Archives for category: Health and Fitness

Let’s try to move away from the stereotypical image of the shrewd and cunning businessman who would not blink at selling this wife and kids for the right price or who would lie, cheat, and steal just to get ahead.  For fellow Star Trek fans, this stereotype would call to mind the Ferengis who have as their revered codex the Rules of Acquisition as a reflection of their ultra-capitalist society.  We are at the age of intense capitalism, yet we must not forget that we are humans before we are capitalists.

As members of the human race, we must not neglect to espouse the qualities which humanity should be proud of and these would be generosity, faith, honesty, resilience, resourcefulness, kindness, compassion and goodness.  These qualities which we would appreciate in a friend, a family member, and/or a spouse, should also be the same qualities which we hold dear in the realm of business.  There seems to be a double standard in business at times where when someone is “too earnest” or “too honest” it becomes a criticism.  It reflects that the values which are seen as pertinent or relevant to the business world are not the same qualities which we might want to find someone whom we would idolize as the epitome of human goodness such as Mother Theresa.

This dichotomy in commendable traits creates a schism in our psychological development as we reach the age of maturity where one must earn a living whether through providing services or products.  While growing up, we are taught through parables and fairy tales about the importance of being good and honest, and yet when we enter the real world, we find that the qualities admired in a business person is aggressiveness and ruthlessness and we find that we might have been mislead and therefore all the cautionary fairy tales warning us of cunning and deceitful character ill-prepare us for entering a capitalist society where opportunism and shrewdness are admired, valued, or at least, become seemingly favourable traits to getting ahead.

There is a disconnect between the values and ethics which are espoused by our religious institutions and spiritual education with the worldly concerns and requirements of thriving and surviving in a complex society.  We then become schizophrenic in trying to both be a good person to our friends and family on a personal level and yet be calculating and cold on the business or career aspect and only very few people, if any, can sustain these unrealistic and incompatible expectations.

We must be aware that it is unfair to preach goodness, kindness, and compassion to our young ones while at the same time expecting them to thrive in a cynical and savvy world without considerable confusion, trauma, and upset.  There needs to be a paradigm shift in what is considered valuable in our society.  It need not be said that the qualities of goodness, kindness, and compassion are immensely preferable in every facet of life–even in business–though they should be balanced by awareness and applied with discretion and caution.  There must be a way of thriving business and society without losing our soul in the process.

(c) Niconica 2013


If I remember correctly, the opening scenes of Gone With The Wind includes a shot of the text “Do not waste time for that is the stuff life is made of.” And it is not more true than it is now. Time is running out for all of us but we are not usually mindful of it until we have life experiences which jar us to our senses.

My dear friend’s condition is already pretty grave and it pains me to realise that each moment we share or each conversation we have might be our last. Even though my friend is still functional and does not appear to be dying, the results of the medical tests are not encouraging and I’m hoping against hope that some miracle would happen but I’m trying to be pragmatic with the facts and possibilities at hand.

I am not ready to let go of the friendship and relinquish the bond we have but the choice is not up to either of us when it would be terminated. This uncertainty manifests as an aching pain in my heart which accompanies me through the day and I am unable to share my concerns with others due to respect for my friend’s explicit request for privacy.

Each moment in which we can to interact even remotely through chat or SMS is priceless and there is no way to be fully prepared to lose someone we genuinely love but we must attempt to be prepared for the eventuality which may result from the seeming randomness of life.

It’s not an easy path or navigate and yet we must treasure each priceless moment and appreciate the poignancy of gradually being able to let go and say goodbye while making each moment count.

(c) Niconica 2013

I have not managed to write my regular daily posts but I will make up for it in the number of posts I write instead. I’m still reeling from the shock and the pain of my valued friend’s HIV diagnosis. It could just as easily have been another terminal illness such as Cancer, the anguish and the devastation would be the same.

It’s too late to point fingers now because it doesn’t change the facts which are quite bitter pills to swallow. The challenge is to be able to recover from the shock and be able to help my friend deal with his predicament and be able to maximize the cards he has been dealt with.

Intellectually knowing the facts does not take away the gnawing pain inside my heart–I feel that it is breaking. Last year has been an unfortunate year of medical emergencies and losses, and this year, this situation is something new to struggle with. Undoubtedly this would be an opportunity for growth because if we do not adjust and evolve, we will not be able to survive unwanted changes, and yet an understanding of these facts do not take away the dull ache in my chest.

On one hand, I want to cheer up my friend and try to pretend that the situation is non-existent or not as serious but on the other hand, the alarming and severe symptoms exhibited does not allow me to escape from the thought that the remaining time from now are fraught with gravity of saying goodbye in not so many words but in actions and interactions which are so poignant because they might be the last few memories we have before time runs out because having a compromised immune system is nothing to joke a about–anything can come in and screw up the precarious equilibrium.

I have written a about preparing for death in one of my past posts but it was in the context of my grandparent who is already an octogenarian and has advanced stages of a degenerative at the twilight of a very long and full life or a relative who is already a senior citizen who suffered a debilitating illness. In both cases, it can be said that death can more easily be viewed as a more acceptable eventuality because they have managed to live long and full lives free from disease until these years.

It is an altogether different matter to be faced with the possible demise of someone yet in the prime of their life and the ticking clock announces the pressure of cramming as many meaningful moments into the limited time remaining. The ghosts of what could have been will haunt us while we attempt to enjoy the company of the ill person and we cannot help but feel anguish at that tragic turn of events.

I am unsure how I will be able to negotiate this new jagged emotional terrain. It is definitely a work in progress where we just have to do the best that we can to prevail despite discouraging and painful circumstances because no matter how badly we feel, we must not fail to appreciate that the person who is in the predicament would likely be feeling infinitely worse and our own selfish concerns and worries pale in comparison to theirs. We must then set aside our own misery, and attend to them while we have the opportunity to do so. There will be enough time to grieve and deal with our own pain in the future. Meanwhile, the present time should be devoted to them.

(c) Niconica 2013

Just like that, everything can change in an instant when we find out that a cherished friend has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. There’s a sense of disbelief that all this is actually occurring and there is a resistance to the events unfolding…

It’s a sobering wake up call that we never really have full control over our lives and we must do the best with the cards we are dealt with. Our lives are all finite and yet we live as through we are indestructible and being diagnosed with a terminal illness simply reminds us of the fact that we will all die.

It is not apt to assume that a terminally ill person will surely die before people who are not terminally ill since the causes for an abbreviated life can come in many forms for so-called healthy individuals. Yet we must be aware that the diagnosis signifies that there is no more time to waste and we must cherish the present moments with the person and make the most out of it.

Having death looming at the door is sobering and yet there is a clarity that dawns upon those he awaits–about which things really matter the most and which things are merely peripheral and it is with this perspective that a dying person manages to squeeze the most out of life–choosing not to waste any moment. This is what we can and should all learn, because in one sense, we are all dying as each day, month, and year heralds advancing age and eventual deteriorating health.

Having our lives prematurely cut when we are not ready is not a welcome circumstance by any chance, and yet when the situation is already existing, we must endeavor to be pragmatic and endeavor to live each day to the fullest because we don’t know which breath may be our last–and this advice would hold true for every human being.

(c) Niconica 2013

I have not been able to post for the past two days but I’ll strive to make up for it. One of the most painful truths which the Buddha has taught is the everything is impermanent and subject to change. We are aware on it on an intellectual and theoretical level but the reality is harder to grasp because we are creatures of habit and change is difficult to accept especially when it catches us by surprise.

It is then when we must remind ourselves that life is unpredictable and everything is impermanent and any attempt to hold onto something or someone is likely to eventually lead to sorrow or disappointment not because it is wrong to be attached to certain things or people but merely because the inherent nature of anything which exists is that it is subject to change at any time and for any reason possible.

We must overcome our grasping at permanence because we don’t know when the changes will come and we must not erroneously assume that anything will last forever just simply because we desire it to be so. We must learn to detach and go through the changes and learn to adapt, because as Charles Darwin has observed, those who do not adapt, perish.

(c) Niconica 2013

I just found out that a good friend is HIV positive and I’m still in shock. It has never been more clear that unintended consequences can be so severe. It was something that was unexpected and we are still reeling from the shock of it.

Barring the small possibility that it was a false positive, it is of no use as to delve into the causes of it too deeply because there are some things which cannot be undone and no one is immune to the unintended consequences of their actions.

This serves as a brusque wake up call for all of us to be more tempered and cautious with our decisions and attempt to consider the future repercussions instead of immediate results. It might be prudent to request a partner to be tested prior to engaging in relations so as not to possibly find oneself in this painful predicament.

Everything has turned upside down and I’m stil unable to process the reality of it. I’m still in denial and hoping that it might be a false positive instead of a definitive ruling. I’m unable to say how I will be able to handle it since I just found out today but I can say that I’m feeling incredibly bewildered and sorrowful.

I can only imagine how hard it is for my friend and whatever I feel about it may be processed privately or internally or with my own de facto support circle but it is important that irregardless of how I feel that I maintain a brave front in order to be able to give due encouragement, support, and comfort.

The priority right now is to see how I may be able to be of help. This event is really a sobering reminder that there are times when unintended consequences are so grave that they cannot be ignored and end up being a life-defining turning point.

Moving forward, it would pay to think twice before we undertake anything and try to ensure or try to endure that we have all our bases covered before moving forward with any endeavour–because some effects are irreversible.

(c) Niconica 2013

There are naturally positive people in the world but I’m not one of them perhaps because I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant experiences so I’m at a loss when it comes to how people can be so genuinely lighthearted and happy. I often wonder if they are just putting up a front because I don’t seem to see anything to be cheery about.

However, my pessimism, however warranted, is not accurate in this regard because there are people who are not as damaged and instead of envying them, it occurs to me that I should learn from them.

Granted, positivity is not my default state and I can confirm that when I watch each thought and feeling which comes up in my mind. Instead of acting on these bad memories and negative musings and contaminating others with the black cloud, I can attempt to take several deep breaths and let these thoughts pass without verbalizing them or allowing them to carry me away.

It’s not going to be easy because it appears that my mind had been conditioned through experiences to think the very worst but perhaps I can attempt to conquer this tendency one thought at a time. It’s not going to be perfect and there might be moments I might succumb to my natural programming but I believe that the pay off for keeping things positive will be better in the long run.

Wish me luck!

(c) Niconica 2013

Now that the holidays are over, it would not be surprising that we would all have some extra pounds waiting to be shed. There are a few ways to deal with it, but again, it would involve some sacrifice.

Nope, there’s no miracle method here – unfortunately.  I’m sure we would all appreciate quick fixes with no negative side effects.

1.  I suppose EXERCISE should but at the top of the list.  I’m not a big fan of it but it does deserve a position in the list – so I might as well get it over and done with.  It has to be said that exercise only works if it’s done regularly and not in infrequent but intense bouts – in which it would only cause one to possibly lose weight but eventually gain back the weight or more.

It can be said that at least 30 minutes of concentrated yoga, brisk walking, jogging, or (gulp) running/cycling might do the trick – if we do get around to it.  It doesn’t need to be said that the going to the gym and properly exercising (and not just ogling people) might do the trick too.

2.  Another method with dealing with holiday weight – and preventing the gain of additional pounds – might be TO LIMIT CARB INTAKE.  Instead of having unlimited rice, fries/chips, potato, and/or bred to accompany one’s meal… it might be a good idea to limit oneself to just 1 cup of rice, 1 scoop of fries/chips, 1 pc. of bread, or 1 serving of potato or pasta during each meal.

Fruits & Vegetables

3.  This doesn’t mean limiting oneself to just one serving of everything else on your plate during meals though. MORE FRUITS would be good too, but within a reasonable quantity to prevent heightened levels of blood sugar for people with diabetes.  UNLIMITED VEGETABLES, including tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, carrots, peas, string beans, among other options (and this does not include potatoes, cassava, taro, and other carb-filled root crops) would be a great idea – unless the said vegetables were deep-fried and/or battered – then it would be a different issue altogether since this would fall under the vetoed food list.

4. HIGHER PROTEIN INTAKE (with the exception of oily and fried food) would be able to compensate for the limited carbohydrate intake.  In other words, more meat, fish, and soy would be commendable.

5.  Implementing a DEEP-FRIED FOOD AND JUNK FOOD QUOTA to once a month (ideally) or once every fortnight (if once a month sounds too cruel) would allow fried food junkies their monthly or fortnightly fix without going out of bounds.

This doesn’t mean completely giving up weekly KFC, McDonald’s and Jollibee indulgences or any version of home cooked deep-fried treats including fried chicken, battered shrimp and squid or the very tasty Cheetos and Ruffles, it just means that we get our “treats” for good behavior every two weeks to a month.

It must be reiterated that the quantity of fried food consumed during the bi-weekly or monthly reprieve should be in a reasonable quantity (one serving) which means consuming a whole bucket of fried chicken would be unacceptable for our purposes.

6.  A lot of people might not be keen to hear this but a SODA, FIZZY DRINK, AND SWEET BEVERAGE QUOTA might be called for too since the sugar in the fizzy drinks are notorious for elevating blood sugar and also causing weight gain.

7. CHOCOLATE, SUGAR AND SWEETS QUOTA – Yes, you heard me right – cut down on the chocolate, sugar, candies, or other forms of sweets.  If one eats it indiscriminate quantities all throughout the week – it might be good to cut it down to half the quantity and frequency then eventually a quarter of the quantity and frequency – down to just once a month, as much as is possible.

8. DRINK A LOT OF WATER – yes pure H20 does wonders to our body – and it’s cheaper too than loading up on the sugar-filled beverages we all love and enjoy so much.  Water also cleanses, purifies, and aids in flushing out excess toxins in our body.

So,yes, folks, here are the eight suggestions for dealing with weight gain – from the holidays or otherwise.  I would be first to admit that these are easier said than done – and if it’s too much to take immediately then perhaps picking a few steps to ease oneself into the process of living healthier would be an option too.


(c) Niconica 2011*

*The copyright refers to the text and not the images.