Saturday, April 19, 2014

Official "Glass Walls" Video by Paul McCartney

I will never eat meat again. Anytime, for the next several weeks, as I take this journey towards becoming a vegan, I will watch and learn more about the unspeakable cruelty that goes on behind the doors and walls of slaughterhouses. This is part of my goal, to try and make some sort of positive difference in this world, and one way, as I've listed on "My Goals" page, is by taking time everyday per month, to learn about one focused topic that will broaden my perspectives on the suffering of others, and do my part to make a small difference in this world.

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian."
- Paul McCartney

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Documentation of Goals to See How They Change Throughout My Life

This here is a post that serves as documentation for me to analyze how my goals are changing throughout life.  After each one of these posts, I re-update or change the "My Goals" page.
* - Indicates an explanation for the change in goal

Current Goal(s):

1. To be the nurse who makes the difference in a crisis. To be the leader, a life-saver, and the difference maker in a crisis.

<-- *To me, this goal has evolved and has changed. I feel it is no longer about playing a hero. The only reason I wanted to be a "hero" was so I could have recognition, status, and attention to fill my ego from the lack of attention I get due to my reserved temperament. After watching Roko Belic's Happy documentary, learning about extrinsic vs. intrinsic values, and reading just part of The Art of Happiness with the Dalai Lama, I believe that extrinsic values including image, status, fame do not lead to contentment and are actually in competition with the intrinsic values that do tend to lead towards contentment in life. And after writing What Makes Work Meaningful, I realize that as exciting as it is in the beginning to do invasive procedures that may "save" someone's life, which would allow me to boost my ego, after doing it lots of times, what's the next one? In addition, most of healthcare seems to lacking in the human aspect, and in my opinion, is often cold and distant, and thus makes the work feel not that meaningful. It's not about being a hero to boost one's sense of importance, it's about making a positive difference in the lives of others by really connecting with them and sharing/giving your love, your compassion, your kindness to them.  

Goals to Pursue Later in Life:

2. To write about the sciences that are merging with what Dolores Cannon's work has found as well as other sources regarding Spirituality. Also, to become a Dolores Cannon Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique Practitioner and help people this way as well.

<-- * As of right now, I have not yet begun the process to becoming a DC QHHT practitioner yet but I imagine this is one way to heal people and it not, at least come to understand their predicaments, and give them emotional support/kindness/compassion. But I will not know for sure until I begin doing this.

3. To cut down on body weight and develop a strong body weight to strength ratio. To train my body towards a mountain climber's level of fitness.

4. To live a life of excitement by pursing Adventure-related activities, hobbies, and travel. (From Lion King Days)

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” - Joseph Campbell

<-- * As exciting as it is when I imagine going on these travel adventures and adventure hobbies, I feel that doing it with a community of people is absolutely necessary in order for it to enrich your life and happiness. Solitary pursuits that do not involve or help others in any way tend not to be very satisfying, truth be told. When I look at guys like Jimmy Chin, the National Geographic photographer and climber, he started out climbing in Yosemite and really forming a community there. It wasn't literally just climbing and by himself. Activities where you have a community of like-minded people engaging in that activity give meaning to your life, even though that activity may not be one of a humanitarian pursuit in nature.

5. To develop strong, deep, emotional connections with others based off honesty and the sharing of intimate thoughts, feelings, experiences (life and everyday exp.), beliefs, and values. And from these relationships, together experience all the adventures of life with friends and family. (From Lion King Days)

6. To live a minimalist's lifestyle with focus purely on personal growth (self-improvement, playing, having new experiences); contribution/helping others/making a positive difference; and meaningful relationships, the three things that result in true happiness.

Idea: To cultivate genuine happiness by deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states and challenging and replacing negative mental states.

-          Idea from The Art of Happiness (Chp. 3) – the Dalai Lama

Underlined section updated as of Wednesday; April 16th, 2014 after reading part of chapter 3 of The Art of Happiness with the Dalai Lama. 

7. To become a master communicator and a person who owns the room (student of David Wygant) and overcome my challenges of being an introvert and thrive nonetheless. <--also because how we treat others right around us impact how they will treat others (doing the small things to make a difference in this world)

8. To develop my personality in ways that benefit me, ways that I desire, and in ways that has a positive impact on those I come in contact with. To challenge my negative beliefs and to therefore change my attitude, thoughts, feelings, mindset, and actions for the better. (Inspired by the Domestic Disturbance Incident)

One Area I Want to Change: To be able to confidently and intellectually articulate about topics of importance to me in front of a large group and audience. To deliver speeches (public speaking) with resonance, cogency, satisfactory economy of language, and be able to express myself in the moment, off the cuff, with the right words that come to mind and do justice to how I feel about what I am thinking about.

- To document my progress as a student of self-improvement from various life teachers (Brian Kim, David Wygant)

9. To learn about the difficulties others are experiencing in their lives AND to step outside my own needs for the needs of others by portioning, saving up, and donating part of my salary and time to animal and human needs organizations monthly.

(Make sure the organizations actually make a difference vs. organizations where most of the donations go into the pockets and salaries of those not in need! i.e. Susan G. Komen Foundation)

Motivation for doing this: B/C animals and humans out there are suffering. To learn to be grateful for what I have and at the same time, taking advantage of the opportunities I have in this life to maximize my potential.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What Makes Work Feel Meaningful

It’s a Saturday afternoon, a free one, from what I can remember in a while. I just walked by my television. It was the camera brand, Canon, whose commercial was playing on KQED, showing some beautiful places, cultures, and landscapes all around the world. Unlike most commercials, this one stopped me in my track, and my head was glued to the unfolding scenes playing on the television while my body stopped moving in the opposite direction I was initially heading towards. I completely turned around and just stared at those scenes. Inside, I experienced feeling a sense of satisfaction for my soul, curiosity, wonder, amazement, adventure, and love. That moment, was a pinnacle moment for what I’ve been contemplating recently.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a certain experience meaningful. What makes one’s work truly meaningful. You see, my experience working in the ICU has really got my neurons firing incessantly. This is one experience where, what I imagined, was just too different from what it is actually like. There is a lot of down time in the ICU. I never thought it would be like this. There is too much sitting around, putting numbers into a computer. Most of the time, the patients are all pretty stable. I guess before I started here in the ICU, I thought most of the patients would be on the precipice of deteriorating. I thought I would be dealing with patients that were more on the precipice of life and death. I thought the decisions, actions, and critical thinking I made would be impacting the outcome of someone living or dying. My god, boy was I wrong or delusional! I mean after all, isn’t ICU, called intensive care unit? What I have encountered has NOT been intensive. Excuse my language but what the fuck am I doing here? I feel like what I do in there can more or less be done by a thoroughly trained, intelligent robot. Hanging meds, getting blood, checking lab results, monitoring vital signs, putting the numbers into a computer. What the fuck! I do not find this meaningful! How could I have been so wrong about this!? My work is not impacting someone’s life in any truly meaningful sense. And then when I look around and look at the nurses, I wonder if I’m the only one thinking this. To deduce, I ask myself, “How many people here really enjoy what they are doing here? Do most of these people say to themselves, the night before coming on to their shift, ‘You know, I am looking forward to getting up tomorrow and going to work because tomorrow is another day where I will be doing something that gives me satisfaction in life through helping someone!’” Honestly? Not a whole lot them I strongly believe.

Then what is wrong?! Why is this not feeling meaningful? I mean, an experience is meaningful if you are helping someone right? Something is meaningful if it makes a difference right? Well yes, that is true, but the question now is, “is what you are doing as a nurse, something that makes a difference?” I am here to say that nursing, as of right now, can lack that feeling of satisfaction and meaning because it doesn't make that difference! That difference is what I want to stress and emphasize. On first glance, you respond ludicrously and maybe even profusely insulted, “What the F are you talking about Michael? How the hell can something like being a nurse not make a difference? Are you stupid? Are you just failing in your classes and trying to justify your failure from making such an accusation like this?! Do you have zero compassion or something?!” But the realization I have come to from my experience is that this experience has lacked meaning because what I am doing can be replaced by someone else, easily. Another nurse can do this! A well trained, intelligent robot can do this! Maybe even a monkey for goodness sake. Anyone can hang meds, put numbers into a computer. What makes something meaningful is not putting in an IV so you can give a patient that just went into cardiac arrest some drugs to try and stimulate the heart and bring the person back to life! It is not inserting a urinary catheter in someone for the first time! It is not giving massive amounts of fluids and blood to a patient who is in shock to help sustain their blood pressure to keep them from dying! Stop. You may say, “What are you talking about Michael?! There’s that sense of adrenaline rush when someone is right there between living and dying, and being able to bring them back to “life” is something that is meaningful! How is that not meaningful Michael?” To which I would respond with, “Yes, putting in an IV for the first time is exciting. Inserting a needle into someone’s chest so they can breathe better, for the first time, is exciting, and gives you that sense of adrenaline. But this sense of novelty wears off. After you do it for a certain amount of time, what’s the next IV or needle decompression?” The problem is that nursing and pretty much most of healthcare, with perhaps a few exceptions, does not allow the time for healthcare providers to truly understand and connect with the patient! If you look on “My Goals” page on my blog, you will see that one of them is as follows:

To learn about the difficulties others are experiencing in their lives AND to step outside my own needs for the needs of others by portioning, saving up, and donating part of my salary and time to animal and human needs organizations monthly.”

Nursing and healthcare in general, is lacking in meaning, behind the initial curtain, because it is lacking true compassion. Note that I said true compassion. True compassion is not feigning compassion, when deep down, you don't care that much. I have witnessed in front of my own eyes, some nurses make fun of patients behind their backs. I have seen nurses that seemed like they have been pretty desensitized to the conditions their patients have. I do NOT mean it in the sense where they wish the patients harm or to die, at all. This is NOT what I am saying. The problem of this lack of true compassion is due to the fact that the healthcare providers and nurses, do not truly understand the position, feelings, thoughts, and life circumstances of the patient. In order to be truly compassionate, we have to connect with that patient at a deeper level. Get to know them as a person. Only then will we truly care deep down about that person, and will our actions towards helping them get better (giving the meds to alleviate pain, inserting an IV, giving them blood, listening to their lung sounds) mean something more to US! From understanding someone's perspective, making a deeper connection with them, and then being truly compassionate towards them in their difficult time, that is what is meaningful!

Intent makes a world of difference! I kid you not! Knowing that a person is only there to take care of you because that’s their shift to work, and they want/need the money, is not flattering. Whereas, if you knew a person was coming to take care of you because they wanted to help you get better, and not for other obligatory reasons, makes that world of difference when it comes to true meaningfulness.

I tell you, from my two and a half month experience working in the ICU, there is only one experience I will vividly remember, because it was truly meaningful. It was not just a meaningful experience because it initially seems to be that way, but it truly was a meaningful experience because I made a positive, emotional difference for a family member. A patient was dying. The patient was switched to comfort care. The patient died shortly. A family member was there. The wife could not tell if her husband (the patient) had died due to the lack of medical knowledge, but I knew that he was pretty much gone, although not legally and medically declared dead by the physician yet. I went by her side, put my hand on her shoulder, and we just stood there looking at the guy. We began to talk. She cried. But although I could not change the husband’s passing, my compassion, came through. She said the compassion she got here was so emotionally touching and powerful, and I could tell that emotionally, it made that world of difference. Later, before I left my shift to go home, one of the workers told me that she heard what I had did in there, and that what I did is what will be remembered, and I concurred. People will remember how they were treated above all else. They will not remember the blood you gave them. They will not remember the thrill you had of putting in your first IV as a student nurse/nurse. They will remember the way they were cared, the kindness that we showed. I made a real difference that day. That was truly meaningful.

I have had other instances where my actions have helped people, which in reality, are in small ways, but meant a lot to them emotionally. Another example, which I have written about on my blog before, where I helped a man get home. That was something that felt good. There was another instance where I bought a loaf of bread and gave it to a homeless man and his dog. I want to give my love, human kindness, compassion to others, and make positive differences in ways that will be remembered.

Being in the Emergency room or even a flight nurse, from my reasoning now, will not be all that different from my experience here in the ICU. You do a lot more invasive skills in the ER and as a flight nurse, which can seem exciting and cool initially, but again, after you do it for so many times, what’s the next one? Even the adrenaline rush of being in a helicopter will wear off as time goes by, and that’s true for the adventure hobbies I would like to pursue as well. Adrenaline rushes wear off as you adapt to them and you have to find the next “high”, so to speak, by finding something that’s more challenging. But is there something more exciting in the nursing profession after flight nursing? Mmm, probably not, at least in my opinion. And even so, in emergencies, where you get that adrenaline rush which you think will give that experience true meaningfulness, those cases, where the patients are on the precipice of life and death are few. There’s a saying in EMS (Emergency Medical Services): “High acuity, low volume”. And it means exactly that. The cases where the patient will die very quickly if you don’t act judiciously do not occur frequently. Now let's just say flight nurses only handle these high acuity calls, so every call you go on is life-threatening to the patient. These types of cases where you literally act in time to allow that person to have a chance at surviving, can definitely feel very meaningful for a certain period of time, but after years of doing it, what's the next one? Same problem will eventually rise again when you do it too often and often enough. I am not here to bash medical professionals. I am writing these things because I am struggling to find meaningfulness in the work I do right now in the ICU. I have begun to feel that nursing as it currently is, can be cold and distant. If nursing is very meaningful to you, then that's spectacular, and I mean that .

I guess I should finish up my writing here with something I wrote down as it came to my mind earlier today:

At night time, while lying in bed, think to yourself, ‘Am I excited/looking forward to tomorrow? Is the work that I am going to be doing something that gives me a good feeling? Is it something I would still get up and do, even if I were not getting paid to do it? Do I truly find it to be meaningful? Not what I think it will be after continuous attempts to convince myself that I want to do this - for one reason or another (money, financial stability…) - but what my gut feeling/intuition is telling me.” If your answer is “no” for too many days, well, I think we all know the answer then.

As much as I think about this, I will not know for certain if nursing opportunities are the end-all, be-all when it comes to making a memorable difference in this world. Nursing is one of the most flexible careers out there already and pretty much most other careers, I don't see being any more meaningful in reality. I certainly don't wish I wasted my last four years working so hard throughout nursing school. Whatever happens down the road in my life, I desire to do work that is truly meaningful and gives me the flexibility to pursue other interests in life as well.


UPDATE (4/5/14 11:22 PM): After thinking about this more and talking about it with my friend, I am realizing that it is not that nursing does not help people get better. Nurses are the ones who carry out what needs to be done to help facilitate patients' bodies to heal. In that sense, nurses do help people by at least giving them a chance to live some form of life again - the quality of life may be debatable though. My point is that nurses are playing a role to help someone get better, and it that sense, the work is meaningful, BUT, the work may not FEEL meaningful due to the lack of human kindness we can earnestly give them and the lack of immediate progression made from our actions. There simply are not enough nurses to allow a nurse to work with one specific patient consistently from start to finish to see that patient get better and understand the difficulties they are going through in life, to feel that sense of difference that our actions as nurses have made. The more I think about it, there are many careers that in reality, do make a difference, and do contribute positively, but we may not FEEL that meaningfulness because there is not enough of a positive change that we can see and feel immediately for us to know that what we did has led to a direct contribution to the improvement of others' lives. It's either a slow, gradual process, so the feeling of meaningfulness is not as potent and satisfying, OR, the actions that we do to help others get better can technically be done by someone else, which also diminishes that feeling of meaningfulness. Whereas, it is the acts of love and human kindness that if we can give to others, that have an obvious, direct, and immediate effect on others that give the strongest feelings of meaning. Giving our love and human kindness to others have an immediate and powerful effect on us humans. That's why these acts of love are most memorable, and are most meaningful, but that does not mean the work nurses and healthcare providers do are not inherently meaningful. The work is still in essence meaningful, but that it just does not FEEL as meaningful compared to the feeling we get with every act of love.  

I guess the key here is to realize and remember that just because I am not seeing an immediate effect my actions have made on that person, does not mean that I have not aided in some way, AND that just because it does not feel that meaningful, does not mean it doesn't help people. Since I really want to do work that allows me to see and feel the positive impact my actions have made, I should do some work that allows me to witness the direct effects of my actions, but that does not mean I should not do work that doesn't result in that immediate feeling of meaningfulness. I should do both. I should work as a nurse, knowing that although what I do may not give me such a huge rush of positive contribution, but I am still doing what it takes to help the patient's body heal itself. Then outside of being a nurse, do something that allows me to see that immediate effect that occurs from every act of love and how our simple act can make that emotional difference. And as I've stated before, in order to experience more opportunities to help people emotionally in their time of need, I will need to better understand the positions, perspectives, and difficulties they are going through in life, and from that understanding, my small and simple acts of kindness can put my actions into perspective in an emotionally meaningful way for the person being helped and myself. I believe being a Dolores Cannon Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT) Practitioner will give me opportunities to facilitate people healing themselves with rapid effect, which will feel very meaningful, and if their condition cannot be healed, at least I will have shown the client my patience, interest, understanding, support, love, and kindness in wanting to help them through their strife, which will be remembered by them and myself and will still be emotionally meaningful nonetheless.