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  • New from Bernie Siegel – Love, Animals & Miracles

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

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

    Amelia Kinkade has written a book called Whispers from the Wild: Listening to Voices from the Animal Kingdom. In this book, she takes us all over the world, revealing the inner thoughts and feelings of a huge variety of animals, including dangerous ones. She shares the advice she has gleaned from working with such a diverse group of animals — words about tenderness, reconnection with nature, life after death, and the possibilities of magical awakenings inside the brains of an ever-evolving human race. Learn More

  • 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 #87 – Accentuate the Positive

    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.

    Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you.
    Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.

    ~ William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), American writer

    You may remember a line from an old song that says to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Have you made those words a part of your life? When you ae talking to someone you love, do you criticize her behavior? Or do you let her know what you wish she would do because you love and care for her?

    Our son, Keith, and his wife, Jane, pointed this out to me by the way they raise their son, Charlie. Keith showed me the difference between saying “Don’t do that” and “Please be careful and safe.” One is critical and the other says I love you.

    Praise is the other important element: Accentuate the positive, and the negative begins to fade away. We all grow through praise and bloom with love.

    Soulution of the Day

    Try to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative
    through loving words and actions. Notice the difference.

    - Bernie

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  • Q & A with Bernie – May 22, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    Hi Bernie

    It’s been 4 years, just had lymph node removal in neck, praying it’s not a reoccurrence. Are you speaking in the New York City/Long Island areas in the future?

    Bernie’s Answer:

    No, I am doing less traveling and speaking.  I am focused on writing, and encourage you to take a look at recent titles you might want to read. Go to QUICK LINKS on my website at www.berniesiegelmd.com to find descriptions for all of my books.

    Begin now to visualize what you desire, and to love your body and your life.


    Question for Bernie: Below is a new Question and Answer with multiple parts beginning last year and leading up to the present.

    I would like to get in touch with Dr. Siegel to let him know about my nephew.  At the end of his first semester of college, he came home not feeling well. After a visit to a medical center he was diagnosed with glioblastoma.

    My brother arranged to send him by ambulance to a pediatric neurosurgeon who successfully removed the whole tumor, which was wrapped around his right optic nerve.  He received radiation and chemotherapy simultaneously, without side effects.

    My nephew has always had a very positive attitude during this whole illness and has done quite well.  He is back at college and is making up the semester he missed. He has a great support system with his high school and college friends, and with the whole family; his positive attitude has remained strong.

    We have always known Dr. Siegel has encouraged positive attitudes and this reinforces that. Dr. Siegel has had a powerful influence on many people and we thank him for all he does. If you could see that he receives this e-mail, I would be thankful.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Let me tell you about a medical student I knew whose story sounds like your nephew’s experience.  The student I knew had eye symptoms and they discovered a glioblastoma.  He woke up blind after surgery and they told him he would be blind until he died in about a year.

    Well, his sight came back and he got angry at all the books and doctors telling him when he would die. He took the prescribed medical treatments, but to prove them wrong about when he would die, he changed his life and his diet, too. The tumor disappeared and never came back, with the added bonus of his colitis disappearing as well.

    I think if he had become depressed instead of angry he wouldn’t have survived.


    Response to Bernie’s Answer:

    Dear Bernie,

    I appreciate your prompt response and encouraging words.  We have always maintained positive attitudes and this just reinforces that it can make a difference.  My nephew had no side effects from the surgery or treatments and considers every day a gift, as do we.  Your attitude and encouragement to all has a great impact on people and you are a great inspiration.

    The doctors are very pleased with his progress and with his attitude, and keep in touch with him while he is at school.  They are very dedicated, caring doctors as are you – it all makes a difference.

    At the meeting about the treatments the oncologists asked if Matt had any question and he had one – would he be able to go back to college.  The answer was yes and Matt’s response was “Bring it on – I am going to kick this cancer’s butt.” And he has.

    We always remember your encouraging this positive attitude and will always be grateful to you for this.  You are an exceptional person.

    Thank you so much!!!

    Bernie’s Response:

    Sounds good; keep me in the loop.



    Dear Bernie,

    Just an update on my nephew – he was driving to the gym last Monday, suffered a seizure and had an accident.  Thankfully no one was injured as the cars were totaled.

    He was taken to an excellent medical center and evaluated.  After meeting with his doctors, he got the okay to go back to school.  He is maintaining a great attitude, and his roommates are his big cheerleaders and support.  So he is doing really well – the attitude is there and he is kicking butt with this cancer.

    You are an inspiration to many people and you have encouraged all of us to have the positive attitude.  Thank you very much for being interested and concerned.

    You are an awesome person!!!!!

    Bernie’s Response:

    I get to be the coach for talented performers like your nephew.  It is good news to know that your whole family is on the “Be Positive page” for getting the most out of the great gift of life.


    Latest Update:

    Dear Bernie,

    My nephew finished the year at University and had a great year.  Yesterday he went in for a meeting about his MRI and found that he has a 1 inch tumor near his spine in his neck.  He is having surgery Thursday and will spend 3 weeks recovering.  Then it is followed by 6 weeks radiation (and possibly chemo) and he will then have a few weeks to relax before he goes back to school.

    We know this is a tough cancer to beat and he was upset after the meeting yesterday.  However, this morning he is ready to fight again and can’t wait to go back to school.

    We talk about you and how you encourage people to keep a great attitude and this has helped my nephew considerably.  So I thank you for all the positive thoughts from you.  You are an inspiration to all!!!!

    Bernie’s Answer:

    I recommend that you get my book, The Art of Healing—Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-healing, to help your nephew appreciate how much the mind affects treatments, too.  Also, on my website (www.berniesiegelmd.com) go to QUICK LINKS at the top of the homepage and click on Articles by Bernie to find the one titled “Deceiving People into Health.”

    Tell your nephew to visualize in his mind just how he wants the treatments to be—good results, no side effects, etc., and to picture this several times a day to prepare his body for the same result he visualizes, all of which allows the body to accept and believe this outcome.

    If he does some drawings of the treatments, himself receiving the treatments, and more, I could review them for him.


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    Look, See

    Dear All,

    One of my core beliefs is that we must first search for and find our authentic selves before we can really thoroughly evaluate choices that come our way throughout life.  Here is a poem I wrote about knowing ourselves.


    by Bernie Siegel, MD

    We can’t know each other until we know ourselves.
    Who are we?

    Does the mirror tell the truth?
    No, it does not see inside me.

    Only I know how beautiful my inner garden is,
    I bloom and blossom unseen by anyone but the divine—how sad.

    Raise the blinds,
    let the neighbors see the real me.

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    Q & A with Bernie – May 8, 2017

    Question for Bernie

    Hi Bernie,

    My daughter is coming here for a visit. I have not seen her in a year.

    She wants to go to Gloucester for 4 days. Because of my serious health condition, I do not want to go, and that would make her very angry. She is an addict just like her sister, which is not to her benefit.

    How do I handle that, going to Gloucester? I have been having a difficult time with illness. Thanks for your guidance.

    Bernie’s Answer

    Tell your daughter “no.”  Survivor behavior emphasizes being comfortable saying “no” when you do not want to do something.

    It is about your life—about what makes you happy.  It is not about just doing what makes your daughter happy.  Survivors know that loving and taking care of themselves—body and spirit—starts with getting completely comfortable with simply saying “no” when the situation calls for your honest response.


    Question for Bernie (second question from same person)

    I hope to see you on Tuesday. It is really rough when one does not have any family support.

    I am losing the use of my legs.

    Spiritually, I have learned a great deal about life. As you know the world is falling apart.

    God is all about Love, and learning about life through the eyes, and the wisdom, of God.

    Bernie’s Answer

    You’ll be a gift to the world in your next life because of your experience and wisdom. Bodies are simply our tools, and like all mechanical things, they do wear out—but spirit never does.


    Question for Bernie (third question from same person)

    Yes, you are right on the mark of truth. The body is a vessel to get one around.

    I am alive because I am full of the Holy Spirit to help me finish my mission here upon earth.

    And the body is breaking down.

    People today do not like death, dying, being disabled. Boy, do they avoid me.

    Thanks and love for your guidance.

    Bernie’s Answer

    They are afraid to face reality and deny their chance of dying or being disabled.

    To further obscure reality, these people do not use the word “die” but instead use euphemisms like “pass away” or “go to a better place.” Denial prolongs the intensity of grief.  The truth is dignified when people feel safe to fully express the grief of loss.

    Peace & Love,

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    Q & A with Bernie – May 1, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    I was wondering if you can help me with another dream interpretation because it is important.

    I met a guy from the UK online and we met twice in person. He is from the UK and it was going well until he started having fears of not having enough money or time to visit me and make this work.

    Last night when I went to bed, I had this weird dream in which he said to me that he is bored with my lifestyle. Then, in the dream, there was a 5-year old little boy he brought along as his son. That kid said to me that he liked Macedonia and playing with little kids in the kindergarten.

    Then I said that he should tell his dad that and talk to the teachers. Then he started behaving as an adult and a bit like his dad, saying that he is not so crazy as to let adults discover his feelings.

    Then he went away and I woke up.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    His inner child is causing both of you a problem.

    Encourage him to talk to you about feelings, and just listen as he talks so that he can hear himself.  When he hears his own words, he will learn who he is and what to do.  You must resist telling him what to do—you can help him the best by just quietly and attentively listening.  When people hear themselves talk through problems, often great clarity and understanding emerge.


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    Q & A with Bernie – April 24, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    My fiancé (who is an M.D.) is diagnosed with cancer. I know the chemo regime he is on is too strong, but I cannot get the Dr. to adjust the course of treatment.

    I also became extremely sick from the secondary chemo exposure.

    John has now moved out into a facility to give us both some space and time to heal and create new choices.

    Would it be possible for John to have an appointment with you to discuss options?

    Bernie’s Answer:

    We have a support group which meets twice a month from 1:30 to 3:30pm in Woodbridge.

    You could attend a meeting along with your fiancé.

    Read my books, starting with Love, Medicine & Miracles and The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing.

    Explore my website (www.berniesiegelmd.com) for information on books and about groups to contact for support.

    When your fiancé changes his image of chemo, his body’s reaction will also change—is it the Devil giving you poison or a lifesaving gift from God?  Get a new box of crayons or colored pencils, and then guided by my book on the “art of healing” as mentioned above, see how drawing our perceptions of treatment can help focus our minds on healing.


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    Magic Openings

    As this paper unfolds so does my life
    I will have faith and not judge events
    Our creator often unfolds things in ways I do not understand
    I will learn from the new set of directions

    I will look in the mirror and love who I see
    I will act as if I am the person I want to become
    I will see all living things through the eyes of love
    I will judge no one

    I will forgive myself
    I will forgive all those in my life I need to forgive
    I am free of the past
    I receive the benefits of forgiveness

    I do not need to see where I am going
    I do need to feel my way
    I accept that all new life begins in the dark
    I will labor to grow and find the light
    I have the wisdom of a seed within me

    I will say no to what is not creative
    I will say yes to my way of loving the world
    I will accept that today is the best day of my life time
    I will be a co-creator today and have no sense of time
    I will rest when I am tired

    I will dispel the clouds of fear and bring sunshine into
    my life
    I am cleansed and softened by the showers
    I will light the moon and stars and make my darkness bright
    I will marvel in the miracle of the weather and seasons of my life

    I will turn death and loss into compost with which to fertilize my life and soul
    I will enjoy the diversity of my garden
    I will see the beauty in all living and growing things
    I will let a child know s/he is loved today

    Today I am not I was
    Today I am not I will be
    Today I AM

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    A Healthy Life and a Healthy Body

    Studies reveal that women diagnosed with the same cancers as men live longer and that married men live longer than single men with the same cancers; smoke as much and have fewer cases of lung cancer than single men. It is not female hormones, or sleeping with them, that is protecting these men and women. It is their connections and relationships. Years ago I was criticized for asking people what happened in the year or two before they became sick. I was told I was blaming people and creating guilt. Recent studies show that loneliness affects the genes which control our immune response. So people who feel lonely are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, viral illnesses and cancer. I may add that a sense of humor laughter improves survival statistics.

    I bring this up because I want women to keep their power and not live a role related to doing things for other people. I’ll make this marriage works if it kills me can kill you. Being the good girl to please parents and spouses while internalizing all your feelings is self destructive. It turns on the cancer genes. I have seen an audience of southern women become hostile to my wife and me after our presentation. I couldn’t understand what we had done wrong. A friend said, “You didn’t do anything wrong. They are jealous of your relationship. Your wife can interrupt and correct you and shares the stage. They have gone from politeness to submissiveness.”

    Please ladies let your heart guide you through life so what you do is out of love. Then you benefit from your activities as does the recipient of your love. When you can’t die until all the kids are married and out of the house what happens when they do all move out. I have watched a woman with nine kids die, twenty years after being diagnosed with cancer, when the kids all left home.

    One woman did a drawing for me entitled will the real me please stand up. It shows a mommy and a professional and you don’t need to be a therapist to know which one makes her happy. So do what makes you happy and keep your power. Don’t wait to develop cancer to obtain permission. If something is threatening your health eliminate it from your life be it a marriage, job or anything else. If it does not threaten your health then give love a chance to heal the relationship. You have a choice when your health is not at risk to change your life or your attitude. You can be born again free of your disease. Life is a labor pain related to your birthing your unique self.

    Relationships, with family or your doctor, are a struggle according to my wife and an ordeal according to Joseph Campbell. They are both talking about creating a relationship so that 1+1=3. It is not about what each individual wants but about a third entity, the relationship they create. So be sure your spouse, partner, family and doctor are willing to create a relationship you can all live with. A sure sign of future successful relationships is that the persons involved are criticized by the people they work with, the people they work for and their family. These are people who are willing to learn, accept criticism and apologize rather than make excuses or blame others. The tourists are then trained by the natives who understand the experience they are living with that the other party has never been exposed to.

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    Most people I know only find enlightenment through their emotional or physical difficulties. That is a sad statement. Wouldn’t it be far better to be educated about life and prepared for its difficulties by the wisdom of others, rather than to need your own breakdown in order to become strong at the broken places—or expand through the openings among the broken places. Many painful events become our blessings because of what they teach us and for the voids they fill in our lives. I believe it is better to be blessed by wise parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders rather than by adversity.

    Others learn the hard way that the darkness leads them to the light, finding it a painful journey through the tunnel of darkness seeking the enlightenment. Inspiration is found in considering the journey of charcoal, as it becomes under pressure in the darkness of the earth, a diamond.

    My writing and today’s books have nothing new to say. We may have new stories, but they are only repeating ancient wisdom. So read the wisdom of the sages and learn from those who have gone before us. Which path you take makes little difference. The themes of all the great spiritual leaders of the past have much in common So if you seek enlightenment get started by paying attention to what has been said and don’t wait for a personal disaster to bring you the gift of enlightenment. You may know the saying, “If you seek enlightenment, seek it as a man whose hair is on fire, seeks water.” It takes that kind of desire to truly face the light.

    What has helped me most was my search for the answer to why we have a world filled with pain and difficulties. As a physician I saw much suffering that seemed to make no sense. Ultimately I realized it was to give our acts of compassion meaning and that what was evil was to not respond to the person with the affliction. We have free will, and when we choose to love it, the choice makes our love meaningful. The free will allows us the opportunity to become co-creators and, hopefully, some day we will create a family of man and our own Garden of Eden. As a surgeon I know we are one family, despite our actions, because we are all the same color inside.

    A veterinarian friend of mine listed five points necessary to train animals properly. As I listened to her list, I realized that the words described what the enlightened give to each other. They are Love, Trust, Respect, Consistency, and Commitment. So the enlightened treat people as well as they do their pets.

    The questions I would ask you to consider to awaken and see the light are:

    1. What is evil?
    2. Who can you hate?
    3. Who can you love?
    4. Who is the enemy?
    5. Who is the Lord you work for?
    6. What do you need to say that you haven’t said?

    I won’t answer for you, but as you seek enlightenment the correct answers will make themselves apparent.

    The last point I will share with you is this—when you are enlightened you will understand the power of love. So ask yourself why we say kill with kindness, torment with tenderness, love is blind, love thine enemies and love thy neighbor as thyself. Therein is the answer to life and enlightenment.

    Several years ago I fell from our roof, hitting my head and developing amnesia, which improved my marriage and family life dramatically. I learned a great deal from the benefits of amnesia. When my memory came back, I had a difficult time with my wife and children because now I remembered all their faults. A therapist friend said she could save me from years of therapy. I asked her how. She handed me something and said go home and read this and live what it says. What she handed me was Corinthians 1:13 which describes all the benefits of amnesia and more through love.

    I tell you this so that—until you are enlightened and capable of loving—try amnesia in your relationships and daily life. It will help. Or, if that doesn’t appeal to you, the next time you don’t know what to do and seek to make the enlightened choice, ask yourself, “What would Lassie do now?” If you prefer denominational or religious figures as choices there are a few I can recommend, but choose wisely because animals are complete and man is not, or so the Bible tells us.


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    Touch Me and Understand What Happiness Is

    Forgive me if in this column I simply share with you some of the things that fascinate me and teach me about myself and life. I was reading about the problem thinking is. Our thoughts and ability to think are what separate us from each other and the true nature of life. When we think we know the truth we become closed minded and very unscientific. A true scientist has no fixed beliefs and so can experiment in the hopes of learning the truth.

    We need to truly be open and gain insights into the nature of life so that we can participate fully in the healthiest way. I know our ability to think offers us options but sadly too often the options we choose are destructive ones rather than unifying and healing ones. As we look at our common genome we will see how much we have in common and how we share the same ancestry. What do we need to pay more attention to then thoughts? How do we become rational, sensible human beings?

    The song Touch Me from Cats gives us a clue. How do animals think and communicate without words? Not to mention their miraculous physical accomplishments that we cannot come close to. Can you make a spider web? Do you know why it is so strong and adhesive? How do slugs and snails create lubricants that allow them to slide over razor blades without being cut? A lot better than a quart of oil does in our car. I could go on but I think you get the point.

    They have wisdom and can be taught language but they know that symbols and feelings are more important then thoughts. When we think we become irrational. ‘Think’ how often your thoughts have gotten you into trouble. The times you knew what your mate, friend, boss, coworker, relative etc. was thinking only to learn you were wrong and what ensued because of your mistaken beliefs.

    What do I recommend? What the song tells us and what I always finish my articles with. Keep in touch. Touch is about feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. They are simply feelings. How we react to them may be a problem because when we start thinking about our feelings and why we are feeling the way we are and who is responsible etc. we are back in trouble. You are responsible for your feelings. No one else makes you feel what you do. You have choices and options but most of us would rather blame someone else for our problems then empower ourselves and take responsibility for our feelings and move on.

    If you want to take charge of your life and live in the moment then accept your feelings as your creation and let them guide you. You will find that living that way gives you a different sense of time because you will change the way you live when you live in your body and not your head. Do we need to think at times? Yes, when we are evaluating experiments, options and choices that our feelings open us up to but my response is that when you are making decisions let your feelings be your guide.

    Your choice in difficult times is to change your attitude or your life. When you do you will no longer feel badly about whatever it was that had been bothering you. Even your pain will be something that you learn from and meaningful pain is always controllable. I only ask that you give it a try and see how your life works out when feelings become more significant than thoughts. I know that for some that will be difficult. Jung classified four types thinking, feeling, sensing and intuitive. However, we are all capable of being aware of our bodies no matter what personality type we are. So feel and touch and live fully.

    One word of caution from a lesson I just learned. I was feeling a bit depressed, lacking in motivation, experiencing headaches and was wondering what was wrong in my life that had me feeling this way. Hey, that’s my thing to evaluate and learn from my problems. Well I came up with some ideas but that didn’t change anything.

    Then I noticed a sensitive spot on my anterior thigh enlarge and become purple in color. I thought I must have bumped against something but when it enlarged further and I continued to feel poorly I went to a doctor friend because I was getting suspicious about the diagnosis. Sure enough I had Lyme Disease and one days worth of antibiotics had all my symptoms and feelings reversing themselves. I now feel better and realize that there are times that physical problems can lead to feelings that make us aware of an illness or affliction.

    My word of advice is to pay attention to all your feelings and evaluate them. Don’t think you know all the answers. There is a wisdom of the body that exceeds the wisdom of the mind. Like our animal friends the intuitive wisdom comes more from our feelings and their communication then our thoughts.

    If you don’t think your thoughts and feelings transmit intention to others and are felt and known by others you have a lot to learn. A friend and animal intuitive in California was able to locate our lost cat in Connecticut by getting into her feelings, thoughts and the sights she was seeing but that is another long story that has helped change my relationship and ability to communicate with living things how I feel about them. It has helped me get along much better with our chickens, cats, dogs and rabbits. If I keep at it I’ll soon be able to do the same thing with my wife, children and their families.

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    Accept, Retreat & Surrender: How to Heal Yourself

    If you view illness as an opportunity, then when you get sick, you can ask yourself, “Okay, what can I learn from this disease. What do I need to look at first?”

    When I began working with the group Exceptional Cancer Patients, I noticed many of the group lived longer than their doctors expected. I wanted to know why. I began to observe and inquire and noticed that the long-term survivors were the ones who began to pay attention to their feelings. As they expressed their emotions, made wise choices and became more spiritual, their bodies benefited. The physical changes were the side effects of an altered life.

    Physicians call the most dramatic healings “spontaneous remissions.” Once we have labeled them, we learn nothing from the people in whom those remissions take place. We cannot afford to ignore these remarkable successes. We are all at risk for a great many diseases, and as the world gets smaller the list of things we are exposed to grows larger. We need to learn from people who recover and people who stay healthy.

    In his novel Cancer Ward, Solzhenitsyn wrote of self-induced healing, which is a much better term than “spontaneous remission.” Solzhenitsyn chose a rainbow-colored butterfly to symbolize healing. The butterfly represents change and the rainbow represents all of our feelings and emotions. We need to let the butterfly of change and emotional growth touch our lives if we are to heal.

    One of the gloomy patients in Cancer Ward reacts to the talk of self-healing with this complaint: “I suppose for that you need to have a clear conscience.” He is right. You do have to have a clear conscience. When you do the work necessary to clear your conscience, then the joy of living returns and the physiology of optimism restores you.

    If you are ill or facing adversity, you can begin to heal yourself by following the paths others have followed. Forgive yourself and others, live with hope, faith and love and watch the results in your life and in the lives you touch. Remember that success and healing refer to what you do with your life, not to how long you avoid death.

    What approach should you take to your illness? I have three words of advice: accept, retreat and surrender. Those three words might scare you if you were an inexperienced warrior going into battle, but others who have employed these tactics have won great victories.

    You need to accept your situation if you want to be empowered to change it. I don’t mean you need to accept any particular outcome of a disease, but you need to accept that the disease exists in your life and you are a participant. Once you accept that the disease or other misfortune has become a part of your life, you can marshal your forces to eliminate or alter it. If you avoid thinking about it, deny it or feel hopeless, you cannot play a part in changing it and your life.

    Accepting the situation does not mean accepting someone else’s prediction about what will happen to you. No one knows what your future will be. Do not accept that you must die in three weeks or six months because someone’s statistics say you will. You are better off denying your illness completely than accepting a prediction that sounds like a death sentence. The best course, though, is accepting that you have problems while denying anyone’s predictions about how your situation will turn out. Individuals are not statistics.

    When I say “retreat,” I don’t mean withdrawing in the face of a more powerful opponent. For me a retreat means withdrawing to a quiet place where I can be aware of my thoughts and feelings. The quiet place may be anywhere; the source of true peace and quiet are inside me. In my retreat I withdraw from all the demands of life, but at the same time I am fully alive to myself and my loved ones. I do not always retreat alone. I can retreat with those who are close to me so that we can heal our forces and prepare to take on life when our retreat is over. When we return we are ready to fight for our lives. My wife Bobbie and I regularly retreated when our five children were young. We needed the space and time to restore and heal ourselves.

    When you have accepted, retreated and prepared yourself to fight, then you are ready to surrender. Again, you do not surrender to outcomes but to events. We waste so much energy fighting the nature of life. Accept the nature of life and surrender to it. When you do, you will have peace. When our energy is restored, we stop fighting things we cannot control, and we can start building our lives. Surrender is not about doing nothing; it is about doing the right things.

    When you surrender to the illness, you continue to receive your treatments, explore your feelings, repair your relationships and do all the other work of healing. But while you are working, you are saying, “Thy will be done” and not “My will be done.” Surrender the pain, fear and worries and you’ll be able to keep love, hope and joy in your life. As the Serenity Prayer tells us, leave it to God and rest.

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