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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 – March 13, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    Bernie,
    Today is the wake for my husband.  It’s been a long hard journey, but you have guided me every step of the way with the wisdom and love in your books and DVDs. I am so grateful to you.  I awaken every morning to see the picture of your hung on my dresser and I am blessed.  I want to express my heartfelt gratitude as I enter this phase of my life and continue to learn how to be my best self.  I know I can do this because I have my friend Bernie to continue to guide me.

    I’m happy to tell you that treatment of my brother’s cancer was completely successful—my husband’s first gift to us from heaven.  We got that good news yesterday.  I believe our hospice night nurse also wrote to you.  My heart is joyous that you have been gracious enough to make those connections.  It’s all about sharing the love and helping one another.

    I love you, Bernie.  Deepest thanks.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    I am here for you whenever you need me.

    See if you can get a copy of my book, Buddy’s Candle. It is written in simple style for those who lose a loved one.

    And remember that his consciousness is with you, so look for signs and coincidences to affirm that fact.

    Peace & love,
    Bernie

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    Participating in the Creation of Our Consciousness

    Dear Everybody,

    Now let me see if I can get you thinking and smiling.

    What did the agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac say when he couldn’t sleep?…..There is no dog! Women who think they are equal to men……lack ambition.
    A psychotic believes 2+2=5, a neurotic knows…..2+2=4 but can’t stand it.

    Today, I want to share two letters to the editor that I have written recently.  My first letter to the editor related to an article in USA Today about God.

    Dear Editor,

    My God is intelligent, conscious, loving energy and not some identifiable being. The Creator is obviously intelligent because this universe could not be an accident. Just ask astronomers or astrophysicists what they think. Just move the earth a few hundred miles closer to the sun and we would be in big trouble.

    Water is a prime example of the intelligence. Every liquid when frozen becomes denser and heavier except for water. It becomes lighter and ice floats. Who arranged that so our planet would survive as life is protected by the ice rather than displaced and frozen to death by it. Water also has the option of being gas, liquid or solid so our planet’s needs are met.

    My God is conscious because it involves choices and the ability to respond and change related to the conditions we are exposed to. Instead of the Biblical line “there was the word,” think about “there was consciousness and consciousness was with God and consciousness was God.”

    My God is loving because the changes we are capable of making allow all living things to survive threats to their existence. Bacteria resist antibiotics and viruses resist vaccines by altering their genes. Plants survive droughts and parasites. We heal our wounds and resist disease too. Our Creator must have desired that we survive so these abilities were built into us.

    The energy had to be available to accomplish all these things and create life as we know it. Even if after seven days a rest was necessary.

    The one question many ask is: If God loves us why didn’t God make a perfect world? God’s answer is that perfection is a magic trick and not creation. We are all participating in creation and really not prepared for perfection. We are here to live and learn and hopefully someday imitate God by showing compassion to each other and all living things so our lives will feel perfect due to what we have created thanks to God.

    Here is a second letter to the editor. I sent it to the New Haven Register after it printed articles about police behavior and the incident with Yale students.

    Dear Editor,

    As a former New Haven Police Surgeon the problem with the behavior of police officers is no different than that of any profession. We must have an in depth awareness of why we choose a specific profession or the result can have destructive consequences. Look at Jack Kevorkian, and his issues with death, leading him to become a pathologist and killing people. If I became a surgeon as a reaction formation to my destructive tendencies, or an oncologist because I needed to fail, or a policeman because of my violent behavior or a psychiatrist because of my emotional problems, those I have a relationship with will suffer from my problem unless I am aware of it and understand myself and my emotional issues. We are all good at avoiding emotionally painful feelings.

    What police, doctors and others need to do is really investigate the healthy and unhealthy reasons for choosing their profession. This should be done as part of their training. When a medical student writes on his application that he wants to be a doctor because he is fascinated by the human body he has a problem, as do veterinarians who choose it because they love animals. People come in the body and bring the pets in.

    I help a lot of medical students by asking them to draw themselves working as a doctor. Many drawings show no people in them; just diplomas, desks and technical gadgets. It would be interesting to see what police officers would draw when asked to draw themselves working as police officers. It could be very therapeutic and enlightening for the individuals involved if all they see in their drawings are speeding police cars and weapons.

    We need to know ourselves and be wary of the professionals we utilize. If you are not treated properly by any professional, let them know how you felt due to their behavior. And if they do not apologize and learn from their mistakes, change who you are dealing with. If their actions are criminal, then take the appropriate steps too.

    I became a surgeon because I liked people and fixing things. I was not prepared during my training to understand that there would be many things I couldn’t fix. So I became very angry when that would occur. One day a patient I was about to discharge said, “I am giving all the doctors who cared for me a gift but not you.”

    “Why not me?”

    “Because you are always angry.”

    “I didn’t like what happened to you or what I had to do to you.”

    “But you took it out on me.”

    I apologized and he said, “Okay, I’ll give you a gift.” That moment stays with me because he helped me to become a better doctor, know myself and have his criticism polish my mirror. The best in every profession are criticized regularly because they don’t make excuses. They apologize and learn from their mistakes.

    To close, here is a question for you this week: How would you introduce yourself to God?

    Peace,
    Bernie

    You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Love and Laughter: Our Best Defense Against Violence and the Craziness of Human Existence

    Dear Everybody,

    Think of the recent headlines we all have read. The gay college student who committed suicide when his so called friends and dormitory mates videotaped his sexual encounter and publicized it and how we blow up and kill other human beings. Use people as slaves. Carry out mass slaughter, inquisitions and holocausts because of racial, religious, sexual and nationality differences. When are we going to define ourselves as the human race, the family of man, and see that as long as we define ourselves as different from one another we create separation, problems and conflict.

    Animals do not define themselves by their color, shape, eating habits or size. They instinctively care for each other when a mother of any species dies and leaves her abandoned offspring; while we murder children because they are not of the correct classification of human beings. Think of how many Jewish children were saved during the holocaust by caring human beings who were of other religions and understood we are all one family. I remember caring for a man at Bellevue Hospital who had a deep cleft in his skull. He told me, as a child, he had been run down by Cossacks on horseback who struck his skull with their swords trying to kill him because of his religion. In a past life I killed people and their animals with a sword too and know it is a big part of why I have been rescuing animals and saving lives with a knife as a surgeon. Right now in our home we have six rescued creatures. I have learned the importance of having faith in the right lord. One whose words and requests you can rely on and can trust will be for the greater good.

    What we all need to do is find the right lord so that when we follow our lord’s instructions we are enhancing life on this planet we all call home and not destroying other members of the family of man. There is a story by Dostoyevsky called The Grand Inquisitor. In it the Inquisitor enters a Christ like figure’s prison cell and tells him about his coming crucifixion and being burned at the stake. The prisoner walks over to him and “Kisses him gently on his aged lips” at which point the Inquisitor tells the guards to release him and tell him to come no more. The power of love overcomes the love of power.

    Now there is a Mel Brooks version too in his 2000 Year Old Man CD. When the Inquisitor tells him what they are going to do to him Mel Brooks’ character suggests a few more forms of torture like shoving a hot poker up his ass and more. The Inquisitor says to the guards, “He’s meshugah. Let him go. We don’t want him as a Christian.” Love and laughter are the two best weapons we have available to us if we are to end the violence and craziness of human existence.

    As many of you know our home has been a rescue shelter for many creatures especially when our kids were younger and home to help me care for them. If you want to see a more peaceful world then show your kids that every life is meaningful and to have a reverence for life as Albert Schweitzer taught. As I have said in previous posts, people who abuse animals are far more likely to become criminals than those who shelter and protect them. Our local paper reported about tigers being displayed as part of a town show and kept in small cages which some of the parents attending felt was a poor thing to do and have as part of the show. Their children will get the message about the value of life because of the example their parents are showing them.

    Now let me see if I can get you thinking and smiling. Finish or answer the following: What did the agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac say when he couldn’t sleep? Women who think they are equal to men…………. A psychotic believes 2+2=5 a neurotic knows………

    Peace,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
    ~ Henry Ford

    You see things and say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why Not?’
    ~ George Bernard Shaw

    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
    ~ Coach Darrel Royal

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    The Bricks of Love

    Dear Everybody,

    What benefits do love and amnesia share? Think about the comment that love is blind and what it means. What is love blind too? If you look at the Biblical description of love you will notice that love does not see faults. It is blind to the imperfections of others. I have learned from a concussion and amnesia that if you are not capable of unconditional love amnesia is very beneficial. When I experienced amnesia I got along exceptionally well with my wife and our five kids. I had nothing to get upset about because I couldn’t remember what happened yesterday. When my memory came back I was in big trouble until I saw a therapist who handed me Corinthians 1:13 and said if I did what it said it would save me a lot of therapy time and expense, as well as, help me to create a happy family. She was very right. So spread love blindness wherever you can; be a carrier.

    Another thought I had about relationships was that they are all about love and laughter. When we build our relationship with the bricks of love and use humor as the cement to hold them together our relationship will survive. The following are the words of Eknath Easwaren:

    “Jealousy comes into a relationship when we try to possess someone for ourselves. It is a very difficult secret to discover: that when we do not want to possess another person selfishly, when we do not make demand after demand, the relationship will grow and last. And it is something we have to learn the hard, hard way. This is the secret of all relationships, not only between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, but between friend and friend, parents and children. Instead of trying to exact and demand, just give, and give more, and give still more. This is the way to earn love and respect.”

    Some of you may have seen the following poem before. It was my response to being hurt when, after my wife came home from shopping, I brought in all the groceries while she ran to the bathroom. When she returned to the kitchen all she said was, “You don’t put tomatoes in the refrigerator.” Not one word of thanks or gratitude. So I wrote the following poem in response.

    DIVORCE
    Tomatoes don’t belong in the refrigerator
    I did it again
    My wife may never forgive me
    Our marriage is on the rocks
    I snore, put tomatoes in the fridge
    Walk and eat too fast
    The divorce lawyer doesn’t know how to help us
    Reach a valid settlement for my cruelty
    He suggests we try to work it out
    Give love a chance
    And don’t put tomatoes in the fridge
    I read his settlement to my wife
    She laughs
    I love her when she laughs
    And forget the difficult times
    We fire the lawyer

    The following is a note I gave my wife, over a decade ago, for a past anniversary. I discovered it the other day in my computer and read it to her again. How you would respond to it if your loved one read it to you?

    “There is no card and truly there are no words that can ever express my love for you adequately. I feel it in my body and soul and wish I could have you feel what is inside me. I hope you will continue to forgive me, as you always do, for my weaknesses and faults. Your touch and kiss are the greatest gift I have ever known. Throughout my life I could always count on your love. You were always there to come home to and I bless you and thank you for that gift. It is the greatest gift anyone could ever hope for and receive. I shall continue to work to provide you with a husband who is deserving of your love. I look forward to our years together and sharing my life with you. To see the blossoms, walk the beaches, shop, care for the pets, argue, make love and live. Bless you. I find it hard to stop thanking you because words are inadequate to express my desire to tell you what you mean to me. You are my anniversary present.”

    When she heard the sentence ‘I shall continue to work to provide you with a husband who is deserving of your love,’ Her reaction was: “So, you are still looking for another husband for me.” We both had a very good laugh.

    I think the following poem of mine says it all.

    BITTERSWEET
    As we ride our bicycles over the road
    She points and says, “Bittersweet,”
    “What, I can’t hear you?”
    She points again
    I look and see the beauty of Bittersweet
    I feel the peace its beauty brings
    Bittersweet, I am struck by the taste of her words
    They do not make sense
    But they explain our life together
    And point out the road to peace
    Bitter, lights left on, counter covered with things not put away,
    Laundry not folded, tired, forgetful and more
    Sweet, her love, smile, laughter, touch, caring, beauty
    Bittersweet, but I hardly taste the bitter
    She is so sweet
    Life is Bittersweet
    Thank God for you Honey
    I hope you flavor my life forever

    So don’t try to be normal. Being normal, as Jung said, is only desired by those who feel inadequate.

    Now finish the following: The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us……… I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating and in fourteen days…….. Marriage is a wonderful institution…….

    Everyone needs recognition for their accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father, “Let’s play darts. I’ll throw and you say ‘Wonderful!’  ”
    ~Author Unknown

    Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”
    ~Kahlil Gibran

    Peace,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

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    Introducing Yourself to God

    How would you introduce yourself to God? As a member of the Board of Directors of Heaven I have always found the admission line in Heaven to be an interesting process to observe. When people are asked how they want to be introduced to God and their answers relate to their profession, role, religion, personal information or the word me God says, “Come back when you know who you are.” Hopefully this poem I wrote will help to get the idea across.

    INTRODUCTIONS

    The other day I introduced my right hand to my body
    I thought they ought to know each other better
    People said, “That’s crazy. They already know each other.
    They’re all part of the same thing
    Come from the same thing
    Made of the same thing
    They don’t need an introduction.”
    I was thinking when I get to heaven and they ask me if I want to be introduced to God
    I’ll say, “That’s crazy. We already know each other.
    We’re all part of the same thing
    Come from the same thing
    Made of the same thing.
    We don’t need an introduction.
    We already know each other.
    Just tell Him his right hand is here.”

    So, when it is time for your introduction to God answer, “It’s you” or “It’s your child.” Then there is no separation from the divine which the word me and the other answers create. The best answer I ever heard was from a high school student who said, “Tell God his replacement is here.” When God laughs our lives benefit too. As long as we are on this subject let’s look at our relationships with people and get into them and marriage, which is a most significant one, too.

    Joseph Campbell is one of my never ending teachers and his description of marriage was that it was an ordeal. When my wife told a group of women that being married to me was a struggle she was saying the same thing. In other words a relationship is work and not about self interest but about creating a relationship, or third entity. So 1+1=3 as the two individuals create the third entity. I believe this is true for me as a doctor with my patient and for all of us who are interacting with other people for whatever reason. I have always said that if you want to have a successful relationship then each person involved should take 60% responsibility for the relationship. Then the extra effort makes a difference and the relationship survives.

    When we are busy blaming others involved in the relationship nothing works out. Remember blaming someone versus giving them feedback, or criticism, are two different things. I always say if you want a good doctor or roofer, for that matter, find one who is criticized by the people he works with, the people he works for and his family. Why does that make them good? Because they are willing to listen, not make excuses or blame others and learn from their mistakes. So their work and relationships get better and better. Their image gets polished by the comments they are willing to accept and learn from.

    I would also say that we can learn more from how we feel about others as well as how they feel about us. I always look for people who think I am inspiring because I know the inspiration they see in me resides within them. And if I coach them skillfully they will exceed expectations no matter what it is we are trying to do from surviving a disease to painting a portrait. The sad part is how many people fear relationships and challenges because of their past relationships.

    Two examples: One is a woman whose mother always belittled what she did and dressed her in dark colors so she wouldn’t be noticed. Her comment; “My mother’s words were eating away at me and maybe gave me cancer.” The cancer and my words helped her to be reborn and buy a red dress. She eliminated the wounds of past relationships and created a new relationship with herself and life.

    Another woman was screaming at her plastic surgeon for making her ugly after he removed a malignant skin lesion. He asked me to see her since there was no cosmetic issue. I asked her, “How would you describe your experience of cancer?” And I recommend you all ask your self that question but substitute your problem for the word cancer.

    She answered, “A failure.” I asked how that fit her life rather than her feeling her body had failed her and she said, “My parents committed suicide when I was a child. I must have been a failure as a child.” That led to her avoiding all relationships so she would not be hurt again. Due to the cancer she started a process of labor pains which transformed her life. Remember in life and relationships a curse can become a blessing if we are willing to learn from it and bring love into the story. Life is a never ending labor pain of self birth. To quote a woman with cancer, “The canvas is never finished. There is always more color on the palette.”

    I will close with my friend Carmine’s way of resolving these problems. He learned from his Mafia experience and is a very different man today. As he said, “I do not want to be a member of a family everyone fears. I want to be a member of a family everyone loves being a member of.” He told me there are four ways to resolve a difficult relationship. If it is threatening your health and life you eliminate it. That scares some people but he goes on to say you move out, get a divorce, resign or get the other person to depart. However, if your health is not an issue ask yourself how bringing love into the relationship could resolve the problem. I said love, and not like, because as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It’s a good thing Jesus told us to love one another and not like one another because there are some people I can’t like.”

    Now finish the following: After looking at the bill for my surgery………. I believe there’s intelligent life in the universe except……. Women don’t have hot flashes they……..

    Peace,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    Aspire to inspire before you expire.
    ~ Ann Onymous

    When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
    ~ Lao Tsu

    If you never replenish the well it will run out of water.
    ~ Monica Krewsky

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 29, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    You have helped me so much when my father was going through cancer and when I had to comfort a friend with a mass on her ovary. I have read your books and live by your example because I wholeheartedly believe in it.

    The past 4 months I have been observing a small lump in my left breast. My family has no history of breast cancer but often have cysts. I had a baseline mammogram at age 35 a year and a half ago and everything was fine, although they had to take a second look because of how dense the tissue was. So after observing this lump for 4 months (keep in mind I had never done self-exams before this), I decided to call my friend who is a PA at my OB’s office. She says it sounds like a cyst but she wants another mammogram even though I expressed my concerns about unneeded radiation. I do believe this is needed however.

    Although I do not believe this is cancer (and have been meditating off and on telling my blood supply to shut off nutrients to the lump for a couple months), I cannot shake this feeling of nervousness. If they tell me they need to take another look because it’s suspicious, how do I stop myself from going to the dark place? I know I have the tools, but I need you to tell me how to implement them when faced with blinding fear.

    Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Yes, get a mammogram. There are newer x-ray machines with less radiation and better imagery.

    You are in charge of your thoughts, so several times a day start visualizing having a mammogram and getting good news. It will help reprogram your mind and body.

    Remember to laugh for no reason every few hours, too.  Just bring to mind something you have experienced that made you laugh out loud.

    Ask yourself why you would choose to waste your life’s time being fearful.  You are a thoughtful, strong person, and you are in charge of your future, so be confident that you can rely on yourself to eliminate fear from your life. Then set about putting as much positivity into your life as you can—love your body and your life.

    Peace & Love,
    Bernie

    Question for Bernie (follow-up to question above):

    Wow…I need you to reel me in again. I was doing well yesterday after your last email. Then I informed my sister of what was going on since she’s had many benign tumors in her breasts, and she cluelessly scared the shit out of me with symptom facts.

    And I had to tell my husband; I told him it’s just a cyst, but want to be sure. Seeing the fear and the thoughts rolling around in his head made me nervous. But my sister was the kicker. Now I’m having a hard time focusing on the good news thoughts. They feel distant and are always interrupted by the bad, which I stop right away, but my stomach is constantly nervous.

    This is reality and I’ve always wondered how you help people get past this—just keep forcing the good thoughts? Just keep saying to myself “it’s a cyst?” How do I believe it once again, though?

    Thank you.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    You believe the “good thoughts” because you have faith in both yourself and your Lord that you can handle whatever comes.

    How you were brought up is the problem, but you have grown stronger in your understanding of the Mind-Body connection and no longer need to fall back into old thinking habits that make you vulnerable to irrelevant information.  We can’t always avoid hearing “horror stories” that people blurt out without thinking.

    Always speak up right away before your sister or anyone else can dominate the conversation, and simply state that you would appreciate it if others did not share their experiences. Be firm and walk away if you must.  Practice survivor behavior—show your body that you love it and intend to protect your life and your body from the unnecessary (and potentially emotionally damaging) opinions/stories of others.

    First of all, rewrite your history by “re-parenting” yourself—learn to love your life and your body no matter what comes your way.  Give yourself complete permission to prioritize YOU.  It is not selfish, as many people were told as children—it is showing your intention to contribute to society by helping people believe in themselves in all areas of life.

    When you believe, peace will come.

    Peace, Love, & Healing,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 23, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    Dear Dr. Siegel,

    I wrote you a few years back to express my gratitude to you. As you can see from this email trail, you so kindly responded to me.  I still cherish that. Always will.

    While reading Dr. Perlmutter’s newsletter, I saw your endorsement of him. The description for Bernie Siegel MD read:  “renowned physician and author of many bestselling books including Love, Medicine, and Miracles and his latest – A Book of Miracles.” After reading this, my immediate thought was yes, he is all of that. But he is also a man that has the heart and thoughtfulness to personally respond to my email which such kindness. You also gave me personal encouragement which I often remind myself to practice.

    Bottom line, I think of you fondly and feel very happy and delighted when I see your name. Thank you for the personal touch.

    Love and miracles to you and yours ❤

    Bernie’s Answer:

    You are my gift.  Since A Book of Miracles came out, I have written more books which you may enjoy, so I encourage you to visit my website at www.berniesiegelmd.com and go through the book list for more details about each book. I can particularly recommend two recent books, The Art of Healing—Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing, as well as Love, Animals & Miracles: Inspiring True Stories Celebrating the Healing Bond.

    Also, while you are on the website, you can browse through many articles that I’ve written. Among them, you may find topics of special interest to you.

    Many blessings of peace, love, and health,
    Bernie

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    Where Survival is the Question Men are the Weaker Sex

    This post is written for two groups. Number one, the women who need to be educated about the behavior of men in a crisis and two, the men, who are willing to change and go beyond the traditional self-destructive masculine behavior. Most men do not handle emotional problems well. Too often they desert their wives and girl friends in time of crisis. I know some husbands who drive their wives to our support groups and then sit in the parking lot waiting for them. They are chauffeurs and not soul mates. They have a great deal of difficulty sharing feelings and joining a team, which is something women do as a reflex in times of stress. Men are more likely to take a fight-or-flight approach. If they can’t fight it or fix it, they take off. Be prepared. You are not the problem. The problem is their discomfort, or their dis-ease with disease.

    Is this survival behavior? No. Do women live longer than men with the same cancers? Yes. But it has a lot to do with our biology and patterns of thinking and behaving. Men need to be given something to do. It can be as simple as a hug or mowing the lawn or getting out of the way and playing golf. But it can also be knowing that your presence is what is needed and not your attempt to fix and cure it all. You can go on the Internet and get information and feel like you are doing something for your afflicted loved one. Remember if you do what Lassie would do you can’t go wrong. Just find your role model and behave as if.

    To be fair, there are men who are not afraid of their feminine side and are willing to join a healing team. In the same way, some women are not afraid to use their masculine side, and to speak up for themselves in hospitals. If you want to heal, it is important that you be a complete human being and be comfortable with behaviors that are typically masculine and feminine.

    To be a fully empowered patient and healing team member, you need to be able to step outside gender-defined ways of behaving. Fortunately, this is somewhat easier than it was in the 1950s. Today people do not find it particularly strange when a man admits to being scared or a woman makes John Wayne look like a wimp when she is unhappy with the care she is receiving. Men and women are generally allowed a wider range of emotions and behavior, and people may not find it odd that you are feisty when that is needed, and open, receptive, and expressive when circumstances call for that kind of response.

    Moving beyond the traditional masculine and feminine roles can be a matter of life and death. In today’s environment we need to combine both features because they make a difference. For a man joining a group and developing relationships and asking for help may be very difficult but it is survival behavior. For the woman stopping the good girl behavior and expressing emotions may be a big change from her family behavior pattern.

    What it is really about is our becoming a complete human being which very few of us are. Men need to stop being afraid of their vulnerability and take their place in society alongside women who have the right to their place in society. It took us long enough to even let the women vote. Why? There are women physicians I know who are so masculine it is unhealthy and their patients suffer. We all need to be in touch with our unconscious female and male components the anima and animus. They are within us whether acknowledged or not.

    Men stop being afraid to feel and give your sons the freedom to be complete human beings. It is healthier to be authentic then it is to live a role.

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    Q & A with Bernie – January 9, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    This is something I’ve always wondered since going through cancer with my father and hearing that initial diagnosis and reading your books. When you say the exceptional patients do what they want…I often think that if I were in that situation, I would opt to not do chemo or radiation and do something more natural…even go so far as checking into the Gerson clinic.

    However, when my father and my friend heard the bad news (the closest thing I’ve experienced to cancer), human fear struck my entire being. I lost hope in that instance and in desperation was too scared to not follow what their oncologist says to do asap…chemo and radiation.

    In your experience with exceptional patients, do they have that fear when they hear the initial diagnosis?

    Bernie’s Answer:

    They may experience fear initially, but when they do what they decide and feel that they are doing what is right for them, the fear lessens or evaporates.  The difference is that when you decide what treatment options to take, it is far less likely that you will have all the side effects as people do when they feel that they have no say in their treatment; they are more likely to believe that they are being poisoned by treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These patients also often experience significant side effects. But, when the treatment is thought of as God’s gift, patients don’t experience problems with the treatment.

    So visualizing the treatments in a positive way makes a difference. Your body believes what your mind conceives.

    Here on my website (www.berniesiegelmd.com), go to my articles and read Deceiving People into Health. Also, read my book, The Art Of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing, where you can see the drawings people do of their treatment and how the same treatment can be heaven or hell, depending on the patient’s chosen perspective. Lastly, I recommend my CD entitled Getting Ready which helps people prepare for good results.

    An example of the power of the mind from my own clinical experience involved a number of patients who, due to unknown medical equipment dysfunction, where erroneously thought to be receiving chemo and/or radiation therapy, but who were, in actuality, not receiving radiation or chemo. But because some patients exhibited the benefits of these treatments and some patients endured significant side effects, neither the patients nor the doctors realized what was happening.

    The reactions patients exhibited really were a product of their individual deep beliefs about how they would react to treatment.  Since the machinery was dysfunctional, their reactions were clearly coming from the mind’s own belief system—and those reactions were so powerful that even the doctors assumed the patients were getting treatment from fully functional chemo or radiation equipment.

    Peace, Love, & Healing,
    Bernie

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    Embracing Change to Find the Gift in Adversity

    Dear Everybody,

    Here are the quotes, in finished form, with the name of the person who said them.

    Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, ‘Lillian, you should have remained a virgin.’
    ~
    Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)

    I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue:  ‘No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.’
    ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

    Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.
    ~ Mark Twain

    Now to get serious. A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee….You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

    Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

    In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’

    ‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

    Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

    ‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

    I could clarify the meaning further but I think you will all get the message and get to know yourselves better by answering the question for yourself.

    I am not sure who said it but I agree, “Life is like surgery without anesthesia.” How we respond to pain and loss is what it all boils down to. The boiling has its place in our lives to. When our pain and difficulties become a labor pain of self birth it hurts a lot less.

    When we don’t choose to change our lives and eliminate what is killing us then suicide becomes the easy way out and treatment of choice.

    Think about how you would answer the question; How are you? Would you answer; I am not happy or I am unhappy. If your answer is that you are unhappy then you have chosen to remain in that state of being. But if you said I am not happy there is hope for you because you have the potential to change yourself and your life and find happiness.

    I have written about a boy I knew who was abused by his parents and instead of killing them, because he didn’t want to be like them, chose to commit suicide. However, his angel delayed the A Train and so Toni called the suicide hot line, whose number was on the subway platform’s wall, and learned about love from the people who rescued him. We are all capable of change but we have to be willing to do the work and remake ourselves and our life.

    Here is a little poem I wrote many years ago. Entitled HAPPINESS. I mention our daughter because she lives with many problems including a child with genetic metabolic and developmental problems. And then once I get started going through my “poems” I can’t help but share others with you containing the lessons I have learned.

    HAPPINESS
    I will not give my power away
    It is my happiness, mine
    I create it, not you
    I decide to be, not you
    You can come into my happiness
    But you cannot create it or destroy it
    You can only enlarge it
    Our daughter knows about happiness

    SUICIDE
    Why think it?
    Why bother with life?
    What’s the point?
    It is so easy to stop living
    Why take the easy way out?
    Chicken
    Take the challenge
    Take the pain
    Live
    Have surgery without anesthesia
    Then life seems easy

    PRECIOUS STONES
    The stone had chiseled on its face
    The years months and days he lived
    Were they precious, treasured, counted and remembered
    Or was his life a sentence to be lived out
    Stop and think
    The time we spend doesn’t change
    Are we living or dying
    Free or imprisoned
    Gift or burden
    Years, months, days
    Hours, seconds
    Time
    How will you spend your sentence?
    Until you create a precious stone

    THE GREAT TEACHER
    Death what a great teacher you are
    Yet few of us elect to take your class
    And learn about life
    That is the essence of death’s teaching
    Death is not an elective
    We must all take the class
    The wise students audit the class in their early years
    And find enlightenment
    They are prepared when graduation day comes
    It is your commencement

    I work at it every day and accept my mortality so it becomes my therapist in the sense of reminding me I am here for a limited time and if so then why waste it being unhappy. I said I work at it. I didn’t say I never have a dark moment but again the darkness is like hunger forcing me to find nourishment for my life and soul. Many years ago when I was an angry man because of what life had dealt me Elizabeth Kubler-Ross listened to my anguish and then said, “Bernie, you have needs to.” I am forever hearing her repeat that and trying to get the message.

    As I was about to share that some of that was about having five kids, a house and yard full of animals, my wife diagnosed with a serious illness and a busy surgical practice, all making demands on my time, one of our present cats started yelling at me because it is nine minutes before their feeding time. So you get the message. Life doesn’t change but Penny will have to wait until I finish this article. I am laughing now and just accepting that that’s life. I have quoted one of our sons before: “Life sucks and most people suck and if you wake up one day and the world is beautiful and everyone loves one another; you’re dead.” I love it and he told me that if I ever write another book to call it Holy Shit. I think that is a great title for life. So use the compost and come up with a delicious hot cup of coffee.

    Now your homework: Complete these quotes

    You are only as old as………….

    The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending and…….

    Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people……..

    Peace,
    Bernie Siegel, MD

    If you are irritated by every rub how will you be polished.
    ~ Rumi

    How could death be the end of something that has no beginning?
    ~ Hydeh Aubon

    Your criticism is your opinion of one, which you are free to have.
    ~ Lucette Douglas

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