Monday, 31 August 2015

Give us Words

Give us words

Give us the words
The words that can cut deep into
And destroy the soul of arrogance

Give us the words
The words that can fuel the flames
Of passion for truth and honesty

Give us the words
That can destroy the seeds
The seeds of greed and envy

Give us the words
The words that can fertilise and help to bloom
Perpetual pink cherry blossoms of helpfulness

Give us the words
Words that can pulverise and make to dust
The ugly rocks of Egotism and selfishness

Give us the words
That ignite the rocket engines to never stop
a huge world changing kindness revolution

O my God, give us the words
that lead to endless unconditional love
for every human soul in this amazing world

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Mushrooms for the heart

Mushrooms are delicious!

There are mushrooms that are nice and nutritious
but there are also mushrooms that are toxic and dangerous.
The food that we eat makes our body grow and healthy, or not
The food for our body, we swallow and literally internalize it.

What we read and hear is food for our mind and our heart.
Some of it helps us to grow and be healthy spiritually.
To become good and compassionate persons
To become respectful and loving, humble and successful
To follow truly the path of our God

Some of it is toxic and dangerous.
It tends to make us feel superior and intolerant.
Hateful and snobbish
This is bad food for our mind and soul

That is why we always have to be careful
Careful if we choose to eat mushrooms
Careful before we internalize any message
be it from other persons, teachers,
the news or the internet.

Messages that give our ego a boost of superiority
are most likely a bit toxic for our soul

If we eat a wrong mushroom, we may have stomach upset
and our life may be messed up for a day
If we internalize the wrong thoughts or messages
our life may be messed up for years to come

Love entails a spiritual growth together,
looking together for fantastic food for mind and soul
perhaps during a delicious dinner conversation.
Spiritual health, humility, compassion
The true path of our God.

Please visit also:
1. the archive of this blog (right side of the screen)
- can also browse the blog by label, under the archive -
2.  inspirational/motivational quotes from Hans

Friday, 28 August 2015

What a unique family!

You are a unique person.
You have a unique family.

Do you remember the times
you were grateful for your family
you were praying for them?

Do you remember the times
you could feel their love
you could feel their care

Do you remember those meals together
those vacations, those single moments
Those well wishes, the small acts of kindness
the small acts of love?

Unique, isn't it?
It is so unique.

All mothers care, all fathers love
But none loves and cares exactly like yours
All sons love, all daughters care
But none loves and cares like yours

Unique, isn't it?

I think a great way to end this little reflection
is with a sense of gratitude, a sense of pride
for the unique ties we have with our family
for the superbly unique human beings we are.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Care and talk

Recently I have been quite busy with administrative tasks.
But on Thursdays I have made it my commitment to do the rounds in the newborn ward
At the very least, once a week,
I can taste the full beauty of the medical profession.

The full beauty but also the full burden, because not all is going well all the time.
Yesterday, I had a round and there were so many problems.
Around five pm, I managed to make some time to talk to parents
Compassionate care and talk is still such a valuable thing
Valuable for the patients, but also valuable for the doctors.

Whenever I manage to care and talk,
it makes me really feel good
I came home way after 7 pm
but it felt good.

And yes, the ward rounds pose a big burden
but if we  tackle the burden with a compassionate heart
the care and talk, resulting, make up moments of true beauty.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Who am I ??

Who I am?

I think all of us are asked by others, who we are on and off.
We tend to start the answer with or name, our job, our place of origin,
where we live, something about our family, our hobbies and so on.

If however we ask this very existential question to ourselves,
it gets a completely different meaning.
It encourages us to probe in the deepest of our being,
which, I think, is not easy at all.

We can start to think about a few things we are not.
I am not my body but at the same time I am at least a bit my body, I think.
If I would lose a part of my body,
the I who experiences the loss, would not be diminished
but the I could not help but feel a loss.

I am not my thoughts, or my mind
and yet my thoughts and mind are such an important part of me.
I can try to choose my thoughts, I can try to control my mind.
So I am not thoughts nor mind, but still without them
I would definitely not be who I am.

The very same thing could be said about my emotions.
So, no I am not my emotions but they make up a big and essential part of me

Remains, the question, if I am not my body, my mind or my heart (my emotions),
who am I?

The obvious answer would be: I am my soul and my soul uses body, mind and heart.
But who then is this soul?
Where sits my conscience? Is it part of my soul, of the I or is it residing in my mind?
Where does my ambition come from? Is it imposed by the world, or does it come from inside?
Why it needs to be really quiet to connect to my soul.
If I connect to my soul, does this imply I am not my soul or does it mean I connect to myself, my deepest self?
Who am I? Is that part I call I immaterial or not?
Who am I?
A difficult but very interesting question to consider from time to time.

Wandering in the depths of our interior being
has somehow a calming and peaceful effect.

Sunday, 23 August 2015


For 21 years, I have been teaching medical students.
Initially I thought I need to teach them knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.
But along the way, knowledge has become available at our fingertips.

A good teacher is no longer a provider of knowledge.
A good teacher is a guide.
A better teacher still is one who can inspire.

But if we want to inspire others,
motivate them and even share values,
that is not an easy thing to do.

Sometimes we tend to get too excited about our own beliefs, opinions, and get judgmental.
If that happens, we miserably fail to motivate and inspire and rather demotivate the students.
Especially in the field of medicine, so often we are dealing with difficult situations.
Most of these situations demand a lot of strength from doctors and students emotionally and spiritually.

As a teacher I feel these issues have to be addressed.
The way we address these issues is very important.
We do need to listen more than speak
We do need to ask questions more than give advice
We need to be more sensitive and less judgmental.
We need to put our ego aside and teach with soul.

All these things are much easier said than done.
and even though we often try to be good listeners,
all too often we may impose our own opinions and judgements.
We may hurt some feelings along the way and
our well intended inspiring session may become a demotivating session in the end.

I often pray for guidance during my teachings.
I know that sometimes I have truly failed to inspire
I know that sometimes I have inspired students too.

Perhaps it is OK to make mistakes, as long as we learn from mistakes.
I am a normal human being and like positive feedback and
do not like much to read negative feed back
But it is the negative feed back that allows us to grow;
it is the negative feed back that allows us to learn from our mistakes.
I do not get upset about negative feedback
I honestly admit that I do not like it
but I still embrace it as an opportunity to learn and improve myself.

I have not lost my ideals along the way
I still want to become the best teacher in the world
The best doctor in the world
The best father in the world
The best husband in the world
The best brother, the best uncle and so on
For each of the above I have a long way to go and time may be much too short.
I am aware I may not achieve any of these goals in my lifetime but they remain ideals to work towards.  :)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The cat and the wall

A twelve year old boy was walking down a narrow lane and met a wall. 
The wall was not very high but extremely slippery. 
He tried to climb over it, around it or under it, but did not manage to pass the wall
After an hour of intense effort he sat down and a tear left his right eye.

At that moment a very small cat came by
It tried to climb the wall but failed miserably
It started to meow and cry loudly. 
The mother cat came
The baby cat jumped on the shoulders of the mother
and the mother elegantly jumped over the wall.

The boy went home, asked help from his mom
His mom lifted him gently over the wall 

click here for the story in poem format

Monday, 17 August 2015


It is dark, no moon, no light
Just darkness, a starless sky
The wind blows, the waves break
A single firefly passes by

Soon the firefly is gone
Leaving me in the darkest of nights
The tiny fly made me anticipate
A sunrise with the finest of lights
This is still my one of my favorite poems
and perhaps the one receiving most visits.
More poems by Aufie Zophy (my author name) 
by clicking on this webpage link

Thursday, 13 August 2015

My way (?)

" Be reasonable

I saw this written on a small plate in a souvenir shop in Gent.

It was striking my mind enough for me to share it here with a little reflection.
Sure I have been guilty of the above.
While talking to my children, to my wife, and to so many others.
We tend to stick to what we feel, to what we believe, to our own principles
 If only the others could be reasonable and live and do according these feelings, believes and principles too.

The huge problem perhaps in the world is that all of us tend to have a set of different feelings, believes and principles and all to often we consider each other as being unreasonable. Rather then carefully listening and practice some true empathy and "give and take", we tend to listen so often only to our own inner voice, our own ego and consider all those not following our feelings, believes and principles as unreasonable.

I have made it my small intention, aim, for today to try to listen a bit more, "be reasonable" and to try and understand a bit more of my fellow friends, family's feelings, believes and principles before judging them as unreasonable. I will perhaps try to 'give and take' and do it a little bit their way :)

This is not a call to give up our own feelings and principles, but to understand a bit more the feelings and principles of others.

Monday, 10 August 2015


When I got of the boat at the Venice train station, there was a porter.
He offered help for carrying the luggage.
I know they do that not for free.
Somehow I thought I was in a generous mood and made up my mind to give him 15 euro, which I had in my pocket for his  less than 2 minutes of help with the luggage.
When we reached the train station, to my surprise he asked for his services 15 euro.
So I gave him the 15 euro without any discussion.

If you are not familiar with the euro currency, to give you an idea, my taxi from the train station to the hotel cost me ten euro (the distance was not very far)

For me the net monetary effect was the same, but psychologically it was suddenly very different.
For him I think it was quite a bit different too.
Let us say, if he had asked for a reasonable amount of money for the few (certainly not more than 2) minutes of help, he would have gotten 15 euro and he would have really felt appreciated.
But now he asked for the unreasonable 15 euro. He got 15 euro, but within, he must have experienced the bitter taste of having cheated this tourist by charging him extraordinarily high.

Another effect his behavior had is that when I got off the train, there were porters too. Instead of letting them help me, I chose to carry the luggage myself. So, not only he deprived himself of the good feeling of being appreciated and created his own bitterness of having charged too much, but he also gave a bad name to the porters in Italy in general. They are depriving themselves and their whole group of peers from a lot of opportunities to help others and get their business to be successful.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A mushroom in the grass near the beach

I sat down on the grass near the beach
And noticed a small brown mushroom
Not too far from where I sat down

Some of the grass carried flower like crowns
 of short white hairs, all along their stalks

Not only the small brown mushroom 
Enchanted with its exquisite beauty
But the grass itself had its own 
Peculiar texture exuding attractiveness 

The white beach was almost hiding the banded sea
Of brown and deep green turquoise taints
When a dark cloud moved quickly, 
Blocking the astonishing sunlight from view

Everything became gray for awhile
A few rain drops hit my naked arms
But then the wonders of light won from the cloud
And shone the pastel miracle of bands again on the sea

Monday, 3 August 2015


Today I received a mail from a friend asking for tips for doctors who are in a training program for specialists. It was my pleasure to express my thoughts on it as follows. (MMed stands for Master of Medicine, the name of our local 4-year specialists training program)

A. How to be an excellent MMed Student

1. Enjoy the journey (things we enjoy, we do best)

2. Everyday, clerk one case as if you prepare for a long case in exam (exam becomes a routine, a second nature)

3. Discover and let bloom your natural curiosity (yes, in the deepest of our heart we want to know everything about every of our patients). Give  your patients care beyond their own expectations

4. Ask questions and actively look for answers (own reading followed by discussion with lecturers and colleagues)
5. Have a study method, make mind maps, 

B.  Time management
1. Plan your study time
2. Plan your leisure time
3. Plan short term, medium term and long term
(i could make it five times plan, but will try to come up with two different ones)
4. timed revisions of summaries of readings (same day, next day, after 1 week, after 1 month)
5. Insert now and then an unplanned day
(this section B was the toughest for me since my own time management is somewhere near to the freezing point)

C. How to reduce stress
1. Find every day one flower, tree, or other wonderfully beautiful thing, take a picture of it and share it with your friends (sharing beauty works wonders). Life is not easy but oh so beautiful.
2. Try to make everyday one stranger smile and then do the same to your family and colleagues (Our steno in paeds used to say: make one friend smile and Allah will smile at you)
3. Write down your feelings, reflect on them, create a blog, write poetry, make a painting, sing under the shower (especially when no one can hear you)
4. Call your mom or dad or a lonely aunty
5  Read a few jokes, until you find one that makes you laugh

Believe in your self, think positive, remain humble and honest, eat a good diet and take on and off a deep breath.

And  a final one (initially I thought I would never come up with enough tips and now i seem to overdo it   😊): 
Whatever task at hand, read about it before you do it (be it giving a presentation, chairing a meeting, introducing a speaker, ....) All things have experts who have tried, erred and learned and written about it. We can learn from them and do not have to try and err so much along the way.