Question for Bernie:
You are a God Send, as we say in Ireland. I’ve been consuming your books and audios the last week and wanted to write to you. I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma two years ago this month (which happened to be two years after my dear sister died from ovarian cancer).
I’m feeling terrific physically (was just tired before I was diagnosed and thought it was menopause), but my challenge is the mental thing. Listening to you just makes me want to fly! It’s SO great to hear your perspective, and it’s exactly what I need.
I’ve spent my life beating myself up for not being enough, feeling “less than” in every way possible, and worrying about every little thing (e.g., shouldn’t let the water run when I brush my teeth, shouldn’t eat this, that and the other, and so on). If I sit down to watch a program, I feel guilty that I’m not reading and learning something new. I’m just sick of feeling “less than” and know this has something to do with my cancer.
Do you have any suggestions? Where do I start? I understand you probably get a million of these messages and if you can’t reply, no problem. I will continue to listen and read your books and know I will find the solution there.
My first suggestion is that you love your life and body. Don’t reject your body because of your disease and don’t reject your mind because of messages you got when you were a child. You are a spiritual being with a soul. Care for your whole being—Mind, Body, and Spirit.
I had to learn that taking a rest is an activity, too. It is certainly not something to feel guilty about–
One of the suggestions I make most often to people who write to me with some of the same concerns you have is to let your heart make up your mind. Often people in our Western culture have been taught to rely on rational thinking, even if it goes against your “gut” feeling about something. Rational thought and problem solving certainly do have a place in our lives, but when you are learning to love your life and your body unconditionally for the first time, your heart must lead the way.
To repair the damage of not being encouraged to love yourself from day one, I tell people to re-parent themselves. Look with new eyes at pictures of you as a child—look with the eyes of an adult who sees the innocence in those young eyes, and let yourself surround that “little you” with loving, supportive words. Imagine that this re-parenting is lifting that young you up and you are soaring with smiles and laughter through your life as it unfolds.
And do what makes her happy, sharing in her joy with great pride.
Your letter inspired me to share something I wrote for a graduating class at their commencement ceremony. It is right here on this page of my website. Please read it and remember that a graduation is a commencement—or a beginning.
Celebrate your own commencement now—a new beginning of the life you love, in the body you love. Let your heart lead the way and keep on beginning.