On Healing

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is one of my favorite books. I have read it countless times, yet I wish that a physician could have asked this question, and how the prophet could have spoken about this topic close to my heart. I dare to write as Kahlil Gibran.

Then a physician spoke: wise Almustafa, speak to us on healing.

Healing is the gentle touch that releases the body from Pain, yet is also the sharp strike that cuts deep into the soul. It is the well of tears that overflows to water the barren land, and it is the raging fire that cleanses the sallow pastures.

It the manifestation of Love in all of its nakedness: Love whose ways we cannot divine nor dream to ever comprehend. Just as the river carves into the mountains and valleys and fields does healing spread out and embrace all with its shapeless form. It is the torrential rain and the refreshing sunlight that falls upon the slave and the master, the tyrant and the free, the brave and the cowardly. It is the Love that which everyone possesses yet does not see.

You healers are but conduits from which the spark of Life passes through. Through you the people feel the touch of God’s hands and divine His wisdom. Your voice radiates His power, and your mind reflects His intimate thoughts. Through your hands you welcome the new delegates of Life’s procession, and through you they behold the gaze of Eternity.

When you heal one another remember that you too heal yourself. For the Pain of the other is your Pain too, and the loss of the other is your loss too. You break the bones you mend, and your heart is ripped asunder with the burdens they bear. Yet let your heart be gladdened with their fortitude, and let your soul be inspired with their peace.

Let healing not be measured by wasted triumphs nor useless endeavors. For no one can do battle with Pain and Death without losing. For as the two are your enemies so are they your final companions. Embrace them as you would your friends and your children, and know that they will too, join in your procession.

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Majesty

Mt. Pulag It was on a day like that when my father’s notion of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts moved from my head to my heart. The view from my sycamore was more than rooftops and clouds and wind and colors combined.

It was magic.

And I started marveling at how I was feeling both humble and majestic. How was that possible? How could I be so full of peace and full of wonder? How could this simple tree make me feel so complex? So alive.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, 2003 December 20, 2014. Sunrise on the summit of Mount Pulag, Northern Philippines

Rosie Dunne

Remember watching those telenovelas that always went into credits when the good part was just beginning? Cecilia Ahern’s “Rosie Dunne” is a novelanovela about two best friends who just can’t get it right.

Through the use of letters, email, bills, postcards, invitations, and notes, Ms. Ahern pieces together a hilarious yet heart-wrenching story about the life and loves of Rosie Dunne and Alex Stewart. The two spend an idyllic childhood in Ireland: caught passing notes in Mrs. Big Nose Smelly Breath Casey’s class, argued about not being invited to a birthday party, got caught sending instant messages that everyone can see, and got drunk while playing hooky.

The story takes a turn when Alex leaves Ireland to study in the US. The reader will then learn to hate the name “Brian” for the rest of his life. For life for Rosie then spirals into the maze of fate, twisting and turning as the years pass.

As the weddings, baptisms, visits, parties, and funerals go by, the two maintain contact, the friendship, and the undying flame of love.

“Rosie Dunne” is a novelanovela that makes you laugh, cry, and try.

Without Seeing The Dawn

Stevan Javellana’s Without Seeing The Dawn is the story of a man, not a prince nor nobility from faraway lands but the story of a “common” man. It explores the development of a man under the circumstances bought about by society and the his inner struggles. I enjoyed the book’s down-to-earth narration of the Filipino culture with its use of local language and local color. Unlike other books of foreign minds made, I found that I could somehow relate my experiences with the protagonist’s (being made by a Filipino), enabling me to see what he saw, hear what he heard, taste what he tasted and feel what he felt. The book presents a colorful view of the world in the eyes of a common man made uncommon by the challenges he faced.

Ricardo Suerte, who despite his name is called as “a son of misfortune”. A tenant-farmer with a strongly-built body, he marries his childhood sweetheart Lucia at an early age of 18. After the unfortunate birth of their firstborn child, a stillbirth, and expulsion from their lands by their landowner after an incident you’ll have to know yourself, the couple tries their fortune in the city, where they quickly learn of its harsh way of life. The couple soon returns to their barrio after a quarrel involving Carding’s secret affair. The book continues with the couple’s high’s and low’s and the first part ends with Carding being conscripted to the military during the great turn of the century: World War II.

The story continues with Carding returning from Bataan to his old barrio, which he finds, has been tested by time. The Japanese have invaded Manila, and it was just a matter of time before they reached the Visayas to Panay, where Carding’s barrio was located. The book narrates of our protagonist’s military exploits, successfully eliminating a local warlord, joining the guerillas, capture and release, and his promotion to lieutenant. It also narrates of the experiences of other people affected by the war: Teniente Paul, the barrio’s capitan who faces the Japanese defiantly and gets beheaded, Alicia, who sees her family butchered in front of her eyes, ravaged, and carried away to a brothel, Gondoy, who chooses to let her sweetheart Penang marry another man due to his disability sustained from a shrapnel wound for he felt he was incapable of being a good husband, among many others. The ending is ambigous, it is up for the reader to decide. Read it and find out. It’s about time read our own.

The Diary of Anne Frank

"Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?"- Anne Frank

I finished reading "Anne Frank- The Diary Of A Young Girl". I know that it’s wrong to read someone else’s diary, but who can resist? I couldn’t, and when I got hold of a copy, I was reading voraciously. I thought, what could a person decades before I was born, be thinking about? Anne Frank, like you and I, was just a simple teenage girl. She would go out with her friends. She would help out in their home. She was just like you and I. And it turns out, she had the same problems as you and I. Problems with parents, with school, with relationships, with herself ,among others, that we too, face today.

What’s extraordinary about her is that she had hope, she had courage, she had faith in a time where no one wanted to anymore. Despite the fact of meeting certain death in the hands of her persecutors, Anne Frank remained optimistic until the very end. What she was facing at that time was nothing compared to what we are facing today… The hassles of today’s world do not compare to the horrors she faced.

Reading her life through the pages of a book made me laugh… they made me cry… they made me say: "Hey, I feel the same way too!". I admire Anne Frank for her attitude towards life. She was optimistic despite the threat of discovery, truly someone to be admired! I admire her views on society, politics, even relationships. I admire her simplicity, her straight-to-the-point ideas, her very life! May she be an inspiration to us all facing difficulty and problems! Want to know more? Then try to read the book. Believe me, it’s something worth spending your time.

"I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains."- Anne Frank

Purgatory

I finally finished reading the “Purgatorio”, Dante Alighieri’s second book in the Divine Comedy. If the “Inferno” discussed about the nature of sin and its causes, the “Purgatorio” on the other hand, discusses about the identification of sin and its renunciation. A good book to read if you’re someone who wonders about the mysteries of our faith.

What I liked about the book is that its set in a realistic fashion. It’s like you’re there, experiencing what’s going on, witnessing the events as they unfold and learning at the same time. I like the way the author discusses the matters of faith and reason in a logical manner. The story also contains a lot of symbolisms and allegories, so be advised: Be ready when you do.

Enough said, I’m off to “Paradiso”…

The Art of War

What comes in your head when you hear the word “war”? Blood? Death? Anger, wrath, swords, guns, daggers, spears, cannons… you name it.

But the word war does not only refer to physical conflict. It may also refer to personal battles, self-denial and self-discipline.

So how does one fight a war?

Well, someone wrote about it.

His name was Sun Tzu.

“The Art of War” is a book written by Sun Tzu, a strategist who lived two thousand and a half years ago. The book was originally intended for literal war, meaning that it was really written for use in physical warfare. But amazingly, this book has found its way to more practical uses. Now, it is a guide to personal battles, to struggles within the mind, to personal dilemnas. Intrigued, I decided to buy a copy. When I read it, imagine the disappointment I had! I didn’t understand it! All it was saying was: “Location, location, location!… And some tactics…”

But no longer…

The “Art of War” made me think… “How does one apply this in life?”, “How does one understand such a book?”. It really made me think of the what’s, the how’s and the why’s. And my understanding grew. I never knew a book on war would teach me to understand and compromise.

Hell

I’ve finished reading the first book of the Divine Comedy, or the Inferno by Dante Alighieri.

This book is fascinating. It gives you a peek inside Hell itself. It gives you a taste of the days to come. But of course, human reason cannot understand, let alone comprehend the true nature of Hell. But this book tries to explain and describe Hell in the best possible way. Through it, I felt like I was in Hell myself… in despair in Limbo, anxious at the River Cocytus, doomed in the final circles of Hell. I even saw that abomination who opposed God.

A journey through Hell… I guess that best summarizes what I said.

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    For people who love to think.

    Jian Carlo R. Narag, MD

    2005-2017