Starting Over.

This month I started something over again.

In February 2021, I started a new job as an Emergency Department medical scribe. I love medicine – specifically, surgery. Thus, I wanted to do something that would give me exposure to such a breathtaking field.

The hospital I worked at at that time was draining, to say the least. Providers were seeing nearly 30 patients every day, meaning I had to write almost 30 patient charts every time. Every one in that hospital was severely burnt out and didn’t know how to cope with the overwhelming amount of pressure. My shifts ruined my very disciplined and rigid routines as I would work 3pm-1am, 9pm-7am, 11am-11pm, etc. My sleep schedule, eating schedule, working schedule – everything – was altered. I began to internalize every comment or attituded remark made by the people working in that hospital.

This experience honestly affected my perception of medicine and I decided to leave the job once in-person classes began.

Here I am, a year later. I am now, once again, trained to be an Emergency Department medical scribe and I now work at a different hospital.

I started over.

I was terrified in the beginning when I first entered this new hospital because what if this hospital is the same as the previous one? What if it’s not the providers, it’s me? What if I am not made for the rigors of medicine?

Fortunately, this hospital was vastly different. People were still burnt out (as this is a major problem in the healthcare field), but they do not project their inner feelings onto those around them. It’s crucial to note that it was totally okay for the previous hospital’s providers to express their dissatisfaction with their job and life, in general. However, I was unable to disassociate from such statements and vibes of the hospital.

The point is, I was scared to start over. I was scared to train all over again for a job I was already experienced in. I was scared to interact and cultivate relationships with new people. I was scared of change.

Change is good. Change teaches us new things. Change gives us new perspectives. Change must be welcomed more.

Fifty Coffees: Why Black & White?

The other day, coffee date #25 asked me “Why do you only use black and white pictures for your coffee dates?” I actually put a lot of thought into this before beginning my Fifty Coffees project. Lindsay Ratowksy, the woman who inspired this project, uses black and white pictures for only a few of her dates. But I decided to use black and white for all of my dates. Here’s why:

  • The black and white filter is mysterious.

My main goal of going on these coffee dates with people is to understand the depth and dimensionality of human beings. My coffee dates are with varying people, from those I’ve grown up with to people I’ve connected with randomly on social media. The common theme, though, of every date is learning that every single one of them has so many different layers. Black and white pictures convey this message of dimensionality and depth.

  • People are less self-conscious with black and white pictures.

I found this ^^^ on Instagram and it perfectly encapsulates my desire to go fully black and white with pictures.

When I whip out my phone and ask my coffee dates to post with their drinks, almost every one of them suddenly feels the need to fix their hair, straighten their backs, plump their lips, and ask for validation. This is natural; there’s nothing wrong with cleaning yourself up to look good for the pictures.

However, those same coffee dates also request me to take another picture because they look at their picture and all they see are their acne scars, bad posture, frizzy hair, tired eyes. They don’t see what I see: their rawness, warmth, kindness, wisdom, and gentle smiles. After they tear themselves apart looking at their picture, I tell them “Relax. The picture will be in black & white.” That’s when they calm down and return to their normal and raw selves.

Black & white images tend to hide whatever one believes are their imperfections because it adds that extra layer of mysteriousness (as mentioned above). Additionally, I believe black and white images also evoke some type of warmth that I don’t really know how to describe. With color photos, I feel like pictures of people are not uniform. For instance, say I have a coffee date in a super cute cafe. The color photo of my coffee date will have cute lighting, the unique background of the cafe, and anything else that can make the picture more appealing. On the other hand, if I have another coffee date in the dirty living room of my house, the color photo will have messy paperwork in the background, terrible lighting on the person, and won’t have the same aesthetic appeal.

With black and white pictures, though, every image is equal and uniform. It doesn’t matter what the lighting is or what the background looks like or what the aesthetic appeal is because every image is the same, placing every person on the same pedestal. This removes the chances of people thinking that one’s picture is better or worse than another’s. It forces them to focus on the content more than the picture itself.

Envision Your Purpose

Life got real tough as soon as in-person college began. It was a huge shock to my past regular and monotonous routine that I had created. I caught myself getting so tangled in the idea of the possibility of not getting into a good medical school because of the plethora of things that I kept telling myself that I lacked.

I then reminded myself of my purpose: to serve and heal as a surgeon.

I freaking love the Operating Room (OR). I fell in love with it since the first time I entered it when I shadowed a pediatric surgeon. It is breathtakingly beautiful how people from so many different fields work together in such an immaculate way as they open up a human body to restore. The human body was never meant to be opened up, fixed, and then closed up again! It’s jaw dropping.

I realize that me thinking solely about my med school trajectory is so superficial. I’ll burnout so much faster if I focus on that, when instead, I could focus on the purpose.

When I say “envision your purpose,” I mean envision. Truly just picture yourself doing what you’re so very passionate about.

I close my eyes. I see myself wearing dark blue scrubs and a hair net. I feel tiny goosebumps on my arms because I assume that the OR is always cold. I see my surgical team speaking to me as we have a patient laying on the operating table. I can feel my heart racing a tiny bit so as to signal to me that what I am doing is extraordinary. I feel the incisions I make and hear my mind telling me that this patient is going to be just fine.

Watching documentaries helps me envision to an even greater detail. Netflix’s A Surgeon’s Cut has further propelled me into the world of surgery. I watch that documentary every time I spiral and think about the superficial BS.

Here’s a little note I wrote for myself a couple days ago when I was flipping shit and thought I was “falling behind.” It now sits right on my desk, so that I can look at it almost every day. 🙂

The essence of this post is to remind myself and all of you that yes, it is good to take it one day at a time and live in the present moment. However, sometimes when we do that, we hang onto every little detail. This is why sometimes we just need to free ourselves and envision our greatest vision for ourselves. This will elevate us into a different mental dimension and will hopefully allow us to recenter.

Catapult #2 Update – Fifty Coffees

10 down, 40 more to go! 

Check out the journey and details here!

Reflecting back on all the conversations I’ve had with these 10 amazing people, I feel so grateful that I decided to embark on this journey. 

6 Important Things I’ve Learned

  • Envy is an innate human trait that is impossible to not possess. It’s more beneficial to recognize the instances when we do feel envious and actively find a way – whether that be taking a second to be proud of yourself or exiting the app/location making you feel that – to cope with this emotion. 
  • Perfection DOES NOT exist. Get it into your think head and listen to it. Despite what our society has embedded in us, claiming that productivity trumps emotional and physical well-being, YOU know better. YOU know that life is a compilation of many more factors than just how hard you’re working and how others perceive you. You’re better than that. 
  • Confrontation is necessary….but only when the other person is worthy of your energy input. 
  • Being vulnerable with others is the key to developing wholesome friendships and relationships. It is impossible and unfair to make others trust you with their life, but you won’t do the same for them. 
  • No one has their shit together. No one is as perfect as they may make themselves seem online or in public. We all have struggles. We all have suffering. Embrace it and develop resilience. Seek help – whether that be in the form of talking to your friends, finding a therapist, or taking medications. 
  • Discover your spiritual self. You never know, you might tap into your innermost euphoric self and discover a whole other meaning for life. 

I truly feel so much more liberated, encouraged, and enlightened. Every person had something unique to offer me and I am forever thankful that they took the time to share their scariest vulnerabilities and deepest life lessons with me. 

There were numerous times where I drove back home from a coffee date, and simply started tearing up with joy. The amount of exuberance, energy, and significant relief that I gain from each date and each person is extraordinary. 

I love this so much and am even more ecstatic to continue bringing you all with me into these conversations! 

The Power of Manifestation

Note: This post can also be found at https://happy2thrive.org/the-power-of-manifestation/

I used to have a hard time going to sleep. My grandma would attest to that. I would roll around and take a good 30-45 minutes to fall asleep. That was maybe a few years ago. 

Now, at around 11:00pm, I cozy myself into bed and am able to fall asleep in 10 minutes. It sounds stupid to even talk about it, but this one action truly changed the way I function every day- manifesting. 

When I get into bed, I picture and imagine myself doing exactly what I hope to achieve in the future. This ranges from the wildest, like walking at NYFW as a supermodel, being on the Forbes Under 30 List, to the simplest, like traveling to Varanasi, India and finding my spiritual self or succeeding during a simple pediatric surgery. Picturing myself in the moment doing what I love and being awarded for doing what I love puts me to sleep in minutes. Why? Because I’m at peace with myself in those wavering minutes before I close my eyes and wait for the day to restart. 

Manifestation is real folks. I would tell you how Merriam-Webster defined manifestation, but I didn’t like their version. However, I totally agree with Kelsey Aida’s definition: “to me a manifestation (noun) is something you bring forth into your physical life experience through past thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. This could be an experience, an object, a person… anything!” Beautifully said! 

The best part of this whole manifestation spiel is that it’s so easy to practice! I mean it’s “so easy” only if you are so clear on what exactly you want. 

Let me list out the steps that you can take to realize the power of manifestation and even implement it into your life. 

I’ll be quoting Kelsey Aida’s Manifestation 101 (How to Manifest Anything Your Heart Desires) throughout the steps because she is a manifestation queen! 

Step 1:

Hone in on what you want and what you want to ask for. Yeah, I’m literally asking you to ask yourself “What do you want? What do you want the Universe to listen to and reply to you with?” 

A few years ago, I hosted and organized my very own TEDx event called, TEDxYouth@ConinesMillPond. The event occurred during my late junior year of high school. It took me over a year to put that event together not because it was hard finding relevant and amazing speakers or locking a venue or finding volunteers or advertising. It was hard because my application got rejected 5 times. 5 freaking times. 

TEDx organizer applications are not short and easy. They take an immense amount of thought and effort. The first 2 times, I guess I didn’t really care that much. My ego was hurt for sure because I’ve never been rejected THAT many times for anything before, but it still didn’t kill me because hosting and organizing was not a burning passion of mine. 

After the third rejection, I don’t know if I became more engrossed in the event than I was originally, but it hurt. It hurt a lot. I was thinking of giving up. I was over it. I was sick of it, but then I realized I really really really wanted it. I wanted to host and organize the first ever TEDx event in my town and talk about mental health openly. 

I started to completely involve myself in re-building the TEDx application. I went to bed picturing myself on the stage, hosting and anchoring the event with professional cut-outs of “TEDxYouth@ConinesMillPond” in the back. I would be in the middle of school and would suddenly get an idea for a theme or venue or speaker and would immediately ask the teacher to use the restroom, but in reality would go to my locker and jot down the idea. I was constantly thinking about the event and picturing myself IN the event. Took 5 tries, but it happened folks: I got accepted! 

The Universe obviously listened. It didn’t react as fast as I would have liked it to, but there’s definitely a reason for that too: it wanted to wait until I was absolutely sure that this was what I wanted to do. 

Step 2: 

Patience my friend. Patience. 

In her post, Kelsey says “the Universe wouldn’t plant an idea or inspiration in your head that it could not achieve for you.” 

PREACH! If you believe and want something so much, then there’s obviously a reason you got the idea to believe and want it! So, be patient and let the Universe do its thing. 

Step 3:

Implement the chemistry concept of “like dissolves like” into your life. 

Your “manifestation powers” are not going to immediately give you what you want because “your energy has to match that of what you are asking for in order for it to come anywhere near you.” 

Just like how “like dissolves like” in chemistry with the solvents and solutes, what you want will only appear to you if your energy vibes with what you want. 

All of us have days when we really want something. For example, a close person to me really wanted to pursue a PhD. She talked about it for a couple months and was passionate about it, but there was always some hesitation. After really contemplating if gaining a PhD was what she truly wanted, she realized that she wanted to pursue a PhD not for herself, but in fact, for her family- to prove them a point. 

Yes, she really wanted that PhD for a little time, but her “energy” was not at the same capacity as what she asked the Universe for. 

Step 4:

Stop, Drop, & Be Content

Kelsey mentions that “you have to be in a place of nonresistance in order to receive your manifestation.” 

Nonresistance means at peace with yourself. This can be done differently for everyone. For me, it’s running in the mornings. I find that when I run in the mornings, long before my whole house wakes up, I am more zen and aware of my thoughts and actions throughout the course of the day. For others, this might mean doing some yoga or meditation, painting, driving, praying, etc. 

This works because “when you stop thought you are open and connected to the Universe.” 

Step 5:

Constantly opt for thoughts, people, and things that will increase your “energy”

Increasing your energy will match it with the Universe’s and you will be that much closer to gaining your manifestation. 

This process of practicing manifesting may also throw you down a path of honing in on the toxicity in your life and disposing it. 

This toxic energy can come from objects as well as people. Dispose of the objects. Maintain a distance with the people. 

Conclusion

Wanna know a little secret? I manifested the idea of creating a non-profit and having a website for the longest time- 3 years to be exact! 

Try manifesting. Give it time and really choose the high energy path. Immerse yourself in your new visions and ideas. Give the Universe time to reply. 

For more detailed and expert steps on manifestation, be sure to check out Kelsey Aida’s Website!

Catapult #3

Earl Nightingale’s 30 Day Test

With COVID-19 forcing us to remain isolated in our homes, I sought comfort in being alone and built a relationship with my own thoughts and feelings. Being restricted from social connections propelled me into a space of comforting loneliness to the point where it is an abominable hassle to interact with others.

Since September 2020, I have been reverting to the girl I was in 2016: insecure, self-conscious, and anxiety-ridden. These feelings only arise when I am forced to be in the presence of those I do not know, like being on ZOOM with my camera on for classes, having to participate in a discussion with everyone’s focus spotlighted on me, or even running errands that require social interaction. I don’t want to be haunted by these daunting feelings once again.

Confidence is a skill, which means it can be acquired over time. I taught myself confidence so that I could become the person I am today. Nonetheless, I am afraid that I’m falling back into that vicious cycle of feeling worthless and constantly judged. So I decided to embark on a journey.

This is Day 2 of my listening to Earl Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret.”

“We become what we think about.” – Earl Nightingale

I have heard this often but not in the way that Mr. Nightingale describes. It is absolutely incredible that our thoughts are what govern our behavior, happiness, and success.

In psychology, those who believe that their life is a culmination of events that are out of their control and are governed by external stimuli are said to have an external locus of control. On the other hand, those who believe that they are in charge of their own life have an internal locus of control. It is evident that having an internal locus of control does far more good for us Homo sapiens than having an external one. An internal locus of control is only gained by controlling our thoughts because thoughts are what govern our body and mind to function harmoniously and blissfully.

We can only succeed (whatever “success” may mean to you) by progressively, or continuously, realizing that our goals have purpose and meaning. It is because of this idea that manifestation is so darn powerful. When we manifest, we think, imagine, and entangle ourselves in the life composed of our fulfilled goals. Because we become what we think about, it is inevitable that whatever we ask the universe for, we shall receive.

Therefore, in an effort to block out the noise from the external world and prevent myself from going down the path of insecurity and self-consciousness again, I am catapulting myself into starting Earl Nightingale’s 30 day test. There are only 5 main parts to this test:

  1. Write down your clearly described goal on one side of an index card.
  2. On the other side of the card, write the following: “Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.”
  3. Block out the thoughts that plant worries in your mind because “worry brings fear.”
  4. If you fail before the 30 days are up, meaning constant negative and toxic thoughts did make their way into your mind, then start the 30 days over again.
  5. Listen to the above podcast multiple times throughout the week to constantly be refreshed and motivated.

I got my card ready and now all that remains is blocking out the potentially poisonous seeds that can contaminate my mind. Here it goes for my 30 days of growing self-confidence and psychological liberty 🙂

Calling All Failures!

Note: This post can also be found at https://happy2thrive.org/calling-all-failures/


When I first listened to Denzel Washington’s speech I was moved to tears. The profoundness and clarity he gives through his speech stuck with me in the most astonishing way. 

In his speech he asks, “How many ghosts are gonna be around your bed when your time comes?”

For many of us, our answer to that question is a lot. We have so many dreams that we want to fulfil, but we never set goals to get them done. As a result, “dreams without goals, will remain as dreams.”

The problem is, we know that we are the only ones standing in between our dreams and our ability to actually attain those dreams. Yet, we remain in this perpetual state of rigidness when it comes to just acting upon our dreams. 

We often think of our dreams as this unreachable part of our lives, but I read somewhere that if an idea was planted in your head, then that means that it is humanly possible to achieve it– no matter who you are, where you’re from, and what you do. 

With such a massive number of dreams to fulfil, it’s easy for us to feel engulfed by the turmoil created by our external factors. Our generation is taught to fear failure, to fear change, but someone once said that change is the only constant we have in our lives. Mind blown! Change is the only constant we have in our lives!  

It scares the living daylight out of us to put so much effort into something and then to fail at it. I never wholeheartedly believed in anything because I didn’t want to feel the pain of not gaining the thing that I believed in, so I NEVER got my hopes up. However, I now realize that we have to let ourselves feel it all- the rejection, the sadness, the happiness, everything- to truly mature. 

For example, my junior year of high school, I realized my dream college was UPenn. I put my heart and soul into doing everything I possibly could to be a part of Penn’s Class of 2024. I perfected every detail on my supplemental essays, worked extra hard for the remaining 2 years of high school, flew to Wisconsin alone to intern at a rehab center, hell, I even made an optional portfolio video.

I did all that and got deferred. After finding out about my deference, I took a long, steaming hot shower, in which If I had closed the drain, I definitely would’ve been able to bathe in my own tears. It hurt like hell! I took some time to analyze my failure and bounced back to work my ass off again to make sure my deference letter was absolutely perfect. After I submitted my deference letter, I straight up just got rejected. Once again, I showered it off, cried it out, and analyzed the failure to ensure that I don’t fail in that same way again. 

One of the most important things I did learn from my rejection from Penn was that in order to progress through this journey we call life, it is essential that we submerge in failure and be resilient enough to bounce back up. 

My New Year’s Resolution for 2021 is to be okay with being a failure. It’s okay for us to be failures as long as we take the time to learn from them and then, to never fail in that same way again. By understanding failure, we can all evolve into even greater human beings and potentially knock out the ghosts of our unfulfilled dreams, one-by-one, that may appear at our deathbed. 

Catapult #2

New Project: fifty coffees!

photo by  Daniel N. Johnson
PC: http://www.fiftycoffees.com/the-project || Depicted: Lindsay Ratowsky

I am so thankful that I found Lindsay Ratowsky’s fifty coffees website because it jolted me out of my confusion and opened a path that I didn’t know existed.

For months now, I have practically been strangling myself over a new passion project that I thought of. However, I’m now stuck. I have an idea, but don’t know what to do after. How do I start? When do I start? Where do I start? Is it something even worthy enough to start?

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – John Lennon

I’m not looking for validation. I’m seeking for people who will question, challenge, and drive me so that I can make my goals a reality.

After checking out Lindsay’s coffee dates and reading How 50 Cups of Coffee Can Change Your Life, I found that connecting with people I know and having my own 50 coffee dates will enable me to jump out of my current rigid state.

In 2021, I will catapult myself into the world of socializing, learning, and adapting via my 50 Coffees. I’ll document my coffee dates and findings from these dates on this page!