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  • New from Bernie Siegel

    Introducing Bernie Siegel's new audio download, Daily Meditations for Optimal Health. Selected for Dr. Bernie Siegel’s Prescriptions for Living best-selling series, these recordings are a combination of guided imagery, auto-hypnosis and meditations that relieve stress, open the heart, and deeply heal your mind, body and spirit. Learn more.     Available now. Order your copy online today at:  Hay House.
    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.
  • 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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  • Genes, Psyche and Soma

    Part of learning to love ourselves is appreciating our own miraculous body, not just externally, but what is much more interesting and truly awesome to me, internally, as complex body chemistry generates internal messages that reach every necessary cell.

    The things that I find exciting about the human body are what we can’t touch directly. We take our cars to body shops for repairs and perform maintenance every so many miles, but what keeps our body going? Why do some people go on for 100 years and others half that time? You can answer that it’s genetic, but why are the genes doing what they are doing? Who is giving the orders, and who or what is taking orders? Why is a touch significant; why do we need to sleep; and what is consciousness? Let me try and answer some of these questions.

    You can see my problem isn’t about ego. Most people would base a book on the above, and I’m trying to answer in a page or so. When you think of the communication going on in the body, it all boils down to the cell membrane and what communicates with it. How we are touched by others, and how we reach out to touch others, creates an internal chemistry that speaks directly to every cell. There is memory and intelligence in every cell. It has a job to do and is equipped to do it, but it’s still following orders that integrate it into the needs of the body as a whole. Who or what is in charge and makes the decisions is beyond understanding as far as I am concerned.

    We know from the stories of transplant recipients that organs carry memory. A painful life has its adverse effects when it leads one to not want to live. The will to live is not just about desire, but about the chemistry and internal messages which are being communicated to the cell. I know how I feel on my difficult days, and I pay attention to those feelings and internal messages—and respond to them.

    Bacteria are capable of making intelligent genetic changes to become resistant to antibiotics, which upsets us. But instead, why not be pleased by the ability that exists within us to do the same thing to successfully survive. I know it is more difficult for us than the bacteria because of how simple their lives are compared to ours.

    However, everyone with a gene for a disease doesn’t get it. I do know of identical twins who both develop the same disease, but I know of more identical twins who do not develop the same disease. I believe their lifestyle, both physical and emotional, makes the difference. Again, this is not about blame, but about internal wisdom and messages.

    Think of the great undifferentiated potential from which we all come. Now think of yourself as a circle within that circle with no circumference. You are touching it, separate from it and a part of it, all at the same time. You are aware and conscious of yourself and more. Our bodies may be present locally but consciousness goes beyond any physical limitations. I have had personal experiences with intuitives and mediums that have convinced me of our potential to communicate and see in ways that most of us are not taught even exist. The CIA uses these non-local abilities to spy on people.

    I think a part of our brain requires rest, so that it can communicate in symbols while we sleep. Think about it. Why do we sleep when sleep is dangerous? Predators can pounce upon sleeping animals, so why do what is dangerous? I believe that sleep is necessary to restore and maintain the system upon which consciousness depends. It is true that we hear while we sleep to provide us the warning of noisy threats, but a good predator is quiet.

    As a surgeon I am fascinated by sleep and anesthesia. We don’t know how anesthesia works, but we use it every day. My sense is that it works through the pathways that lead to sleep. We can lose consciousness, but still maintain all the other body functions—and even respond physiologically to verbal commands and touch while anesthetized. So consciousness exists during sleep and communicates what we need to know via symbols.

    What happens to consciousness when the body dies? My opinion, from my experience, is that consciousness continues to exist without the need for the body. That great undifferentiated potential from which we are derived is conscious without form. We give it form so it can act and touch other living things. The touch that cannot be felt is a mystical or spiritual event that most people never experience.

    My hope is that someday we will all experience both touches—the touch of other living things, be they our pets, family, or therapists, and also the touch of creation, so that we feel a part of something greater then we appear to be. I think when people feel this connection, their membranes get a very powerful live message and feel integrated into the process of creation and so we sing, ‘Touch me and know what happiness is.’

    Remember you are the one who sets the limits as to how far you can reach and what you can touch in your lifetime. So make the sky your nonexistent limit.

    Why am I sharing this? Why do I want you to have a sense of awe? So that each day will be a gift of wonder and not a burden. As a surgeon I need to be practical, just as you do, but to experience life and healing, one needs to reach beyond the practical, palpable things that fill our lives and live with a sense of wonder and awe.

    I want you to achieve your potential. As Ernest Holmes said, “What if Jesus was the only normal person who ever lived?” Hmmmm, think about that for a minute.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Poetic Relief

    Poetry is language at its most distilled
    and most powerful
    .”
    ~ Rita Dove

    If you don’t write poetry, you are missing a great opportunity.  The other day I greeted my wife at the back door and then put away several bags of groceries.  I patted myself on the back for being such a good guy and waited for her to return to the kitchen.  When she did, she said, “You don’t put tomatoes in the refrigerator.”  No “thank you,” just criticism.  What was my response?  To write a poem entitled “Divorce.”

    In it I listed all my deficits, like putting tomatoes in the refrigerator, eating and walking too fast, and snoring.  I read the poem to my wife, and she laughed.  I love her when she laughs, so we fired the divorce lawyer, took the tomatoes out of the refrigerator, and decided to give love a chance.  Now you know why I love and recommend writing poetry.

    The day you start writing, your world will change.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Where’s Home?

    Show me a man who cares no more for one place than another and I will show you in that same person one who loves nothing but himself.
    ~ Robert Southey

    As I stepped of the plane after a recent trip, someone asked me, “Are you home yet?”

    I said, “Of course.  This is my planet.”

    What do you think of a home?  Whether it is one acre or a whole continent, do you treat your homeland differently than the homeland of others?  Or are all homelands sacred to you?

    In actuality, you are home everywhere on this planet.  We all share the furnishings, the environment, and the air we breathe and re-breathe.  Treat it all like your home and care for it so that your descendants, of whatever blood relationship, race, religion, or nationality, can live here in the years to come.

    If we feel at home and those around us, we will create a home for the future.  But if we build fences, fight with our neighbors, intrude on them, and damage their property, we will all lose our homes some day.

    Are you home yet?  Of course you are; this is your planet! So create a home for everyone by landscaping your life for the pleasure of all to see.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Inspiration

    “Inspiration comes from theHeart of Heaven
    to give the lift of wings,
    and the breath of divine music
    to those of us who are earthbound.”

    ~ Margaret Sangster

    When I speak to respiratory therapists the words inspiration and inspire relate to the act of breathing, mechanical movements of the chest and diaphragm which pull air into our lungs.  Yet these words carry a much more significant meaning as well.

    In many languages the word for breath and inspiration relates to our spirit and spark of life.  I do not think it is an accident that this meaning is shared. After all, God breathed life into Adam through his nostrils.  That first inspiration brought life into a piece of clay.  Dust became alive.

    We are all dust and clay until we find inspiration in our lives.  When we are inspired, we change the world, not by changing others, but by changing ourselves.  If everyone on this planet felt inspired and breathed life into each other, we would have a world of companionship and love.

    Inspire deeply for yourself and all those in your life.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Teachers

    When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
    ~ Taoist Saying

    The Sufi poet Rumi said, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” He taught me that everyone is my teacher.  If you are trying to be a better human being, then look for teachers.  They might be your colleagues, your family, and even your pets.  My family, nurses, and patients have always been my teachers.  They tell me when I could be a better doctor, father, husband, and so on.

    The people who I worry about are the ones that always blame everyone else, never do their homework, and do not accept the fact that they have anything to learn or that they can ever do anything wrong.

    Once a teacher has led you to understand how to improve at what you are doing and at being who you are, do your homework and ask them to continue to grade you on your progress.  Life is a school, and teachers are everywhere if you are willing to attend the class called Life 101.

    See your day as a classroom and be aware of the different subjects and teachers available to you for your further education.

    Life is a great teacher.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Self-Care and Cancer: How to Maintain Your Overall Wellness in the Face of Illness

    While traditional medical care, treatments, and medication are all vital components of care for cancer patients, the thing that ties them all together is your own personal self-care. By keeping yourself well — mentally, physically, and spiritually — you boost the effectiveness of your traditional cancer care. Although cancer often makes us feel out of control, practicing self-care is one way to take that control back. Here’s how.

    Prioritize the Big Three: Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep

    The three most important things you can do to put your body and mind in the right place to heal are eat right, get some exercise, and sleep well. What is considered a good diet for cancer patients can vary, but it’s smart to start with foods that are high in protein and healthy fats, as well as fruits and veggies of all colors. Eating better with cancer also involves knowing how to get enough nutrition through bouts of nausea and other illness (for example, try oatmeal, crackers, rice, and plain pasta, for example).

    The American Cancer Society notes the following benefits of moderate exercise for cancer patients: improves balance, keeps muscles from wasting due to inactivity, lowers the risk of heart disease, improves blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots, lowers the risk of being anxious and depressed, lessens nausea, and many more. Exercise provides a body and mind boost that you need every single day.

    Additionally, cancer patients often struggle with sleep. Eating right and exercising will, in turn, help you get better-quality sleep. You should prioritize sleep whenever you feel tired, as your body needs it to heal. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping whenever, wherever you need to.

    Promote Better Air Quality in Your Home

    There’s a reason hospitals keep the air quality in their rooms clean: Polluted air can interfere with the healing efforts of cancer patients and make them feel worse. That’s why you should  invest in an air purifier for your home. It will take care of the pollen, dust, mold, dander, and most airborne pollutants that invade the home. A good air filter to consider is a MERV 13, which traps 98 percent of the particles in the air. Make sure you replace the filter every 90 days to maintain healthy air quality.

    Lean on Others for Help

    Self-care often means making yourself a priority, and one way to do that is to let people help you. You are worth it, and you are not a burden. Being social not only boosts your mood, but research also suggests that having friends and family support can help your cancer battle.

    That companionship doesn’t have to be human either. The benefits of support/therapy dogs for cancer patients are numerous. Beyond the obvious emotional support that a dog can provide, your four-legged companion may be able to help you with relaxation, distraction, and socialization. Service dogs can even help you with things around the house.

    Open Yourself Up for Better Spiritual Wellness

    Spiritual doesn’t have to mean religious (though it can). Having spiritual wellness simply means being connected and integrated with the self, others, nature, art, and possibly a higher power. It’s about meaning, purpose, and tranquility. Cancer patients, who often struggle with finding this meaning and purpose, need to focus on improving spiritual wellness more than anybody. Some tried and true ways to do this include prayer, meditation, and positive visualization.

    Learn How to Say No

    It’s not selfish to practice self-care, especially if you’re fighting cancer. Practicing self-care isn’t necessarily prioritizing yourself over those you love, it’s prioritizing yourself in a way you haven’t before. It’s giving yourself that ability to do things solely for your own benefit, and that’s okay. Part of this means saying no to others when you need to take time for yourself.

    Psych Central notes that “being unable to say no can make you exhausted, stressed and irritable. It could be undermining any efforts you make to improve your quality of life.” For the good of your overall wellness, don’t be afraid to be self-focused (not selfish).

    The bottom line is that your mind and body need to be in tip-top shape in order to deal with your cancer, your treatments, and the side effects. You are fully in control of yourself, and you must focus on improving your overall wellness on a daily basis. This is how you fight.


    This article was contributed by Scott Sanders, creator of CancerWell.org.

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    Be a Coach

    Great opportunities to help others seldom come,but small ones surround us daily.
    ~ Sally Koch

    We all need coaches, someone to point out our errors in technique, improve our skills, and not take credit when we do something well.  A good coach brings out the talent in others and doesn’t take all the glory for what the team does.

    Think of yourself as a coach and help your friends, family, and all God’s creatures to bring out their latent talents and develop their skills.  People just need the right nourishment to grow; the potential is already within them.  You can help it to grow.  Support others when they need it and watch what you produce: a winner!

    Notice who could use a coach today, then step up to the plate.

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    Quantity and Quality

    “It’s choice—not chance—that determines your destiny.”
    ~ Jean Nidetch

    Quantum physics awakened me to the nature of life and the true relationship between quantity and quality.  One normally thinks of a quality product, like a fine automobile, as being desired by many and therefore as being produced in quantity.  The number sold, in this case, depends on its quality.

    Many of us spend our lives accumulating dollars and objects to impress others with all we possess.  But what does this do to or for us as human beings?  Ninety-five percent of lottery winners will tell you, five years after winning, that it ruined their life.  Quantity is not the solution to life’s problems.

    Now enter the world of quantum physics and watch what happens when I add an electron to an existing atom.  By changing the quantity of the atom, I change the quality as well.

    And so it is with human beings.  When we increase or alter the quantity of meaningful information, beliefs, and activities in our life, rather than the objects, we change the quality of our life for the better.

    Unlike the atom being altered by a scientist we have a choice what to add to our personal universe.  Choose wisely.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Feelings

    If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.
    `~ Gospel of Saint Thomas

    Our oldest son organized a band when he was young. One of the songs they often played was “Feelings.”  I loved the song then, and it still means a lot to me now.

    As far back as one can go in our history, people have written about the importance of feelings.  On a personal level we know how feelings drive us to do things, from numbing ourselves when we can’t handle a situation to performing acts of great courage or destruction when we’re motivated by them.

    I’ve also heard people say that while learning to think, they almost forgot how to feel.  Our training and instruction does not teach us how to use our feelings properly.  Feelings are meant to protect and guide us; they are not something to be obliterated.  We destroy ourselves when we stop feeling.  If you bury your feelings within you, you become a graveyard.  I know I was doing that as a physician when I couldn’t deal with what I saw people going through.

    So bring forth your feelings.  Live each day allowing them to surface and guide you. Feel your feelings.  What you bring forth will save you.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Disciples

    Disciple to a philosophy, disciple to a set of principles, disciple to a set of values, disciple to an overriding purpose, to a super-ordinate goal or a person who represents that goal…You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source.
    ~ Anonymous

    Jesus asked his disciples to give up everything and follow him.  I do not think that today we need physically to follow someone to attain spiritual knowledge, because the words and teachings are available to us all.

    I asked my friend Gloria a question about disciples.  She writes Heaven Letters, which come from the words she hears from God.  Here are some words she shared in answer to my question:  “We are entwined partners.  Be a disciple to your own heart.  Be a disciple to truth.  Your willingness to be with Me is your discipleship.  Know our oneness.”  I agree and feel we commence to be disciples when we listen to the truth and to our hearts and become one.

    Become a disciple of the teachings of your heart.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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