40 thoughts at 40 years

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Mum and me. Penang, Malaysia 1981

I do understand that I’ve written a mini-book here but alas that is how I write! Long-form and I am sure that there is a book in these 40 thoughts.

*Thoughts* with asterisks next to them are upcoming blog posts that in different stages of being edited. Please comment if you’d like to read any one of them in particular. There is one that I am particularly in love with writing at the moment.

Thank you.

(1) Gratitude, thankfulness and praise
(2) Energy

(3) Destiny
(4) Failure
(5) Sex & marriage


(6) Danger and risk
(7) Study, study and more study
(8) Developing your craft
(9) Being clear about my story
(10) What do you want?


(11) Wisdom
(12) Value
(13) Journaling
(14) Possible impossibilities
(15) Conscious and unconscious thought


(16) Loving yourself
(17) Mentors
(18) Marriage            
(19) Nurses
(20) Palliative care


(21) Equality and Value
(22) Salvation
(23) Pain
(24) *She is beautiful*
(25) *Perfection vs mastery*


(26) *What do real men need?*
(27) Self-care
(28) Being me
(29) Forgiveness

(30) People problems

(31) How to be rich
(32) She’s beautiful*

(33) Children and legacy
(34) The brevity of life
(35) Go, make art

(36) Influential women
(37) Raising boys
(38) Parents

(39) Writing words- my superpower
(40) My last words
Finally

Gratitude, thankfulness and praise

When I look at where I’ve come from, I find it difficult not to be blown-away and thankful for the opportunities, open doors and grace that I have been so measurelessly blessed with on my journey to 40.

In my teens, it was a confusing, fun and exciting time, the birth of who I really was. A rock and roll loving book-worm with a tendency for crazy behaviour. I also met the one.

In my 20’s it felt like one never-ending party. Living away from home, it was interspersed with serious moments of exams, study and learning to be in a relationship. I started work as a doctor and “I” became “we” and “we” became “three”, as I got married and Samuel was born.


In my 30’s life became much more serious, for me it was the start of adulthood – taking responsibility for my decisions, internal dialogue and legacy. There were moments that fun died and sadness and depression rose. But solidly throughout, I learnt the joy that came from Jesus being my strength, the peace that comes only from rest in him and alignment of the purpose that he showed me as I trusted him to take the wheel and drive.


So at 40, I am grateful. It is impossible not to be. I have the best life and I am happy.  My 40’s will be building and giving the world something profound and useful, punctuated by moments of shoe-collecting, oceanfront house building, book-writing and making memories with my number one and our three.

Energy

It is all about energy. I feel younger than I thought I would when I contemplated turning 40 and I believe it all comes down to energy. Our sources of energy aren’t simply in the physical but psychological, spiritual and emotional too. If we do not find a way to replenish, excite and grow in these core areas of life, I dare say you will feel “tired all the time” (excluding of course pathological reasons).

At 40, I have a great deal of energy, my mind feels clear and the work ahead of me is focussed. And because of that, I feel young. I am so thankful for the life lessons that have allowed me to make energy a priority.

Destiny

The last thing on my mind was the first thing on God’s when I started working as a doctor. I never thought, believed or even imagined that my passion in life would be to serve those at the end of their life. It was the last thing on my mind when I was accepted into medical school and started life as a doctor. But little did I know that God’s plan and the first thing on his mind, was for me to care of those who were suffering, dying and needed comfort and compassion. Gosh this was a big and welcomed surprise!

Failure

The best gift you can give yourself is to understand that life’s setbacks, failures and mistakes aren’t an attack on you personally, but rather the greatest moments for life-change and the catalyst of exponential growth. When I look back at all those dark moments, failures, times of deep distress and moments of hopelessness, they were turning points in my life. As fire purifies, so do life’s experiences. They are feedback and course corrections on your way to mastery.

Sex

Sex in marriage is glorious, it is poetry and the absolute masterpiece of the creator. The wonder and promise of marriage is something to behold and “sex is the glue that holds me to you” – Jonathan Ramachenderan to Kylie Ramachenderan as she blushes and tells me not write this. Ha-ha I did!

Danger and risk

The wisest people of all see danger in the horizon and bound their life with protection from the storm – be it keeping in good health, saving and investing their money, making time in their marriage to cultivate love or  taking the time to discipline and train their children, these are the practices of the wise.

Study, study and more study

Every single moment of study has been absolutely worth it – I am nerd and I LOVE it. 7 years of university, 8 years of junior doctoring and registrar training, a dermatology diploma, a governance qualification, my palliative care diploma and anaesthetic training to end up with the best, most kick-ass job in the world which pays pretty well too! A fellow doctor once remarked, “you have the best job in the hospital”. “Don’t I know it,” I replied as a catchy rap song played in my head.

Developing your craft

It is the most rewarding thing to have a special skill that can help the world in a significant way. It’s taken COVID-19 for me to realise that I am well-respected for that skill and sought after for opinion and that I do not need to become a specialist to provide great value. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else but if this were all taken away tomorrow, I would work on finding another special skill and way to help.

Being clear about my story

The difference between good and great lies in your mind. The greatest limiting factor is the story you are living out of and the words that you speak to yourself. If your story is that “I’m not good enough” and that “I’ll always be mediocre” and “good things do not happen to me”, then guess what? That’s what you are telling every cell in your body. I’ve learnt that your conscious mind is that captain of the ship and what it thinks, believes and thus instructs, will determine where every other cell in your body does! Examine your inner talk.

What do you want?

Being clear about what you want in life is hard. After pushing past the “I want to be happy and I want my family to be safe and I want to have money”, lies what you actually want and it is may surprise you! The excellent thing at 40 is that I more clear about what I want now than I have ever been and this provides me with incredible peace and boundless energy to go get it!

*One hint on what I truly want is where I run every Saturday*

The point, 2014. The dream begins.
Wisdom

Wisdom in life has everything to do with connecting to the highest level of consciousness – the spirit realm, which is within everyone. Wisdom is not necessarily linked to experience. For wise human insight is connected to the breath of the almighty, regardless of age, experience, giftedness and man-made titles. We are all born as simple beings and as we grow we ALL have the opportunity for wisdom, to hear her call, to be attuned to her voice in the moments and fabric of our experiences. But many choose the path of the fool. Even the most successful/famous people in the world can be fools. Money, fame, ability and opportunities do not determine wisdom.

Value

You are most valued in life when you give value to the world and show value to others.

Journaling

The reflections written daily in my journal about how I feel, how I’ve failed, how I’ve been victorious and the struggles that I’ve had, have had a profound impact on my mental wellbeing. In a world consistently gripped with anxiety, fear, inferiority and superiority complexes and obsessed with whether we are good enough, my journal and I have done some deep inner work together. Write something down, I encourage you – It’s a good download.

25/04/2020 – So much to be thankful for.
Possible impossibilities

My absolute belief is in the possible impossibilities of this world for nothing is impossible for God. On my journey to 40, I have seen God do the impossible and every time I encounter a road block or a closed door, it is a chance to exercise faith. Not that God would do what I want but that his will would be done because “his words are flawless and his way is perfect”. And each by faith I am “sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see”.

Conscious and unconscious thought

We all have operating systems which are running the subconscious and unconscious thought processes of our lives. Whether we like it or not, our present is shaped by our past. We have given meaning and thus formed beliefs about our past experiences which in turn influence our present.

 In a stunning moment of clarity, my coach allowed me to realise that as a 39 year old husband, dad and doctor, the operating system that was running my life, was set as a delinquent 17 year old in high school.

In 1997 it was the best of me living very badly – stealing, smoking, subverting the law and living life like a gangster. When I was caught and it all came to a calamitous end. It was severe, swift and a significant moment of, “you need to fix this”.

So unknowingly as I was cleaning up my mess and driven by the pain of failure, I developed an operating system which worked perfectly. It avoided all conflict, confrontation and any uncomfortable conversation. However my desire to avoid conflict was an unseen and powerful force, impacting my present and hampering me from progressing.

Having been given the tools to go back in a non-judgemental way, I’ve made peace and understand this experience and I am working towards having the courage to be disliked and to back myself. So watch out world!

Loving yourself

“Jonathan, you are okay. You are on the right track and I love you” – Jonathan Ramachenderan 25/04/2020. Speaking life to myself has been a game-changer. I love myself so much more now, than ever before. The space between my true inner self (who God created me to be) and me (how I live) is smaller than it’s ever been.

Mentors

Having a mentor in my life has been life-changing. I have had a monthly meeting for the last 8 years with a man of God who has graciously helped to mentor and guide me as a young dad, husband and professional.  He has an awesome marriage and two raised wonderful and productive children. He loves his work and is making a significant impact in the lives of others. How unbelievably blessed am I to have the wisdom, experience and counsel of a man like this? It has been the one of the greatest catalysts of change and life-transformation into becoming a man that God destined me to be. Thank you John – I love you brother.

Marriage

A husband’s primary job is to make his wife beautiful. I’ve learnt and seen that the way a husband serves his wife, speaks to her, touches her,  submits to her wisdom, repairs their relationship and speaks about her to others, is directly related to how beautiful she is. It is in her eyes – the reflection of her heart and evidence of a nurtured soul. It is in the way she smiles, the way she moves and the freedom she feels to express who she really is. A husband’s job is to make his wife beautiful by the way he loves and serves her because she’s beautiful.

Nurses

I owe deep of gratitude to all the nurses that I have worked with over the last 19 years of medical school, the hospital system, general practice and aged care. Nurses are the linchpins of our health service. Medicine and surgery, fancy interventions and cutting edge science, holds no comparison to what happens at the bedside. What good is treatment if there is no nurse to educate, comfort and care and most importantly nurse our sick back to health. As a doctor nothing is achievable in healthcare without my nursing colleagues and only playing field is horizontal. It’s not vertical or hierarchal with me – I need you. Thank you all for helping me. (Thank you to all the nurses in Tamworth Hospital, Fremantle ED and ICU, Rockingham Hospital, Broken Hill Hospital, Joondalup Theatres and Pain Service, Albany Health Campus – notably my Palliative Care colleagues and Surgical Services nurses, Katanning, Mount Barker, Denmark).

Palliative Care

It is surprising how much energy, fun, laughter and deep meaning my Palliative Care work holds each day. It is the greatest privilege to work with people and their families at the end of life. There is much wisdom, experience and answers of life’s big questions that are revealed at the end of someone’s life. It is a joy and pleasure to serve.

Our Palliative Care team taking receipt of iPads for Tele-health in the regions. 2019
Equality and Value

For the longest period of my medical career, I was embarrassed by how much I earnt. Living in Albany is a closed socioeconomic microcosm with the well-to do living in relative proximity to those with less. Being confronted each day with many who were struggling and did not as much me, I always carried with me a feeling of guilt and caution about expressing my relative wealth and comfort.

It all changed one day when I was listening to Dave Ramsey’s book “Legacy Journey”, on money and faith. I was able to see that whilst we are all created equally in the image of God, the value that we produce in the marketplace is different. It stands to reason that if I am engaged in specialised and high-risk medical work, that I would be remunerated accordingly!

We are all created equally and are inherently valuable to our creator. But the value we produce and bring to the world isn’t and that is okay.

“Money is the reward for accurately understanding your value to the world” Jaemin Frazer

Salvation

How can pot-smoking, shop-stealing, foul-mouth, high-school failure change his life? Salvation. Unwavering faith. And absolute belief in the person that you want to become. No matter where you are in life, there is hope. And hope is not in the government, it’s not in another person, nor is it in your ability, it is Christ and Christ alone.

1997 – What a year!
17 year old Jonathan receiving his Australian citizenship with the Mayor of Canning.
Pain

In the most painful moments of my life, there in the valley, I’ve become stronger. My scars (quite literally) and imperfections are part of what makes me stronger today at 40 than ever before. I would dare say, if you’ve never experienced pain and learnt from it, then quite possibly, you’ve not fully lived. Those painful experiences sucked but I would not change a thing, they were necessary and served a greater purpose.

A small setback which was painful at the time.
*She is beautiful*

It had been a rough and tumble Saturday morning. Kylie was out spending time at the farmers market and enjoying a peaceful coffee alone. I remember each boy rotating in being upset, being angry, hitting another and then all getting along when it came to morning-tea. It was loud, a little messy and life with young boys.

But then she came home. The softness and sweetness of her voice melted the tension in the room. Her scent was intoxicating. Her energy was radiant and appealing, drawing us close. Her form was perfect and her touch delicate. She stood apart from the all the dirt and mess. Majestic, wonderous and beautiful. The way she spoke soothed and her voice was welcomed, familiar and warm. Her presence changed the atmosphere. Her being lifted all measure. She’s lovely. She’s cherished. How can one person have an impact such as this? It’s because she’s beautiful.

*Perfection vs mastery*

Perfectionism has been a difficult mental framework for me to demolish. It has served me well for many years but it has taken its toll on my wellbeing and performance. In late 2017 I was introduced to the idea of being “good enough” and it changed my life. It allowed me to see the true artists, the poets, the best clinicians and the statesman of our time and age, did not practice to become perfect but they worked and received feedback on their way to mastery. They backed themselves, knowing that they were indeed “good enough” which allowed them to walk through failures, mistakes, and setbacks with kindness to themselves and compassion to others. Mastery is what I work towards now, knowing that I am indeed good enough. Perfection is the enemy.

*What do real men need?*

Real men do not need power. Power struggles are for weak men, those who live in a world of winners and losers, perfection and failure and insecurity and inferiority complexes.

What do real men need? Real men live for and need purpose, the pursuit of something greater than themselves. Real men need a partner, an equal to live and share life with. Real men need praise and encouragement as words carry the power of life and death. Real men need to be a protector, to use their warrior spirit to give shelter, hope and safety to those in their care. Real men need to be a provider, to know that they are able to make an honest living – to provide for their families, to be generous others, philanthropic for generations. Real men need peace and solitude, to connect to their highest level of consciousness, to reflect and receive revelation and to dream wildly. Real men need to play and have fun. It’s never a waste if it replenishes and refreshes – the opposite to play is not work but depression.

Self-care

Intentionally caring for myself is the cornerstone of my being. In my clinical career, I have very successfully burnt myself out twice and brought myself to the verge of quitting as a doctor. For this very reason since 2014, I developed a number of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly practices that have kept me energetic in the domains of my life that matter. Why would you sacrifice your health at the altar work? The degree to which you intentionally care for yourself will be reflected in the energy, creativity and joy you receive from your life and work.

Epic family holidays. Sydney 2016
Being me

I am making peace with the fact that I’m a nerd and a little strange. There are many things about me that I’ve hidden for many years – I’ve suffered from terrible insecurity, until now. I’ve learned to embrace those parts of me which were a little imperfect, eye-brow raising and a little weird. As I turn 40, I’ve realised that “this is me!” and I love it. Imperfections, rough edges, scars, strange habits, these are all what makes you magnificent and one of a kind. Thank you Jaemin for helping walk through this.

Forgiveness

Unless you’ve experienced true forgiveness – heart piercing, soul conquering, spirit changing absolution for your mistake, it is truly difficult to understand the breadth and width of what forgiveness actually means.

I’ve found forgiveness particularly hard. The sins of others and their misdeeds sometimes play like an unending loop of escalating pain in my mind and my response isn’t much better. It is usually a diatribe of “what I should have done” and “what I should have said” and “what I am going to do to them” which leaves me a heaving mess, soaked in shame.

But what I’ve learnt in being completely forgiven of all my sin, is that in my human flesh, forgiveness is something that I need to offer day in and day out, over and over again to those who have wronged me. It is a continual process of bringing my pain and complaint to the foot of the cross and asking my God to give me the courage and strength to forgive. And he does!

People problems

Painful people intrigue me. This isn’t because I believe that I can fix them but rather I am learning more and more that the solution lies within them – this is because I used to be a painful person.

Painful people have usually had painful things happen to them and as a result, tend to use unresourceful behaviours to avoid facing their pain. These behaviours make them “painful” and as a result we have the saying “hurt people, hurt people”. I’m convinced that painful people can change, as the story that they are living from probably wasn’t the one that they intended for their lives. Everyone is in charge of their story and as I’ve learnt we are not the actor in the story but we ARE the storyteller.

How to be rich

The secret to being rich is generousity – intentional, increasing and proportional generousity. Being rich is very different from “getting rich” or “acting rich”. Anyone can be rich, all it takes is a generous spirit and grateful heart. Think about the last you gave freely to someone in genuine need, how did it make you feel? I bet it lifted your spirits and brought you joy.

Kylie and I have committed ourselves to be proportionally rich unto others because the reason why any of us have more, is to give more! You’ll find that the happiest people in our world are the most mindful, grateful, peaceful and generous bunch you’ll ever meet. Being rich is also the antidote to the dreadful disease of “more”.

I’m convinced at 40 that giving is the BEST thing that you can do with money here on earth.

Zimbabwe 2010. Medical mission trip with Cosmos Healthcare. Life changing in many ways.
*She’s beautiful*

She’s beautiful because she makes be better. I’ve known her for half my life and each year we grow exponentially closer together. She’s in all my thoughts of greatness as she’s my most trusted advisor and she’s the compass by which I gauge the direction of my decisions. The candour of her words challenges me and the splendour of her voice encourages me. My writing has passion and depth because of her. She is beautiful and I couldn’t imagine 40 without her.

Children and legacy

I’ve learnt that the best thing that I can do for my three boys isn’t necessarily to provide with a good life, but rather for me to live a blameless life. I’ve lived long enough to see families ruined by the careless decisions of husbands and fathers usually in pursuit of passion, possessions, power and lust. The best thing that I can do for Hunter, Samuel and Benjamin is to live with integrity – my words matching my action and my life, an open book for all to see.

Life at home. 2018
The brevity of life

I’m confronted by death each day and being a little strange I often meditate on the thought that I have a life-limiting disease and ask myself a few questions.

“Am I working towards what I truly want? And if I were to die, have I lived well?

It’s compelling because for the time that we spend wondering if we are good enough, we become duly distracted with life. The grave is full of unfulfilled dreams, brilliant ideas and unwritten masterpieces. This is a chilling thought, one which prompted me to work on my own insecurities and become very clear about what I want in life and to go and get it.

Go, make art

We are all artists, poets and creative in our own unique way. Everyone has art inside of them and it is waiting to for an opportunity to be gloriously displayed. My art is deep reflective thinking coupled with writing. There is majestic moment when you uncover the joy of your art because it doesn’t simply elevate your life but it is your gift to humanity. Don’t hide it!

Influential women

As I turn 40, a great deal of progress, opportunity and personal growth has been made through the influence of a number of key women in my life. I am forever indebted and in praise and forever changed by their love, dedication to their calling and their interest in me!

Kylie, you and me were destined to meet, fall in love and lead and live life together – I’m yours for eternity. I am your biggest fan! Mum, I love you – thank you for walking with me in some of the darkest moments of my life and being the first one to call me “leader”. You are a shining example of faith, joy and love. Janice, thank you for taking an interest in me and giving me opportunities to lead. Your wisdom and your encouragement means the world to me – I love the way you think. Kirsten, thank you. I feel that we are writing history together and I could never imagine someone so brilliant calling me her “equal” and opening so many doors for me. Lesley, thank you. Your dedication and wisdom and your heart for the suffering has been so impactful on me. I’m here to help you with you mission for as long as you need.

Raising boys

I have been uniquely blessed with the privilege of raising three boys! I know the job isn’t done yet but this is what I’ve learnt at 40.
 – Speak to tender hearts – Boys have soft, malleable and tender hearts which are moulded as they grow. A soft, open and tender heart is spoken to gently and can be broken and hardened by word and action(or inaction). My greatest learning is in the words that I use and the manner by which I speak. Like many other parents I have spoken harshly and in haste only to see their tender hearts break – but alas repair is possible.
– Loving their mum – By the way I honour and love Kylie and showing them how truly beautiful she is, this is an important foundation and standard by which they will love and cherish their wives and treat other women.
– My presence at home – I know my three boys love having me at home, not on my phone and not with a million other things to do. They desire me, my eyes and my attention. I’ve made a promise to Kylie that as they enter their teens, I will simply be there. A present force at home and around. I’m not going to accept any further promotion or responsibility. I will be there, not in their face or lurking in the shadows but supporting them, growing deep marriage roots with Kylie and being a general dork.
– Limited editions – The one thing that my boys will remember that “dad said” was that they were special limited editions, one of kind, never seen before unique creations. There is no one like them in the world, that they all have art within them, gifts and talents and an eternal purpose. My boys need to know not to conform to world’s thinking, that in them there is greatness waiting to be released.

Parents

I have been so utterly blessed with two adults who loved me, protected me and showed me how to live. I didn’t always listen and many times I broke their hearts. Dad, you are one of the wisest men I know and your opinion matters a great deal to me. You and mum are the definition of servant leaders and you watching you love Jesus and serve him are an example to Kylie, me and Justin and Joanna. I love you both and at 40 you can drop me at the front of the party – I’m not embarrassed anymore.

GP Fellowship celebrations Perth. 2014
Writing words – my superpower

One of the greatest gifts in life is to find your superpower and mine is writing. It is something that comes naturally to me but also a skill that I practice each day in my journal. I can use words to change opinion and educate but also pierce hearts and touch souls. My superpower is soul-touching, live-shaking, heart-changing writing. At 40 I am even more determined to refine my art and make good art. My intention is to write a book.

Last words

Wayne Dyer posed a compelling thought and action in his book “The power of intention” — writing down your last words. He detailed the final words of few important people in history to provide a perspective about how our words at the end of our lives can shape our meeting with destiny.

 — Thomas Edison, “It’s very beautiful over there”
 
— Ludwig Van Beethoven, “I shall hear in heaven”

 — Mahatma Gandhi, “Ram, Ram, Ram (God, God, God!)”

– Aldous Huxley, “Let us be kind to one another”

– Johann von Goethe, “Light, light, the world needs more light”

 In my work with the dying, your final words do matter and living towards your final physical day on earth can have a undeniable effect on how we choose to live.
 
 As a Christian I know that there is another side to death — God, but only if you know him and have accepted him into your heart, life and spiritual realm.
 
 Writing your last words is about is about meeting eternal life without fear but with grace and joy in seeing our creator. 
 
 Our final words on earth will be our introduction to heaven.

“Hope is alive. I am going somewhere more beautiful than life” — Jonathan Ramachenderan.

Finally

As I turn 40, I happy to say that if my life were to end tomorrow, I have lived well, impacted my children’s life in the most positive way, have built a beautiful marriage with my wife and used my gifts to serve and give value to the world. So thank you Lord, I am so grateful for 40 fruitful years!

Amen.

Live with intention.

Love relentlessly.

Enjoy your best days in the wonderful health.

Dr. Jonathan Ramachenderan
@thehealthyGP

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