Question for Bernie
Hello Dr. Siegel,
I thought to contact you and ask for any wisdom and advice you may have. I received awful news last week. My Dad has metastatic cancer. We were on a big family trip in Europe and cut it short, he was so ill.
He is a 69-year-old incredibly healthy, fit long distance runner who has no medical history at all. He is a non-smoker, a non-drinker vegetarian. Last year he developed some weird reactive arthritis post-flu and this year it continued.
Overseas on this long cruise he became progressively unwell, with dizziness and headaches. Also, he lost significant weight. We flew home and CT showed cerebellar, lung, and liver lesions. He is in hospital now. He had an emergency craniotomy two nights ago for cerebellar metastasis. They think the primary is the lung; pathology back today or tomorrow.
Our family is shattered. We are totally devastated by such a massive shock. There has been a lot of fighting and anger in the family for some years, and now we are deeply regretful and guilty about things said in the past. Mum even wanted a divorce after 50 years of marriage, which he was deeply sad about.
We need your advice and wisdom to help us get through this. I am giving him your books to read for a start.
Hope you are well and thank you. Kind regards.
Yes, the books can help your father as well as other members of the family.
Ask him what he is experiencing with his illness and make note of the words he uses to describe those feelings. Then, see what else in his life fits the negative words he uses. Whether people or situations (other than his illness) could be described using the negative words he uses about his illness, he needs to eliminate them, or severely restrict contact or involvement in order to feel better about his life.
Verbalize your love for him, and tell him to love his life and his body. Your role is to be a love warrior, telling him you love him at every opportunity. Even if he is being difficult, tell him you love him, and don’t engage in arguments or negative reactions to his behavior. Let him decide what he wants to do about his life.
Help him to heal by encouraging him to save his energy for healing, not for fighting a war. His body is not the enemy. It will respond to loving, healing thoughts. The immune system is strengthened by taking a loving approach to illness in the body by visualizing living a positive life and living that visualization.
Listen to him so he opens up and hears himself. When he hears the words he uses, he will be able to tell you and others supporting him what he needs to help him heal.
Response to Bernie’s Answer
Thank you so much. Yes, he is a very negative and critical man and there has been much family stress and tension. He wants to change now, and is being more positive. We are all together and have expressed forgiveness and much love for each other. Mum has told him they are staying together, and we will get through this together. I will get him to do a picture and send it to you. Thanks again with love and blessings from our family.
Remember, all colors are available for drawing.
Question for Bernie (second question from person who submitted today’s first question)
Here are my Dad’s pictures. His own father died when he was 12 and it greatly hurt him, which he always mentions. He never got on with his brother and always fought with his mother until she died almost two years ago.
Our immediate family is Mum, Dad, and me. I have no brothers or sisters.
I think your suggestions are very interesting. Thanks for your help and support and advice, sent with blessings and love.
#1 Looks good – all are touching inside the same heart and have all the parts they need.
You can ask your dad why he is behind them rather than in line with them, and what it means to him. Purple is a spiritual color, and the eight little lines in the drawing signify a new beginning.
#2 “George” – nice color and energy around he and your dad, but others are in black, separated, and all standing in puddles. Black is for brother and mom.
#3 “My family” – shows four hearts, with two pierced by arrows. Resembles family separation in other drawing; appears that messenger is carrying letter.
#4 “Disease” – is neatly wrapped in a box with the sun shining. Count the rays and see if the number means anything to your dad. I get a good feeling about it being in box with lovely ribbon tied around it. It is important, though, not to have your dad make it into a gift so he gets more attention for being sick. Help him get love in a healthy way.
#5 “House” – looks nice and warm with heat coming out. The four birds probably symbolize the family. Count flowers and other things in the drawing to see if those numbers have meaning to him. He is probably the tree and looks healthy with the green line going up.
Share these interpretations and see how he reacts.
Response to Bernie’s answer
Your interpretations are very, very interesting. Thank you so much for this, and I will show my Dad your e-mail. He is very grateful for your help and advice, too.
We are all terribly grateful for your time and understanding, and send our blessings to you and your family.
Question for Bernie (third question from person who submitted today’s first question)
We are trying to stay positive and are doing our prayers and meditations, but are becoming increasingly scared, sad and troubled.
We just bought some of your CDs on meditation for Dad. He is getting depressed and down dealing with the debilitating arthropathy associated with the lung cancer (HPO). We also got him your Faith, Hope and Healing book.
I am having a fair bit of trouble, as is Mum, with all of this. We are not sleeping well and are living in constant stress, fear, and sadness in what seems like a 24/7 time frame.
I was wondering if you had some advice/guidance for Mum and me. We would greatly appreciate it.
You and your mother should also meditate and listen to the CDs. It is very important for both of you to interrupt your day with time for yourselves individually or together.
All three of you can ask yourselves what you are supposed to learn from your father’s illness. If you are getting along with one another now, this question could be one you could discuss as a family, or you can choose not to share the answers you each come up with when you ask yourselves the question. There are no “right or wrong” answers to the question of what you are to learn from what you, your father, and your mother are experiencing with regard to your dad’s illness. You each may have very different answers, but all will be valid.
The wisdom is in you. Compassion is the element we all need, so care for yourself and find what nourishes you emotionally, just as food nourishes your body physically. I hope these suggestions help.
Response to Bernie’s Answer
Yes, this is definitely huge help. Dad is reading your books and is much happier.
Thanks again, and our blessings and love to you and your family.
Question for Bernie
I have been trying to find a boyfriend for the past four years, but meeting a guy is very hard. My relationship with my father has not been great since I was young. I think the problem with meeting someone is due to my relationship with him which has made me believe that I could not get a man who loves me. When I meet someone new, I find myself rushing to have a relationship with the man. That makes me look needy when actually I am a very independent person.
The last few nights, after all the bustling events at work, I drew a picture of how my boyfriend and I would be. I have not met this man, but I guess this is how he would look, although my fortune teller said that a “fat husband” would bring me comfort and good luck.
Please guide me from this drawing.
What I see in your drawing is that you are both stuck with no feet. His eyes scare me. Neither of you have hands to reach out with, or to touch each other with. The two clouds and house in the drawing could symbolize the two of you in the future, but there are clouds and no sunshine there.
There are nine stars and three birds. What do those numbers mean to you?
You have a smile and he has little one.
Think about how to connect your hearts in some way. If you have the time to care for a dog and will not have to leave it alone all day while you work, consider getting one. If you only have limited time, volunteer as a dog walker at a vet’s practice or at the animal shelter. Walking a dog in the park or path where others walk their dogs is often a very good way to meet people who have compassionate, loving hearts.
In your drawing even the tree looks like it is you, and you are reaching out. Look for ways to bring love and joy into the lives of others, and it will all happen for you as it should.