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:


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,

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 203 288 2839; or myself


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  4. Q & A with Bernie – January 21, 2013
  5. Information and Inspiration
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