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  • New from Bernie Siegel – Love, Animals & Miracles

    Introducing Bernie Siegel's new title, Love, Animals & Miracles: Inspiring True Stories Celebrating the Healing Bond . The stories in this new book offer funny and heart-touching, true-life experiences that convey loving connections, amazing rescues, and healing with (and by) animals — both wild and domestic. Learn more     Available now in bookstores everywhere. Order your copy online today at:  Wisdom of the Ages, Barnes & NobleAmazon or New World Library.
  • Amelia’s Ark Angel Society

    Please support my friend Amelia Kinkade with her new charity, ARK ANGEL, which enables her to go into schools in rural Africa and educate children about wildlife conservation so that they don’t grow up to be poachers.

  • Ask Bernie a Question

    Have a question you would like to ask Bernie? Use the message box below, and be sure to include your e-mail address. Bernie will answer questions each Monday on his blog (see below). Thank you for sharing your question!

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  • Today’s Prescription for the Soul – Prescription #36 – Service

    I hope that my “365 Prescriptions for the Soul,” will be a welcome and healing addition to your day. The prescriptions I ask you to fill are designed for your total well-being. They come from hard-earned wisdom and experience with the difficulties of life. They are dispensed “as written” with love. At the end of each prescription is my “Soulution” to help you develop healthy self-love, self-esteem, and self-worth. Please take the prescription I have written for you here and fill it right away.


    What is a deeply satisfying human life, and how do we design one?

    ~ Lenedra J. Carroll, Author
    The Architecture of All Abundance

    We all desire a satisfying life. How do we accomplish having one? There are many ways to seek satisfaction. We may try to get others to do things for us and yet that alone does not bring fulfillment. Another way we search is by trying to fill our lives with material possessions. But accumulating belongings is not what makes life satisfying. It may make the neighbors jealous, but it won’t make your life meaningful or joyful.

    Look at the wise words of the sages, who tell us to serve others, and you will find the eternal message about how to have a satisfying life. It is not about getting acknowledgment or thanks, but the inherent joy that comes from doing for others. Find your way of serving the world and giving it your love, and watch what it does for your life.

    Soulution of the Day

    Serve those in need, and receive the gift of life.

    - Bernie

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  • Q & A with Bernie – February 1, 2016

    Question for Bernie

    My mom died of cancer when I was 13 in the 1970′s.  I read about people who have been cured since then.  I am confident that my wife can be healed if she would open up to her feelings.  She is a culture Jew and was brought up in Queens.  Her father was a workaholic and a yeller and her mom was very dependent.  My wife grew up in a home where both parents regularly yelled at each other, but she does not talk about it.

    My wife’s father died of cancer at my wife’s present age of 57.  My wife’s mother has lived with us for the last 14 years.  My wife developed arthritis within a year of her mom’s arrival.  I have been taking care of her mom and buffering them from each other for the last 14 years.  This fall we moved my mother-in-law into a retirement home.  My wife has devoted her life to our only son who is graduating from high school this year.

    My wife is a great computer programmer and seems to love it.  She has been managing my son’s soccer team for years.  This year is a major transition, however, with her mom’s move and son graduating.  The cancer was found New Year’s Eve.  She is cared for by many people because she volunteers a lot.  She does not express her emotions other than anger, which is short lived.

    I have been married to my wife for 20 years now, and though I have tried, she shuts down when I talk about deep issues.  I love her very much, and I believe she loves me.  She has done very poorly since her first chemo treatment on Friday.  She seemed to do well the first 3 days, but she has been in pain and bedridden since then.  We have capable doctors, but they treat the body not the emotional needs.  I need some guidance.  I believe if she can get in touch with her emotions, the cure will follow.

    Thank you for all of your books and tapes.  They have given me comfort in my life.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer

    This is all about your wife not growing up with love.  Encourage her by being an active listener.  Let her see that you are interested in what she is saying, but don’t tell her what to do—let her speak and get her feelings out.

    Love her and help her to love herself and her life.  Help her understand that loving herself and her life gives the message to her body that she wants to live.

    Give her my books to read and hope that she reads them.  The two I would recommend starting with are LOVE, MEDICINE & MIRACLES, and more recently published, THE ART OF HEALING—Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom & Potential for Self-Healing. The tapes can also help her to visualize going through treatment without having any side effects.  You can find everything you need on my website, www.berniesiegelmd.com.  Remember, she can change doctors if they are not responding to her as a person.  You can support her as she decides about whether her doctors are listening to her as a person, not just treating her as a statistic.

    Peace be with you and your wife as you take one day at a time,
    Bernie

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    Numbers & Memories

    Dear Everybody,

    Jung said numbers are discovered and invented, and express quantity and meaning. Our life and the memories of our life are stored within us, and the meaningful and significant ones are often made conscious through the meaning of numbers. A simple example was Elisabeth Kubler-Ross looking at a picture I drew and asking me why eleven was important to me. I asked why she questioned me about that number and she showed me I had drawn 11 trees in the sketch. I immediately connected it to my starting my support work with cancer patients eleven months before.

    #1.  A reporter interviewing me draws a clock with one hand on it pointed at twelve. #2. A woman with pelvic problems that do not respond to therapy draws a broken heart with twenty-one drops of blood. #3. My wife draws a picture of five trees with one out of line and below it four flowers on the left side of the page, six cat tails in the middle and three flowers on the right side of the page. #4. A single medical student draws a picture of his future family with three children. #5. A child draws a picture of an operating room she has never been in showing two yellow areas, four people, four black spots near the lights and colors white and blue on the operating table.

    I will discuss all of the above in a moment, but I also want you to understand that the numbers can represent your past or your future. One woman drew a picture of a snowy mountain area with three trees in the section of the drawing which represents the future and three years later she moved to Vermont. So besides numbers the past, present and future are revealed and I use drawings to help people make decisions about their lives by seeing where they are headed.

    #1. This reporter was not a believer in my work. She was just doing her job and when I spontaneously asked her what happened when she was twelve years old she said she didn’t like deadlines. I said there is only one hand on the clock and then she burst into tears and told me she had been sexually abused when she was twelve. Understand the number could have related to twelve months ago or many other things. I was responding to my intuitive feelings about what it represented.

    #2. The doctor caring for this woman called me and I told her to ask the woman to draw a picture. No instructions were given other than that. When I saw the drawing and counted the drops I asked the physician to ask her what happened when she was twenty-one. The email I received was a horrendous description of a year of multiple episodes of sexual abuse. Now the truth can come forth and the healing will begin because the woman is no longer evading the truth about her life and past.

    #3. We have five children and one was driving us nuts at the time she drew this. He was often out of line compared to his siblings. I was trying to encourage him to leave home and go off to college as his two brothers had done. At the time of the drawing my wife and three children were at home and two away but the flowers were in groups of four and three and not five and two. So I knew he had decided to leave home. When did it happen? There were six cat tails and I knew they could mean six years or six days. Well six weeks from the day of the drawing he left to join his brother in Denver and go to school there.

    #4. When Matt was in med school I had his class draw pictures for me. When Matt drew himself as a doctor in the future was Matt, his wife and three children. Many years later, after his graduation and marriage, Matt mentioned to me that he and his wife were having problems conceiving a child. I told him they would have three children. They were in his drawing. I did say they could be adopted too but they would have three children. Well of course things worked out and his wife has delivered three lovely kids. No coincidence.

    #5. When I show this slide I also show a picture of the operating room the child entered. It had two lights. Four black elbows where the lights could be adjusted and focused on the operating field. Four people were taking care of her: two nurses, surgeon and an anesthesiologist. The colors were about the white sheet she lay on and the sterile blue sheet she was covered with during surgery.

    Numbers also apply to more than personal things. The number eight is a new beginning. Not a coincidence that Hanukah is an eight day event. Creation took seven days and every religion has a seven day week but not the same number of days in their months. The number ten is very meaningful too. The ‘one’ followed by the ‘no thing.’ But from the no thing creation begins and when we have the one it goes on to create plant life, animal life and human life. So the one creates and becomes two, three and four which when added up returns you to the 10. I even feel the number three being used on your TV to give you access to all channels is a reflection of the trinity. And is the fact that our months and eggs come by the dozen related to the twelve disciples? I will leave you now to watch and count and learn. The quantum physicists also see numbers in many roles. Keep your mind open as Einstein did and keep learning.

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

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    Silver & Gold

    Dear Everybody,

    The following sentence touched me with its meaning and content. Speech is silver, Silence is gold; Speech is human, Silence is divine. I and many others agree with that statement. In order to create a quiet mind, which can be in touch with and communicate with the divine, silence is mandatory. In the midst of pain, grief and more it is hard for true silence to be present.

    I just finished interviewing Jamie Turndorf, on one of my www.healthylife.net internet shows, about her book Love Never Dies. It is a book about her experience after the death of her husband and is summarized as how to reconnect and make peace with the deceased. From my life and mystical experiences I know that she and I agree and had many stories to share about our experiences communicating with those who are no longer physically present in our lives. She is a therapist who has created a form of grief therapy which combines conflict resolution techniques and after-death communication. Thus the bereaved can reconnect and resolve unfinished business with the deceased. I can recommend these techniques and beliefs to any of you who are looking for help resolving your loss. What we lose is the physical presence of our loved one but not the spiritual presence and the love we shared and still continue to share.

    She speaks of one example where her dead husband took over the computerized images she was showing during a lecture being filmed and put in a picture they had taken of the Eiffel Tower, the site of their honeymoon, and it is all on film. It reminded me of the time a cancer patient I was counseling asked me to speak at her funeral in New York. I showed up at the funeral home, which had a very large auditorium. When I was called upon to speak I went up to the podium and started telling stories about the wonderful and inspiring person Sunny was. Even when in Hospice she was a joy to visit because of her spirit. After speaking for a considerable period of time, as story after story entered my mind, the sound system went dead for no apparent reason. I announced that Sunny turned it off as her way of telling me that enough was enough Bernie. It is time to stop telling stories and proceed with the funeral. Everyone there smiled in agreement.

    I could fill many pages with mystical but true experiences and have written about many of them in previous columns. It is why the statement about silence being divine and golden touched me with its truth. When we are busy talking, feeling, doing and thinking the connection with the divine does not happen. Even when the divine is trying to communicate with us if our antenna or satellite dish is not functioning due to our inner turmoil we do not receive the message.

    However, when you find yourself in the midst of stillness due to your feeling and not thinking the divine and deceased can then have their message come through to you verbally or through images you see before you or in a dream. Dreams and images are the way that we can receive knowledge and communicate without speech or other people. Though I have at times, when my mind was still, heard words spoken to me which I know came from the divine consciousness which was guiding me and helping me to heal and do what the divine teaches us. Today my mother in law asked for a visit while I was about to take our dog for a walk. I went to the cemetery for a walk. Her death occurred in February and my father-in-law’s in January. I think she wanted a hello and to be sure I remembered.

    I can’t help but share some of my favorite quotes about the immortality of love. I do not think it is a coincidence, I find that creative people are in touch with the golden quality of silence and when in their creative silent zone hear and see the truth and share it with us through their work, words and images. I think in many ways this shows the wisdom of the divine and how the creative individual, whose mind is focused and silent, hears the truth.

    From The Human Comedy by William Saroyan: The best part of a good man stays forever, For love is immortal and makes all things immortal. From The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder: And we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten but the love will have been enough. All those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love. The only survival the only meaning.

    I write this to simply connect with those of you who have an open mind and are willing to experience the truth about our life and nature. It is hard for me to restrain myself from typing an endless number of experiences I have had that speak to me of the truth of the fact that when our bodies die our true selves do not. It is like your car being wrecked and no longer having its physical presence to utilize but you, the driver, still exists and knows where he or she is going. The destination is never the issue. The problem is experiencing a silent and divine state of consciousness so the golden state of immortality is available to you. Be still and all will become known to you.

    These were on my calendar today. “Silence isn’t always golden. Sometimes it is yellow.” So remember to speak up to defend yourself and not be a silent, submissive sufferer.

    To honor and quote Martin Luther King Jr.: Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    NOTE: I WILL BE SPEAKING ABOUT MY BOOK LOVE, ANIMALS & MIRACLES IN THE HARTFORD AREA JAN 30 1:30PM CALL 860 841 5894860 841 5894 FOR INFORMATION AND JAN 31 IN WOODBRIDGE BOOK SIGNING 1:30PM CALL 203 397 7544203 397 7544 AND AMITY HIGH SCHOOL ADULT ED IN MARCH

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 11, 2016

    Question for Bernie

    Through meditating and reflecting, I’ve come to see that anger plays a role in my life.  I know I should find ways to let go of it but just can’t seem to.

    I’ve been reading your books – right now 365 Prescriptions – but wondered, how does one let go? Truly let go of anger?? Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Thank you for your question—many, many people over the years have asked me the same question as it applies to their situations.

    There is appropriate anger, for instance when you are not treated with respect, it is important that you speak up.  This is survival behavior because you face the person or persons causing you to feel anger immediately.  Even if they choose to remain disrespectful, you are not damaged if you speak out in defense of everybody treating each other with respect first and foremost.  Some call this “righteous indignation” because there is no excuse to be disrespectful of others even if you disagree strongly.

    But when it is something you carry with you as a negative but never address, then anger is inappropriate it hurts you.  The damage begins with your immune system pumping out too much adrenaline (fight or flight hormone), and your mind remains fixated on whatever your anger comes from and just gets stronger until you get ill.

    At the point when you see that people or situations that anger you are not going to accept your thinking on the subject, then you move on to forgiveness.  To keep your body from damaging itself because of anger building within, forgiveness frees you from the burden.  You can’t psychoanalyze people who treat you with disrespect except to say to yourself that clearly they are lashing out at you because they cannot resolve the anger they carry around.  It is in using this knowledge that allows you to be calm and forgive, saying to yourself that they have not yet faced those causing their anger about things in their own lives.  You can’t change that, but you can change how you let their misdirected anger affect you.

    Another effective strategy is to become a love warrior and use love, not anger, as your weapon.  Be compassionate and understanding with people and situations in your life, and always let the people in your life feel listened to and valued.  A great way to defuse certain types of anger-provoking disagreements is to simply say, “Let’s just agree to disagree, since we both deserve the respect of each other to effectively communicate and begin to collaborate.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Dreams

    There have been many dreams and experiences which have been personal guides for me and made me think about my life and actions and creation. If you think about evolution, sleep at some time, was a dangerous undertaking. You lie down in your cave or shelter and along comes a predator and has you for dinner. Many creatures do not sleep or sleep while standing so they can escape from dangerous situations. So I believe the reason we sleep is not just to allow our body to rest but that it is to allow this inner wisdom to speak to us through symbols. This includes the body or somatic problems as well as psychological ones. Dreams and drawings are useful in diagnosing physical conditions. Carl Jung interpreted a dream and correctly diagnosed a brain tumor. I have had similar experiences with my patient’s dreams and drawings. So in my life the thoughts and wisdom come from this inner universal wisdom which creates my dreams and speaks to me at times in images and words.

    A dying teenager asked me, “Why am I different?” The voice, speaking through me, said, “Because it makes you beautiful.” I was about to apologize for saying that until I looked at him and saw the bright eyes and beautiful smile the words had created. When your mind becomes like the still pond you will hear and see and connect with the thoughts which can change your life because you are accessing the greater consciousness and can know the future and communicate with animals and more. When you are asleep this is your natural state but when you are awake and your life and mind are turbulent it cannot happen. The ugly duckling sees he is a swan and a tiger raised by goats, when his mother dies giving birth to him, sees who he is when another tiger takes him to a still pond and says, “See you’re a tiger. You’re not a goat you’re like me.” When the mind is still you will see and hear what needs to be seen and heard in your life at that moment.

    I have had many experiences when I have had a voice speak to me. It happens when I am taking a walk or exercising and my mind is quiet. Consciousness is non-local but again it cannot communicate when we are in turmoil. My animal intuitive friend, Amelia Kinkade, while sitting in Los Angeles, told me where to find a lost cat in Connecticut. She also told me that I had to quiet my mind in order to be able to communicate with my animals. It is the same message and it has worked and taught me a great deal.

    An example: I wrote a book called Buddy’s Candle to help people deal with the loss of a loved one of any species. When I finished it I took our dog Furphy out for a walk. I heard the voice say to me, “Go to the animal shelter.” We got into the car and drove there. I walked in and saw a dog sitting near the door. The voice said, “What’s his name?” Of course the answer was, “His name is Buddy. He has been here less than fifteen minutes.” I said I was there to take him home and I did. I have to add that on the way home I stopped for gas and Buddy leaped out of the car and started running down the road. With help I caught him and when we got home I quieted my mind and asked him why he did that? His answer, which blew my mind was, “I belonged to a couple. The husband was an alcoholic. When his wife would ask him to take me for a walk he would go to a bar and drink while I was locked in the car and then he would abuse me.”

    I told him I would never treat him like that. The test happened a few weeks later when going shopping I accidentally hit the button on my car keys, while putting them in my pocket, which opened the minivan’s side door. When I returned to the car Buddy was sitting in the open car. I started yelling for Furphy and then heard Amelia say, “Bernie quiet your mind.” As soon as I did I knew Furphy was in Stop & Shop looking for me. And indeed when I went there the guard saw me and asked if I were looking for my dog which he had with him.

    Last but not least the voice helped my father to die laughing. I heard the voice ask me how my parents met, before I went to the hospital, knowing my dad was going to die that day. I answered I didn’t know and the voice said. “Then ask your mother when you get to the hospital.” When I walked into my dad’s hospital room the voice asked my mom the question. She said, “I was sitting on the beach with girls I didn’t know. I learned later they had a terrible reputation. Boys coming down the beach tossed coins to see who would get the other girls and your father lost and got me.” The stories she followed with allowed my dad to die laughing. A gift for us all to experience.

    Now back to the visual messages. Many years ago I experienced hematuria and my associates wanted me to immediately see a urologist as cancer could be the cause of the bloody urine. I was very busy and did not want to interrupt my schedule and caring for patients. That night I went to bed and dreamed that I was sitting in the cancer support group I ran. Those attending were all introducing themselves and telling why they were attending. When it came my time to speak and introduce myself everyone said, “But you don’t have cancer” before I could say a word. I awoke knowing I didn’t have cancer and that I could make an appointment that fit my schedule. The dream proved to be correct. I had an infection.

    Next problem was my wondering whether I was running support groups for seriously ill people and a doctor because I feared death and wanted to feel invulnerable. That night I dreamed I was sitting in the back of a car with several other people. I can’t recall who was driving but we went off a cliff and everyone in the car was screaming in panic while I sat calmly observing what was happening. I awoke knowing that death was not an issue or problem for me.

    Another dream I had was of an iridescent white cat I thought was called Diamond because of her appearance but people weren’t pronouncing the name correctly. I went to visit the Jungian Therapist James Hillman because of that dream and a past life experience I had which was like lucid dreaming. A friend, over the phone asked me, “Why are you living this life?” when she heard how busy I was. I went into a trance and saw myself as a knight being told by his lord to kill someone. It was like watching a movie about myself. I ultimately did kill a young woman and her dog because if I had refused my lord said that he would take my life.

    To make a long story short when I discussed these things with Hillman he said the cat was named Daimon and was about my spirit and the life I was to live and I should talk to the cat and I did. Then he shared how I was talking about my Lord and I said yes the lord of the castle and he answered. No, it is your Lord. It hit me then how I had always wondered how Abraham, Jesus and Noah could follow their Lord’s instructions and not ask for other options. I learned about faith from that experience. Who my Lord should be and that my reason for being a surgeon was to cure with a knife and not kill with it.

    For me consciousness is non-local, not limited to the body and can exist independent of it. I had a near death experience choking on a toy at age four and a past life, as I described, and I believe all these relate to our connection with our personal and collective consciousness which never ceases to exist. For me creation comes from intelligent, loving, conscious energy and when we leave our bodies we are un-alive and perfect again. I believe what sees when we have a near death experience and leave our bodies is the same force which creates our dreams; the universal collective consciousness and the source of creation.

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    Doing Somethng Real

    from MIND & HEART MATTERS

    Dear Everybody,

    Many years ago my wife and I went on a camping trip with a group of people into a pretty isolated area. The theme was to learn how to depend upon yourself and nature to meet your needs. One of the women who participated was pregnant, and I thought she was a little nuts to come on a camping trip, as did her obstetrician, but she thought it would prepare her for the labor and delivery she planned to go through at home with a midwife present. Well, guess what? In the middle of the night someone came into our cabin yelling for me to come because she had gone into labor prematurely, and I was the only doctor in the group.

    I ran over to her tent and found there was a nurse there who could also be of assistance. We played some peaceful music, and I guided her through some healing imagery to visualize a comfortable and uncomplicated labor and delivery. It helped her to quiet down and stop shrieking and tearing up the sheets and towels people brought in to try and be helpful. With her husband and our support, things went along reasonably well. We put in a call for emergency help and then sat back and waited to see what would happen.

    After a few hours of difficult labor, and before any rescue vehicle arrived, the baby’s head appeared, and I knew I had to step in and do something to help with the delivery. I gently pulled the baby out, tied off and divided the umbilical cord, and then focused on the baby. The baby was not breathing was becoming cyanotic due to a lack of oxygen. So I immediately started to compress the baby’s chest and perform mouth to mouth resuscitation to provide oxygen and circulate blood. I tried everything to see if I could get any reaction from the baby suggesting there was hope from hot and cold water or anything anybody could think of, including placing the infant against the mother’s breast.

    The mother looked up at me, while holding the infant, and said to me as I reached for the baby again, “Stop, the baby is dead.” I told her that I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t quit, and so I took the infant and tried everything again, and just as I was about to give up, the baby started breathing and came to life. After a few minutes, when I knew the baby would not stop breathing again, I stepped outside to take a breath of air for my therapy. At that moment, for the first time, I experienced something I have felt only twice in my life. I looked up at the sky and said, “My God, I’ve done something real at last.”

    Many years later, the same feeling came to me after learning that my first book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, was #1 on the New York Times best sellers list of non-fiction books. As I walked down our driveway to pick up the mail, I looked up at the sky and again, felt I had done something real. I have helped many people to survive and experience life in a different way because I had helped to empower them when they confronted a life threatening disease.

    It is a feeling that is very hard to put into words because it just fills your mind, heart, and body. It is a reflection of the fact that your life has meaning, and that you have made a difference for other people and helped them survive and hopefully thrive.

    I am not telling you this to point out how wonderful I am, but to get you to do something that makes a difference to other living things so you can someday say, “My God, I’ve done something real at last.” Or maybe better yet, put it on your headstone, too. That feeling can’t be described because when it happens you are in another zone that words do not, and cannot, describe. It is like having an out of body experience.

    I have seen it save the lives of cancer patients who expected that they had little time left to live. But, when they have done something real, the act of doing what is real changed their lives and their body’s ability to thrive and survive—through the love of their actions. This may sound strange to some of you but it does happen, and it is something we are all capable of when interacting with other living things. Even if the child had died and my book was not a best seller, a simple note of thanks from someone about something I did or wrote that helped them to survive their difficulties would, and does, give me the same feeling.

    Here is a quote from a note sent to me by someone I know on the island of Kauai (where I wish I had a home). “I wanted to write you little “Aloha Love” from Kauai. I have had a very hard time emotionally.  My best friend Sharon shot herself in the head. It’s your book Buddy’s Candle that reminds me not to cry and be happy. Those were her last words to me!! I’m forever grateful. Blessed by you. Love. Mahalo.” I have the same feeling from notes like this that have come to me from all the other experiences I have had over the years.

    The message of Buddy’s Candle is for anyone who has lost a loved one of any species. It is okay to cry, but when you grieve and cry excessively and let it take over your life, it is not appropriate. If you grieve and cry without end, your tears will put out your loved one’s celestial candle, and leave them without a bright candle and feeling only the pain that their death has caused you. They want you, and so do I, to enjoy the day, smell the flowers, and learn from the experience. Then, from your wisdom, go out and make a difference so you can all say, “My God, I’ve done something real at last!”

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie

    Don’t go through life. Grow through life.”
    ~Eric Butterworth

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    Attitude

    From: Mind & Heart Matters

    Dear Everybody,

    Our kitchen has metal cabinets and with the use of magnets I continue to post inspiring articles, photographs, letters, comic strips and more. Just the other day as I headed down the hall I looked at an article I had posted right next to the door. I don’t think it was an accident that I stopped to read it. As you all know I feel there are no coincidences. It was a brief article by Charles Swindoll entitled ATTITUDE.

    Before I share the article let me share a story. Years ago after giving a lecture about mind body medicine and healing I was leaving the building when a man and his wife came up to me. The wife explained that her husband wore a pin, which was the word ATTITUDE, on his lapel. I liked the idea and she went on to say that whenever her husband was not acting and living like a survivor she would walk over to him, take the pin in her hand and give it a little twist while stating, “Honey you need to get your attitude straightened out.”

    I loved what they were doing because she was being his life coach in the way coaches should do it. She is not telling him what he did wrong or criticizing his behavior. She just let him know he needed to adjust his attitude to enhance his likelihood of having a successful outcome. Eventually I had someone let me know he had started making ATTITUDE pins after hearing me tell this story and I still have one or two I use on my jackets.

    Now let me share Swindoll’s words with you and many more quotes are available via the internet: The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of ATTITUDE on life. ATTITUDE, to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the ATTITUDE we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our ATTITUDE. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you……..we are in charge of our ATTITUDES.

    ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!!! I can tell you since noticing the above words I have felt a very different attitude towards life and all the problems, tests and difficulties it presents me with. And when my attitude changes the same events no longer represent problems, tests or difficulties to me. They are now my teachers. I hear the lyrics from a song which states: When you are going through Hell just keep on going before the Devil even knows you’re there.

    I am going to find my pin and start wearing it every day. I like to put symbols up before me and let them become my therapists. I mentioned a while back a plaque hanging in my folk’s house that I never noticed until we were cleaning up their home after they died. It said: ENJOY YOURSELF. IT IS LATER THAN YOU THINK. So put these messages up around the house, on the fridge and I even use my wife’s lipstick to put messages of love on our bathroom mirror. And as the years go by we all experience our difficult days and life tests but when you walk into the bathroom and see an inspiring message about life and love there from years ago it puts everything back into its proper perspective and life goes on.

    This year we had a horrendous failure of our roof and needed the entire roof replaced and now they are redoing several rooms to repair them, remove the mold and rotted wood, repair, repaint and more. The ATTITUDE I have is improving every day as I work at living the sermon. I love telling the guys doing the work that I will give them a list of songs they are allowed to play in the house while they are working. You all know how loud and blaring the stuff they play is to help them keep going. Yes, humor is a big part of ATTITUDE also.

    Let me share some other of my kitchen therapy messages:

    1. God loves you and I am trying,
    2. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.
    3. Out of difficulties grow miracles.
    4. Don’t feel totally, personally, irrevocably, eternally responsible for everything. That’s my job. GOD
    5. The state medical society has selected you as patient of the month. We know you will be pleased to be an important part of the educational program involving hundreds of medical students. Most of them will be dropping in to examine you this week.

    And a letter from Mel Brooks, who really understands attitude, thanking me for sending him a copy of one of my books. “I love the cover. You take a nice picture, the only thing missing is a pony – kids in Brooklyn and the Bronx always took a nice picture on a pony!”

    It’s your attitude. So what is going to create it? Are you empowered or a victim? What is your choice?

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    If you choose not to decide, you have made a choice.

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    Farming

    Dear Everybody,

    I met a guy the other day during one of my Stop & Shop therapy sessions who asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a farmer. He asked how much land I had to work with. I told him a few inches less than six feet. He was surprised by how little land I had.  I told him I wasn’t talking about the ground I lived on, but about the body I lived in.

    I really feel that our bodies are the fertile soil with which we can experience growth, and how the fruit of our endeavors affects the health and well-being of others. I truly wonder how many farmers care for their own Mind-Body-Spirit connection at least as much as they do their land, crops, and animals. In the past, I’ve shared the stories of people who are self-destructive, seeming to care very little for nourishing their own lives with love and compassion, but these individuals almost always take wonderful care of their pets.

    Think about what you put into your body regularly.  Then, think about what some manufacturers put into their food (and other products) that make us vulnerable to disease by lowering our immune system’s ability to protect us.. We do have choices, and if we say we love life, then we really can’t justify using dangerous chemicals to control weeds.  It is a huge contradiction to, on one hand say we love life, but on the other, sanction using dangerous chemical weed retardant that shortens that life we say we love so much.

    When you love yourself, you are careful about exposures in your environment.  For example, you don’t consume large amounts of sugar or contaminated foods. I would compare it to global warming in the sense that we are all in this together. The land belongs to all of humanity. It is what we call home. But unless we all wholeheartedly join together with positive, loving energy to create an endless supply of love and compassion—more than enough for everyone on Earth many times over—we will not have an easy time getting to our natural state of collaboration rather than confrontation.

    We are all farming the same land, so be aware of how our choices affect the fertility of other farms and the success of other farmers. My advice to you is to start caring for the land and those who farm it right now. Do something for this beautiful planet Earth that we all share. Believe me, you will blossom and bear fruit when you do something that is life enhancing. Compassion and love are their own rewards for both the giver and the receiver.

    I remember a study in which healers were asked to hold water in their hands for a few minutes and give it loving and healing energy. The plants watered by the water the healers treated grew faster than the plants watered with water from the same source, but untreated by the healers. Patients who felt that their doctors were compassionate versus those who felt they were not, recovered faster from the flu. In the same way, we can either poison or heal our planet’s crop of living things. If God is the Master Gardener, then we need only to follow his lead to ensure that there is a never-ending supply of love and compassion for all living things at all times, forever.

    You can’t blame God for creating mankind. He needed a crew of farmhands to get the fields plowed and the work done. The problems we have encountered up to this point in our evolutionary journey really began when we started drawing lines and declaring, “That’s my farm, not yours.” Then we further separated ourselves into different varieties of plants, wanting nothing to do with each other, feeling that “our group” was a better representation of the fruit of creation than any of the others.

    Here is another project for you. Look at everyone as the Fruit of Life and a product of God’s farmland.  Just as you notice the feel of a piece of fruit or a vegetable, and its color and consistency, think of all the people you meet in the same way. You don’t have to like their aroma, taste, color, size, or other characteristics, but you do have to love them for what they are and accept those who do enjoy them. Think of the varieties of food and types of diets on our planet. How many times do you order out to get ethnic food you are not used to preparing but do enjoy eating.

    When you get to know people, you will have the same reaction. We all grow up experiencing life in a way that is unique to our heritage and influenced by factors such as how we support ourselves, and whether our learning environment is within or outside of conventional schools, as well as numerous other genetic and epigenetic (environmental) factors. So be aware that you cannot know all the reasons a person you meet might or might not warm up to you right away.  Just keep on offering them love, becoming a love warrior, and thus fertilizing the garden with love and compassion.  There is no better blend for fertilizing life itself than a mixture of love and compassion.

    And then there are those who seem to thrive on the difficulties individuals can encounter during a lifetime.  These people exhibit wisdom by letting the difficulties in life become their teachers as they grow towards the light. As Helen Keller said, “If you face the sunshine, you never see the shadows.” I know how good it feels to just sit in the sun for a few minutes and absorb the warmth and energy. Take some time to do that just for you each day, being cognizant of the fact that sunshine comes in many forms—like my wife’s sense of humor during difficult times, which always heals me and helps me grow.

    So get off your butt and drive over to your nearest supermarket to enjoy the varieties of fruits and vegetables you will meet walking around there. Ask someone to help you pick out some new foods and teach you how to prepare them. Then, when you get home and try your new discovery, you will experience creation in a personal way. You always have a choice as to whether or not you will like every product from the farm.  You don’t have to like everyone, but you do have to love them.  Giving unconditional love simply means that you do not impose any expectations on the love you offer to others.  So give life a try and let me know how it tastes. And if you want to know where this column came from, it is from God knows where, but comes from me to you with a very large helping of unconditional love.

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie

    Posted from: MIND & HEART MATTERS

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    Grow Old Along with Me – the Best is Yet to Be

    My advice for aging is actually the opposite of the title of this article. I say grow young along with me because though I know there are benefits which come with aging I want to preserve my body and my health and keep them from aging and enjoy the present moment. I always remember the words of George Halas, the owner of the Chicago Bears football team. When he was well into his eighties a friend found him in his office on Sunday, and asked him why, at his age, he was working on a Sunday. His response, “It’s only work if there’s someplace else you’d rather be.”

    Just stop and think about that for a moment. How can you age if you never know what time it is? I know from experience and as a physician that the healthiest state one can be in is when you are doing something which makes you lose track of time. When I am painting a portrait or operating upon someone I have no sense of time or self. I am in a trance state and I believe when we are being creative our physiology gives our body a profound live message. The sad part is too many people wait until they are told they have a limited amount of time left to live before they start living their chocolate ice cream.

    That expression comes from one of our children who, when I asked him what he would do if he had fifteen minutes left to live, said, “I’d buy a quart of chocolate ice cream and eat it.” What I had to learn is that we each have our own flavor and brand of chocolate ice cream. I have letters from people who moved, took off their tie, took violin lessons and did all the things they wanted to do before they died. So they were not denying their mortality just enjoying their life time; their letters often end with, “I didn’t die and now I am so busy I am killing myself. Help, where do I go from here?” I tell them to take a nap because they are burning up and not out.

    When you ask adults which day of the week is detrimental to their health they will tell you, Monday. When you ask kids they tell you Saturday and Sunday. Why? Because they are doing so much they get exhausted. But they are doing what they love and so a rest will restore them while the adults are not helped by physical rest. So do not wait to start behaving the way you want to and living your life.

    Now let me share some of the things I have learned from ninety year olds. One I shall never forget is a woman who, in her nineties developed breast cancer and gall stones. She was quite upset with God for doing this to her at her age but accepted the surgery and moved on in her life. I asked her to join our cancer support group because I knew she had lessons to teach us about survival behavior. One day when everyone in the group was caught up in their fears and what problems the future held I turned to her for help and asked, “What are you afraid of?” After several minutes of silence she sat up and said, “Oh I know; driving on the parkway at night.” That resolved everyone’s issue as we went from fear to laughter.

    I have also learned to not keep family problems from aging parents. When I would call my ninety year old mother and ask her how she was she would tell me her problems with one exception. The exception was if one of her children, grandchildren or great grandchildren had a problem. Then she was focused on advising and assisting them to overcome their problem and move on in life. This gave her a sense of meaning and helped her to feel healthy too. So use the wisdom of the aged, do not hide your problems from them and let them be your guide.

    I loved it when I asked my mother what advice she had for seniors that I was going to lecture to. She said, “Tell them to lie a lot.” I asked how that would help and she said, “If you tell people how you really feel they’ll put you in a nursing home. So lie about it.”

    Another ninety year old was asked how he kept from falling. His answer, “I watch where I am going.”

    I also advise seniors to find the oldest doctor they can to take care of them. Then they are less likely to hear this in response to their troubles, “What do you expect at your age?” Years ago there was an internist in a nearby town who practiced well into her eighties and the seniors loved her because she was always there to help and never blamed their age for their problem.

    To survive we all need to have a sense of meaning in our lives, and express our emotions, including anger, when we are not treated with respect. Make our own therapeutic choices, ask for help when we need it, respond to our feelings when making choices, maintain an authentic life not just a role and say no to what we do not want to do.

    Basically we need to find our way of expressing our love while keeping a childlike sense of humor. I ask seniors how they can die laughing. The answers relate to having accomplished what we are all here to accomplish which is to serve the world in our unique way rather than a way imposed by others and to have your family tell stories about your life when you are ready to die. My father literally died laughing as my mother told wonderful stories about their early relationship. So you need to embarrass your family regularly and give them material to use when you are ready to hear their stories.

    When my father was tired of his body he said to my mother, “I need to get out of here.” That is when we all gathered and made his transition an unforgettable one that gave the children in the family a very different feeling about death.

    My father in law was a great teacher too. He lived to be ninety seven in a body rendered quadriplegic by a fall twenty years earlier. When I asked him for advice for the elderly he said, “Tell them to fall on something soft.” A few days later he said to me. “It doesn’t always work. They stood me up in therapy and I fell on my wife and broke her leg. So tell them to just fall up.” I thought that was a joke until the evening he told us he was tired of his body, refused his dinner, evening vitamins and died that night. As far as I am concerned he just fell up. When love is involved and guilt is not a part of dying how easy it can be to leave at the appropriate time; either with loved ones beside you or when they leave your bedside to make it easier for them. As many mothers do.

    For many seniors the family needs to be there and express the anger they are feeling over their care in various healthcare facilities. In my father in laws record it said, “Son in law causing a problem.” Yes, I spoke up because he was afraid that if he complained they wouldn’t respond to his needs when he was alone at night with no family there to help him. Some of my complaints were to get them to treat him like a person. When his forehead itched they sedated him instead of scratching his forehead. To have a quadriplegic sleeping all day seemed to me to make his life meaningless. So I complained. There is more to caring then writing prescriptions.

    Many years before he died he developed a multitude of symptoms, was unable to eat and was close to death. When a new nursing home was built near our house I said I was going to move him so we could be close to him in his final week of life. I was told I would have to pay his medical bills since I was not in charge of making those decisions. I said I would since he looked only days from his end and I arranged the move.

    Within a few days after he was moved he was smiling, eating and not dying. I asked him, “How come you’re not dying anymore?” I didn’t tell him I was asking for financial reasons. He answered, “I was dying to make the people in the other nursing home happy. They were tired of taking care of me.” He lived for many years after that. Again it shows us how important our connections and relationships are to other living things.

    We know the benefits of people and pets but even plants and goldfish can prolong survival when they give us meaning. In one nursing home study they put plants in all the rooms but only half the residents were told the plants were their responsibility to water and care for. The others were told they were simply room decorations. Those who were given responsibility lived an average of six years longer.

    Let me close with two simple techniques for knowing what the aged are thinking without having to verbalize things they do not want to share. One is to ask, “How would you feel if placed in a totally white room?” and “What is your favorite animal and why?”

    When a senior is tired of living or physically exhausted the white room is a spiritual sanctuary they are happy to be in because there is no stimulation and they can rest there. When there is still an active life force they will want to leave, redecorate or put in a picture window.

    The description of one’s favorite animal is always related to one’s feeling about one’s self. So an active meaningful description also speaks about the same thing in that person’s life and self. When there is no animal, life or energy in their choice they are ready to move on to become dreamless, un-alive and perfect again. Please remember that leaving our bodies is a therapeutic decision at some point. When we leave we do not take our afflictions with us. That is another topic we can discuss in another issue; related to near death experiences.

    I also see the life force when I ask seniors to draw pictures of themselves as they are today and as they were twenty five years ago. Ninety percent of the time I receive two pictures. One picture revealing a slim happy individual in the past and the other fat and unhappy one today. A small minority hand me one picture saying, “That’s me then and that’s me now.” They understand their attitude is what creates their world. As a blind senior shared after her husband died while she was being wheeled into a nursing home for the first time. “What a lovely place.”

    “You can’t see and have been here for less than five minutes. How can you say that?”

    “I decide what I see.”

    And so it is at every age. So grow young along with me. The best is presently. I have learned from Helen Keller that, “Deafness is darker by far than blindness.” So when in doubt about how to help a senior, listen, listen, listen and only say, “Ummm” in several ways. By your listening they will get to know themselves and their needs and then you will receive credit for being an enormous help. I know from experience.

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    Q & A with Bernie – December 1, 2015

    Question for Bernie:

    Glad to meet you.  I’ve been reading your books. I’ve got multiple myeloma here in Washington, DC, with dropping red cell counts; otherwise fine….its smoldering stage may be ending, and I’m being encouraged to get a stem cell transfer. I’m going to get second opinions from D. Farber and J. Hopkins, the latter which I think pushes for the surgery (versus using complimentary cocktails of drugs to prevent the need for the surgery).

    I’m disappointed that ECaP no longer exists as an organization. I would have hoped that the ideas espoused in your books would have been WIDELY ADOPTED across major cancer hospitals…and taught in med schools.

    Would the best approach to be ask any specific kind of oncology nurse at Johns Hopkins (near me) or D. Farber if they have cancer SUPPORT GROUPS?  Would that be the proper term?  Otherwise, here in DC we have a Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University Hospital….it offers nutritional counseling, Reiki, a naturopath, etc., to help cancer patients.  There are a few groups here in town, but I don’t think they do visualization or any other techniques mentioned in your work.

    By the way, are there other contemporary writers and doctors who’ve taken up your cause who I might contact?  Any particular angles I should be working on with my Jungian therapist?

    In December, I go to Lenox, Western Massachusetts to see Dr. Daniel Hyman at the UltraWellness Center.  We’ll see where that leads!

    Best to you.

    Bernie’s Answer:
    You are a survivor and will do well.  There are CDs available from my website for visualization—draw yourself getting chemo and stem cell, and then we can see which your intuitive mind knows is best.  Easy instructions are in my two specific books of mine—Love, Medicine & Miracles is the first one.  Also, read The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing. Read them both for guidance.

    Find and use an integrative center and a naturopath.  Seek out support groups that are empowering and not victim groups.

    Dr. Hyman can help, too.  Jungian therapy should help you work out what growth has gone wrong in your life, and what the new road is for you to take.

    Love your life and body and amazing things happen.

    What words would you use to describe what you are experiencing with cancer? If anything in your life—other than you cancer—fits those words, too, try to eliminate them from your life.  Work hard at not being around negative energy from people and places and situations.  Things like a wake-up call are not a problem.
    Peace,
    Bernie

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