Doing Somethng Real


Dear Everybody,

Many years ago my wife and I went on a camping trip with a group of people into a pretty isolated area. The theme was to learn how to depend upon yourself and nature to meet your needs. One of the women who participated was pregnant, and I thought she was a little nuts to come on a camping trip, as did her obstetrician, but she thought it would prepare her for the labor and delivery she planned to go through at home with a midwife present. Well, guess what? In the middle of the night someone came into our cabin yelling for me to come because she had gone into labor prematurely, and I was the only doctor in the group.

I ran over to her tent and found there was a nurse there who could also be of assistance. We played some peaceful music, and I guided her through some healing imagery to visualize a comfortable and uncomplicated labor and delivery. It helped her to quiet down and stop shrieking and tearing up the sheets and towels people brought in to try and be helpful. With her husband and our support, things went along reasonably well. We put in a call for emergency help and then sat back and waited to see what would happen.

After a few hours of difficult labor, and before any rescue vehicle arrived, the baby’s head appeared, and I knew I had to step in and do something to help with the delivery. I gently pulled the baby out, tied off and divided the umbilical cord, and then focused on the baby. The baby was not breathing was becoming cyanotic due to a lack of oxygen. So I immediately started to compress the baby’s chest and perform mouth to mouth resuscitation to provide oxygen and circulate blood. I tried everything to see if I could get any reaction from the baby suggesting there was hope from hot and cold water or anything anybody could think of, including placing the infant against the mother’s breast.

The mother looked up at me, while holding the infant, and said to me as I reached for the baby again, “Stop, the baby is dead.” I told her that I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t quit, and so I took the infant and tried everything again, and just as I was about to give up, the baby started breathing and came to life. After a few minutes, when I knew the baby would not stop breathing again, I stepped outside to take a breath of air for my therapy. At that moment, for the first time, I experienced something I have felt only twice in my life. I looked up at the sky and said, “My God, I’ve done something real at last.”

Many years later, the same feeling came to me after learning that my first book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, was #1 on the New York Times best sellers list of non-fiction books. As I walked down our driveway to pick up the mail, I looked up at the sky and again, felt I had done something real. I have helped many people to survive and experience life in a different way because I had helped to empower them when they confronted a life threatening disease.

It is a feeling that is very hard to put into words because it just fills your mind, heart, and body. It is a reflection of the fact that your life has meaning, and that you have made a difference for other people and helped them survive and hopefully thrive.

I am not telling you this to point out how wonderful I am, but to get you to do something that makes a difference to other living things so you can someday say, “My God, I’ve done something real at last.” Or maybe better yet, put it on your headstone, too. That feeling can’t be described because when it happens you are in another zone that words do not, and cannot, describe. It is like having an out of body experience.

I have seen it save the lives of cancer patients who expected that they had little time left to live. But, when they have done something real, the act of doing what is real changed their lives and their body’s ability to thrive and survive—through the love of their actions. This may sound strange to some of you but it does happen, and it is something we are all capable of when interacting with other living things. Even if the child had died and my book was not a best seller, a simple note of thanks from someone about something I did or wrote that helped them to survive their difficulties would, and does, give me the same feeling.

Here is a quote from a note sent to me by someone I know on the island of Kauai (where I wish I had a home). “I wanted to write you little “Aloha Love” from Kauai. I have had a very hard time emotionally.  My best friend Sharon shot herself in the head. It’s your book Buddy’s Candle that reminds me not to cry and be happy. Those were her last words to me!! I’m forever grateful. Blessed by you. Love. Mahalo.” I have the same feeling from notes like this that have come to me from all the other experiences I have had over the years.

The message of Buddy’s Candle is for anyone who has lost a loved one of any species. It is okay to cry, but when you grieve and cry excessively and let it take over your life, it is not appropriate. If you grieve and cry without end, your tears will put out your loved one’s celestial candle, and leave them without a bright candle and feeling only the pain that their death has caused you. They want you, and so do I, to enjoy the day, smell the flowers, and learn from the experience. Then, from your wisdom, go out and make a difference so you can all say, “My God, I’ve done something real at last!”

Peace, Love & Healing,

Don’t go through life. Grow through life.”
~Eric Butterworth


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  2. The Real Gift of the Season – Celebrating Life
  3. Q & A with Bernie – July 28, 2014
  4. The Universal Wisdom of Dreams: Making the Invisible Visible
  5. Q & A with Bernie – February 6, 2012
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