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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 – 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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    Thoughts from Bernie – July 20, 2015

    At workshops I frequently ask people if they would like to be free of all pain; emotional and physical. However, I tell those who sign up for what they think will be a gift to take my phone number with them so when they experience the problems associated with feeling no pain they can call and cancel the supposed gift.

    Think about lepers and diabetics with peripheral neuropathy who are losing their limbs because they cannot feel infections or injuries. Then think about our feelings and emotions and how important it is to respond to them. I grew up with a mother whose advice about every problem was always the same, “Do what will make you happy.” She taught me to deal with feelings so today I have happy depressions. When I am hungry I seek nourishment and when I feel gnawing unrest or other painful emotions I seek the changes in my life which will resolve the unhealthy and painful feelings. Mondays we have more heart attacks, suicides, strokes and illnesses. Perhaps if we responded to our feelings and changed our lives or attitudes Monday would not threaten our health.

    I experience pain but I do not suffer. To me pain is a necessity, if I am going to define myself and my life, but suffering is an option. Suffering relates to the emotional needs of the individual which are not being met. When the pain has no meaning and does not lead to healing of the person’s life the individual suffers greatly. We have to realize that life is a labor pain of self birthing. When the pain is something we choose to experience to help us grow it hurts far less than the meaningless pain imposed upon us by others, including health care provider’s treatments and prescriptions.

    I work with people’s drawings, and two people draw may the same treatment, with one showing it as hell and the other as heaven. If surgery is a mutilation and the drawing of the operating room shows a black box with a patient in it but no one caring for them, versus a life saving gift from God showing flowers and the surgeon caring for the patient, the post-operative recovery will demonstrate the difference. I have done major surgery upon people who awaken and say, “I have no pain. I am a little sore.” I explained to the nurses to please stop writing, “Patient refuses pain medication” in their chart and write that the patient had no pain.

    Studies reveal that when you put your hand in a bucket of ice and keep it there as long as possible you will keep it in the ice longer if loved ones are standing by your side then if you are alone; and probably even longer if your dog is there. In one study women who were given loving care during child birth had half the number of Cesarean Sections and a fraction of the need for epidurals than women given good technical care but shown no compassion during labor.

    I also know from personal experience with a back injury that when I was operating, or painting a portrait, two activities where I lost track of time and was being loving and creative I was not aware of my pain. When I stopped either activity I needed to lie down due to the pain I was now aware of. I think any activity which makes you lose track of time is the healthiest state one can ever be in.

    A few years ago I was visiting a neurologist friend’s office. In a darkened examining room was a woman who had a severe migraine headache and was awaiting transportation to the hospital. I went in to talk to her and asked her, “How would you describe the pain you are feeling?” She answered, “It’s a burden, like pressure.” If she were my patient I would have asked, “What else in your life fits those words and is a burden causing you pressure?” Instead I did some guided imagery with her to alleviate the burden and pressure in her life.

    I then left her in the dark to rest. A few minutes later the office nurse came in to tell me the woman’s headache was gone and she was headed home. “And by the way the burden is her marriage.” I have had others answer with words like draining, sucking, failure, road block and say, “Thank you” and walk off with a smile of enlightenment on their face.

    It is also important to realize people hear you in coma, under anesthesia and while asleep. As my patients awakened after surgery I would say, “You will wake up comfortable, thirsty and hungry.” It worked so well many of them gained weight after surgery because they were always hungry.

    Major abdominal surgery can be done under hypnosis and even acupuncture. To me this simply reveals the power of the mind to control pain and how personal a sensation it can be.

    I do not blame the patient or deny the many painful syndromes that require medications and various anesthetic therapies but I am saying that one cannot separate the sensation from the individual and their life and beliefs. Two people with the same affliction do not necessarily experience and suffer the same degree of pain.

    As I said earlier when we see life as a labor pain of self birthing the pain becomes meaningful and at that time is no longer seen as a curse, and for some it becomes a blessing because of how it redirects their life to find nourishment for their body and soul.

    But when we are experiencing pain because of a prescribed treatment or a family telling us what we must go through to not die we are in big trouble. We need to keep our power and find meaning in what we choose to do. I find support groups are very helpful because the natives are able to share with each other and not be told what to do by the tourists.

    Let me again close with a poem I received several years ago:

    Nine months seems like a long time
    I watch my body change
    Tired I sit staring out at life
    Books and music transport me beyond my body
    Nine months finally passI give birth to my child
    All the discomfort and pain is now justified

    Chemotherapy and radiation
    Twelve months seems like a long time
    I watch my body change
    Tired I sit staring out at life
    Books and music transport me beyond my body
    Twelve months finally pass
    I give birth to myself
    All the discomfort and pain is now justified



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    Thoughts from Bernie – July 13, 2015

    The key to life in all its forms is its ability to communicate. This includes the ability of complex organisms like ourselves to communicate with each other but more importantly within ourselves, our individual organs and cells. How do animals communicate without words? Studies show they can count and make intelligent choices when given options yet we do not know how they are able to reason and communicate without using words.

    Life began with one celled organisms who learned how to communicate by altering the chemistry of their environment. In times of danger they would secrete substances which led them to come together into a balls of cells which would survive adverse living conditions like droughts or temperature fluctuations. Today these same methods of communication go on within us but problems arise when we do not pay attention to these messages of danger because of our level of consciousness. Notice I didn’t say intelligence. If we were intelligent we would pay attention to the messages we are giving our bodies and they are giving us so that the intracellular signals would be life enhancing and not disease inducing.

    Think of the simple fact that Monday has a higher mortality and suicide rate then other days of the week and you begin to see why we are not the wisest of creatures. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by intelligent alterations in their genetic mechanisms and survive. We can’t even get through the week without succumbing to adverse conditions.

    I also marvel at the intelligence within a seed. Did you ever notice how seeds will sprout and grow through pavement to survive. How do they know which way is up without sensing warmth? There is a sense of gravity within a seed and they don’t give in to adversity when they run into obstacles. They push forward or find new ways to reach the light. What signals them to keep going and not succumb?

    The method of communication has to be chemical signals within the cell directing its behavior but how a protein molecule thinks and knows what to do is beyond me and probably science’s understanding. It is awesome to think of one cell developing into a human being and differentiating into all the components we are made of and getting them to develop in the right places too. Think of the endless number of signals which must be given to each intracellular component to do this.

    Now think of the signals this organism receives after it is formed. What does a touch, hug or caress say to it about living? What do unexpressed fears, despair and depression tell it about the desire to live. Every cell in our bodies is aware of our will to live and our desires and intentions. The emotional and the physical are one. Mind and matter are not separate entities. Just as one celled organisms reacted to their environment our cells react to both our physical and emotional environments because there is a chemistry to both.

    The question is what messages are you giving your body so that the signals created are life enhancing and not life threatening. I think the key words and signals are inspiration and expiration. We use the latter when things are ending. When someone dies we say he expired. The breath of life has left.

    Inspiration is a word that fills us with the joy of living and our desire and intention to survive. Inspiration means breathing in but it also speaks of being inspired to create life and survive hardships. When I meet an inspired individual who is living a meaningful life I know they will live longer in the face of adversity then others with the same afflictions or problems. I believe this is why some people overcome so called incurable diseases. They find new meaning in life and signal their bodies that their desire and intention and determination is to live. They are not ready to expire because they are inspired to live, love and serve.

    Their bodies get the message and changes occur which lead to their healing and curing themselves and their bodies. Now we are getting somewhere. Like the bacteria we are living with a sense of our mission here and role in creation and respond to adversity with a will to live. We see this idea supported by research being done today. Join a support group or simply keep a journal of your feelings and you slow the progression of your disease, reduce the number of symptoms, lower the recurrence and death rates. It doesn’t matter what the disease is. The will to live is physiologic and communicated to every cell in your body.

    Remember the song, “Eat an apple every day. Go to bed by three. Take good care of yourself. You belong to me. Be careful crossing streets. Don’t eat meats ‘cause you’ll get a pain and ruin your tum, tum.” You don’t know how lucky you are reading this and not having me sing it to you. The latter might create some negative signals to your body.

    The message is clear. Give your body messages and signals related to your inspiration and will to live. Your body will do the best it can to sustain you when you do so. Exercise produces neuropeptides which protect the cardiovascular system. Massage enhances growth and immune function. The beneficial effects of love are not an accident. So find your reason for living now and get going. Then you will never be working and Mondays won’t be a threat to your health.

    One last word of advice. This is not written to help you avoid disease and death but to help you enjoy life. In Heaven the grumpiest people are the vegetarian, meditating, joggers who despite eating only vegetables, meditating regularly and getting up early every day to jog died anyway. So do what feels right because that is how those chemical messages from your body are communicated, through feelings and not what is thought. The body signals us too. The mind matters and feelings matter and when we live right they are the healthiest unit they can be. Consciousness and matter unify and become one through the inspirational signals we provide. So get in touch with your body.

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    Q & A with Bernie – July 6, 2015

    Question for Bernie:

    Hello Bernie,

    Many years ago you helped me with some anxiety over being abandoned, regarding my mother, when I was an infant.  Thank you for that.

    I’m 62 and my husband died a year ago. He either had a heart attack or stroke at the wheel of his car. About three months ago, I started getting scared and full of anxiety.  Up until then I was okay.  Now I think of physical symptoms and I’m twitching all over, so I think I have bad neurology disease.  Then I looked up stuff on Google and really scared myself.  I miss my husband so much.

    Why am I concentrating so much on My body?  I thought you might have some thoughts.  I have been sober for 34 years.  I went to the doctor and he gave me Ativan, but I won’t take it.  I heard it is addictive.  I wish I could calm down and forget myself.  Thanks for listening.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Your husband’s spirit is still with you.  Be observant and look for signs of his presence. Ask for his help, and quiet your mind.

    I have a little book, Buddy’s Candle. I highly recommend that you get it and read it. You can order through my website www.berniesiegelmd.com.  Scroll down the Home Page and look at the right-hand column for our Wisdom of the Ages bookstore, click, and order through them.

    Think of your mind as a pond.
    When the water is still, the truth is seen by reflection.
    When the water is turbulent, the truth isn’t visible.


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    Thoughts from Bernie – June 29, 2015

    With summer here, many people are in a more playful mood because this is the season most associated with vacations.  Vacations refresh us by giving us permission to let go of our daily routine along with the associated “have to” mindset that we have when we are not taking a vacation break.  So I wanted to highlight one of my articles that will encourage you to let go of negative thoughts and negative influences in your life that you can eliminate.  Enjoy your life, whether you are on vacation or not, by resolving to laugh several times every day.  Your body will respond to the love you give it when you incorporate humor into your daily life.

    Read on…Bernie

    He Who Laughs Lasts

    Love and laughter are required to build and hold our lives together. For me love makes up the bricks which we build out of. Ask yourself what you are capable of loving and you will know what your life is about. But what holds that life and the bricks together? We need mortar and the mortar of life is humor. For me this represents childlike humor that isn’t offensive and doesn’t hurt or upset anyone. Humor of this type heals lives.

    One of the things that convinced me of the value of humor occurred one evening when my wife and I were out lecturing. My wife Bobbie does stand up one-liner comedy as part of our presentation so people can feel the benefit of laughter and not just hear a lecture about how it alters our physiology. On this particular evening I did not take her seat in the audience, as I usually do, because of the set-up of the stage. I sat behind her and watched the audience. The change in their physical appearance after laughing for 15-20 minutes was striking and made me a firm believer in the benefits of humor. Two of her straight lines are, “He who laughs, lasts” and “Laughter is contagious—be a carrier.” I agree.

    On a personal level, what I mean by childlike humor is about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. On airline flights I would come out of the lavatory looking worried and say, “I may have damaged the plane.” Attendants would hurry over and I’d say, “I dropped something from Italy in the toilet and then I saw the sign, Don’t throw foreign objects in the toilet.” Now all the planes have signs that say, Don’t throw solid objects in the toilet because of crazy people like me.

    Many years ago, I fell off our roof when a ladder I was climbing broke.  I landed on my feet, which seemed physically impossible considering the angle of the ladder, etc.  I shared the story with the audience for one of my talks when we got to the topic of having a guardian angel.  I said that I thought I must have an angel, given my lucky escape from injury when I fell off the ladder.

    A man came up at the end of my talk and said, “You do have an angel, and I know his name.”

    I said, “How do you know?”

    The man asked me, “What did you say when the ladder broke?”

    I remembered saying, “Oh Shit!”

    The man said, “That’s your angel’s name.”

    I laughed, but didn’t realize what a gift he gave me. Now, whenever I get into difficult situations and blurt out, “Oh Shit,” I start laughing because I know help is on the way. Feel free to make use of my angel when you are in need.

    One other example of childlike behavior and humor is in the instructions you either read or hear from people. When it says, sign in upon entering, write down “upon entering.” When it says, print your name, print “YOUR NAME.” When the sign says, “Nobody Allowed Here,” go on in, and when they shout at you, just tell them you’re “a nobody.” Most of the time they let you go, thinking that if you’re that stupid, you pose no danger. One guard stepped in front of me and said, “I’m making you somebody and you have to leave now.” Another child appears and I gave him a hug.

    The last point I would make is that the world is filled with pain. Why add to it? Why not help heal it? The majority of people feel the world is unfair. It isn’t. It is just difficult. So make it easier for yourself and others. When people ask me, “How are you feeling today?” I say, “Depressed. Out of my antidepressant and my doctor is away so I can’t renew my prescription.” Three quarters say, “I know how you feel and tell me their troubles and offer me some of their antidepressant.” I am not kidding when I tell you this. The others embrace me and help heal me because they have been loved and have joy in their lives.

    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 serious and normal. Trying to be normal is only for those who feel inadequate. So be a carrier and spread joy and healing. If you embarrass your children regularly they will thank you later in their life. Our children come home and say, “Thanks Dad.” When I ask why they are thanking me they say they either did something crazy at work or school and instead of their being criticized they heard people say, “Well you know who his father is.”

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