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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 #122 – Getting to Know You

    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.


    The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

    ~ Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Historian and Essayist

    Getting to know yourself better takes courage. It is far easier to hide behind a mask than to see yourself as you really are. There are many who think they are perfect and need not change, who think they’re the center of the universe, and they have a problem.

    If you wish to know yourself and change for the better, you need to accept your inadequacies, fears, weaknesses, mistakes, and more. If you need others present constantly to entertain and distract you, then you are afraid to be still and know yourself.

    So spend some time being totally alone and see how you feel. If you are comfortable, then I would say you are in the process of knowing yourself. Knowing yourself means being willing to be with yourself. Once you can do that, the frantic search for distraction and escape will stop ruling your life and you can choose to fill your life with the things that bring you joy.

    Soulution of the Day

    Even if it feels uncomfortable, go away with yourself
    and spend some time together getting to know yourself.
    You may find that you are great company.

    - Bernie

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  • Q & A with Bernie – September 25, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    Dear Dr. Siegel,

    I wrote to you in June about my nephew who is battling Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4.  He finished a year at university and, during a routine MRI, the doctors found it had gone into his spine.  He had surgery and had 3 small tumors removed near the base of his spine.

    Three weeks later, they did an MRI to see if he had healed enough to start radiation and he had 4 small tumors, and one tumor almost an inch on his spine.  So he had radiation and then it moved up to his brain – 2 small tumors – so they did a drip every 2 weeks to try to hold that at bay. He also started using cannabis oil.

    Throughout the treatments, he maintained a great attitude and had many cheerleaders and prayers!

    The result is the last MRI showed no tumors on the spine and the brain tumors remained the same size.  So he has started chemo to take care of them.  He is a very positive, strong 20 year- old with a great deal of support.

    Thank you for all your help and encouraging words!!!!  You are such an inspiration to all!!  I hope all is well with you and your family.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Thank you for keeping me informed about your nephew’s journey. Help him stay surrounded by positive people and eliminate negative influences.

    Tell him to love his life and body so that his mind-body-and spirit gets the message that his intention is to heal and to live.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    Question for Bernie:

    Dear Bernie,

    The Berlin Cancer Support Group meets once a month (see attached flyer). Last week the group met for the second time and I was asked to share how the 12 steps of AA are helping me to cope with cancer (see attached spreadsheet). Maybe the attachments are useful for your work for which I feel grateful.

    All the best from Berlin/Germany…

    Bernie’s Answer:

    Yes, and the themes which help are in the Bible, too.  They are ages old and about survival.

    Thanks for sharing information about your program. Here is contact information from your flyer for any readers who may be interested in learning more about your adaptation of the AA 12-step approach to living with cancer.

    Cancer Support Group in English @Berliner Krebsgesellschaft e.V.Robert-Koch-Platz 7, 10115 Berlin

    Gruppenraum – 2nd floor, right side, Room #212

    Please register with Colleen Flowers at 0175-477 28 96 or at www.tinyurl.com/Berlin-Cancer-Meetup-English.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    You Are a Stradivarius

    Dear Everybody,

    If you were given a Rolls Royce, a Stradivarius, a precious jewel, or something lse of great value, how would you take care of it? i think the answer is obvious. You would guard it and care for it to maintain its value.

    You are given a life to care for – your own. How do you take care of it? I think the answer is that you do not care for it as well as you do your other treasures. Every life is a beautiful instrument and work of art. Learn to see it and play it with all your talent. But most of all, treat your life with the respect it deserves.

    You may not have been treated like a treasured instrument, but it is never too late to polish your finish and tune your strings. When you are in tune with the preciousness of life, teach others what you have learned

    You are a Stradivarius – play from your heartstrings!

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Focusing on Life and Truth

    My camera has an automatic focus. I point at something, and it focuses on it. It doesn’t argue with me, turn away, go out of focus, or refuse to see what is right before it.

    People, on the other hand, often refuse to focus on what matters. We become so intent on our own needs, and what we want that we can’t see what is right in front of us. Life becomes way out of focus. What makes us, as humans, begin truly to focus?  Sometimes it takes coming face-to-face with the reality that we will not live forever. Then we start to appreciate what is before us rather than what we want to see.

    Cameras see all that exists through one lens. People need to expand their view and see things clearly without first running through their various filters and colored lenses. My advice is to throw away your filters and stay focused on life and truth.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Letting Your Inner Light Shine

    This is the healing approach we all can embrace in these turbulent times.  My grandson came up with the perfect picture to illustrate his words which gently but firmly support and guide us in the pursuit of a positive perspective on life.  Thank you, Charlie.

    Peace,

    Bernie

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    Start

    Here is a poem I wrote about how to handle that very human problem of procrastination.  Each of us has our own reasons for putting things off, but the next time you are faced with being unable to get started, read this for inspiration.

    Peace,
    Bernie

    START

    start now
    not thinking about it
    but doing it
    once you’ve begun
    it all changes
    no more thinking and scheduling
    we are in it now
    doing, working, living
    life makes its own schedule
    if we live start living it now

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    Practicing the Art of Healing

    Dear Everybody,

    I believe we all can tap our body’s potential to heal. After studying the use of crayon drawings by patients facing life-threatening disease, I founded Exceptional Cancer Patients to facilitate self-induced healings, which were often called miraculous. I realized our bodies actually want to heal, and we can aid this innate propensity through what are currently seen as unconventional practices, including drawing, visualization, dreams, love, and laughter. You can learn more about this in my book, The Art of Healing.

    I thought I would share with you a video that I made a few years ago that explains the way I  use drawing in therapy, mind-body medicine, and alternative treatments. Enjoy!

    Peace,
    Bernie

    How do you interpret a patient’s drawing? with Dr. Bernie Siegel

    View on YouTube

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    Health Care Crisis

    Here is an article I wrote some time ago, but it remains very timely.  The debate over health care continues, so I’ll share my thoughts with you again about this vitally important issue.


    The present health care crisis is not just related to health care it is a crisis related to what is happening in our society. We have become depersonalized as a society, invested in technology and not the experience people are having. Studies verify what happens to children who grow up unloved and experiencing indifference, rejection and abuse. By midlife if they haven’t killed themselves and others while seeking revenge and experiencing guilt related to their actions, almost one hundred percent of them have experienced a major illness, while loved children have one-fourth the serious illness rate.

    Information does not resolve unhealthy behavior. People who smoke or are two hundred pounds overweight are not acting out of stupidity or a lack of knowledge. What everyone needs is inspiration. When parents, teachers, clergy, doctors, politicians and other authority figures display their love for individuals they are related to or caring for the health of the planet and its residents will improve. This is not about liking what people are doing but it is about loving them and maintaining a relationship with them until they realize they are worthy and loved. At that point they begin to follow instructions and behave in a manner that is life enhancing and not self destructive. I know this from my experience as a surgeon who did not reject his patients.

    When you grow up without love what you seek are rewards and feelings that you never experienced in a healthy way. So the individual turns to addictions of drugs, food alcohol and more as a way of rewarding themselves and numbing their pain. We need to listen to each other and treat the wounds of the individuals we are caring for and about. Studies reveal that when a patient states that their doctor listened to them during their office visit they are far more likely to take their medication and follow the doctor’s advice.

    Society needs to see parenting as a public health issue and help parents to bring their children up feeling loved. We have birthing classes but no parenting classes. The latter is desperately needed if we are to avoid self destruction. All authority figures in a person’s life become either destructive or constructive parents for the individual. This includes everything from global warming to obesity. If you grow up with a sense of self worth and esteem you do not behave in a destructive and unhealthy manner towards yourself and others. As the father of five children I know the importance of letting the children know that parental discipline comes from a sense of love for them. Then they follow directions because it gives a new sense of meaning to the message. I was called a CD by a suicidal teenager, who is alive today because I became her Chosen Dad, who loved her. We all have the potential to reparent ourselves and others.

    Doctors also need to understand that what people need is treatment of not just their diagnosis but their experience. When you ask patients what they want from their doctors they do not ask that every disease be cured but they do ask that doctors, “Knock on my door, Look me in the eye when they talk to me, Say hello and goodbye and Call me by my name.”

    Having a disease is an experience which varies with every individual. If you ask one hundred people with the same illness to describe their experience you will get a different answer from almost every one of them. I know from experience as a physician who has counseled cancer patients and others for decades. The words they come up with relate to their life and help me to treat them and understand their woundedness.

    When a major medical journal publishes a pharmaceutical ad which reads, “I was depressed, unable to cope. I went to see my physician. I said you’ve got to help me. He prescribed an antidepressant and I feel wonderful now.” I wrote in criticizing them for ignoring the patient’s needs and responding so impersonally and asked them to insert a sentence which asked what was happening in the patient’s life. They cancelled the ad.

    I know doctors whose salaries were capped because they talked to patients four minutes longer than the department average. That is sick also. The American College of Surgeons pledge ends with, “I will deal with my patients as I would wish to be dealt with if I were in the patient’s position.” I gave up trying to get them to change it to care for my patients as I would wish to be cared for. The only way to avoid a health care crisis is to care for and about the people who need our care. We also should reward those who remain healthy. If I do not require a doctor’s service, except for an annual physical exam, or any medications why not reward me at the end of the year with a refund or lower premium on my health insurance. If I am a safe driver I am rewarded. So why not reward me for safe and healthy living and let those who are self destructive pay the price and maybe rethink their actions if it becomes costly for them.

    We also ought to be sure that all future doctors and health care executives spend a week in a hospital bed so they no longer are tourists but have the native’s experience. The former CEO of the Ritz Carleton Hotels, Horst Schulze, changed the way the hotels were run after he spent time in a hospital being treated for cancer. He humanized them so employees took on the problems of their hotel residents and greeted them by name. Every employee gets a list of twenty behavior patterns that they are to adopt. Some hospitals have used this list when I gave them a copy.

    We also need to understand that we have something to learn from patients who do better than expected. There are cases of self induced healing and we can learn about survival behavior from these people and teach it to others. Relationships, connections, meaning all are survival behavior qualities. It is no accident that women live longer than men with the same cancers and that married men live longer than single men and have less lung cancer than single men if they are both smokers.

    We could also cancel Monday and reduce the rate of heart attacks, strokes, suicides and other illnesses. Truth is that wouldn’t work because Tuesday would now be the problem. Again we need to teach people how to cope with stress and how to control their depression, fears and other self destructive emotions. Your body loves you but if you do not love your life it will end it far sooner thinking it is doing you a favor.

    Mind body medicine should not be an alternative nor should complementary and integrative medicine be something doctors are not exposed to during their training. Medical journals which are supported by pharmaceutical advertising do not print articles which would expose doctors to alternative therapies. When patients are diagnosed with an illness they should be given instructions, not just a pill to swallow, about how to enhance their immune function and act like someone with an immune competent personality. Psychiatrist George Solomon saw the benefits of such behavior early on when working with HIV+ patients and I see it in cancer patients and others. Doctors need to be teachers. Doctors also aren’t trained in mind body medicine. They are not told about Carl Jung interpreting a dream and diagnosing a brain tumor. Yes, mind and body communicate and the inner wisdom is also vital to survival. The patient’s beliefs affect the outcome of therapy. When chemotherapy is portrayed as the devil giving you poison you are in big trouble. So doctors need to be taught how to communicate and enhance our healing potential. Scalpels can kill or cure and so can words become swords.

    Survival behavior means people should not be submissive, suffering patients but respants, or responsible participants. One hundred thousand people a year die from medical errors. Patients need to be known as people and not by their disease or room number. We need to humanize the system for both the doctor and the patient. Then doctors will know how to deal with their feelings and loss and not just think and separate themselves from their patients so they will feel less pain if their patient dies. There are many famous paintings showing the doctor sitting next to the patient’s bed, chin in hand, thinking while their patient is dying. We need to reach out and touch each other and to quote a young man who died of AIDS. “What is evil is not the disease but to not treat the person with the disease with compassion.”

    My life as a physician was changed when my patient with breast cancer said to me, “You’re a nice guy. I feel better when I am in the office with you but I can’t take you home with me. So I need to know how to live between office visits.” I started support groups to help them to learn. I was amazed at how few patients came to the groups when I offered them a longer better life if they attended. I learned that if you grew up with guilt, shame and blame, due to parents, teachers and religions, you were afraid to participate in your own well being. That is why the group became ECaP or Exceptional Cancer Patients. What I learned was when you helped people to live they derived physical benefits from their new joyful life and didn’t die when they were supposed to. The best hospices have graduations and drop outs too.

    If I were in charge of health care I would also reward those people and companies who show the benefits of treatments that they can’t patent. A tax deduction or some other financial reward would help lead them to investigate more natural therapies and treatments rather than reject them as unproven or unknown.

    I have continued to run support groups for over thirty years. I have also benefited from the therapy. I have learned that people are not statistics and that we have to help them to achieve their potential and not see death as a failure or lost battle. When we see disease as the enemy and only focus on killing the disease we empower our enemy. As Mother Teresa said, “I will not attend an anti-war rally but if you ever have a peace rally call me.”

    We need to help people to heal their lives and bodies and benefit from the healing and the internal environment it creates. We give messages and instructions to our genes and so our lifestyle and personality all affect our vulnerability. Just as bacteria, viruses and plant life alter their genes to survive antibiotics, vaccines and the environment so can we.

    Medicine needs to focus on the people with the illness and not just the disease.

    I have many articles on my web site, relating to my experience with patients and their survival behavior. I also have written many books and made many audios available to empower patients and to share what I have learned about life, living, healing, loss and more. My best known book is Love, Medicine & Miracles and the latest Faith, Hope & Healing. Again this is not about becoming immortal but about living an authentic life and not one imposed upon you by others and realizing the only thing of permanence is love.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    The Art of Healing – The Simsbury Talk

    Dear Everybody,

    First, I’ll remind you again to regularly take time just for yourself in your busy life.

    And for this week’s post, here is another suggestion for your consideration.  Watch my talk, “The Art of Healing” on Simsbury TV, first broadcast in May 2014. You can watch the video below or click on this link to view it on YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rWXVeMElA

    Summer is still here, so please, stop and smell the roses!

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Q & A with Bernie – July 31, 2017

    Question for Bernie:

    Hi Bernie,

    Something tragic has happened to a family we know. The 49 year old dad just died in his sleep the other night. The three kids are in high school and belong to our parish. And the mom has been battling colon cancer (we think it’s stage 4).

    I have ordered her your guided healing and enhancing the immune system meditations for when the time is right. I am so haunted by this news and don’t even know what to do besides pray.

    If I get to connect with her in the next few weeks, I’d like to introduce her to your philosophy and find out where she is in her fight in her head.

    How do you mourn while trying to stay alive for your children? I am at a loss. Anything you got would help and be greatly appreciated.

    Bernie’s Answer:

    My recommendation is that you get a copy of my little book titled Buddy’s Candle on my website www.berniesiegelmd.com.  I wrote Buddy’s Candle for people who have lost a loved one.

    Tell them all to look for signs from their dad. He is still with them through consciousness.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    The Immune Competent Personality Test Revisited

    Dear Everyone,

    I often recommend to people who write to me about both preventing illness and coping with illness when it is present in your life that they read something on my website called The IMMUNE COMPETENT PERSONALITY, based on Dr. George Solomon’s research.  I decided to feature it this week in my post for those who haven’t yet tried it.  Please let me know what you think of it. Here it is:

    The Immune Competent Personality Test

    The IMMUNE COMPETENT PERSONALITY is based on Dr. George Solomon’s research.

    1. Do I have a sense of meaning in my work, daily, activities, family and relationships?
    2. Am I able to express anger appropriately in defense of myself?
    3. Am I able to ask friends and family for support when I am feeling lonely or troubled?
    4. Am I able to ask friends or family for favors when I need them?
    5. Am I able to say no to someone who asks for a favor if I can’t or don’t feel like doing it?
    6. Do I engage in health related behaviors based on my own self defined needs instead of someone else’s prescriptions or ideas?
    7. Do I have enough play in my life?
    8. Do I find myself depressed for long periods during which time I feel hopeless about ever changing the conditions that cause me to be depressed?
    9. Am I dutifully filling a prescribed role in my life to the detriment of my own needs?

    Answers: If you answer no to the first seven questions and yes to the last two you need attention.


    *Siegel’s three additions:

    1. I am taking you to dinner, what do you want?
    2. What would you hold up before an audience to demonstrate the beauty and meaning of life?
    3. How would you introduce yourself to God?

    Answers:

    1. Your response should relate to your feelings not your thinking about what to eat.
    2. Mirror
    3. You are a child of God
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