A little inspiration on a rainy day

June 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Fear is the mind killer

June 24, 2013 § 3 Comments

Quote from Dune by Frank Herbert

Wednesday nears and I am in a constant battle with myself. My state of mind is at the mercy of two very different consciences and finds comfort in neither. The weaker one scrutinizes each second that passes, criticizing all progress and demeaning all efforts. It tells me that I am going to fail, that I have wasted the past 16 days of my life for nothing and that I am only going to embarrass myself. The stronger one gives me a slap, tells me that nothing is wasted, that I am not defined by this and that everything is going to be just fine.

As I grow older and go through more and more of these experiences, I find it easier to knock away negative thoughts – but they never go away completely. It’s amazing how much we can torture ourselves with our imaginings of the future. We allow ourselves to deeply fear something that we can do nothing about in that moment and that may never even happen. Here are a few things that I’ve repeated to myself throughout this exam period (things that I really need to remind myself of now):

  1. A reminder: I have survived everything in my life up until this point. I have survived every hurtle, every challenge, every difficult situation thrown my way. And, surprise surprise, I will survive this the same way that I have survived everything else. Bring it!
  2. A thought: there is no point in fearing the future as I see it. I don’t know what is going to happen, so I should stop entertaining my fears. I will deal with the outcome when I know the outcome.
  3. A quote: from Rocky Balboa, 2006. It is in my favorite motivational video, which I watch at least 4 times before every exam. I’ve memorized it by now and it’s one of my go-to self-motivating mantras:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and, I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Cause if you’re willing to go through all the battling you gotta go through to get to where you want to get, who’s got the right to stop you? I mean, maybe you guys got something you never finished, something you really wanted to do, something you never said to someone – something! And you’re told no, even after you pay your dues – who’s got the right to tell you that? Who? Nobody! It’s your right to listen to your gut and it ain’t nobody’s right to say no, until you’ve earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do!

Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth – but you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you want to be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

Ponderings of a 22-year-old me

March 11, 2013 § 4 Comments

While writing my most recent post, I went in search of a quote I noted down some time ago (I apologize in advance to those of you who have subscribed to my blog via email and are subsequently receiving a double load of emails tonight).

Though I haven’t kept up with it recently, I have a habit of writing down quotes I like and things that make me laugh in a little notebook that I always carry with me. It’s a habit I have had for years. My friend Nicole even presented me with a printed book version of my first little notebook for my 21st birthday.

Quote books

I am a sucker for a good quote, a quality I adopted from my mama. I spent countless hours during my childhood flipping through her books on quotes. A quote can describe exactly what you feel in a more eloquent way than you ever could. As for the things that made me laugh, I wrote them down because I wanted those moments to exist forever.

So, while writing my last post, I was reminded of a quote by the Dalai Lama about perception and how only you control your perception of others actions. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find it. However, I did find myself caught up in my past inspirations. Some of the things that once made me laugh are not so funny anymore, but their memory still holds meaning.

As I was finishing up my read-through of the first one, I stumbled across some thoughts I’d stuffed in on the last pages of the notebook. As I read them, I was transported to my first month living in Norway. It’s so easy to forget who we were before we became who we are.

Ponderings of a 22-year-old me

On learning Norwegian:

I feel an even deeper need to learn faster, fueled by the guilt I feel for how my lack of conversational skills hinders general conversations. Anyone in my presence will speak English out of respect, regardless of whether or not the conversation is directed towards me. I wonder about the awkwardness they feel talking to each other with their limited English vocabularies.

The language barrier is sometimes a test of my self-esteem. A lot of times I stop to wonder whether the person I’m speaking with simply finds me boring or if they have no idea what I am saying and are just nodding and smiling blatantly in response.

On seeing other Americans and wanting them to notice me:

I want so badly for something about me or on me to momentarily appear familiar so that the Americans will engage me in conversation. The man looks at me every now and then, possibly acknowledging my expression or recognition of a common language in my face. The girl however is fully engaged in her story and I find myself satisfied to simply witness her typical American phrases and slang.

Here I am, stuck at a bus stop in the freezing cold, with a typical Norwegian girl, two Americans, a young boy dressed in true American emo style, and a crazy lady carrying a plastic bag full of everything, including what appears to be the better part of a vacuum.

In a reflective state:

How easily accessible your memories are when you are experiencing a transition in your life. As I stare at the snow, my mind almost immediately begins to play the movie reels of my memories, almost as though my brain is trying to fill in the black space of snow I stare at.

How fearful we can be of the unknown. Almost as if we feel we aren’t good enough or strong enough to rise to the occasion.

Monkey Mind

December 25, 2012 § 3 Comments

Panic is starting to settle in and I’m keeping busy trying to fight it away. We tore ourselves away from our books to get some fresh air and witness the streets on Christmas night. I brought the camera along, of course.

Christmas street Red tree DarkMusicalStreet
We have found we are most effective with 1 hour on followed by a 10-15 minute break and I am using this round’s break to share a comment my dear Grandpa left on a previous post about stress during finals. My friend and group-mate Charlotte commented that between him and my mom, I’ve got one wise family – and that I do!

That said, here is what my Grandpa wrote. You can bet I will be repeating these words to myself over the next few days, if not weeks (or years). Love you, Grandpa. Merry Christmas!

Train conductor to passengers: This train is moving to its destination and it will get there in time with or without you. It stops so you can quickly be supplied with the necessaries for the next stage of the journey. You are told your basic needs. You need only reach through an open window to get or buy what you need. If you insist on getting off the train and wander off into the forest to see the how and wherefrom of your supplies, you will sooner or later miss this train. If your compulsion is for certainties, micro-knowledge of everything you see, then you should have taken some other train.

Lead duck to new ducklings: Guys this is a mapping and not a sightseeing journey. I shall show you how to fly from the winter landscape of your birth to the summer ponds of the South. Pay close attention and you will be able to replicate this journey for as many years as the gods give you life. We shall be cruising short of a mile high- this will provide optimal landmarks for mapping. Don’t go diving down for detail that will be of no use to you. Looking for that tree you shall surely miss the entire forest.

Professor to medical students: Every page of any book you study today is being changed daily by thousands of experiments, clinical studies and research papers. The material on the page was already old when it came off the printint press. Much of what you learn in medical school will be amended, debunked or forgotten by time you get to practice medicine. Learn the process – do not get mired in the detritus of short-lived detail. Your goal is to graduate within a set period of months. You need to stay trim and mean, with eyes and mind focussed on that goal – do not allow flights of your monkey mind lead you into dead-end side trips.

The Promise of Tomorrow

September 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s early Sunday morning and I’m up pondering what tomorrow brings. Skjalg took Nyquil (American cold and flu medication) before he went to bed, so he will probably sleep for a couple more hours – which he really needs. I could have stayed in bed a little bit longer and enjoyed the last morning where I can sleep in with a good conscience, but my brain honestly just doesn’t work that way. I’m the type of person who, as soon as my eyes open in the morning, starts to think about all the things I need to do and how much better my day will be if I get an early start on it. So here I am, left alone to the mercy of my thoughts.

The theme of my thoughts this morning is tomorrow – not just my tomorrow, but tomorrow in general. It’s fascinating really, how much the nine thousand or so tomorrows of my life have varied from each other. It can be an exciting day with friends, a day of pure relaxation, a day of errands, travel, joy, challenge…the list could go on forever. I must admit that in my short life I’ve had many a great tomorrow. Tomorrow I am graduating from high school. Tomorrow I am moving to Los Angeles. Tomorrow I am moving to Norway. Tomorrow I am celebrating two years together with my best friend. Tomorrow my brother and I are leaving for a trip that will take us around the world: Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco and back to Oslo. Tomorrow I am taking the entrance exam for medical school. Tomorrow we are moving to Budapest.

All of these tomorrows represent hard work, dedication and everything that goes into making a dream a reality. But this one, this big one that is approaching faster than I can process, this tomorrow is a day more than 7 years in the making.  All of the tomorrows that I have had in my life were just steps to bring me to this tomorrow. And I am finally here. Tomorrow marks the culmination of each one of my efforts, decisions, challenges and successes. Yes, there are bigger tomorrows on the horizon but this one is, without a doubt, the grandest tomorrow of my life thus far.

In the spirit of tomorrow and the promise it brings, I feel some inspirational brain fuel is in order.

YouTube video: Rudy and the Janitor

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”  ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
―Shel Silverstein

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Death and Commencement Speeches

July 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

My Aunt Aida, when she was visiting us in Oslo, recommended a movie to Skjalg and I called “Gross Anatomy”. I had never heard of it before (I even thought for a moment that she meant Grey’s Anatomy…). She thought we would appreciate the story – and she was right. It took a while to find a copy of it, but we were lucky enough to find it split into 8 parts on youtube.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was the commencement speech. I found it exiting and intimidating at the same time:

Welcome to medical school. Many of you have only been here a day or so, I’m glad to see that you could find your way here. My name is Dr. Rachel Woodruff and in the next 8 months you will be required to memorize 6,000 anatomical structures, read 25,000 pages of text, attend 200 lectures and pass, or fail, 40 examinations. If you fail a class, you have to repeat it. If you fail two, you have to repeat the entire term. If you fail three, well, let’s just say that you probably don’t belong here. Along with my duties as Associate Dean of Students, I also teach gross human anatomy. The one thing you’ve dreaded since the moment you made the decision to come here. (She wheels a gurney carrying a cadaver covered with a white sheet to the front of the stage). Nonetheless, it is the centerpiece of your first year of medical school. Systematic dissection of a human cadaver. (She slides the white sheet off of the cadaver, revealing it to the crowd. The crowd reacts.) This woman here, died in our university hospital just a few nights ago. It’s a very difficult thing, to face death. But that’s what doctors have to do their entire careers. In your first year of medical school, is a daily, hands-on exploration of it. It’s not easy. It’s, uh, certainly not pleasant. And there is just absolutely no reason for you to do it unless you want more than anything to be a physician. So if you’re not completely sure of that, I urge you to get up and walk out of this room right now. (Pause as students look around the room at each other). Good. I can assume you are committed, and I will help you – those of you that should be doctors – in any way I can. Oh, by the way, the profession you’ve just dedicated yourselves to carries the highest rates of alcoholism, drug-addiction, divorce and suicide. (And then she simply just walks away).

It got me to thinking… I have never actually seen a dead body. I’ve never even known anyone that had died. This is definitely going to be a big experience for me! I remember my mom telling me that seeing a cadaver for the first time was one of the oddest experiences she’s ever had. And here I am, going from no experience with death to daily experiences with it. I think we even begin dissecting upper limbs in week two of anatomy class…

It doesn’t matter how you get from A to B, just that you get there.

July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

My journey to get to where I am today is anything but a straight line. Instead, it is long and curly with twisted turns, overlaps and mathematically improbable dead ends. But all that matters is that I’m here. However, there were times that I really, really doubted that this would happen. Many moments were spent  looking ahead of me and watching the road grow longer and longer. With that in mind, I’ve decided to make a page about this process, how I’ve gotten where I am today. One of the beauties of modern technology is that you don’t always have to remember everything. I’m pretty fuzzy about my year after high school, but a search in my black hole of an email account unearthed detailed emails I sent to family and friends during that time. I’ve created a page entitled My Story, which can be found on the header bar. Here I have taken the time to summarize (though it ended up being quite long…) my journey over the past 7-8 years. It is definitely a personal share, and I have tried to keep the most personal details out of it, but I decided that it was worth posting for those that take the time to read it. It will give the reader insight into me and my development over the years. I hope that insight provides for a better reading experience for the chapter to come.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.P.S. I Love You

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