:

1) Start writing more. I should aim to write a poem a week.

2) Brush up my Mandarin and learn conversational Cantonese

3) Contribute to the community. Help MDAS with the transport review and either do NHS or volunteer at Lion’s befrienders.

4) Be more supportive towards Faith.

5) Pick up reading again. Read An Astronaut’s Guide to Life, Mastery, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,  Smiley’s People


When I was young, I dreamt large
And nothing was ever enough
I conquered my little world
Looked up to the skies and yearned
For the giddiness of freedom

Charging headfirst into battle
Showing no hint of weakness
All this, evidence for the world
Or maybe, just for myself
Validating my existence

Enticed by the thrill of adventure
I crafted wings of feather and wax
To take me where the brave men search
For gold, for hardship, for glory
Forgetting, it is the same place
Where these men go to dig their graves

To me, young and invincible
Throwing caution into the wind
Familiar rules did not apply
You either aimed for the stars
Or you did not try at all

But I forgot that stars burned
With more fire than my passion
They melt the wax holding my dreams
Leaving me hollow and burnt out
I was dead before I hit the ground

It is true what the wise men say
Hopes and dreams make the best tinder
My head was stuck in the clouds
And I did not hear their warnings
“Do not fly too close to the sun”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl, who would’ve been 99 today, on the meaning of life (via explore-blog)

Grit is the disposition to pursue very long-term goals with passion and perseverance. And I want to emphasize the stamina quality of grit. Grit is sticking with things over the long term and then working very hard at it.

Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Grit and the Secret of Success – fascinating look at the work of pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth, who studies the one personality trait more predictive of success than any other. (via explore-blog)

Training to be Soldiers

Leaving behind the army daze
Polished boots and camo cream
The days seem lit with fire
Each free moment few and far between

Sleep never felt so precious
Love’s embrace never so warm
You wave goodbye to regimentation
But it’s always back before long

The days when the scorching sun burns you
The nights when your ideals are washed away
Sometimes your heart fills with doubt
But again and again you enter the fray

Your orders sometimes serve no purpose
You rush to wait and wait to rush
Some moments you look into your buddy’s eyes
And amidst the storm, there descends a hush

There are these brief moments of clarity
When you finally seem to understand
Your suffering is the only thing that’s sacred
And a part of you will always love your land

The Skeletal System

The essence of bone is not mineral -
not calcium, magnesium or phosphorous.
Bone is not the sum of its physical parts.
There is more to the skeletal system
than osseous tissue and collagen.

What is bone but the amalgamation of fear?
Dread, terror, trepidation packed tightly together,
forming a giant lattice of weakness.
That is why true fear is felt deep in the bones.

There are over 270 bones in an infant -
We were once afraid of the dark,
We dreaded visiting the dentist,
We were scared to look under the bed.
But many of these bones fuse together as we grow;
little fears join to form giant phobias -
Now we cower at the thought of loneliness,
We are frightened of the prospect of mediocrity,
We are terrified of letting on our inability to commit.

We are a culture obsessed with strength,
but it is our weakness that defines us.
A framework of white steel supports us -
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
fear of losing face keeps us standing.
Walls of bone protect our vital organs -
Standing at the edge of our comfort zones,
fear of risk rescues us from the brink of falling.
A system of bone and muscle enable movement –
Faced with the prospect of stagnation,
fear of regressing keeps us hungry and ever moving.

The architecture of fear has remained unchanged.
Scared that we may never surpass our parent’s best,
we are even more frightened that we inherit their worst.
When we die, our fears they will remain.
The body skeletonized, what’s left only disarticulated bone.
But over time even bone crumbles and degrades.
Its vital essence the only thing that’s left behind.
Our fears, like nutrients, are recycled.
Passed through the food chain,
eventually returned back to us.
We are still afraid of the same old things.

There can be no higher life without bone.
There can be no humanity without fear.