Q & A with Bernie – November 7, 2011

Question for Bernie:

candle being litThis question is in regard to healing from grief. I have a friend whose 2 boys, her only children, were shot to death at ages 16 and 19, along with another 16-year old, in a road rage incident. The 24-year-old who shot them later killed himself. This happened just 3 months ago, so I know she needs time, but she seems so sad and helpless right now. I saw you years ago and you told a story about a man in heaven with a candle and everyone else’s candle was lit but his because “his tears kept putting it out.” I wonder if you could remind me of this story–it has helped me through a lot of bad times and maybe it would help her. Also, if you have any other suggestions for how she can deal with this horrible tragedy without losing herself in the grief, please include them in your answer. Thank you.

Bernie’s Answer:

I published this story as a children’s book called Buddy’s Candle. You can order it through my website. It is a simple story for all those who have lost loved ones, and is very helpful for people of all ages.

Remember, you can suggest resources like Buddy’s Candle, and you can be a supportive listener for now, letting her talk and find the answers. Ultimately, though, it is up to your friend to begin again. Just like a graduation is a commencement—a beginning—so is life, because throughout our lives we face times when we do “begin again.” Sometimes new beginnings are the result of happy changes in our circumstances and sometimes they are the result of very difficult times. But to “begin again” is always a choice we can only make for ourselves.

I copied your question to a friend who lost her two teenagers in a tragic accident. Please read her words of wisdom below.


Other thoughts for you from my friend:

I lost my only two children last year…..ages 15 & 19. You’re a good friend…..she’ll need that, remember that, and treasure that…..even if she can’t say it right now…..just knowing you are there in her space speaks a thousand words.

Tell her that if she can’t focus on what folks are saying now, she can respond by saying to them, “You’ll have to excuse me, but I deserve a pass.”

Bernie once told me, ”You breathe in and you breathe out, and you can’t breathe out unless you breathe in.” Your friend will understand.

Buy her Bernie’s CD “Meditations of Peace & Mind.” Just leave it where she’ll find it with a note that says “Break open when needed.” Don’t mention to her that the CD is there.

Have someone make her a bracelet that has her children’s names on it and just put it around her wrist…..don’t explain…..you won’t need to.

Don’t ever shy away from a beautiful memory of either one of her children.

Never say “I know what you’re feeling” or “I understand.” It’s a very unique journey.

And most importantly, tell her to never stop listening…it IS real…it IS her children….

Bernie’s Friend

Question for Bernie:

I can say that I am cancer free, but I am healing from a motor vehicle accident (a head-on collision). I am not recovering as I had hoped, which has left me sad and afraid. I find that I have to adapt to a very different me. I seem to suffer with chronic pain, exhaustion, and depression.

I am a certified Hypnotherapist with 18 years’ experience as well as being a Personal Trainer for over 25 years. I am very encouraged by your honesty and integrity as a doctor.

My question is: Do you think the information about suggestibility and hypnosis have been withheld in our educational system to keep the masses in a place of less personal power? I see very little information on how waking hypnosis can be used to create health, yet I see it used to keep most of today’s people in a weakened state.

I truly appreciate what you bring to the world.

Thank you for your gifts and your love.

Bernie’s Answer:

I think information on suggestibility and hypnosis is withheld out of ignorance and disbelief, not evil and malice. Now some of our well-known medical schools have Complementary and Alternative Medicine departments where treatment plans include standard holistic approaches like hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and meditation. This is just the beginning of the evolution in health care that I have talked and written about for years. We have a ways to go to be sure, but we can be glad that someone was listening way back in the 1970s when I started speaking out about ideas like patients and physicians being equal partners in care. The changes we are seeing now in medicine give me confidence that with time, science will evaluate, come to understand, and finally embrace those aspects of being human that are so powerful—the incredible Mind-Body-Spirit connection.

Visualization is a great transformative tool , so I encourage you to keep visualizing yourself becoming the person you want to be. If you are visualizing yourself as being at peace with how you look and feel, I suggest you interact with some of our furry or feathered friends. Animals are good role models and do not judge their appearance or feelings—they live in the moment.

As a way to handle your chronic physical pain, many of my patients have found amazing pain relief by doing this: Ask yourself what the pain feels like and then see what else in your life fits that description. When you find it, eliminate it—very often your physical pain also disappears. An example would be if your pain feels like pressure, think about what else in your life could be described as unwanted pressure, and eliminate it.


Question for Bernie:

Why do oncologists recommend chemotherapy when they know this therapy can kill the cancer patients?

Bernie’s Answer:

A good question like yours is why I emphasize so strongly the importance of a full partnership between patient and doctor. In that partnership, the patient has the advantage of learning about treatment options from a knowledgeable physician, and the physician has the advantage of empowering her/his patient to be the ultimate decision-maker on which option to select.

In certain kinds of cancer, chemotherapy does save lives. The reality is that everyone dies, but if you elect to go on a healing journey, the key is what labor pains are you willing to go through to rebirth yourself? Most oncologists have never had chemo so they do not have first-hand knowledge to understand the experience patients are going through. The disease and the patient need to be attended to with compassion, but remember, if you are trying not to die chemo might be a choice you accept.

field-of-flowersThe mind is very powerful and when you see treatment as a gift, then you don’t have all the side effects, but when the devil is giving you poison there is a problem. I tell people to draw themselves receiving treatment so that they can see if their image is negative. If it is, we can use positive visualization to change the image to reflect a positive experience.

I can’t say often enough that when a patient is facing a life-threatening illness like cancer, it is most important to find an oncologist you can communicate with openly, comfortably, and honestly. People have choices and so do doctors. If we keep our power as a patient, the physician and the treatment choices are ours. Some people hate vegetables and prefer chemotherapy instead of a completely nutritional approach to treatment. If you want to let God heal you that’s okay too, just make sure you are comfortable with your choice and will not be angry at yourself if things don’t turn out as you had hoped. The choice is ultimately up to the patient.