Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Siegel’

Bernie Siegel Struggles With the Story of Abraham and Isaac

October 30, 2009
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Dr. Bernie Siegel

I wrote in an earlier post how thrilled (and later terrified!) I was that Dr. Bernie Siegel included a lyric I wrote in his book, Peace, Love & Healing. Nearly twenty years later I asked Bernie to share a life-changing story with me for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Here is Bernie’s intriguing story, beginning with his bio.

Siegel, a former surgeon whose book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, catapulted him to the forefront of the mind-body-spirit revolution, founded the Exceptional Cancer Patients support group (www.ecap-online.org) near his home in New Haven, Connecticut. His latest books are Love, Magic & Mudpies, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul, and the children’s book Smudge Bunny. Click here to visit Bernie’s website.

The Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac has always been difficult for me to accept because the idea of sacrificing one of my children is so unthinkable. Well, ten years ago, I had some experiences that gave me a deep appreciation of that story. While talking to a friend on the phone about my travel schedule, she asked, “Why are you living such a busy life?” I suddenly and literally went into a trance-like state and saw myself with a sword in my hand, killing people. The same thing happened again a month or two later as I was sitting in an airplane looking out the window. It felt like I was watching a movie with me as the main character. I was a knight, and my lord told me that I was to kill the neighbor’s daughter because the neighbor had been imposing on his land. I agreed to do it out of fear that I would be punished if I refused. I learned where the daughter slept but when I walked into her room with my sword drawn, she awakened and turned toward me. I saw my wife’s face, (more…)

Life, Death and Chocolate Cake

December 18, 2008

In the early 1990s, I read the following commentary on the Opinion page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

TONICS FOR THE SOUL WHEN YOU’RE LIVING WITH AIDS
by James Batson

path-in-woodsWhen I was 12 years old, sitting in Mrs. Larson’s math class one afternoon, a thought came to me about the purpose of life: that we live life for the experience it gives us. Maybe that should be Experience with a capital E. My next thoughts probably returned to finding the square root of x. So much for the purpose of life.

At any rate, that thought, insipid as it may be, has stood me well for a few years now. Not without a little elaboration, mind you. Just the same, that thought, along with courage, steadfastness and a good recipe for chocolate cake, has helped me slog through a few messes.

Si what have I experienced? I’m 33 now, having spent a half-dozen of the ensuing years smoking dope and another dozen years recovering from my misspent youth. (more…)

Still Clueless Perhaps, But Making Progress

November 26, 2008
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My buddy Tom Endres (left) and I hosting a college talent show in our wild and crazy days


One February, when my daughter Erin was five years old, I picked her up at a friend’s house where she had been playing after school. As we arrived home, she mentioned that when spring arrived, she’d like to grow a plant that she had received as a gift since it was dying now. I said, “Better ask Mom how to do that. She knows a lot about plants and flowers.” Erin paused, then said, “You don’t know much, do you?”

It was true. Erin was a perceptive kid and even though she loved me dearly, she sensed that I had as much growing up to do as she did.

I had always been the life of the party in high school and college, cracking jokes and hamming it up. In my late twenties, however, I began dreading parties, especially those where intelligent conversation was expected. Surrounded by smart, successful people, I’d feel like a one-man island, disconnected from everyone else and largely ignored. No wonder others had no interest in talking to me; I had nothing to say. I was immature and self-absorbed. I had grown stagnant. (more…)

Our Daughter’s Eyes

August 23, 2008
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My little bear cub

When my daughter was three, a terrifying thought struck me: If something happened to Kate and me, Erin wouldn’t even remember us! In my view, that would be a tragedy of epic proportions. She was the center of our world and the joy of our lives. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else raising Erin and her having no memory of the parents who loved her more than life itself.

I couldn’t get that thought out of my head, and finally had to express it on paper. The result was a song lyric called Our Daughter’s Eyes. I worked on it quite a while before I was satisfied that I had given it my best effort.

Fast-forward six years. I was so impressed with Dr. Bernie Siegel’s landmark book, Love, Medicine & Miracles that I sent him a copy of Our Daughter’s Eyes because I thought it was in sync with the subject matter of the book. Bernie wrote back to say that he couldn’t read it without crying and wanted to include it in his next book. I happily agreed.

(more…)