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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.
  • Bernie’s Video of the Week

    Watch a free video today! Learn more about art therapy. The free video will be available for viewing in the next weeks free of charge. Please share it with your friends. http://lumenznetworks.com/siegel/watch/positive-experience/
  • 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 #193 – Good Friends

    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.

    Friendship improves happiness and abates misery,
    by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

    - Cicero

    What is a friend? To me it is someone who knows our faults and still sees the divine in you. A friend will love you despite your imperfections. A friend is someone who is there for you when you have the courage to ask for help. A friend is also someone who can say no to you and still remain a friend.

    A friend points out your imperfections, not to blame you for them but to help you become better at what you are doing, just as a coach would talk to an athlete. A friend always answers your calls even when you are driving them crazy.

    A friend never talks about who is right but rather listens to how you are feeling. A friend will not judge without taking the time to understand and can forgive, let go of the past, and continue to love. Probably the most important thing a friend does is never to abandon you, no matter what you do.

    Soulution of the Day

    Do something to acknowledge a good friend today
    and remember to be one as well.

    - Bernie

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  • More Teachers (Part Two) – Mind and Heart Matters

    Dear Everybody,

    Life is a labor pain of self-birth. Sometimes God responds to your prayers when you are not able to complete the birthing process, and sometimes God steps back when it is time for you to take responsibility and deliver.  The following is the second edited excerpt from an article written by Danny Verbov.  The first installment was posted here on January 12, 2015.  To view his book go to:
    http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/When-Your-Child-has-Cancer.html

    Lesson #6: Cry. Learn to cry.

    Let the tears flow. Don’t hold back. No one will think you are less macho because of it. I cried a lot throughout our brush with cancer. Tears are a tremendous gift. They remind us we’re human. They remind us we’re not callous brutes. They also help release tension and deep feelings in a way words cannot express and they help us identify with the pain of others. And, like prayer, no tear is ever wasted…

    Takeaway: It’s okay to cry.

    Lesson #7: You are Never Alone.

    During the chemo it was a tremendous comfort and support to receive calls from friends just calling to say, “I’m thinking of you.” My wife and I were at our son’s side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gave him tremendous security and confidence during his stay in hospital.

    And even after all the friends have left, or your parents are no longer with you… even when you’re alone awake at two in the morning next to your sick kid’s bed, God is with you at all times. He is our eternal parent, with us every single second, during the good times as well as the bad. You are never alone. We may not be God, but we can certainly call people to tell them we care. Even if they are not experiencing tragedy—even if we don’t need anything from them, every show of sensitive concern showers so much warmth, self-confidence, and happiness on the recipient. And brings much more goodness into the world.

    Takeaway: Call a friend today!

    Lesson #8: Keep Your Worries in Proportion.

    Most things in life are not life and death issues; serious maybe, but not life and death. We saw a lot of life and death in the time we were in the hospital, so we knew we were very ‘lucky.’ Kids born with leukemia going through two years of treatment that might not work, kids with cancer for the second, third or fourth time, endless pain and suffering… and yes, we saw death too. Our priority was getting through this. We didn’t appreciate what ‘aggressive treatment’ meant until we spent almost four consecutive months in the hospital with my wife and I rotating shifts. That was our full-time job.

    Thank God, we had financial help, help with the kids, and help with everything else. Our community was absolutely amazing. Over 50 women cooked meals for us during that time – I’ve never eaten so well in my life! Someone did our shopping every week and people even came in to do laundry and wash the dishes. No worries. Indeed, once we realize the Almighty is taking care of our health, finances, and daily maintenance every second of the day, we have no worries. And since then, whether it was during chemotherapy or any other stressful event, I use this technique to focus on doing what I can do and leaving what I can’t to God.

    Takeaway: Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.

    Lesson #9: The Power of Prayer.

    Once my son’s situation became known, people all over the world began to pray for him, recite Psalms, take on commitments not to gossip, and many other things we don’t even know about. A friend set up a Facebook group praying for our son that attracted over 4,000 members, most of whom did not even know us!

    Like the tears we talked about in Lesson #6, prayer is another thing bigger than us. No prayer is wasted. With that realization, everything you do takes on a new dimension. You suddenly take more care and put more effort into every word of prayer, every word you say, every mundane action. You suddenly become acutely aware of the extreme consequences of your every move. God might not answer in the way you want, but that too is for a reason we do not always understand.

    Takeaway: Pray today with all your heart for something you truly desire.

    Lesson #10: People Want to Give.

    In the hospital, we were witness to overflowing goodness and unlimited giving.  Everyone from family and friends came by, and even complete strangers just turned up to be with us or to give our son a word of encouragement. Someone brought us a tub of Ben and Jerry’s at two in the morning… a friend drove four hours just to play Scrabble with me in the hospital, a famous rabbi cried over the phone… and a constant stream of visitors and volunteers throughout the day! One of our greatest tests in life is to know how to receive. Often, people want to give more than you need to receive. Let them. Be prepared to receive any help, whether physical or emotional, direct or indirect; accept simply, with gratitude and a pleasant countenance. Be ready to deal sensitively with people who wanted to help but didn’t know how. Even make up things they can do for you! Not because you need it, but because they do. Know that all this human kindness is just a shimmering reflection of the Almighty’s unbounded, incomprehensible Goodness. He gives. No limits. No conditions.

    Takeaway: If you’re in trouble, let people give to you. If someone else is in need, give something, however small, of yourself.

    Peace, Love & Healing
    Bernie Siegel, MD

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 19, 2015

    Question for Bernie:

    Hi. I am a 55-year-old woman with controlled MS and Dysautonomia. This is a horrible disease and affects every system in your body. I have daily migraines, horrible upper back pain, chest pain, no appetite, nausea, and fatigue beyond belief. I am very limited in what I can do.

    This is my question. How do you feel happy and up when you are not living the life you want to live? I find it very difficult.

    Thanks.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    The answer to how to be happy and feel positive when you are not living the life you want to live is that you work at it. The prominent American philosopher and early practitioner of psychology, William James, said “Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”  Remember, no one else can make up your mind for you. Your choice to work with the challenges in your life instead of against them is entirely yours to make.  No one else can choose how you bring, or don’t bring, happiness into your life.

    Learn to meditate.  There are different types of meditation, but one of the most popular in Western society has its roots in Asia and is called “mindfulness meditation.”  You can do this kind of meditation either once a day or several short sessions a day, depending on your preference.  You may choose to use a mantra to help you meditate.  The use of a special sound that is called a mantra helps with concentration.  Your particular mantra might be a simple sound or a single word, or even a phrase.

    People often think of mantras being chanted in a group, but they can also be something you “hear” internally. If you use a mantra, you can progress to a point where just thinking of the sound of your mantra will immediately get you into a deeply relaxed state.  It is in that state when meditation is most effective. Your mantra can include several words with a positive message about being grateful for life.

    My wife has lived with MS for 50 years now.  She has been very effective in our workshops and groups for cancer survivors at teaching people the healing power of humor.  Think about situations in your life—whether long ago or just recently—that made you laugh out loud.  Make sure you think of those times often throughout the day and give your immune system the gift of healing laughter.

    Physical and emotional challenges can certainly limit our lives—if we let them.  One way to push negative thinking and behaviors out of our lives is to write down the words that describe your illness, pain, and symptoms.  Then look at the situations and people in your life that could be described using any of the same words on your list describing your illness.  To whatever extent it is possible, you should make every effort to eliminate those negative people and situations from your life.  Resolve to surround yourself with positive people and positive activities. This will really help you heal. Look into healthy supplements with the guidance of a naturopathic doctor and the company called life extension at this link:  www.lef.org.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    More Teachers – Mind and Heart Matters

    Dear Everybody,

    Life is a labor pain of self-birth. Sometimes God responds to your prayers when you are not able to complete the birthing process, and sometimes God steps back when it is time for you to take responsibility and deliver. The following is an edited excerpt from an article written by Danny Verbov. To view his book go to:
    http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/When-Your-Child-has-Cancer.html

    ————————-

    I am sitting in Mount Scopus Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem waiting for the surgeons to remove a golf-ball-size growth from my 12-year-old son’s stomach. A week or so later they tell us it’s malignant. We spent the next four months in the children’s oncology ward at the Hadassah Hospital. The craziest four months of my life. But this is not about cancer, despair, or depression. It’s about life, faith and hope. And how you can transform anything that happens to you into a learning, growing and positive experience.

    When the going gets tough and life serves up those cruel curve balls, we all need a healthy outlook on life, the right perspective, and a proven box of tricks to react and act in the right way. At a click of a mouse, you want to link into happiness, optimism, and hope instead of sadness, depression, and despair. You may not have control over what happens in your life, but you can certainly control how you respond. Thankfully, by my son’s bed, God gave me the opportunity to do just that.

    And now I see how the experience was a blessing (although I don’t know if my son sees it that way yet). In life-threatening situations, it’s easy to reach lofty understandings and life truths because you automatically focus on what is truly important. The big challenge is to translate this wisdom into daily life. And that’s a constant struggle. But that’s what life is all about—growing in small, incremental steps every single day.

    Lesson #1: Discover Truth for Yourself.

    Just because a book has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for months does not mean it’s a good book. Just because someone else thinks a particular career is right for you doesn’t mean it is. It was the same with the cancer. At first, we were completely at the ‘mercy’ of the medical staff, blindly accepting their every word and instruction.

    As time went on though, we became more knowledgeable, more aware, and more involved. We asked more questions (with the encouragement of the doctors) and we were able to check they were giving the right dosages of the right drugs at the right time. It’s your life. Don’t let anyone else live it for you.

    Takeaway: By all means ask for different opinions but make sure the final decision is yours.

    Lesson #2: Always Look for the Positive.

    This does not mean ignore the negative or become numb to the tragedies. It means make an effort to find the positive in every person and in everything that happens in your life. We were witness to tremendous pain and suffering, yet at the same time we saw an unbelievable outpouring of human warmth and kindness. That was our focus and that’s what kept us upbeat and optimistic. It’s all about focus. It can be cold and raining outside but you can feel warm and sunny inside. And if you just look hard enough, you’ll find the positive in everything.

    Takeaway: Think of one person you don’t get on with. Find at least one or two good things about them and focus on those. Focus on your own positive traits too!

    Lesson #3: You Can Adapt to Anything.

    We had to change our lives overnight with new routines, new priorities, and no chance of holding down our jobs. My wife and I took turns spending 24 hours with our son. We had little time for our five other children, and the daily chores were left undone. But because it was so obviously the priority in our life at the time; because our lives (and surely our son’s life) depended on it, we just did it. We had no choice but to adapt. What would you do if your life depended on it? Do it now! Don’t wait for the curve balls to force you into change.

    Takeaway: Go make that change you know you need to make. You can do it!

    Lesson #4: Constantly Ask Yourself “What am I Living For?”

    Perhaps the biggest question of them all is this one. If you’re faced with death, you must become real with life. Any of us could depart this world without prior warning. What guarantee do any of us have that we’re going to wake up tomorrow morning? How do you know that just because you’re reading this sentence, you won’t drop dead before reading the next one?

    In the cancer ward, or at a funeral, the stark realization of my mortality hits me like a ton of bricks. We’re only here for a short time and we don’t even know how short. What’s important to you? What are your goals in life? Prioritize. Don’t just drift through the routines of life. Live for your goals. Live for your dreams. Relish the moment. What are you prepared to live for? Don’t despair if you don’t come up with answers. It can sometimes take years to find your life’s purpose. But never stop asking.

    Takeaway: Don’t drift through life. Ask yourself every day: “What am I here for? What possible reasons could God have had for putting me here right now?”

    Lesson #5: Feel the Pain

    If you want healthy, successful relationships in your life, you must develop sensitivity to the pain of others. And if you can’t feel the pain, at least feel the pain of not being able to feel the pain! We were in a ward with many Arab children. But here at the hospital we were on the same side of the battle. Political, national, and religious differences immediately melt away and you simply see another human being in pain. When we remember all human beings are created in the image of God, and everyone is here for a purpose, it becomes easier to eliminate the prejudices and the differences and focus on the commonalities.

    Takeaway: The next time you see someone in pain, try putting yourself in their shoes.

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie

    We currently have a cancer support group the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of the month at Coachman’s Square at 21 Bradley Road, Woodbridge. If interested contact Lucille Ranciato lranciato2@yahoo.com 203 288 2839; or myself bugsyssiegel@sbcglobal.net

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 5, 2015

    Question for Bernie

    I am at end of Chapter 3 in the Art of Healing and feeling stuck.  I am a bit worried because today and yesterday I am having to work harder at staying positive.  I just got an appointment with a medical oncologist for this Monday and I think she is going to be all doom and gloom.  I am worried she will tell me I have “so long” to live.  When all this opened up, my GP said I could live 1-2 years with chemo and radiation.  He seemed to think this was a good thing!

    Exercise….My left SI joint and down my left leg is very painful.  I would describe it as like a rubber band that is stretched as far as it can be.  It hurts to walk, sit, and stand.  I cannot think of a relationship where I could use the same words to describe except maybe at times the relationship with myself –maybe today. Today I am impatient with my progress with the disease.  I am so thin, holding my own but not gaining weight.  I am spending 24/7 cooking and eating well, sleeping, resting, reading, staying positive, and doing Vitamin C treatments and acupuncture.  The situation that stresses me is money and when it will run out.  I need to move to cheaper rent, but I thought I had come to peace with that.  In writing this to you, I see I am in my ego and thinking about all the people who are healthy just walking around, and then there is me. I ask myself, “Is this a bad dream?  Am I going to die?”

    So I am not sure what to pinpoint and eliminate.  Any feedback would be great.  Wish I could just have a big chocolate bar and have this all go away.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, find your “chocolate ice cream of life” and start living it. Stop stretching yourself out.

    How long you live is not about statistics but about you and loving your life by doing the things that give your body the message that you intend to LIVE every moment to fullest, however long you have to go.

    Bet your doctors $10,000 that you will live at least twice as long as they predict, and you’ll find out that they won’t bet because they know it is possible. I’ll put up the money for you.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Response to Bernie’s Answer

    Thank you, Bernie.  I love the idea of betting my doctor. Just getting into that mindset brings my ‘Irish” out.  I see I was/am slipping into being a victim and a sheep!  What do you mean about ‘stop stretching yourself out’?

    At the beginning of this, I thought my chocolate ice cream was me winning this, and then going out and coaching others.  (I am a certified coach and I was afraid to go out and sell my coaching because deep down I did not think I had enough to offer, although any clients I had always said they gained tones from our work).    How can I get myself out of this rut???

    I am wondering what my chocolate ice cream of life is.  I have lived my life trying to fix me, (tones of personal growth) and working.  I have spent all my free time on growing but it is like I had/have this ceiling and I never went beyond it.  I have never been satisfied with me.  I was in a 20 year marriage and apart from running after one man, I have been alone.  I have 3 children whom I love, my oldest son just had a baby and they live 2 hours away.  Although I live close to my other son and daughter, they have busy lives so we don’t see each other much.  I take responsibility in that I have also been busy just like they are. I have not yet learned how to relax and make time for friends and family or, in fact, fun.

    I often think it would be nice to live in greenery in a modest rental, where I could have a few clients and then have time to be in Nature and also visit my kids and friends more often.  Nature nourishes my soul.

    Could the bold italic be my chocolate ice cream?   And if so that seems a way down the road when I have this cancer under control?   How can I get my mojo going now???  If I do not get it now, I am headed to die as a victim.

    Bernie when I watch you in the movie you are so motivated and out there.  You have a drive to help people live happy lives.  How can I get some of that right now?  How can I find that drive that you have?

    Bernie’s Answer

    When you live in your heart magic happens.  Let these feelings be like hunger and move you to seek nourishment.

    Keep asking yourself what you are to learn from this experience.  It isn’t just one thing—experiences teach us many things, so acknowledge them all.  Emphasize the positive things you learn about life and yourself through the experiences of each day.

    And definitely “yes” to helping others by listening to them, and listen to yourself and you will find your way. Stop thinking and judging yourself. Find love for yourself and your life and body.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Question for Bernie

    It was a complete shock in November to be diagnosed with angina.  My first reaction was anger and then wanting to cry, but I’m unable to release them (taught no to do such a thing).  My blood pressure is not high, so after much research, am taking only Gingko Biloba and staying on a good vegetarian diet.

    I am increasing exercise, am reading your book, and you suggest using drawing but my mind goes blank and there’s nothing to put on paper. This has happened in the past at workshops, so how can I approach this?

    I do meditation, try to remember dreams, the word “blocked” came to mind and I recalled quite a few times I have been blocked from a heartfelt wish – blockage in the diagonal! I feel I’ve accepted the diagnosis and know that now is the only moment I have to live and try to be in it, but I’m a beginner. Thank you for your book and encouragement in it. Bless you.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, open up your heart and let it make up your mind—and live in your heart.  Love your life and remove its blocks.

    Read books by Dr. Dean Ornish on reversing heart disease.

    Also, take coenzyme q10, d-ribose, hawthorn, and magnesium (nuts are a good source) for your heart muscle’s health.  Meditate and say a positive mantra as you meditate.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – December 29, 2014

    Question for Bernie

    How do you reach a bored and possibly depressed child in your home?

    Bernie’s Answer

    Ask the child what will make him or her happy, and then go do it. Stay with that approach but move the responsibility for doing it to the child; whenever they don’t know what to do, say “Do what makes you happy.”

    Tell the child that when something goes wrong, or they have a problem that is making them very unhappy, worried, or seeing the world through “negativity glasses,” the experience is just “God’s redirection” and something good will come of this.

    Play with the child, and most importantly listen. Children who seem bored and may possibly be depressed are not helped by “directives” such as “Do’s and Don’ts.”  Giving them the “answer” of what to do to fix things isn’t what they need nearly as much as they need a compassionate listener. When a person of any age can hear themselves talk about a perceived problem or difficulty, it helps them arrive at their own solution.  Children may need more help, but by taking the approach above, the child will be able to come to you for specific advice, or feel safe asking you to help them so that they can do what makes them happy.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Question for Bernie

    Hello Bernie,

    I hope you had great holidays!  I have not been in touch for a while, but I have been very positive and busy listening to you, reading you, and watching often “Fight for your life.” Below you will see the email I sent out to my friends, and you will see what I am up to.  Now that I have a plan I am hoping healing might move a little faster.

    I wish I could get more relief from the pain in my left leg and hip.  Some say it is the cancer and others say it is the sacroiliac joint dysfunction.  Hopefully it will ease up soon.  I really need to earn at least a little money to help pay some medical bills, and I was hoping that maybe I could do a few hours from home.  Also, I am requesting that the Universe manifest a place for me to live where I can pay ½ the rent I pay here.  I am taking charge.

    Bernie, soon I will meet with a chemotherapy oncologist who will suggest treatment.  Of course I will listen to what he has to say, but so many people absolutely abhor chemo and see no good in it.  I think I heard you say that it could also come from God.  I would love to hear your views as to when and if it works.  I would definitely prefer not to have it. Have you seen where it did save a life?  And I know that if I do not believe in it, I could be blocking its value myself.

    And last, but not least, I would LOVE some words of wisdom from you.  I am nurturing myself—spending 100% of my time on me, still working on the self-love, and tuning in with my Spirit guides (new for me).  I understand that there is a part of me, my higher self, who loves me—I would love to be more connected to that.

    Hope this email not too long and I look forward to hearing from you. I send this message to you with love and appreciation.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Whatever treatment you have, see it as a gift—and visualize doing well with no side effects.  Your mind prepares your body for the experience.

    Let your heart help you decide and work at healing your life.  When we do work on healing our lives, the body gets the message loud and clear that you intend to LIVE that life.  This is a message of love to your body, acknowledging to it that you are going to do what is absolutely best for it to heal.

    Be active and stay away from sugar—it energizes cancer cells.  You would benefit from reading my latest book, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing.

    It will help you to understand that you have the potential to heal.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Here is the message this reader sent to all of her friends, and wanted to share.

    Hello my dear friends,

    Many of you have called and emailed me good wishes for a restoration of my health. In reply, because of time, I am sending this email to bring all of you up-to-date.  You all know how private a person I am, so sharing this is a big deal!  LOL!  I sincerely appreciate all of your care and concern for me.  Hopefully, along the road, I will contact you personally.

    I was given a diagnosis of cancer, and I am spending 100% of my time looking after me, researching, etc., and now have a plan to follow.  There is a fabulous movie called “Fight for your Life.”  In it there is a woman who explains how she cured herself, and the biggest part of that was spending every single minute of her time on her.  She says she did not have one second to give to anyone else, even her family.  She said it enabled her to be in a position now to offer her gifts to the world.  She is my inspiration and that is where I am now.  Interesting she says she was what people call “selfish.”

    I have had five radiation treatments and have back/hip pain which I am working with; hopefully the pain will be sorted soon.

    Other than that, I am working on all aspects of life….spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and of course, energy.  Working with the regular medical docs, a naturopathic doctor, master herbalist, and having alternative Vitamin C intravenous with a Western/Eastern doctor who also gives me acupuncture has resulted in having a very positive attitude which is very helpful.

    Actually, I amaze myself with my attitude!  LoL—would not have chosen this path, but it has also brought with it a lot of gifts.  Self-love, caring and nurturing me, and I have met so many wonderful and kind people recently.  Obviously, they were always here in the world, but I was so caught up in my “busy-ness” that I missed them.  It is wonderful to see this part of the world now.  My heart and body feel open and I feel more at peace than I ever have in my life.

    How life and my value system have changed!! Things that seemed so big before no longer matter.   I am also definitely not ready to die, and I will not give my power to cancer.  I notice once people hear the word cancer they think death. They feel their own fear of death and project that fear onto others.  I am staying away from those people. I learnt that from a couple of experiences.  Maybe I will die, and I am not afraid of death, but it is not my wish right now. Many people heal themselves from cancer, and I plan to be one of them.  And if the Universe has other plans, then so be it.

    As you can imagine with the regimen I have set up, I am busy, busy, and busier. I use the other time to rest, eat, meditate, and listen to motivational and inspiring DVDs. The VERY LAST thing I want is for ANYONE to feel sorry for me, and I must, will, and do keep away from people who express themselves in those ways.

    So please do not worry about me. I am doing great! Instead, my wish for all is that each learn to look after and love you.  I feel very grateful as I have great relationships with my family and friends. And now that I am organized with a plan, I hope to have more time with everyone.

    The only thing that would be helpful (but only if it is comfortable for you) is that you visualize me as healthy, energetic, strong, and vibrant.  If that works for you, then awesome, and if not, no worries. But I especially ask that you not visualize me as ill, or give me ANY energy of illness.

    Lots and lots of love to you all. Have a fabulous holiday, and I wish all of you the best year ever!!!!  And, of course, most of all love and nurture you!

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    Q & A with Bernie – December 22, 2014

    Question for Bernie

    I grew up with a loving mother and a father. When I was 17/18, I was briefly involved in a relationship with a boy who was very physically abusive and shaming and blaming. I was able to escape that relationship within six months of it starting. However, I never told my parents about what the boy did to me because even the police didn’t believe me when I tried reporting my boyfriend to the authorities. I really felt, at that moment, like my life didn’t matter and that regardless of how good or bad I was, it didn’t matter.

    Without going into too much detail, I spent my 20′s working and going to school but had little ambition or drive to marry or start a family of my own. I engaged in self-destructive behavior, but was still able to graduate, land great jobs, and eventually marry and start a family in my early 30′s. Of course, nothing made me happy, and with each passing birthday, I found myself more miserable than the year before.

    It wasn’t until I was 35 and fell into a relationship with a person who treated me worse than I had been treating myself that I woke up to the craziness of my self-destructive thinking and way of being. I escaped THAT relationship and started intense self-reflection. Although my transformation hasn’t been instant, easy, or without additional pain, I wouldn’t trade who I am today with whom I was before. I spend a lot of time sharing my story with others so they can see that they are not alone, there is hope, and that life can be joyful by moving forward despite where you’ve been.

    My question: Do we ever fully release the guilt and shame associated with the years of self-destructive behavior we inflicted upon ourselves and those we love? I meditate and embrace myself daily, but the thoughts of shame and blame continue to wash over me intermittently.

    It’s been three years since I started mindfully taking back my life, but I’m wondering if these memories that conjure up these feelings will one day end if I keep working to eliminate them through meditation and thoughtful action.

    Bernie’s Answer

    The answer to your very thoughtful question is an unequivocal YES—you can abandon your past with the help of mantras and meditation, along with, as you have already discovered, lots of  hard work.

    As you begin each day, and at any time you need it throughout the day, remind yourself that your thoughts are yours which puts you—and only you—in control. One type of meditation that has finally been recognized as very effective for physical and emotional pain through several studies in Western medicine is simply called “Mindfulness Meditation.”  I don’t know if you are already using this technique, but whatever type of meditation practice you are using should primarily be one that you can easily and faithfully practice daily.

    The key to success in leaving those destructive emotions of shame and blame behind is forgiveness—of yourself and anyone in your past who harmed you. You can then feel the joy of being grateful for what you are and have.

    You sensed the crucial need to bring forth what is stored within you, and in choosing to do that, you can now apply meditation to learn how to let all that negativity go. It can be done when you are willing to put the work in—and clearly you are.

    The destructive behaviors and/or thinking that many adults struggle with is all about not feeling loved as a child.  This does not always mean that parents didn’t do many or most of the “right” things in helping a child develop self-esteem to protect that child against falling into the trap of turning on yourself with the weapons of blame and shame as you grow and expand your experience of life.  But something happened that caused you to either not develop that protection at all, or at least not enough.

    So now it is up to you to embrace that child you were and give her unequivocal love.  In this way, you will bring your current work in meditation to diminish and then eliminate the negative memories together with the protection of your newly strengthened and well-deserved self-esteem.  You will begin to see yourself as a strong, insightful person.  All of the “green lights” are there.

    Peace,
    Bernie


    Question for Bernie

    I just read you book Peace, Love and Healing, and it was the most caring and loving reading I’ve done in years! Thank you so much for all your wisdom and all that you share with the world. You are an amazing person!

    I was wondering if you could please give me some insights about hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed hypo a few years ago, but didn’t go to an endocrinologist because I’m aware of the Mind-Body Connection. I’m trying to heal on my own without external medical help.

    Also, I have a congenital heart disease (it was my cardiologist who discovered the hypothyroidism), and I’m afraid that any medication to my thyroid might worsen my heart condition. However, it seems I’m not successful in healing, as my thyroid is still enlarged and my blood tests still show altered values in the thyroid hormones. I lost a lot of hair and that was the worst thing, making me very sad.

    I can see the connection, at least, it is what seems to me like a connection, between my personality and hypothyroidism; I was always afraid to speak for myself, always tried to fulfill people’s wishes instead of my wishes, always said yes when I really wanted to say no, and have always diminished myself as a person. I believe that I acted this way out of feeling guilty for being born with a heart disease.

    In the past few weeks, though, I have been more assertive, trying to send the message to my body and mind that I want and intend to LIVE, as you encourage in your work. I am doing what I want and saying no when I really want to say no.

    I’m still not sure if I’m going down the right path. Sometimes I think I won’t be successful in healing my thyroid. Even though I am applying my knowledge of the Mind-Body Connection, it seems I’m still stuck. Could you please give me your insights?

    Thank you so much for your time. God bless you!

    Bernie’s Answer

    Look at the top menu on the first page of my website under Quick Links and click on the Immune Competent Personality Test. Read the list.

    You are acting in just the opposite way of doing what is good for you, and so your anger turns within creating an auto-immune disease. In this case, the Mind-Body Connection is represented by your thyroid sending signals of deficiency.  Belief in the Mind-Body Connection does NOT exclude using what mainstream medicine has developed and used successfully for specific health issues.

    The endocrine system is complex, and the thyroid hormones, along with the hormones of the other endocrine organs, influence balance in all body systems, so you can take thyroid hormone replacement treatment if it is necessary. I would recommend Amour thyroid hormone replacement therapy rather than the more common artificial replacement drugs. It is not wrong to do what is good for you and your body. The term preferred now to describe using both mainstream and alternative medicine approaches to maintaining your health and healing is Integrative Medicine.  Many of the biggest and most respected university medical schools now have a Department (or Institute) for medical students to train in this new specialty area.  The hope is that Integrative Medicine brings patients the best of both worlds.

    After you read the Immune Competent Personality Test, you will learn to say no to the world and yes to yourself. Pay attention to what your heart desires now, and abandon the wounds of your past and of your childhood.

    Peace & love & healing,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – December 15, 2014

    Question for Bernie

    I read Al Siebert’s book, The Survivor Personality, after I healed myself from anxiety disorder and maybe also mild depression w/o the help of medication.

    It hit me that how I healed myself was also by working on the three selves mentioned in the book, which are self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-concept. I now feel better about myself, my life, and am happier. I’ve also been reading a lot about personal development, and I see that the traits of a happy person and/or a successful person are common with that of a survivor’s!

    Therefore, I’ve came to the conclusion that, on any given day, people who are strong in these three selves are happier people and tend to be successful in their endeavors, and when life hits a rough patch, they are also the ones who survive better compared to those whose three selves are weak.

    I’d love to hear your views about my deduction.

    Thank you so much for your time!

    Bernie’s Answer

    Absolutely—look on my website at Immune Competent Personality (go directly to that page at http://berniesiegelmd.com/resources/organizations-websites/immune-competent-personality-test/

    There are common patterns to survivors as our emotions create our internal chemistry. Growing up feeling loved is a very important element, too.  If that is the case, then you are for and about yourself.

    You must always remember that the body believes what the mind imagines and pictures.

    Peace,
    Bernie


    Question for Bernie

    I love your work and agree wholeheartedly with you. I found I had breast cancer seven years ago.   After the diagnosis, I did a lot of questioning, and I found that my internal talk had never really been supported by personal love. I thought I was a happy lady (and was for the most part) but had a lot of negative energy that I believe lead to my development of breast cancer.

    I have this belief that cancer is an epidemic of lost personal love and respect. Take breast cancer for example. Why does it manifest in the breast—the very seat of femininity. I believe it is because we women repress our beauty, our sexual energy; we buy into “original sin” and believe we are not worthy…and cancer grows in the very nurturing, life-giving part of our bodies.

    We know that the energy within our bodies is influenced by our mind and emotional state. My personal experience with breast cancer has taken me through a journey that I believe can open another new door.  Thank you for taking the time to read my ideas.

    Bernie’s Answer

    You are right on, and this is not about blaming one’s self, but about understanding what contributes to illness—and how the body reflects these issues. Poets and others share these things about growth gone wrong, and becoming an outlet for foiled creative fire.

    Feeling loved as a child is an very vital part of all this, and not just trying to please everyone and lose your life but instead to find and be your authentic self.  Read on my website What Does Every Woman Want?  Go directly to it at the following link:

    http://berniesiegelmd.com/resources/articles/what-does-every-woman-want/ .

    Peace,
    Bernie


    Question for Bernie

    If you think you could help me interpret a dream, please e-mail me back. I hope I can get some relief from this.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Describe what is in it and what that means to you and you may understand it.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Continuation of Question above

    Sure, since I fainted after recovering from the flu, I started to fear, and dream, I may faint again. What I did was to keep ignoring this thinking it would go away. It turned out to be worse and kept happening until one day I had a horrible dream of me fainting and dying on the floor.

    I have had dreams of dying in the past, but this one was very scary. The next one was an event in which I appeared behind a grave and saw a relative bringing out corn, which is a tradition in my country for people to do. Then I heard a voice mentioning a date that I would be visiting this place, as the place she is in was the place my grandparents were from. Then this voice said that I would die on that date.

    I am glad that the date has passed, but this was a very disturbing and scary dream for me. I was able to find out some interpretations of what it means to die in a dream, but was too fearful to even browse for more specifics.

    I really never want to dream of such similar things again, and I would appreciate if you can give me any advice. After that event, I had become very scared of dying and dreaming of such things, especially of the ones with voices and more exact things.

    Even writing about it is scary, but I guess I have to let it out somehow. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I really hope you don’t think I have gone out of my mind after you see this message.

    Bernie’s Answer

    You need to feel that you are in control of your life, and your thoughts are the only thing you control.

    Death is a new beginning, too.  In dreams it often doesn’t mean physical death, but the death of something in your life that is unhealthy for you.  Eliminate what is “killing” you along with what you fear, and save your authentic life by starting to live it now.  Here are some other ideas to help you realize that there is, of course, physical death, but most often in dreams, death signifies releasing things in your life that are no longer helping you find your true self and finding where you really belong to do the work of your life.

    DEATH

    I die a little each day.
    One dies many times in a lifetime
    before the liberating death.
    The many deaths are the events which plunge us into darkness,
    a difficult time and journey, until we enter the rebirth canal
    and climb back into the light to be born again.
    It gets harder to do, the larger our ego gets,
    and the more we accumulate.
    But each death brings an opportunity for our rebirth if we have the courage.
    Dying is easy.
    Living can be difficult and painful.
    One day there will be a gift for us all—death.

    THE GREAT TEACHER

    Death, what a great teacher you are
    Yet few of us elect to take your class,
    And learn about life.
    That is the essence of death’s teaching.
    Death is not an elective;
    We must all take the class.
    The wise students audit the class in their early years
    And find enlightenment.
    They are prepared when graduation day comes—
    It is your commencement.
    Until then, I will keep crawling to the light each time I die.


    Question for Bernie

    I know you may be retired, but have you ever thought about writing a book on self-esteem? A lot of us “older people” would benefit!!  Thank you, sir.

    Bernie’s Answer

    I will think about your suggestion.  It all comes from feeling loved by parents or not.

    All the violence we see happening is about seeking revenge.


    Question for Bernie

    I read your book 25 years ago and it made a great impact on my life.  Thank you! My question is this:  Do you think you can develop or grow self-esteem?  I’ve been working on mine for years but it still seems fragile. Sending love and light to you and your family.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, if you reparent yourself and abandon old messages which have hypnotized you, the building of a lasting, authentic self-esteem can happen.

    Put up photos of yourself as an infant, toddler, teen, young adult, and as you are now.  Every time you pass one of those pictures in your living space, say “I love you” to that kid.
    You are a child of God.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    The Unity of Life

    Dear Everybody,

    Once again this week let me share some of the wisdom I keep encountering. While I wonder what will I write about next week I also know my problem will be solved by the greater consciousness. So here are some more words of wisdom and remember what I shared last week.

    The fragmenting of our concept of the world comes from how we are raised and so-called educated. When the message we get is about our separateness and I am better than you the cohesiveness is interrupted and we become like the Ebola virus and parasites within the structure of life. Society has an immune system too but we have to give it the message that we and our universal body love life and creation so it works effectively and not like life is a series of Monday mornings.

    I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and enjoyed the lifestyle and family like feeling of all the people who lived on our street. There was no discrimination felt related to race, religion, color or nationality. I took days off from school on Carmine’s religious holidays and he on mine. When his mother fed me bacon for breakfast, before I knew what it was, my Orthodox Jewish grandfather almost fainted but was not bitter or resentful. He lived the message above and didn’t try to circumcise Carmine. (Just kidding.)

    When I grew up and went to Cornell Medical School in Manhattan my feeling about the city changed. My wife, Bobbie, taught school on Long island and I took the subway into Manhattan from our Queens’ apartment. I needed to use the travel time to study and people were mad at me for taking a seat from a senior citizen. When I put the book I was reading into a smelly gross anatomy book I brought with me, and held in my lap, they backed off. The people, the noise, the lack of respect, crowding and more made me see New York City in a negative way until I got to know Norman Vincent Peale.

    When I discussed the above with him and that I preferred the quiet country to the noisy city he said, “Bernie it’s not about quiet or noise it is about the rhythm.” He got me to see that what I complained about many creative people found energizing and his words helped me to accept life in a healthier way. I have learned that the symbol of self-induced healing is a rainbow colored butterfly. It represents the transformation and creation of harmony and rhythm; the butterfly and the rainbow are the symbols. So find that harmony and your life’s rhythm and you will feel the energy within you and dance your creative and unique way through life.

    At the same time the body of the universe will feel the change and strive to survive now that life is evolving into a universe of love. The warming, or fever, will cease and our bodies and universe will heal and achieve their potential and immortality through the one thing of permanence: love. That is what it is all about folks. So get busy being a love warrior and bring humor and love into all the lives of every living thing you are connected too. To repeat last week’s closing words of Einstein’s comment: “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

    I do not know where I found the following. Perhaps it came from God knows where: Man is God’s needle to sew the patches of creation into a single garment for His glory. At one end sharp, to squeeze through the ordeal. But the other end must have a vacant hollow, a nothingness, with which to hold the thread. With the world we are firm and sharp within; we know we are nothing before the infinite.

    This  is a quote from Helen Keller (and I’ll share more of her teachings in the future). “The inner or mystic sense, if you like, gives me vision of the unseen.” Those who prefer “facts” to vision want a scientific explanation. “Science with untiring patience traces man back to the ape, and rests content. It is out of this ape that God creates the seer, and science meets spirit as life meets death, and life and death are one.”

    “We can now meet death as nature does, in a blaze of glory, marching to the grave with a gay step, wearing our brightest thoughts and most brilliant anticipations, as nature arrays herself in garments of gold, emerald, and scarlet, as if defying death to rob her of immortality.”

    Peace, Love & Healing,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late.”

    As Bernie Siegel said, “Do not live your entire life as a green leaf to please the family tree. When you accept the reality of the Fall of your life you uncover your beauty, uniqueness and authenticity.”

    We currently have a cancer support group the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of the month at Coachman’s Square at 21 Bradley Road, Woodbridge. If interested contact Lucille Ranciato lranciato2@yahoo.com 203 288 2839; or myself bugsyssiegel@sbcglobal.net

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    Q & A with Bernie – December 1, 2014

    Question for Bernie

    Do you think a lack of self-love is behind addiction?
    Thanks for all you do!

    Bernie’s Answer

    Yes, it is grounded in growing up without parental love.  This absence of parental love accounts for not only addictions of various kinds, but all unhealthy, self-destructive behavior.

    Peace,
    Bernie


    Question for Bernie

    I heard you on 12radio today and loved the show. Thank you for all that you do.

    I am an artist and want to be able to help people through their art. I am hoping you can guide me to the best place to gain the critical insights and practices for being most effective at it, in service to others.

    I am also an Intuitive by profession so you can see the marriage of my interests. Thank you for any insight and assistance you can offer. You are brilliant bright light for me today!

    Bernie’s Answer

    Read my latest book, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing. There are more than 60 drawings from patients that you can study.

    Also, learn human anatomy and you will see even more in the drawings, as well as help people with their own expression in drawing.

    I recommend that you also read two other books I mention in my book, which are Life Paints Its Own Span by Susan Bach, and The Secret World of Drawings by Gregg Furth.

    Peace,
    Bernie


    Question for Bernie

    Thank you for replying so quickly. I will order your book today.  Even though we have begun with visualization and sending him healing light, our worry is that he is so far along in the pain cycle, that at this point he seems less receptive to these modalities.

    He typically falls off to sleep after all of us have listened to a guided meditation together, and then wakes up within half an hour and doesn’t go back to sleep for hours. Do you have any thoughts on how to help alleviate his pain?

    While doctors suggest to him that he can continue with drinking, smoking, and doing as he pleases, homeopathy and other more integrative practices suggest a change in diet is important. While he has become more open to a diet change (for example, he now has a lemon shot in the morning, turmeric and warm water, coconut water, and a more plant based diet).

    Smoking is a touchy topic. This is a real dilemma for us as we see a direct link between smoking and his pain, however,  having been a smoker for the better part of his life (at least 20 cigarettes a day), he may at the most drop it down to 8-10 cigarettes a day. If you were working with him, what might you have suggested in this case and at this stage?

    Bernie, I wanted to check with you if you offer the possibility of Skype sessions for people like us living outside of the U.S.?

    I appreciate all your help.

    Bernie’s Answer

    He needs to love himself.  Ask him what he would do if he had a beloved pet dog who was being made sick by the cigarette smoke?  Would he smoke outdoors or quit smoking?

    If he doesn’t love himself due to his early life and parents, all you can do is love him and hope he realizes someday that he is worth loving.  Then he will start to care for and about himself.

    Remember, he hears the meditation even if sleeping, and talk to him in positive ways while he sleeps.  He needs to want to talk to me himself rather than talking to me just because you want him to.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    The Power of Words

    Most doctors are not trained to communicate and understand the power of their words as they relate to a patient’s ability and desire to survive. Doctors are not the only authority figures who impact patients’ lives and their ability to survive a diagnosis of a disease. Parents, teachers, clergy and physicians also have the ability to change lives with their words. It can be hypnotic for a child or patient to hear an authority figure’s words. As I am fond of saying, “wordswordswords” can become “swordswordswords,” and doctors have the ability to cure with either “words” or kill with “swords.”

    Up to the age of six, a child’s brain wave pattern is similar to that of a hypnotized individual. To quote a woman I know, whose mother gave her only failure messages and dressed her in dark colors, and who as an adult has more trouble with her mother’s words than she does with cancer, “My mother’s words were eating away at me and maybe gave me cancer.” We know from recent studies that loneliness affects the genes which control the immune system. So it is incumbent upon doctors to ask the right questions and know what patients have experienced and are experiencing in their lives.

    I recently received two emails; one from a woman who had a recurrence of her cancer and had decided to not undergo chemotherapy again. Her doctor told her, “Then you might as well go home and commit suicide.” The other email came from a woman who asked her doctor if they could become a team. He told her no and that he was the doctor and in charge of her care. She packed her belongings, walked out of the hospital, and has found a caring oncologist with which to work. She is a survivor and not a submissive, sufferer, or from the doctor’s perspective, a “so-called” good patient.

    Doctors need to listen to their patients’ words and treat their experiences. Helen Keller said it very well when she stated, “Deafness is darker by far than blindness.” Doctors also need to understand that patients do not live a disease — they live an experience. Doctors need to ask how patients would describe their experience and then treat them accordingly. The words patients use, like draining, failure, denial, pressure, gift and wake-up call are always about what is happening in their lives. So doctors can help patients to heal their lives and improve the chances of curing their disease.

    I did a great deal of children’s surgery earlier in my career. When I meet many of these children today, as young adults, I am amazed at how vivid their memories are. It is obvious how important this event was to them and the details they recall. I learned how powerful my words were when I began to notice children falling asleep as we wheeled them into the operating room. One boy turned onto his stomach and fell asleep as we entered the O.R. I turned him over on the operating table and he said, “What are you doing? —–You told me I would go to sleep in the operating room and I sleep on my stomach.” I replied, “I needed to operate on his stomach to get to his appendix.” So we reached a compromise.

    Often I would rub an alcohol sponge on a child’s arm and tell them it would numb his or her skin. A third of the children would not feel the needle and ask why other doctors didn’t do that. I called it deceiving people into health. Give someone who has faith in you a placebo and call it a hair growing pill, anti-nausea pill, or whatever, and you will be amazed at how many respond to your therapy.

    Doctor Milton Erickson, from his childhood experience with polio and hearing his doctor’s dire predictions to his mother that he wouldn’t see the sun rise, knew how important words were. As a child his anger led him to defy the doctor’s predictions. As a psychiatrist, and hypnotherapist, he knew how to talk to patients to achieve the best outcome. There are many books about his work. One by Dr. Sidney Rosen is entitled My Voice Will Go With You. And our voices do. At the conclusion of an operation, while patients were still under anesthesia, a time when they hear their surgeon’s words, I would say, “You will awaken comfortable, thirsty and hungry.” I did that until I noticed many of my patients were gaining weight and so I added these words, “but you won’t finish everything on your plate.”

    One last story. Erickson would write in a patient’s chart and then excuse himself and leave the room. Of course he expected the patient would get up and go look at what he had written, so he would write, “Doing well.”

    So give your family mottoes to live by such as “Do what makes you happy” so they pay attention to their feelings and keep an open mind about the future. And don’t be afraid to remind your doctor that his or her words have the ability to hurt, but also more importantly, to heal.

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