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  • New from Bernie Siegel – Love, Animals & Miracles

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

    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.


    The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

    ~ Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Historian and Essayist

    Getting to know yourself better takes courage. It is far easier to hide behind a mask than to see yourself as you really are. There are many who think they are perfect and need not change, who think they’re the center of the universe, and they have a problem.

    If you wish to know yourself and change for the better, you need to accept your inadequacies, fears, weaknesses, mistakes, and more. If you need others present constantly to entertain and distract you, then you are afraid to be still and know yourself.

    So spend some time being totally alone and see how you feel. If you are comfortable, then I would say you are in the process of knowing yourself. Knowing yourself means being willing to be with yourself. Once you can do that, the frantic search for distraction and escape will stop ruling your life and you can choose to fill your life with the things that bring you joy.

    Soulution of the Day

    Even if it feels uncomfortable, go away with yourself
    and spend some time together getting to know yourself.
    You may find that you are great company.

    - Bernie

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  • Q & A with Bernie – November 12, 2018

    Question for Bernie:

    I am 12-weeks pregnant and found out this week my baby has a rare birth defect where its liver and maybe other organs are growing in a sac on top of its belly. I have made appointments with specialists, and now want to focus my energy on visualizations to help the organs move back into the body. I had some questions about this, and found your name in a CNN article from 2011 discussing visualizations and healing. Is there any way I could consult with you?

    I have been visualizing the image I saw at the sonogram and the organs then moving into the body and the sac (called an omphalocele) shrinking. I have been trying to visualize it in my actual body (uterus), where the baby is, but it’s actually easier to just picture it in front of my eyes, and I would like to know if it is any less effective if I picture it generally instead of localized.

    And also any other guidance would be greatly appreciated. I have another sonogram on Thursday and I am hoping to dedicate time to this before then, in the hopes of even helping things before then. I know nothing is guaranteed, but I’d like to try. Also, I am wondering if I should be using some kind of relaxation/hypnosis-like technique before the visualizations, and what those would be / if there are any scripts or videos that would help.

    Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    My website has a selection of CDs which can help. Browse through them and pick what feels right for you. The direct link is http://berniesiegelmd.com/products-page/audiobooks-cds/

    Visualize what you desire happening as happening in your body, and make the repairs and changes you desire—and then visualize a normal child being born.

    Do this visualization as often as you want, but at least every couple of hours each day.

    Keep in touch (and his name is Bernie…)

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Mistakes Can Be Good Teachers

    The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
    ~ John Powell

    What is a mistake? For most of us, saying “I made a mistake” means either we did the wrong thing or we did something incorrectly.  But is doing something wrong the worst outcome?

    Mistakes can be our teachers.  They can redefine our goals and tasks and therefore turn out to be beneficial.  Often we focus on our mistakes and spend energy judging ourselves because of them.  Instead, be patient and await their lessons and teachings, which are not always immediately apparent.

    I have learned a lot from my mistakes and therefore no longer label them “mistakes.”  Sometimes the direction they have sent me in turned out better than the one I would have otherwise gone. So expect to make mistakes.  Say, “I am sorry” when they affect others, and then learn from them.

    Try to see your “mistakes” in a new light today.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – October 29, 2018

    Question for Bernie:

    Hello Bernie,

    A long time ago, I contacted you because I did believe in the power of miracles. You blessed me with your words.

    I’m writing again because I just need some advice on how to deal with a husband, man and father that goes away from a son. How can he ever be happy away from his son—any explanation?

    Hope you are okay.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    He has a problem. You and your son need to be love warriors and keep telling him that you love him no matter what he says or does as long as it isn’t physically harmful to you, your son, or your husband himself.

    He needs to hear what he is saying, so just listen without anger, judgement, or interruption so he can hear his own words.  Don’t tell him what to do—just listen without judgement.  Make the sound of “hmm” and keep your focus on him—not on something else—so he knows you are listening to him.

    Love and listen—this will allow your husband to see the whole picture in his own words.  He will know that you support a plan for him to have more father-son time because you let him discover how important that was to him, in his own words.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Night Sky Therapy

    The heavens declare the glory of God.
    ~ Ben Zion

    Last night I walked out of the house with our little dog, Furphy, and looked up in to the night sky.  The cloudless canopy was filled with an endless display of stars and left me feeling grateful and in awe.

    Who knows or cares how it all got there.  The fact is we are here and a part of the awesomeness of the universe. I felt uplifted and at peace after a few moments of gazing upward at the night sky.

    I think we could all save a fortune in therapists if we just went out every evening and looked up at the night sky.  And just think what it would be like if people in the psychiatric wards and those in prison cells viewed the night sky every evening.  I think they would be changed and healed by the exposure to the unexplainable beauty.

    The next time you need therapy, try gazing at the night sky.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Try the Chemotherapy of Love

    Love is the medicine for the sickness of the world; a prescription often given, too rarely taken.
    ~ Dr. Karl Menninger

    We are awesome creations, intricately designed and interacting in incredible ways so that our organism can survive.  Yet we are constantly putting chemicals into our bodies to alter how we feel or to treat some condition we are not happy about.  But what is the greatest therapy available?  What is the most potent chemotherapeutic treatment ever devised?  The answer is love.

    It is the vital ingredient in the treatment of every malady and changes us in ways that no other external treatments can. It enhances our growth and development, lifts our spirits, and turns our fears of rejection into positive motivation.  We literally do not grow and will even die if no one loves or touches us.  Lack of love leads to self-destruction, addictions, and illnesses in every species tested.  Life-sustaining measures may be taken, but without love, the most important ingredient is missing.

    Dose yourselves with love regularly and serve others from your supply. Dispense it with impunity because you cannot overdose, it will never run out, and there are no adverse side effects.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – October 8, 2018

    Here is a three-part question and answer.

    Part One

    Question for Bernie:

    I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much to say. I guess I will start by asking if you still take patients. I would love to meet you and have you help me transform my life and my body. I am going through a health issue and would love your help. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    I am not seeing patients any longer, but tell me where you are and what issues you are struggling with now.

    Part Two

    Response to Bernie:

    Thank you so much for responding to me. I am so happy for that.

    I am a woman in my mid-twenties. I would say [that] right now is the most emotional and most eye opening time in my life.

    The past seven years of my life, I put myself through a rough time. I was in a relationship that I felt made me lose myself mentally and spiritually. I got pregnant while in that relationship, which made me realize I had someone more important in my life now and that my health was important now too. My son changed everything, and I am so thankful God sent him to me when he did. He is now a toddler.

    I was so proud of myself for finally leaving the relationship, and because I had finally got a place of my own. Life was amazing. One day I started talking to my ex (my son’s dad) more than I should have, and we ended up doing something I knew we shouldn’t have. Long story short, I now have a chronic disease and I feel God has punished me.

    I feel he has left me and hates me. I know God had been trying to keep me away from this guy multiple times in the past and I wouldn’t listen. It took me having a kid to open my eyes and see that the relationship needed to end, and yet after all was said and done, I returned to him and made the biggest mistake that caused me to put my health is danger.

    I try hard to accept it and let it go, but I am having a very hard time doing that. I am now going through a lot of depression and anxiety and fear for my health. It kills me even more that my son sees me this way. I am praying for a healing miracle, but it all seems so far away and impossible for me.

    I know you are big on people’s past and upbringing, so I guess my big thing is that I didn’t have a father growing up. I mean he was there to pay bills, but he was constantly at the bar getting drunk instead of spending time with us. He was also abusive to our mother and didn’t care if we saw it. My mom and dad had five kids just like you and your wife. I have three sisters and one brother. I am glad none of us turned out to be alcoholics like our dad.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    There is always hope

    It is the faith that allows what you hope for a miracle to happen.

    Part Three

    Response to Bernie:

    I understand that, but what else can I do to heal my body? What actions should I take? Is there anything else you can say to me to help me? How do you normally counsel people who don’t live in your state? I need your help, please!!

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Love your life and love your body and it will get the message.

    Put up photos around your home of yourself as a child and love that kid every time you pass one. You can heal the wound of your father’s neglect in this way, and begin to build some self-respect that you can safely rely upon when it comes to decisions in your life.

    Let your heart and not your head make up your mind.

    Go to my web site www.berniesiegelmd.com and look up the Immune Competent Personality Test—or just use this link http://berniesiegelmd.com/resources/organizations-websites/immune-competent-personality-test/ to go directly to the page on my website.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Living in the Moment

    One of the questions I love to ask people is, “What is the best day of your life?” I get many answers related to pleasant days people remember; like the day their child was born or they won an expensive prize. One day at the bank, I asked the teller that question and her answer was rejected by someone in the bank who yelled, “Wrong!” The teller wanted to know why her answer was wrong and the response was, “Because today is the best day of your life.”

    The truth is, today is the only day you have, and what you decide to do with it is the issue. We can whine and make excuses, or we can appreciate the moment. I have discussed attitudes in earlier posts, and believe that attitudes are ultimately the last thing that we are capable of creating.

    When we are unable to be creative or even experience things due to physical problems, we still can have an attitude which creates the day we are experiencing. So, a blind woman can say, “What a beautiful place.” And when asked, “How can you say that—you are blind and can’t see anything?” She responded, “I have a choice as to what I see.” And so do we all.

    We can blame our past and the people in it. We can blame those presently in our lives for ruining it, or we can take responsibility for the day and enjoy it—because it is the only day we have. Since I know I am mortal and my time is limited, I don’t give my power away to others and let them decide if I am going to have a nice day.

    I choose to spend a portion of each day examining what I am grateful for. I also confess my weaknesses and imperfections, and pray for those I love and care about and for my needs, too. I have learned that when I transcend material desires, and pray for the ability to be a divine messenger, my day is changed.

    The son of man comes not to be served, but to serve, and to ransom his life for the good of the many. Do you buy that package, and are you willing to live that message today? If you are, it will always be the best day of your life. If you are waiting until you get what you want, then today will never become the best day of your life. And you will lose your life by letting others decide how you are to serve the world.

    Exercises for Living in the Moment ~

    • What would it take to make today your re-birthday?
    • Decide what you will see today before you get out of bed and search until you find it.
    • What can I pray for, for you today? Does your answer transcend personal desires?
    • Who has decided how you are to serve the world? Is the answer “You” or “other authorities in your life”?

    Decide whether to make today the best day of your life by changing your life or changing your attitude. The choice is yours. Both solutions work.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Images

    Why do we sleep? It is a dangerous activity from the perspective of evolution. You are very vulnerable to predators and other dangers. So what is the reason? Most animals do not sleep, or do so for short periods of time. I believe it is to give the brain an opportunity to present us with the wisdom it can only communicate through images, when our intellect is stilled but we can still be aware and learn from stories which are truer than the truth.

    If you really want to communicate with yourself and collective consciousness, then you have to do it through dreams and symbols. Images are the universal language. Our myths have the same themes no matter what their cultural, mystical, or theological source is. By working with dreams and drawings, the deeper personal and collective truths comes forward unobstructed by ego, consciousness, and the supposedly all-knowing intellect we are so used to relying upon.

    The body also has its ways of communicating. One is through feelings, which people become very good at denying. Our lives are stored within us, and this is verified by the memories carried within organs which are transplanted from one person to another. Dreams can tell us of disease states or wellness which exist within us and the best treatment options, too. So when we deny our feelings, our body can still communicate through dream images. Sadly, we too often deny the true meaning of the dream. Most physicians are totally unaware of this source of therapeutic wisdom.

    The body also responds to images. Picture a pleasant scene or recall a humorous event and your body will respond. Perform a part in a play and your immune function and stress hormones will change depending upon the role played. If a comedy they are enhanced and if a tragedy they are adversely affected. This has been verified in actors. So act as if you are the person you want to be. See what you want to see happening and talk to your body with words and images.

    Worry is negative or destructive imaging. Nothing is solved by worrying, by seeing the worst outcome, but much is done which adversely affects one’s will and ability to live. Optimists may not be as accurate about the future but they live longer than pessimists. I was brought up to expect problems would redirect me to something better in my life. Charcoal under pressure becomes a diamond. One can keep failing until you fail up. So create the image you want and focus on it.

    You are caught in traffic in the city and the country. You live on the first floor and the tenth floor. You are in a hospital room with outdoor scenes on the walls and a room with abstract paintings and no view out the window. In all the above cases you will experience less stress and heal faster if you can see natural scenes and views. So when in doubt, or surrounded by man-made objects, close your eyes and visualize what will heal you.

    EXERCISES

    1. Keep a pad and pencil next to your bed and record your dreams. Review them and discuss them with people who can help you find the meaning and message in the dreams.
    2. Describe your feelings or any physical problems and then ask yourself how the words fit your life. Then resolve the problems in your life that you are now aware are affecting your mind and body’s health and well-being.
    3. Think about how a failure or problem redirected your life and directed you to something beneficial.
    4. Spend time walking through a park or along the beach and let nature heal you.
    5. Use guided imagery, in which you visualize yourself presenting a problem to an inner guide you meet while walking towards the light, and await an answer.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Fear

    If I asked you to explain the purpose of fear what would your answer be? We know there must be a reason for our brain to manifest fear or we wouldn’t be wired for it. The first obvious reason I can think of is that appropriate fears protect us. However, most of the fears we experience come from our view, or memory, of the future and not from any specifically dangerous encounter. It is obviously appropriate to fear high places, loud or threatening noises, and predators. Tests reveal that animals and infants have these fears wired in before anyone trains them to fear dangerous places.

    Studies also show we instinctively draw back when we see what we think is a snake on our path before we have the time to intellectually evaluate the object and whether it is a snake. One of our sons had pet snakes in his room and our daughter frequently screamed for help when she saw a snake in the hallway before she realized that it was a rubber snake and the boys were teasing her; though once in a while the snakes did get loose and always preferred to hide in her room. That reflex is built in to protect us, but most of the fear we experience in our lives does more harm than good.

    When I am counseling people with life threatening illnesses, I see how fear affects their daily life. The fear may be of treatments that are prescribed, death, disease, disability, what will happen to their loved ones when they are gone, pain, poor care, and more. Generally these people are giving up their power, visualizing the worst outcomes and letting the resulting fear affect their life even though these events may never occur. That is why I refer to fear and hope as memories of the future. When we fear, our reptilian brain is the focus of activity, and what that does to our body is not healthy when the threat is due to our thought and not a snake or tiger on our path.

    Before I finish this article I will share how to alter the brain’s activity and bring a feeling of peace to you and your life, even in the midst of threatening events, but first—a story. Several years ago my wife and I were visiting the San Diego zoo and saw a tiger walking around. I thought there was an invisible fence but as it approached us I realized it had escaped. I distracted the tiger so my wife could run for help and then headed for an embankment I could climb down to get away from the tiger. I grabbed a vine and started to climb down while the tiger stood watching me. When I heard a roar I thought it was the same tiger but he was standing quietly observing me. So I looked down and there was another tiger below me. I realized then that the tiger had climbed up the wall to get out and I was now hanging onto a vine between two tigers.

    Above me, the tiger of my birth and below, the tiger of my death, but I felt secure on the vine until something hit my forehead. Turns out there were two mice, one black and the other white, eating away at the vine. Here were night and day eating away at me. Well, now I was a little worried, to put it mildly, and no sign of my wife. What was I to do? The only thing I could do was to reach out and eat some grapes that were hanging from the vine. They tasted delicious and I truly appreciated the moment. Obviously my wife loves me, and showed up in time to help rescue me or I wouldn’t be writing this now. When dealing with fear I learned these steps:

    • STEP ONE is to enjoy the moment and “taste the grapes.”
    • STEP TWO is to define your fears so they are not vague statements like, “I fear dying.” I want to know the specific things that you are afraid of in detail so we can make plans to deal with those fears should they occur.
    • STEP THREE is to become empowered to make your own decisions, and to not do something because someone else prescribes it. Life is a labor pain of self-birth, but the pains you experience are not up to others to decide upon. This is your life and your choice; when you do the choosing, you suffer fewer complications.
    • STEP FOUR is to take steps to shift the brain’s activity away from the fear center by reprogramming your thoughts. Some simple ways that people can do this are through focusing your mind on what you are grateful for using meditation, visualization, saying the rosary, repeating a mantra, certain expressions, or prayers. To be more specific you can meditate and focus on your breathing, visualize a successful outcome related to what you fear or some pleasant experience in your past, repeat a word like love or peace, or the name of someone you love, or a spiritual figure that you have faith in.
    • STEP FIVE is my suggestion that you do what a wise Buddhist suggested. Many times each day say to yourself, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”

    I have done all of these things, and know they work because I can feel the change in my body as I change the focus of my thoughts. When you practice these things, you will come to the same point as a 90 year old member of our support group. When I asked her what she feared, during a very tense meeting, she stopped for a few minutes to think and then said, “Driving on the parkway at night.”

    This reminds me of the story of a young man who entered a dark cave and saw a precious pearl. As he went to pick it up, a dragon roared and he ran from the cave. His entire life he regretted not having the courage to confront the dragon. As an old man he went back to the cave to see the pearl again before he died. When he entered and walked up to the pearl there was a little lizard standing there. He picked up the pearl and took it home to his family.

    When you finish reading, visualize a crying infant. Go over and massage it and then embrace it and watch the change you bring about. Now embrace your greatest fear in the same way and watch what happens as the dragon becomes a lizard who no longer threatens you.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Add This to Your Life and Live a Longer, Healthier Life

    The other night I had a wonderful massage, acupressure session, sound therapy, and manipulation. It made me feel really whole, healed, and loved. Where did I get this great treatment, you might ask.This is what happened—after I got into bed, our two dogs jumped in beside me and realigned my spine. Then one of our cats jumped up and walked up and down my body touching all the vital acupressure points before she settled down on my chest purring loudly. The rhythm of her purr was very tranquilizing.

    Then, another cat who weighs more than the dogs, jumped up and settled in against my other side, vigorously working over all my muscles before settling in. Not infrequently he makes noise, when he knows I need to improve my finger and hand mobility, until I pull my arms out from under the covers and stroke his ears and make circles with my fingers on his head. In that way I also am learning massage techniques. This one for animals is called the Tellington Touch.

    Why am I telling you this? Because having a pet is good for your health, and these connections with God’s Masterpieces can keep you healthy. Let me give you some facts which, I hope, will get you to have a dog or cat or rabbit in your office—and as a co-therapist when you make house calls:

    • In a stressful situation, which is better: to have your best friend, spouse, or pet present? If I place your hand in ice water which of the above helps you to cope best? Well, studies reveal that your friend and spouse make your blood pressure go up higher, but with your dog it barely changes at all. The interesting thing is that when the dog is present, as well as friend or spouse, the negative effects of them causing high blood pressure are cancelled.
    • Another question arose. Is it simply that pet owners are different and less likely to have their blood pressure rise, or do the pets make a difference? Well, what they did next was take stock brokers with hypertension who lived alone, felt stressed, and were about to go on medication, and had them randomly assigned to adopt a cat or dog from an animal shelter. Next they were given stressful things to do including speaking to a client whose money they had lost. Those with the pets saw their blood pressure increase by less than half the amount of those without pets. In my family, my wife found that she could use the pets to help me calm down and lower my voice by saying, “Honey, you’re upsetting the pets.” They always have that concerned look, as if they did something wrong, and that’s why I am bellowing. Of course, I laugh and quiet right down. It really works.
    • Other studies in which dogs were brought into schools showed they lowered the truancy rate. In a nursing home the presence of dogs lowered the cost of medications by two-thirds and the mortality rate by 40 percent. I may add that it is the connections that make a difference. In nursing homes, residents having the responsibility of taking care of plants and goldfish had the same beneficial effects.
    • In Australia, a study revealed that those who went home after a heart attack to a home with a dog had a mortality rate of approximately 6% compared to a rate of nearly 30% in households with no dogs. The doctor doing the study said that if we looked at all the health benefits of a dog in every household in Australia, they would save millions of dollars a year. So I think we should petition our politicians to pass a law that every household must have a pet and care for it with loving appreciation as an equal member of the family.
    • When our kids were younger and could participate in the care of our pets many at home, we had every species known to man living in or around our home. They were all family and truly taught the kids a reverence for life. The ducks and geese would follow them to the bus stop, and be very upset when they weren’t allowed to go to school with the kids. So they would come home and then go back to the stop to meet them in the afternoon.
    • I won’t go on about all the creatures, but they even included an abandoned rabbit my wife rescued in the woods where someone had dumped her. So, I learned about rabbits and she became a wonderful, loving house pet. They can be trained like cats to use a litter box. Smudge became a member of the family, and lived in the house with our fenced in yard, which everyone gets to through the pet door. If you are interested in the story about how troubles can become blessings, get a copy of my book, Smudge Bunny. The kids love it when I go to local schools with our dogs and read to them about Smudge. The thank you notes always include comments about the fun of petting the dogs, too.

    In closing, along with the studies I mention above, other studies also reveal that petting a dog raises the levels of your bonding hormone, oxytocin, as well as serotonin. So we can see why we are changed by the experience of connecting with a dog through petting, which changes our body chemistry for the good by increasing hormones that raise a sense of well being within. Now, go down to the shelter and bring a friend home. A thank you note from one of the children and her dad who were in the audience when I spoke to her class, said that they went directly to the shelter after I spoke to their class.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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