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  • New from Bernie Siegel – The Art of Healing

    Introducing Bernie Siegel's new title, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing. This long-awaited follow-up to his bestseller Love, Medicine & Miracles updates Dr. Siegel’s insights into the healing power of drawing, dreams, and intuition. The use of drawing in Bernie’s practice has helped patients discover the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of healing and guided them toward the best choices and options for their particular situation. 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 #241 – Tree of Life

    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.

    Stand Tall & Proud
    Remember your Roots!
    Be Content with Your Natural Beauty
    Drink Plenty of Water
    Enjoy the View!

    If we are busily performing deeds, but never stop to reach up for knowledge and wisdom, our Tree of Life will have no branches and many roots. Without branches, how can it move and respond with the winds of life? Or if we accumulate great knowledge but perform no deeds, then we are like a tree with many branches but no roots, and we will be blown over by the winds of fortune.

    We must see that our Tree of Life contains both wisdom and deeds. Then our branches will spread and our deep roots will provide support and nourishment. We will be able to survive the storms and droughts that life presents to us.

    Soulution of the Day

    Is your Tree of Life blossoming and secure,
    or do you need to put down more roots or grow more branches?

    - Bernie

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  • Q & A with Bernie – September 28, 2015

    Question for Bernie:

    Hi Bernie,
    Very recently while out dancing, a person who was clearly drunk collapsed behind me, falling onto the backs of my legs.  This caused me to fall forward onto my right knee.  The diagnosis on examination by physicians was a “knee sprain and displaced avulsion involving the medial patella.”  I see an orthopedist in the coming week about the displaced avulsion.  I’d rather see a psychiatrist about what I would call “displaced revulsion.”

    I am getting a little better each day but still need the walker.  A mentally-disabled friend (who does more even with his health challenge than anyone else I know, including me) helped me get to Urgent Care Saturday morning, when I still could not put any weight on my right leg for even a moment.  I met this great friend when I dated his sister about 20 years ago.  She left our relationship back then, but he stayed on and became a good friend.  But she was there to help me along with her brother by driving us to Urgent Care, getting coffee for me while I sat in a wheelchair waiting to be examined, and shuttling intake forms, my ID information, etc., back and forth to the intake people.

    I was dictating what to do and in what order.  I recognized myself quickly from what you have written about going to your waiting room, seeing a family, and knowing that the healthy-looking person is your patient.

    Thanks for all your work.  Best wishes to you and your family.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    I recall a lawyer saying to me in the midst of a tragedy that “…being a lawyer is a serious illness in itself, because while learning how to think like a lawyer, I almost forgot how to feel.”

    Life is about interruptions and disruptions. What we learn about ourselves as we go about handling these upheavals is critical to our growth as thinkers AND feelers in the School of Life.  As we encounter these “tests” throughout our lives, one of the most important lessons they teach us is how to recognize our authentic selves.

    We make our lives much more meaningful when our choices in handling any given situation come from knowing our true selves—not who others think we are and what they think we should do.


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    Buddy, Death and Love

    Dear Everybody,

    Love you to death, love warrior and doctor love are words which interest me. Is it a negative thing to love someone to death? I think not because by my definition what we have eliminated from our lives are the things which do not contribute love and meaning to our lives and to what we are here to contribute as Gods with skin on. The love warrior I often discuss because I know the power of love as a weapon and how effective it is in changing my actions and the people I attack with my love. So give it a shot and kill with kindness and love your opponents to death. Give it a shot reminds me of all our current weapon problems but if the ammunition is love who wouldn’t put their heart at risk for a shot of love.

    Our second dog to die this year, Buddy, died a few days before I wrote this article. Years ago. after writing a story, which us now a book called Buddy’s Candle, I heard a voice while out walking with Furphy say, “Go to the animal shelter.” So we jump into the car and head down there. I walked into the shelter and asked the name of the dog sitting by the door. Of course, his name was Buddy and he had just been dropped off by some lady, who didn’t like his behavior, fifteen minutes before I got there. I know why I was sent the message and home he came with us after I said, “I am here to take him home.”

    On the way home we stop for gas and he leaps out of the car and runs down Amity Road and all the cars are stopping and people are trying to help me get Buddy back into my car. When we got home in my mind I verbalized the words, “Why did you do that?” He answered with a story I could never have dreamt of making up. “I lived with a couple, the wife was very nice but her husband was an alcoholic. When he would come home she would ask him to take me for a walk. He would leave me in the car while he would go out drinking and abuse me too. He beat me with sticks. When we got home he would lie to his wife about where we had been. So I don’t feel safe getting into a car.”

    I explained to him I would never do that and that we were family and he had nothing to fear. I noticed for years that he would get nervous around me when I picked up a stick in the yard or a broom but it was not an issue as time went by and he felt safe. The real test came when a few days later I returned from shopping to see the sliding side door on the minivan open I thought I was in for a disaster with him being gone. I apparently had hit the car door button accidentally, while putting the keys in my pocket. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got to the car; there sat Buddy in an open car. Furphy was missing and I started bellowing his name and running around until I heard Amelia, my animal intuitive friend’s voice, say for me to calm down and get into the dog’s head. As soon as I did I knew Furphy was looking for me and probably inside Stop & Shop with the manager yelling, “Whose dog is this?”

    Sure enough when I got to the door the security guard asked me if I was looking for a dog. He had Furphy in his car with air conditioning, water and treats waiting for me.

    A last story for the disbelievers regarding communication via consciousness; I have taken our dogs to several of Amelia’s workshops so they can be questioned by people who are learning the process. When Furphy and Buddy were new to our home they often urinated in the house. So my question to the class was why do they pee in the house so often. The answer I got was right on. “You have so many plants in your house they are confused about what’s indoors and what’s outdoors|”

    The next workshop was at the Omega Conference Center. At the lunch break Amelia and I and Furphy headed for the dining hall. I was told, “Dogs are not allowed in the dining hall.” So I went in the back door and left Furphy sitting outside knowing he would wait for me to come out as he does at the bank, post office and wherever we go. A few minute later a man comes walking through the dining hall with Furphy in his arms, “Whose dog is this?” I acknowledged the problem was mine. He told me he had come in the front door. Everyone was impressed with Furphy’s determination to be with me by circling the building and climbing a flight of stairs so he was granted permission to stay and have lunch with us.

    The last of the subjects in this column is death. Let me tell you death is like a graduation or a commencement. Once again you will be perfect and free of your body while still able to see and hear and think. I had a NDE (near death experience) at age four and know what I am talking about. There are plenty of books about it now that it isn’t considered impossible for NDE to be a part of our reality. Our consciousness does not die when our bodies do and is immortal in the sense that it is available to others to learn from and utilize in healthy and unhealthy ways. Consciousness dictates what your mind mediates.

    Your consciousness decides when to pull the trigger but your mind decides what to load your gun with: love and a reverence for life or revenge and destruction and who your weapon is aimed at.

    Peace, Love & Healing,

    Bernie Siegel, MD

    “Peace comes from relinquishing desires, not from accomplishing them.”
    - Ann Onymous

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    The Wisdom of the Rebbe

    “When you waste a moment, you have killed it in a sense, squandering an irreplaceable opportunity. But when you use the moment properly, filling it with purpose and productivity, it lives on forever.”

    Menachem Mendel Schneerson

    As those of you who regularly visit my website know, it is filled with many resources for living one’s life fully, healthfully, and with the invaluable anchor of a strong belief in the Mind-Body-Spirit connection.  I would like to point you to one item in my “Recommended Readingfound at the top of my website Home Page under Quick Links that you may not have discovered yet.  It is Toward a Meaningful Life, New Edition: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson by Simon Jacobson.  The link to reviewing this wonderful book at Barnes & Noble is:


    From the Barnes & Noble site, you can sample some of what is in this important book, and, as I have included on my website with my recommendation, the overview of the uplifting wisdom we can gain from Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson for both those of the Jewish faith as well as non-Jewish readers.  It is wisdom that crosses all ethnic boundaries to be simply a message that all of us as human beings can apply to the way we choose to live our lives:

    From the Barnes & Noble Overview:

    With a new foreword and chapter that address the upheaval that followed the events of September 11, Toward a Meaningful Life is a spiritual road map for living based on the teachings of one of the foremost religious leaders of our time: Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Head of the Lubavitcher movement for forty-four years and recognized throughout the world simply as “the Rebbe,” Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who passed away in June 1994, was a sage and visionary of the highest order.

    Toward a Meaningful Life gives Jews and non-Jews alike fresh perspectives on every aspect of their lives—from birth to death, youth to old age; marriage, love, intimacy, and family; the persistent issues of career, health, pain, and suffering; and education, faith, science, and government. We learn to bridge the divisions between accelerated technology and decelerated morality, between unprecedented worldwide unity and unparalleled personal disunity.

    At the threshold of a new world where matter and spirit converge, the Rebbe proposes spiritual principles that unite people as opposed to the materialism that divides them. In doing so, he continues to lead us toward personal and universal redemption, a meaningful life, and God.

    As the Philadelphia Inquirer said in its review of this marvelous book,

    “…Toward a Meaningful Life would be of interest and value to a reader regardless of religious affiliation or degree of belief.”

    To me, that pretty much says it all.  Each of us can gain something invaluable about living a meaningful life from this book.  I ask you to take a look at it and then write to me about what you learned from reading it in terms of living a meaningful life, a goal so many of us share no matter where we are or what we do.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from any and all of you who give yourself the gift of reading Toward a Meaningful Life, New Edition: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson by Simon Jacobson.


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    Thoughts from Bernie: Remarkable Recoveries – September 7, 2015

    The reason that medicine has not explored the issue of self healing and patients who exceed survival expectations is that we either give the treatment the credit or refer to them as miracles or spontaneous remissions. Medicine does not study success because one cannot learn from spontaneous events but when one thinks of these cases as unique to the patient and self induced you are more likely to ask the patient for their story and learn about survival behavior.

    Psychologist Bruno Klopfer, back in the 1940’s, was given 24 personality profiles of cancer patients and correctly predicted 19 times who would have a fast or slow growing cancer. In one case he couldn’t decide and his predictions were wrong four times. Yet when a patient enters a doctor’s office and is given a diagnosis they are not handed a list which tells them how to behave and act like a survivor or a list of questions to determine their personality profile and find who is more likely to become a long term survivor and who needs psychotherapy.

    Doctors are not trained to communicate with patients and so our words can kill or cure. I found that wordswordswords can literally become swords. Authority figures are hypnotic but most doctors are hypnotic in a negative way and induce more side effects and earlier deaths with their words by referring to statistics and eliminating hope. Statistics do not apply to individuals and there is no false hope.

    Psychiatrist George Solomon, when working with AIDS patients early in the epidemic, came up with eight questions which define an Immune Competent Personality. He said from the questions one could predict who would be a long term survivor. On a personal level I know individuals who have gone from HIV+ to HIV- because of changes in their lifestyles and beliefs and were dying until it was discovered computer falsely reported HIV+ when patient was negative.

    Psychiatrist Caroline Thomas, at Johns Hopkins had medical students fill out a personality profile and draw pictures of themselves. From the profile and drawings she found a connection with diseases they developed later in life and could predict what disease they were likely to get and the part of the body likely to be involved from their drawings. Even she was surprised to find a correlation with cancer too.

    Our bodies love us but if we do not love them and our lives then our body tries to get us out of here as fast as it can. Monday morning there are more suicides and serious illnesses than on any other day of the week. That is no coincidence. Our relationships play an enormous part in making our lives meaningful and helping us to survive. As W. H. Auden wrote about cancer in the poem Miss Gee, a doctor says to his wife, “Cancers a funny thing. Childless women get it and men when they retire. It’s as if there had to be an outlet for their foiled creative fire.” Jungian therapists call it growth gone wrong.

    Women live longer than men with the same cancers. Does that make it remarkable? I read an article on malignant melanoma in which the oncologist suggested estrogen and progesterone must have some beneficial effect in suppressing the growth of the cancer cell. My conclusion is then that since married men live longer than single men with the same cancers and smoke as much but develop less cancer that sleeping with estrogen and progesterone must be protecting them.

    I am kidding of course. It is obvious from many studies and my own patients that a reason for living also relates to the will to live and survival. I hear men say, “I can’t work anymore. What’s the point of living?” while their families are sitting next to them. While women say, “I can’t die till you’re all married and out of the house.” She died of her cancer twenty three years later when her ninth kid left home. She, like the men, needs to live an authentic life and not just a role as the wage earner or mother. Recent studies show how loneliness affects the genes which control immune function and lead to cancer, infections and autoimmune diseases.

    On a personal level let me share several cases I was personally involved in of remarkable recoveries. One was a woman who lived in North Carolina and was told by her doctor that going to Duke for chemotherapy was a waste of time and energy as she was going to die anyway of cancer. Her niece was caring for my father-in-law at the time and without asking me told her aunt, “Doctor Siegel helps people to get well all the time come up here to Connecticut.”

    When she arrived and I was called I admitted her to the hospital and found she had leukemia. As a surgeon I had nothing to offer her, so I called an oncologist to see her. He basically said what her doctor had said but started chemotherapy to give her some hope. She responded dramatically and went into complete remission. His last letter to me, with a smile said, “Isn’t chemotherapy wonderful.” Her niece later told me she went home and was driving her doctor crazy and that she knew she would get well when I sat on her bed and hugged her.

    Jordan Fieldman was a Harvard medical student who developed visual problems many years ago and was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. He undergoes surgery and wakes up blind and is told he will be blind for the few months he has left to live. A week later his sight returned and he went to the medical library to research his disease, He said every book said recurrence is invariable and death occurs within a year. Now a good student would have gone home and died but Jordan was not a good student. He said, “How dare they say invariable?”

    Jordan also suffered from ulcerative colitis and noticed that when he decided to change his life style and not die of a brain tumor that his colitis also responded. He combined traditional medical therapy with other modalities and his tumor never recurred.

    John Florio is retiring as a landscaper and develops an ulcer. When it doesn’t heal a biopsy reveals carcinoma of the stomach. When John came to my office I told him we needed to get him right into the hospital, “No, you forgot something. It’s Spring time I am going home to make the world beautiful. So if I die I’ll leave a beautiful world.” Several weeks later he returned and I performed surgery which could not cure his problem. I told him he needed more therapy and he said, “You forgot something. It is still Spring time. I am going home to make the world beautiful so when I die I will leave a more beautiful world.”

    To make long story short John returned to my office four years later. I thought he was dead since he had not come back for any follow up visits. He had two complaints, “I have a hernia from lifting boulders in my landscape business and can I eat whatever I want to now?” I fixed his hernia. John became my therapist and taught me about the beauty of life. He died at age ninety four with no sign of cancer.

    Last but not least was a woman who came to my office to have me document her healing with God’s help. I told her it was hard to be a saint and I suggested she let me operate and let God keep her well. She was enraged at my suggestion and left the office. Eight years later after lecturing in New York City she walked up to me and said, “Do you remember me?’ I said “No.” Then she explained and I told her I was glad to meet a saint.

    I also had a patient with a pancreatic cancer who went home to die and returned to the office with no palpable tumor mass and feeling well. Her comment, “I went home and left my troubles to God.” Likewise Susan Duffy was diagnosed with Scleroderma decades ago and told what would happen to her. Everyone in her family committed suicide and her parents asked her to also. Well thirty years later she is still kicking and has found God and “When I let love into my prison it changed every negative item, meaning the experience in my life, into something meaningful.”

    Our attitudes and mind and body are one. Medical students are never told that decades ago Carl Jung interpreted a dream and correctly diagnosed a brain tumor. Bruno Klopfer deceived a patient into health who was in a study of Krebiozen. The man had responded dramatically but when the reports came out saying it didn’t seem beneficial Klopfer told him a new supply of super refined Krebiozen was coming and he waited a week to build the man’s intention and then gave him a saline injection and of course his tumor melted away. A year later the final report concluded Krebiozen was of no use in the treatment of cancer and the man died within the week.

    Oncologists start a new protocol with four drugs and call it the EPOH protocol using the first letters of the four drugs. One doctor noticed if you turned it around it spelled HOPE and he started calling it the HOPE protocol and had three times the success rate with exactly the same treatment. Another oncologist in Chicago said he noticed that patients who lived over fifteen miles from the hospital did far better than those who lived near the hospital when he started a new protocol. That is a big reason people respond to trips to various parts of the world to see healers or go to shrines. It is their belief and expectation. To quote physicist Fred Alan Wolf, desire and attention alter the physical world causing things to occur which would not normally occur if they were not desired.

    Yes, there is intentional reversion. That is a term a botanist used describing how plants alter their genes to survive climate changes and disease. So do bacteria and viruses because the mechanism is built into us so we will survive. Bacteria make intelligent genetic changes to survive antibiotics and turn them into food in time.

    The problem is creating the state that lets that happen as we have a far more complicated life than bacteria, viruses and plants. Monday is no threat to them. The key lies in words Solzhenitsyn shares in his book Cancer Ward. He had cancer and so is a native and not a tourist. The men are sitting around the ward and one has found a book in the hospital library he is reading. “It says here there are cases of self induced healing. Not recovery through treatment but actual healing see.” It was as though self induced healing had floated out of the great open book like a rainbow colored butterfly for them all to see and they all held up their foreheads and cheeks for its healing touch as it flew past. It was only the gloomy Podduyev who with a hopeless and obstinate expression on his face croaked out, “I suppose for that you need to have a clear conscience.”

    There is the essence of the story behind remarkable recoveries. The butterfly is the symbol of transformation and every color symbolizes an emotion and so when your life is in order you are transformed and heal. The essence is age old. It is about being born again and religions and myths show us the benefit of that act. Picking a new name for yourself and changing who you are by giving up the untrue self imposed upon us by others is life saving. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, while he who is willing to lose his life will save it. Twin sisters do not get the same disease at the same time. The good little girl who pleases Mom and Dad and internalizes anger is far more likely to develop cancer than her independent twin.

    So what is the answer? We know from studies that actors alter their immune function and cortisol levels related to whether they are in a comedy or tragedy. We see this every winter on Broadway when actors drop out due to the flu when in Death of a Salesman but not when in The Producers. The answer then is to act and behave as if you are the person you want to be and for doctors to teach survival behavior and coach their patients in that endeavor. The inspired will always exceed expectations. I know from experience.

    I will close with an interesting thought that Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and Science of Mind mentioned: What if Jesus was the only normal person who ever lived? Think about that and realize the potential we might all have. Most of us feel inadequate and so hope to be normal in the sense of feeling better about ourselves and similar to other people. But what if normal really allows us to accomplish incredible things and remarkable recoveries? I can accept this even though I don’t have all the scientific answers but I do know our genes do not make decisions. Geneticist Bruce Lipton discusses this in his book The Biology of Belief. They are stimulated into activity by their environment and the messages they get. So be born again into a new life you love and watch what happens to your body since it loves you.

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    Q & A with Bernie – August 31, 2015

    Question for Bernie:

    Dear Bernie,

    I am writing to you from Ireland (the country, not the place in Indiana)! I am almost finished reading your book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, and can I tell you, it has been a most enlightening, refreshing, and encouraging book thus far. A book that can teach you new things and also to re-think your very thinking all at one time, is indeed a great book, so thank you for that Dr. Siegel. I purchased the book for my father some time ago after he had heard some of your radio recordings online, and was very impressed by your outlook & teachings.

    My father has quite advanced prostate cancer and has very much taken responsibility and control for his own treatment. He has studied and researched at length the various different schools of thought and treatments around cancer, and has taken huge steps in terms of his diet, even attending the Hippocrates clinic in Florida (a big undertaking given the time and travel involved).

    Unfortunately, I feel he hasn’t yet addressed some of the other areas of his health such as emotional/mental, spiritual, etc. My father is very creative and open-minded, and is always willing to listen and learn new ideas from all walks of life and cultures. He has even commented upon how brilliant your book is, yet so far he hasn’t focused in on the aforementioned areas.  I feel they could be most beneficial in his treatment as I feel there could be some issues there that need resolving.

    Of course, I have tried making these points to him but much like two stags in a field, it can often end up resembling an intellectual trade-off rather than an open conversation. I admit I’m as much to blame for that. My father and I have a very good relationship, but the more I learn , and in particular your writings focusing on the unconscious as opposed to the conscious, have shown me that perhaps there are some underlying issues there between us, as irritability and impatience seems never to be far away between us.

    To this end, I was wondering, given your vast experience in this field, if you could suggest any people in this part of the world who would be of a similar mindset to you, and who could be a more effective voice in helping my father address these issues? Secondly would you know of any resources such as books or courses (perhaps some resources used as part of ECaP) that would help address the underlying emotional/mental issues that we all face, and I believe drive almost all our behaviors and actions.

    I’ve really enjoyed your book, Dr. Siegel, and reading it feels like reading the teachings of someone “who gets it.” Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail. I would love to hear back from you, and would welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have on any of the above.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    It has been so long since I was there that I don’t have the contact information any longer, but I will copy this to someone from way back when.

    Help your dad to follow his heart and what makes him happy, and to do some meditating and visualizing around healing, feeling strong, and feeling hopeful and grateful.

    Also, seek out help from a Naturopath for supplements that are recommended for your father’s condition.


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    Neglect and Needs

    Dear Everybody,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I I was just looking through things I had written to get some ideas for a new column and two things struck me. One was an article I wrote exactly five years ago, to the day, about caring for yourself and the other about self-neglect. I think the two fit together very nicely. What is amazing to me is that it began in the same way I just opened up this column. The following words were written five years ago: I just discovered the following in my computer. I was looking through things I did many years ago and boom. I amaze myself with stuff which comes from God knows where. It is entitled MAGIC OPENINGS.

    As this paper unfolds so does my life
    I will have faith and not judge events
    Our creator often unfolds things in ways I do not understand
    I will learn from the new set of direction
    I will look in the mirror and love who I see
    I will act as if I am the person I want to become
    I will see all living things through the eyes of love
    I will judge no one
    I will forgive myself
    I will forgive all those in my life I need to forgive
    I am free of the past
    I receive the benefits of forgiveness
    I do not need to see where I am going
    I do need to feel my way
    I accept that all new life begins in the dark
    I will labor to grow and find the light
    I have the wisdom of a seed within me
    I will say no to what is not creative
    I will say yes to my way of loving the world
    I will accept that today is the best day of my life time
    I will be a co-creator today and have no sense of time
    I will rest when I am tired
    I will dispel the clouds of fear and bring sunshine into my life
    I am cleansed and softened by the shower
    I will light the moon and stars and make my darkness bright
    I will marvel in the miracle of the weather and seasons of my life
    I will turn death and loss into compost with which to fertilize my life and soul
    I will enjoy the diversity of my garden
    I will see the beauty in all living and growing things
    I will let a child know s/he is loved toda
    Today I am not I was
    Today I am not I will be
    Today I AM

    To neglect one’s self is an act of self-destruction. I continually hear Elisabeth Kubler-Ross saying to me, “Bernie, you have needs too.” Yes we all have needs and are God’s children. The problem I see over and over again is the lack of love in one’s life causing you to self-destruct. I am your CD, or Chosen Dad, and am telling you that you are loved and worthy of that love. As Jesus, in the Gospel of St Thomas, said, “If you know who you are, you will become as I am.”

    This is not about ego but about your true worth. You are a human being and deserve the respect and love we are all entitled to. You can reparent yourself too. You do not need anyone else to end the neglect and start you on a path to self-love and self-care. Ending the neglect means making decisions about yourself and your life. Stop the abuse, take action and speak up when you feel neglected by yourself or others. Think about your decisions, small and large. Your diet, activities, relationships, needs and more and start working to change things and asking for the help you need.

    What are your dreams? Start pursuing them and stop neglecting yourself, your authentic life and your desires. What others say is not the issue. What you hear and learn from within you, either from the voice, vision or dream, needs to be listened to. That is the language of God.

    To close with a quote of mine: Be a healer and spread joy through humor and laughter. The world is a human comedy if we but see it that way. Yes, it is a tragic comedy at times but he who laughs lasts. Remember it is not healthy to be neglectful, serious and normal. If you want to enjoy life lighten up and be abnormal in a healthy and unique way. Trying to be normal is only for those who feel neglected and inadequate to begin with.

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

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    Thoughts from Bernie – Our Healthcare Crisis

    The present health care crisis is not just related to health care. It is a crisis related to what is happening in our society. We have become depersonalized as a society, invested in technology and not the experience people are having in their lives. Studies verify what happens to children who grow up unloved and experiencing indifference, rejection, and abuse. By midlife, if they haven’t killed themselves or others while seeking revenge, and experiencing guilt related to their actions, almost 100% of them have experienced a major illness, while loved children have one-fourth the serious illness rate.

    Information does not resolve unhealthy behavior. People who smoke or are two hundred pounds overweight are not acting out of stupidity or a lack of knowledge. What everyone needs is inspiration. When parents, teachers, clergy, doctors, politicians and other authority figures display their love for individuals they are related to or caring for the health of the planet and its residents will improve. This is not about liking what people are doing, but it is about loving them and maintaining a relationship with them until they realize they are worthy and loved. At that point they begin to follow instructions and behave in a manner that is life enhancing, and not self-destructive. I know this from my experience as a surgeon who did not reject his patients.

    When you grow up without love, what you seek are rewards and feelings that you never experienced in a healthy way. So the individual turns to addictions of drugs, food, alcohol, and more, as a way of rewarding themselves and numbing their pain. We need to listen to each other and treat the wounds of the individuals we are caring for and about. Studies reveal that when a patient states that their doctor listened to them during their office visit, they are far more likely to take their medication and follow the doctor’s advice.

    Society needs to see parenting as a public health issue and help parents to bring their children up feeling loved. We have birthing classes but no parenting classes. The latter is desperately needed if we are to avoid self-destruction. All authority figures in a person’s life become either destructive or constructive parents for the individual. This includes everything from global warming to obesity. If you grow up with a sense of self-worth and esteem you do not behave in a destructive and unhealthy manner towards yourself and others. As the father of five children I know the importance of letting the children know that parental discipline comes from a sense of love for them. Then they follow directions because it gives a new sense of meaning to the message. I was called a CD by a suicidal teenager, who is alive today because I became her Chosen Dad, who loved her. We all have the potential to re-parent ourselves and others.

    Doctors also need to understand that what people need is treatment for not just their diagnosis, but their experience of having the disease or disorder. When you ask patients what they want from their doctors, they do not ask that every disease be cured, but they do ask that doctors, “Knock on my door; Look me in the eye when they talk to me; Say hello and goodbye; and Call me by my name.”

    Having a disease is an experience which varies with every individual. If you ask one hundred people with the same illness to describe their experience you will get a different answer from almost every one of them. I know from experience as a physician who has counseled cancer patients and others for decades. The words they come up with relate to their life and help me to treat them and understand their wounded-ness.

    When a major medical journal publishes a pharmaceutical ad which reads, “I was depressed, unable to cope. I went to see my physician. I said you’ve got to help me. He prescribed an antidepressant and I feel wonderful now.” I wrote in criticizing them for ignoring the patient’s needs and responding so impersonally and asked them to insert a sentence which asked what was happening in the patient’s life. They cancelled the ad.

    I know doctors whose salaries were capped because they talked to patients four minutes longer than the department average. That is sick also. The American College of Surgeons pledge ends with, “I will deal with my patients as I would wish to be dealt with if I were in the patient’s position.” I gave up trying to get them to change it to care for my patients as I would wish to be cared for. The only way to avoid a health care crisis is to care for and about the people who need our care.

    We also should reward those who remain healthy. If I do not require a doctor’s service, except for an annual physical exam, or any medications why not reward me at the end of the year with a refund or lower premium on my health insurance. If I am a safe driver I am rewarded. So why not reward me for safe and healthy living and let those who are self-destructive pay the price and maybe rethink their actions if it becomes costly for them.

    We also ought to be sure that all future doctors and health care executives spend a week in a hospital bed, so they are no longer tourists, but are experiencing being a native. The former CEO of the Ritz Carleton Hotels, Horst Schulze, changed the way the hotels were run after he spent time in a hospital being treated for cancer. He humanized them so employees took on the problems of their hotel residents and greeted them by name. Every employee gets a list of twenty behavior patterns that they are to adopt. Some hospitals have used this list when I gave them a copy.

    We also need to understand that we have something to learn from patients who do better than expected. There are cases of self-induced healing and we can learn about survival behavior from these people and teach it to others. Relationships, connections, meaning all are survival behavior qualities. It is no accident that women live longer than men with the same cancers and that married men live longer than single men and have less lung cancer than single men if they are both smokers.

    We could also cancel Monday and reduce the rate of heart attacks, strokes, suicides and other illnesses. Truth is that wouldn’t work because Tuesday would now be the problem. Again we need to teach people how to cope with stress and how to control their depression, fears and other self-destructive emotions. Your body loves you but if you do not love your life, it will end it far sooner, thinking it is doing you a favor.

    Mind body medicine should be the basis of medical training. But, alternative, complementary, and integrative medicine are not addressed significantly in the training of doctors nor in the medical journals doctors read regularly. Medical journals, which are supported by pharmaceutical advertising, do not print articles which would expose doctors to alternative therapies. When patients are diagnosed with an illness they should be given instructions, not just a pill to swallow, about how to enhance their immune function and act like someone with an immune competent personality. Psychiatrist George Solomon saw the benefits of such behavior early on when working with HIV+ patients, and I see it in cancer patients and others.

    Doctors need to be teachers. They are not told about Carl Jung interpreting a dream and diagnosing a brain tumor. Yes, mind and body communicate and the inner wisdom is also vital to survival. The patient’s beliefs affect the outcome of therapy. When chemotherapy is portrayed as the devil giving you poison you are in big trouble. So doctors need to be taught how to communicate and enhance our healing potential. Scalpels can kill or cure, and words can be swords or soothing.

    Survival behavior means people should not be submissive, suffering patients, but respants, or responsible participants. One hundred thousand people a year die from medical errors. Patients need to be known as people, not by their disease or room number. We need to humanize the system for both the doctor and the patient. Then doctors will know how to deal with their feelings and loss instead of just seeking to separate themselves from their patients, so they will feel less pain if their patient dies. There are many famous paintings showing the doctor sitting next to the patient’s bed, chin in hand, thinking while their patient is dying. We need to reach out and touch each other, and to quote a young man who died of AIDS. “What is evil is not the disease but to not treat the person with the disease with compassion.”

    My life as a physician was changed when my patient with breast cancer said to me, “You’re a nice guy. I feel better when I am in the office with you, but I can’t take you home with me. So I need to know how to live between office visits.” I started support groups to help them learn. I was amazed at how few patients came to the groups when I offered them a longer better life if they attended. I learned that if you grew up with guilt, shame and blame due to parents, teachers, and religions, you were afraid to participate in your own wellbeing. That is why the group became ECaP or Exceptional Cancer Patients. What I learned was when you help people to live they derive physical benefits from their new joyful life—and they don’t die when they were supposed to. The best hospices have graduations and drop outs too.

    If I were in charge of health care, I would also reward those people and companies who show the benefits of treatments that they can’t patent. A tax deduction or some other financial reward would help lead them to investigate more natural therapies and treatments rather than reject them as unproven or unknown.

    I have run support groups for over thirty years. I have also benefited from the therapy. I have learned that people are not statistics, and that we have to help them to achieve their potential, and not see death as a failure or lost battle. When we see disease as the enemy and only focus on killing the disease, we empower our enemy. As Mother Teresa said, “I will not attend an anti-war rally, but if you ever have a peace rally call me.”

    We need to help people to heal their lives and bodies and benefit from the healing and the internal environment it creates. We give messages and instructions to our genes and so our lifestyle and personality all affect our vulnerability. Just as bacteria, viruses, and plant life alter their genes to survive antibiotics, vaccines, and the environment, so can we.

    Medicine needs to focus on the people with the illness and not just the disease.

    Again, this is not about becoming immortal, but about living an authentic life–not one imposed upon you by others–and realizing that the only thing of permanence is love.

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    Mind Matters

    My question last week was: What did you do this week to embarrass your family or make them laugh, and why is that important to do? There are many reasons to embarrass your family. As a father of five, I saved a good deal of money because our kids didn’t like eating out with me. I would order Chinese food in Italian restaurants and when the waitress would ask, “How’s everything?” My response was, “Why are you upsetting me? Didn’t you hear the news and read the paper today? Please let me just eat my meal and not have to worry about everything.”

    Another benefit is it frees your children to be characters too. One came home from a day at work and the other from school and said, “Thanks, Dad.” I asked them why they were thanking me and they both said the same thing, “I did something today and I heard people saying, “Well you know who his father is.” So neither one was punished or reprimanded because it was my fault and not theirs.

    When we can bring out our inner child, the world becomes a much more enjoyable place. So I just go my way following directions as a child would: if “sign here,” I write “sign here”—if “Print Name” I write “Print Name”—if “wet floor,”

    I certainly do, and when the bird seed bag says “wild bird seed,” I ask if they have any for tame, pet birds. If you’d like my list of bizarre behaviors, just email me for it.

    We all need to pay attention to our relationships. They give our life meaning and relate to our survival. However, if not understood, they can become a problem. Years ago my wife was asked by a group of my female admirers, “What’s it like to be married to him?” She responded, “It’s a struggle.” I nodded my head in agreement when the women turned to see my response.

    Joseph Campbell called marriage an ordeal. He was discussing relationships, and whether it is husband and wife, doctor and patient, or a business and its customers it is 1+1=3. A relationship is not about the individuals involved. It is about a third entity, the relationship. When the participants take responsibility for their relationship it flourishes. I know from experience, having had 38 wonderful years of married life. The only problem is, they weren’t consecutive.

    Healthy relationships also help us to thrive. Women live longer than men with the same cancers. One intellectual oncologist in discussing this said that it must be that estrogen and progesterone were protecting the women. I added, “Since married men live longer than single men with the same cancer, smoke as much and have less lung cancer, sleeping with estrogen and progesterone must be protecting them.”

    In a nursing home study the occupants who were given a plant for their room and told to take care of it.  Their plants lived over five years longer than people on the other side of the hall who were given a plant and told it was to decorate their room, and that they had no responsibility for it. I cared for a woman with twelve cats who was seriously ill with cancer and her kids couldn’t stand the smell and didn’t know what to do with the cats. I told them to not do anything because if they took her cats away she would die. They were wise enough to let her keep the cats and realize she couldn’t die because of them. Similar to a woman who said, “I have nine kids and I can’t die till their all married and out of the house.” Well, 20 years later she died when the last one left home. So ladies and gentlemen, do not live a “role.” Instead, live an authentic meaningful life.

    One more story in closing. Grace developed a lump in her breast which turned out to be breast cancer. She refused treatment because she had a very sick diabetic son she had to care for. I asked her what happens if she dies first. Then, she agreed to have surgery. She joined our support group and was constantly complaining about all her responsibilities and phone calls. She had a personality flaw many nurses have, not being able to say no to all her demands. I told her she didn’t have to answer the phone and she looked at me like I was nuts.

    Next week she came in smiling. When I asked her why she said, “I had to answer the phone or I’d feel guilty, so I had the phone company remove the phone from my house.” When she realized the world didn’t end because she couldn’t answer the phone, it helped her to give responsibility to others for their own health and well being.

    Now a homework question: How do you help your kids decide what to do when they have to make a decision? What do you tell them when they have a difficult and troubling day?  We’ll go over your homework in next week’s blog post.

    Bernie Siegel, MD

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    Q & A with Bernie – August 3, 2015

    Question for Bernie

    I read an article yesterday and thought of you immediately.  The gist of the article was that people should die at 75, and there should be no more “efforts” to care for them after that.  The author is 65 and said that people are creatively stagnant after the age of 75.  I thought of you because you continue to inspire me, as do all of my amazing elders in my community.  I told you that I speak throughout the country about positive aging and keeping people engaged as long as God allows them to inhabit this amazing earth.  I see so many vibrant, intelligent, engaged human beings that I learn from every single day, that gentleman should meet you!  I also wonder what his thoughts will be on his 75th birthday.

    I am thinking about entering the Ms. Senior Michigan pageant in January.  While I am not a huge fan of “beauty” pageants, I am a fan of people stepping outside of their little boxes and trying new things!  I love to sing, and I would have to sing in front of a big audience. I could wear some beautiful dresses and feel like a princess!  Not sure I will have the nerve to do it but am seriously thinking about it!  I will be 65 in 9 more days and feel better than ever.  I work in a non-profit and love my job, I volunteer a lot with people with cognitive disabilities and work with my amazing group of elders!   I love my life.  We are looking at retiring from our jobs (not our life) in April 2016 and moving to South Carolina.  There is an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute less than a mile from our new home, and I am looking forward to taking some classes.  I have two certified therapy dogs and look forward to spending more time with them and mostly getting out of the horrid Michigan winters!  This morning it is 12 degrees out and they closed the University my husband teaches at.  It is just miserable and the roads are horrible.

    Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you today, hope you are well and happy.

    Bernie’s Answer

    You are living the sermon. The writer of the article you read doesn’t understand life. I believe he is a doctor.

    When you do what makes you lose track of time you can’t age.  When you keep engaged in things you love after you retire, you never really have to say you are “retired.”

    And as you demonstrate, having pets increases survival rates, too, if they are an integral part of your life.  They give us unconditional love and deserve the same.  Your therapy dogs are no doubt very happy since dogs love to please us and they really like to learn and “work.”


    Question for Bernie

    Hi Coach,

    Hope you are well and happy.  Just a note to let you know I tried out for the Senior Ms. Michigan Pageant.  I sang in front of 250 people, gave my philosophy of life, competed in the evening gown competition, and spoke to three judges… and won!  Now it is parades, personal appearances, grand openings, car shows, and senior centers!  I competed against six other finalists and was crowned. The Ms. Senior pageants are for women over 60 who are “doing something” with their lives, volunteering, and living life to the fullest.  While there is an aspect of beauty involved, it is really about how to live life!  I thank all of my mentors… you are on that list of amazing people.

    Now I am onto the Ms. Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City in October!  That is a little more competitive, there are “career” pageant girls there and professional entertainers for the talent portion.  I am going for the experience and the fun of it!   No $10,000 gowns for this girl (second hand stores are Perfect).

    Just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts. Thank you for being a part of my life!

    Bernie’s Answer

    Bless you, kid. Remember the advice of a football player with cancer:

    I used to think I left everything I could out there on the field, but now that I am not playing, I know that I didn’t. So don’t leave anything in here (locker room)—leave it all out there on the field. The team went on to upset their opponent.

    Go for it!


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    Q & A with Bernie – July 27, 2015

    Question for Bernie

    Hello Dr. Siegel,

    I thought to contact you and ask for any wisdom and advice you may have. I received awful news last week.  My Dad has metastatic cancer. We were on a big family trip in Europe and cut it short, he was so ill.

    He is a 69-year-old incredibly healthy, fit long distance runner who has no medical history at all. He is a non-smoker, a non-drinker vegetarian. Last year he developed some weird reactive arthritis post-flu and this year it continued.

    Overseas on this long cruise he became progressively unwell, with dizziness and headaches. Also, he lost significant weight. We flew home and CT showed cerebellar, lung, and liver lesions.  He is in hospital now. He had an emergency craniotomy two nights ago for cerebellar metastasis. They think the primary is the lung; pathology back today or tomorrow.

    Our family is shattered. We are totally devastated by such a massive shock. There has been a lot of fighting and anger in the family for some years, and now we are deeply regretful and guilty about things said in the past.  Mum even wanted a divorce after 50 years of marriage, which he was deeply sad about.

    We need your advice and wisdom to help us get through this. I am giving him your books to read for a start.

    Hope you are well and thank you. Kind regards.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, the books can help your father as well as other members of the family.

    Ask him what he is experiencing with his illness and make note of the words he uses to describe those feelings.  Then, see what else in his life fits the negative words he uses. Whether people or situations (other than his illness) could be described using the negative words he uses about his illness, he needs to eliminate them, or severely restrict contact or involvement in order to feel better about his life.

    Verbalize your love for him, and tell him to love his life and his body.  Your role is to be a love warrior, telling him you love him at every opportunity.  Even if he is being difficult, tell him you love him, and don’t engage in arguments or negative reactions to his behavior. Let him decide what he wants to do about his life.

    Help him to heal by encouraging him to save his energy for healing, not for fighting a war.  His body is not the enemy.  It will respond to loving, healing thoughts.  The immune system is strengthened by taking a loving approach to illness in the body by visualizing living a positive life and living that visualization.

    Listen to him so he opens up and hears himself.  When he hears the words he uses, he will be able to tell you and others supporting him what he needs to help him heal.


    Response to Bernie’s Answer

    Thank you so much. Yes, he is a very negative and critical man and there has been much family stress and tension. He wants to change now, and is being more positive. We are all together and have expressed forgiveness and much love for each other. Mum has told him they are staying together, and we will get through this together. I will get him to do a picture and send it to you. Thanks again with love and blessings from our family.

    Bernie’s Response

    Remember, all colors are available for drawing.

    Question for Bernie (second question from person who submitted today’s first question)

    Here are my Dad’s pictures. His own father died when he was 12 and it greatly hurt him, which he always mentions. He never got on with his brother and always fought with his mother until she died almost two years ago.

    Our immediate family is Mum, Dad, and me. I have no brothers or sisters.

    I think your suggestions are very interesting.  Thanks for your help and support and advice, sent with blessings and love.

    Bernie’s Answer

    #1 Looks good – all are touching inside the same heart and have all the parts they need.

    You can ask your dad why he is behind them rather than in line with them, and what it means to him. Purple is a spiritual color, and the eight little lines in the drawing signify a new beginning.

    #2 “George” – nice color and energy around he and your dad, but others are in black, separated, and all standing in puddles. Black is for brother and mom.

    #3 “My family” – shows four hearts, with two pierced by arrows.  Resembles family separation in other drawing; appears that messenger is carrying letter.

    #4 “Disease” – is neatly wrapped in a box with the sun shining.  Count the rays and see if the number means anything to your dad.  I get a good feeling about it being in box with lovely ribbon tied around it.  It is important, though, not to have your dad make it into a gift so he gets more attention for being sick.  Help him get love in a healthy way.

    #5 “House” – looks nice and warm with heat coming out.  The four birds probably symbolize the family. Count flowers and other things in the drawing to see if those numbers have meaning to him. He is probably the tree and looks healthy with the green line going up.

    Share these interpretations and see how he reacts.


    Response to Bernie’s answer

    Your interpretations are very, very interesting. Thank you so much for this, and I will show my Dad your e-mail. He is very grateful for your help and advice, too.

    We are all terribly grateful for your time and understanding, and send our blessings to   you and your family.

    Question for Bernie (third question from person who submitted today’s first question)

    We are trying to stay positive and are doing our prayers and meditations, but are becoming increasingly scared, sad and troubled.

    We just bought some of your CDs on meditation for Dad. He is getting depressed and down dealing with the debilitating arthropathy associated with the lung cancer (HPO). We also got him your Faith, Hope and Healing book.

    I am having a fair bit of trouble, as is Mum, with all of this. We are not sleeping well and are living in constant stress, fear, and sadness in what seems like a 24/7 time frame.

    I was wondering if you had some advice/guidance for Mum and me.  We would greatly appreciate it.

    Bernie’s Answer

    You and your mother should also meditate and listen to the CDs. It is very important for both of you to interrupt your day with time for yourselves individually or together.

    All three of you can ask yourselves what you are supposed to learn from your father’s illness.  If you are getting along with one another now, this question could be one you could discuss as a family, or you can choose not to share the answers you each come up with when you ask yourselves the question.  There are no “right or wrong” answers to the question of what you are to learn from what you, your father, and your mother are experiencing with regard to your dad’s illness.  You each may have very different answers, but all will be valid.

    The wisdom is in you.  Compassion is the element we all need, so care for yourself and find what nourishes you emotionally, just as food nourishes your body physically.   I hope these suggestions help.


    Response to Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, this is definitely huge help. Dad is reading your books and is much happier.
    Thanks again, and our blessings and love to you and your family.

    Question for Bernie

    Dear Bernie,
    I have been trying to find a boyfriend for the past four years, but meeting a guy is very hard.  My relationship with my father has not been great since I was young.  I think the problem with meeting someone is due to my relationship with him which has made me believe that I could not get a man who loves me. When I meet someone new, I find myself rushing to have a relationship with the man.  That makes me look needy when actually I am a very independent person.

    The last few nights, after all the bustling events at work, I drew a picture of how my boyfriend and I would be. I have not met this man, but I guess this is how he would look, although my fortune teller said that a “fat husband” would bring me comfort and good luck.

    Please guide me from this drawing.

    Bernie’s Answer

    What I see in your drawing is that you are both stuck with no feet.  His eyes scare me.  Neither of you have hands to reach out with, or to touch each other with.  The two clouds and house in the drawing could symbolize the two of you in the future, but there are clouds and no sunshine there.

    There are nine stars and three birds.  What do those numbers mean to you?

    You have a smile and he has little one.

    Think about how to connect your hearts in some way.  If you have the time to care for a dog and will not have to leave it alone all day while you work, consider getting one.  If you only have limited time, volunteer as a dog walker at a vet’s practice or at the animal shelter.  Walking a dog in the park or path where others walk their dogs is often a very good way to meet people who have compassionate, loving hearts.

    In your drawing even the tree looks like it is you, and you are reaching out.  Look for ways to bring love and joy into the lives of others, and it will all happen for you as it should.


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