Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: How To Live

Category: Inspiration

Thinking about how to live, each of us needs to live the dash ‑‑ the dash is between your birth and
your death on your headstone. How are you going to use that time? A monk is working in his
garden and is told he has fifteen minutes left to live. He is asked if he would like to do anything
special. He says, "No, I would like to just continue working in my garden." Dr. Sigel's son says
he would like to get a quart of chocolate ice cream and eat it. Someone else says what if the
monk's chocolate ice cream is his garden. So live your chocolate ice cream; do not wait until you
die to do what really makes you happy. A patient of Dr. Sigel, John Flourio, was a landscaper
gardener with advanced cancer. Dr. Sigel operated on him and removed part of his tumor and
recommended aggressive chemotherapy, which might extend his life span from a few months to
possibly a year or slightly over a year. John Flourio said, "Well, I am really sorry but I cannot do
that because it is Spring and I am a landscape gardener. I have to be working in the garden. If I
die, I die but at least I will leave the world a more beautiful place." About a year later, the nurse
said, "John Flourio is here to see you." Dr. Sigel said, "No, that is impossible. He must have died
since he did not take the chemotherapy and he had that large tumor." She said, "No I am telling
you, he is right there." He was there a year after the first surgery; this time not for his cancer but
for a hernia because he had been lifting boulders in his garden. He went on to live until he was
ninety‑four. Live your chocolate ice cream. Work in your garden. Do what makes you happy.
Follow the story of your soul.

Another example given by Dr. Sigel was of a physician lady, who had grown up during the
depression and was very tight with her money. She was eighty‑four years old and she was dying
of cancer. Her daughter wanted to buy her something so she bought her a night gown. When she
went to see her mother at eighty‑four, she said, "Mom, it looks like you may die soon. Is there
anything special you want? (Assuming, her mom would say a nightgown or something like that)."
The mom said, "You know, I really want a summer designer purse." This represented her desire
to be alive that summer since it was the middle of winter. Her daughter respected her mother's
request and never told her she had already bought a nightgown. She went out and bought a
summer designer purse. The mother lived for ten years and died at ninety‑four. The daughter
bought her many more designer purses. She lived her chocolate ice cream.

Pay attention to messages and inspirations. These are very important key word. What messages
do you give your body? We think all of the time but we do not pay enough attention to how we
feel. Bernie Sigel's pets love to lick his hands whenever he sits at his computer. It forces him to
slow down and think about how he feels and not worry so much about getting E‑mail, thinking, or
spending time on the computer. This feeling grounds him and helps him get in touch with his
soul. So, pay attention to how you feel and stop thinking, thinking, thinking all of the time. A
gentleman named Fred Alan Wolfe said that "With desire, intention, and passion, you can alter the
physical world."

Bacteria exposed to antibiotics have no trouble becoming resistant by intelligent alterations. Why
can't we, as people, do the same when we are buffeted by crisis? We can if we have the right
motivation and we are in touch with our soul and our feelings. Dr. Sigel described a story of how
many concentration camp individuals with serious diseases such as diabetes and colitis amazingly
cured themselves. The diabetics survived without taking any insulin and the colitis patients
stopped have diarrhea and blood in their stool. Their motivation was if they were too weak to
work and appeared too sick, they would be shot immediately. With the right motivation, any of
us who can get in touch with our bodies can cure our chronic illnesses or at least make them less

How do you ask what you are here for? Dr. Sigel told a story of when he was four years old and
he aspirated a nail. His mom was in the kitchen (she was pregnant) and he could feel his chest
sucking in very hard but no air was coming in. He thought he was about to die and felt sad at
leaving his parents and suddenly he vomited. Dr. Sigel believes an angel gave him a Heimlich
maneuver and at the time he said angrily, "Who did that?" The point of this story is we are more
than our bodies. We have angels, spirits, and helpers to get us through this type of crisis. God is
always with us.

What would you like to write on your death certificate? What would you like to die of? Dr. Sigel
said he would like to die from falling off his roof while working on it at age ninety‑eight, with his
family saying, "What is Bernie doing up on that roof again?" He actually fell off a ladder,
climbing up on his roof, recently and landed on his feet three feet from the ladder. He attributes
this to an angel as well. Since he should have fallen straight down when top wrung broke and got
tangled in the ladder. He believes an angel caused a transformation and that this is a very important lesson in how we get through our life.

Again, why are we here and how do we get through this? He reflected on the story of Abraham
being told by God to kill his beloved son. Most of us would say, "No, kill me," how could you
say yes. When reflecting on this he had a dream in which he was a swordsman (this is unusual
since he is a surgeon and uses a knife in his profession). As a swordsman, he was told by the lord
of the castle to kill the neighbor's daughter. He said, "No, I cannot kill her. She is a nice person."
He said, "Okay, then, I will kill you." He went and snuck in at night. As he was about to kill the
neighbor, she turned over and he realized it was his wife and he had cut her head off. He brought
the head to lord of the castle, who said, "You made the decision and I did not make you do that."
He grieved over this dream and talked to his friend Jay Hilman. Jay said, "Go back to the dream
and look for another answer." He went back to the dream and saw a beautiful cat named,
Dimond, which represented your spirit. In the next dream, he was stopped before he committed
the killing and a kindly hand on his shoulder said, "Okay, I know you are loyal to me. Now bring
the father and daughter to me. There is no need to kill them." This helped him heal his pain in the
original vision and reminded him that love is always a way to solve a serious problem. Another
story reflecting this was a man plowing a field he had just bought from his neighbor. He found a
box full of jewels. He went to the neighbor and said, "This is yours, it was in your field." The
neighbor replied, "No, you bought it, you get to keep it." He said, "No, I cannot do that. It was
under the ground; I know it is yours." So how would you solve this problem? One way is to
have the son of the neighbor and the daughter of the gentleman, who found the jewels, get
married and give them the jewels as a wedding present. We are all one big family yet we are all
different and unique. We should not destroy each other. We should bring love to each situation
and try to resolve it.

Keep finding your passions (what you are here for). He who seeks to save his life will lose it; he who seeks to lose it will save it. Love is the most potent medicine in the universe. When Bernie Sigel fell from the ladder (in the story above), his wife was caressing his head and stroking it and
saying, "Honey, honey, honey." He had amnesia and he kept saying, "Who is this and why are
you calling me 'honey'?" He said amnesia is very good in a marriage because you start each day
fresh like a dog or a cat; you don't hold on to any ill will. Like Corinthians 13 "Love bears no ill
will or false witness."

Everyone has pain and changes in their life. What can you learn from this present conference?
All the wisdom, which has been brought down through the ages by many great writers, is the
same as what is at this conference and you must take those lessons and like a good athlete you
must train and practice them to really get better. Who is truly wise? The one who asks for
criticism. A thirteenth century Suifi poet named Rumi said that pain and criticism are what
polishes my mirror. So ask your family, co‑workers, and friends to give you constructive
criticism and you can grow to be a better person to all of them. Dr. Sigel gave an example of a
patient, who told him at his discharge visit that he would not be giving him liquor (although he
gives a bottle of liquor to all his other doctors). Dr. Sigel asked, "Why?" He said, "Because you
are so angry." Dr. Sigel responded, "I am angry because of your pain and I feel like I could not
help you." The patient stated, "You did not have to take your anger out on me." Dr. Sigel said,
"I am really sorry." Then the patient said, "Okay, here is your bottle of liquor." The point of this
story is that the patient could have just left and written off Dr. Sigel as a doctor with a bad
attitude. But he cared enough to be his teacher and to give him a constructive criticism, which
helped him to grow and to become a better doctor. Always see criticism as good and always say
that you are sorry when you need to.

The further you get from civilization; the wiser you get. We all need to get away from appliances,
get away from computers, televisions, VCR, E‑mails, telephones, beepers, and answering
machines. Make quiet time. This forces you to be with yourself and your thoughts. One way to
do this everyday is to keep a journal. Write down a key word or something that comes to you and in twenty‑four hours look at it again. You may have forgotten about it unless you have it down on paper. We are pretty good at burying thoughts unless we write them down. By connecting with our unconscious by writing down our dreams or drawing pictures, we can get many answers as to why we are here and what our journey should be. This is not about living forever but it is about an attitude toward approaching life and living.

Dr. Sigel said he was on the board of Heaven and he heard it straight from God that the bitterest
people in Heaven were the vegetarians, who meditated and jogged. They did all these things and
then they still died. They fought against death and then they died. So pay attention and give
yourself a gift every so often. Have a bowl of ice cream or a cookie. You do not have to get
carried away with it; you can still live in moderation but do not be serious about everything.

The more love you bring into your life and the more you can learn to love yourself; the less you
will have need for addictions. If you were to put a banner in a hotel that said, "Come and
see how beautiful life is," what would you hang on the banner? Would you hang a rainbow, a
butterfly, or would you put a mirror which reflected people? That would be the best way to show
how beautiful life really is. It has nothing to do with perfection. Pets do not stand in front of a
mirror worrying about whether there fur is just right or if they have all four legs. Love yourself
and do not be embarrassed to look in the mirror just the way you are.

Dr. Sigel talked about his mom and dad, who had their first date because the father lost a coin
toss. When they were married, his father was out of work during the depression. He would dress
up in a suit and go to the unemployment office everyday so that her parents would think he was at
work. One day he called her and said, " Honey, I got two opportunities to work. One is civil
service and it is very secure. The other is with Paramount Pictures and there is no security at all."
She said, "Do what makes you happy." He replied, "I feel like working at Paramount would be
the best." He followed his feelings and went on to have a wonderful career, with or without

Would the real me stand up! We see ourselves in so many ways, one lady drew herself as a
mommy on one half and as a professor on the other half. She had cancer and now she was home
as a mommy but she still held on to the other side, which was the professor and the workaholic.
Remember, there is nothing new at this conference from any other conference. The important
things taught here had been taught for hundreds and thousands of years. You can read it in the
Old Wisdom all religions and your feelings will teach you this wisdom. Take the messages and
feelings that you have learned and work with them like a good athlete. Practice. Practice. Practice and incorporate them in your life. Accept yourself, accept your nature, accept your self‑esteem and who you really are. You are much more than just your body. Dr. Sigel felt that most health magazines were not about health but about beautiful models, telling us to look better. He gets very angry at this and says, instead of the beautiful women on every page of new age magazine, they should have hundred year olds who would share from their wisdom how to really live. He frequently asked kids, that he has treated, to draw their family and get insights of how they feel to be part of that family. We are so critical of ourselves; how we feel about ourself can change as we age but it does not have to. He has nursing home patients draw pictures of how they feel now and how they felt at age forty. They usually draw a handsome, trim forty year old and an unattractive, obese sixty or seventy year old. One gentleman drew a beautiful smiling face and said that is me at forty and that is me at seventy. There is more chronic disease on both coast
lines than there is in the heartland of America. The reason is the family relationships in the
heartland are better. When people are separated from loved ones, they cannot handle their
diseases as well. A Harvard study followed graduates for thirty‑five years. If their parents were
loving and caring, ninety‑eight percent of those graduates handled their chronic illness well. If
their parents were not caring and loving, then only one in four of twenty‑five percent could handle
the same chronic illness as well. Why? Because the way our parents loved and cared for us is
pretty much how we love and care for ourselves.

All of our memories from conception are stored in our brain. Dr. Sigel was born after a very
difficult delivery. His mother said he looked like a purple plum. His grandmother took some oil
and massaged and reshaped his head. At a conference fifty years later when someone rubbed oil
on his head to anoint him, he was suddenly back as an infant. One reason he feels he shaved his
head besides wanting to identify with his cancer patients was because of his profound memory of
his infancy, which he did not even know about until he was told later.

When you go to a supermarket and someone says how are you, say, "Oh, I am depressed. My
psychiatrist is out of town and I need to get a hold of some medicine." Three‑fourths of the
people will say, "Oh, I know how you feel." One‑fourth will actually embrace you; they have
been loved and they are willing to share. With this kind of opening line, you would be amazed at how many therapeutic dialogues you have with people in public places.

Remember nature. Dr. Sigel showed a picture of a tree growing through a fence and asked the
question, "How did that tree know to grow through that fence?" He recommends that we slow
down and observe the beauty and the balance in all nature to connect our spirit and ground
ourselves properly in the world. He also recommends that you spend time with your animals and
enjoy their beautiful unconditional love at least one to two hours a week. He and his wife have
over one hundred pets because his wife constantly rescues animals. Dr. Sigel asks why one
hundred animals get along better than their five children. His answer is they are all the same
inside and we could learn that from them to teach to each other. A great book he recommends is
The Heart's Code by Paul Pearsall. Apparently, this book is about people, who have had
transplanted organs, and how they got messages from these organs about the lives of the people,
who previously carried these organs. He talked a little bit about numbers and how they have
mysteries and how they are intriguing to kids. The number ten represents how the universe came
from nothing and from God, the ten commandments, and a high score for a beautiful woman.
The number eight is a new cycle; after seven days, there is a new beginning.

He showed a picture of a paraplegic woman, who drew herself in a wheelchair with her head
down, on a trail which was moving downward. She had been a medical student that had gotten
into a car accident and became paraplegic. In the next picture, she is with a handsome man. She
is standing upright on her feet and the trail is moving upward (things are looking up). Love can
turn our frailties into wholeness. Dr. Sigel and his wife had been fighting one day because of his
over commitment into trying to save the world and help so many people. His wife felt neglected
and they had been arguing over petty things. As he was jogging, he saw a cup with a broken
handle of two elephants nudged side by side with their trunks intertwining with the saying was "I
love you just the way you are." He brought that cup back to her and it is one of the precious
things in their house to remind both of them to accept each other just the way they are. This is
pretty good advise for anyone married or in any kind of relationship. Do not try to change
people. Try to love them just as they are. One time, Bernie Sigel's wife rescued a butterfly from a
chandelier and it stayed on her shoulder for fourteen hours. If she would brush the butterfly off, it
would fly around her head and land on the other shoulder or on her cheek like it was looking into
her eyes.

When thinking of beginnings and endings, they can be the same. When Dr. Sigel finishes a book,
it is not really the end but the beginning to another book. Life will lead us to many changes we
must "re-begin" over and over. Life is a series of beginnings. Get out your childhood pictures and leave them where you live and work. See the kid in yourself and be very forgiving of yourself
when you are not always the person you think you should be.
Changing leaves, turning from green to yellow to brown then red, can give us a very important
spiritual message. We do not have to always be a green leaf. Most of us are not a perfect
specimen and never will be a green leaf. In the Fall when the leaves change colors and fall, they
have more character and individuality. That represents all of us in our uniqueness so we should
be less worried about being like all the green leaves and be proud of our uniqueness. The Fall can
represent limited time, the later part of our life. Do not be afraid of it. Enjoy your uniqueness and
enjoy the end of your journey.

Dr. Sigel said, "If you are not normal and you are a parent, it disturbs your children. But that is
okay because you save money because they do not want to eat out with you." He said when his
kids got older, they appreciated him being abnormal because they could pass the blame of
anything people said about them on to their father. "Oh, the reason he does that. Don't you
remember who his dad is?" This gives your kids lots of freedom. Being a normal / abnormal
person as opposed to a perfectionist is a good message to send kids so they can accept their
imperfections throughout their life.

When we tell our children what we want them to be, they lose their lives. We need to give kids
the freedom to be themselves. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks about you and relax (in
other words, regarding dress codes, etc.). If you want to live by the ocean, move to the ocean
and live there.

How do you grow a spiritual child? One, you repeat things that are important to you. Two, you
model spirituality. Three, you spend lots of quality time with them. Remember, always bring
love to everything and see how it can help you solve the riddles of life. Dr. Sigel told a story of a
pin that said, "You are special." This simple pin represents praise and love. He told the story of
how a worker shared this pin with his boss. He told the boss how much he admired him for
working so hard and putting so much into his business. The boss took it home late that night and
saw that his son's light was on. He brought it into the son's room and said, "Son, I want to give
you this pin because I work so hard all the time. I want you to know I do it because I want to
give you things I never had. But I hope you know that I really do love you." The son handed the
dad a loaded revolver and said, "Thanks for the pin, dad. I don't need this now. I was going to
kill myself but now I know that I am loved." That story is just a simple story of how poignant and
important daily praise and affirmation is from person to person and how many steps from one
person through multiple intermediate persons an important loving message can be transferred.

Dr. Bernie Sigel, in response to the question about what he does in his daily spiritual practices,
said that first he gets up and takes care of all of his animals. He said the Talmud in the Bible says
that when you come home to first feed the animals because they do not know when they are going
to eat again and you do. He spends special time with his wife and his pets and enjoys the living
things and loves them back and receives love from them. Then he does some writing and
journaling; then he goes out to exercise (usually bikes or runs); and then he gets away totally by
himself for an hour. He carries pen or paper when he is jogging or when he is by himself; so when
he gets an idea or ping, he writes it down. He recommends we do this whenever we have
important thoughts or dreams. After he has done this, he goes by his son (Jeffery ‑‑ who out of
his five children had the most trouble and gave him and his wife grey hair). He said Jeffery
is great for sharing one liners with him. He learns from him daily. Then he tries to live the rest of
the day in a loving way and tries to let go of any resentment or bitterness. He tries to live
submission, which does not mean being a doormat but it does mean submitting to the difficulties
of life and finding more peace in one's self and less trouble at home. When he devotes himself to
the other person as apposed to devoting himself to trying to improve the other person, things go
better. This is good marital advise. He actually meditates while he is jogging or riding his bike as
opposed to at other quiet times during his day. His latest book is Prescriptions for Living, in
which he tells practical stories. He feels it is easier to understand for the average person than
parables. A lady in the audience talked about how his book helped her face cancer. She was
very inspired. He said this is an important word "inspired", which we can all take from the
conference to take in God, to take in grace as opposed to expire (die and give up).
Transformation is another important word. The four steps to transformation are action, wisdom,
devotion, and meditation. Again he says keep a journal, write down poems, wear symbols (a
guardian angel, an attitude pin‑‑ You Are Important, Footprints) and learn from your pets and
your friends.

The next part of Dr. Sigel's talk was on body parts. He asked us to draw a picture and color. He
said Buddha held up a flower to teach his followers. He said what he likes to do is hold up a baby
and everyone says, "Ah." Then he holds up an older student and everyone laughs. Dr. Sigel said
he does this to teach them the lesson that every person is a true flower and we should not laugh at
the older child. We should say, "Ah" just like we do for the baby. He said in all the years he
picked out a baby from the audience; there has never been a cry. Every baby almost senses that
they are being used for a higher purpose and they usually smile at him.

He said we should be more loose with our bodies and not so uptight. We should also not be so worried about looking perfect. Remember, none of us are green leaves; we are all different shades of imperfection. He has given talks in his shorts and without a shirt just to make this point about laughing at yourself and being comfortable with your body. Remember, our bodies have a purpose; it is kind of like a satellite dish, a TV screen and a TV channel changer. We can receive many channels and our mind can select which things to hold on to. Our bodies have so many complicated gifts to help us in our life and we should be thankful for our bodies just the way they are (just the way God made us). Just walk up to a mirror and say, "Hi, it is me," ( just like a dog or cat would do). Do not sit there and worry about every little thing. Can you imagine a three legged cat saying, "Oh, I don't think I will go out today. I am not looking good without my fourth leg?" A veterinarian, who was going through breast surgery, said she knew she would be okay without her breast. Just like with the animals she had to amputate many parts of their body in her career, those animals woke up and licked her in the face because they knew that they were here to love and be loved and so would she be after her body changing surgery. Another lady with ALS, who had polio and felt inferior all of her life because of her brace, sat in front of a mirror and looked at her deformed body and said, "Well, I will just have to learn to love it the way it is." She started out by saying, "You have a pretty good forehead, you have a nice knee," and eventually she learned to love the whole body before the ALS killed her. So, do not criticize your body. Love your body and be thankful for it. Max Cleveland was a hero in the Vietnam War who lost his arms and legs to a hand grenade thrown by someone else. Now he is a U.S. Senator. He could have felt sorry for himself and hated his body and gone on to become drug addicted or committed suicide. He chose the other attitude and wrote a book, Strong at the Broken Places (from a Hemingway quote). An older lady, who has profoundly severe Cerebral Palsy and has to write with her nose, wrote a book called The Bird with the Broken Wing. There are hundreds incredible mouth painters who can only paint with a paintbrush between their teeth and yet produce beautiful art. So whenever decisions come up, ask yourself what do I feel and try to be in your body. Always describe this to yourself as you would be describing it to someone else. If you wake up dizzy do not say, "Oh, I must have vertigo," say, " Oh, my world is spinning." Perhaps what you are really trying to figure out is that the world needs to slow down for you to get a balance. Studies confirm that married men live much longer than non-married men with all chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Women live even longer than men and the reason is because they are used to paying attention to their body. They listen to what they feel. Your life is stored in every single cell of your body. So remember to have pictures of yourself as a child out so that you can be more self-forgiving. Love your body just as the dolphins do. If you go swimming with a dolphin and you have a recent amputated arm, the dolphins will swim up to you and nudge your stump to try to get moving. They love children with Down's Syndrome. They sense disease in a cancer patient and stroke the patient trying to heal them. We can be like dolphins to each other if we chose to be. Dr.. Sigel asked the question, "Do you think people with numerous body holes, jewelry, body piercing and tattoos are trying to send out the message to keep away?" He walks up to them in airports and says, "Why are you trying to be so inconspicuous?" Sometimes he says he can initiate a therapeutic dialog with these individuals. When it is time to leave your body, it is easy if you have lived your life but it is very hard if you have not. Do not be your disease. Do not use your illness to get people to pay attention to you. To really get healthy, do what make you totally forget about time. When you are not aware of any time and when you are in a state of flow, that is when you are the most healthy. So throw time away and get involved in things that make you lose track of them. Do not hide your body; accept yourself as you are. Accept your spouse as they are. You are of divine nature and quality. God has three plaques on his desk. One says, "Don't feel responsible for everything in the world; that is my job." Two says, "If you say that you are miserable, I will show you misery. If you say life is wonderful, I will show you a wonderful life." The third one I missed.

So many ladies in our society are trying to look like models or perfect green leaves. They cannot accept themselves as the brown, red, and yellow leaves that they are when they look into the mirror. Dr. Sigel talked about going into a supermarket and the lady said, "How are you?" Dr. Sigel responded, "I am depressed and I need medicine but my doctor is out of town." She says, "Oh, I know just how you feel. I am a smoker and my boyfriend just can't stand it." He says, "How can you as a child of God do that to your body." And she said, "I do not feel like a child anymore." Then he said, "If your dog came into the house smoking, what would you say?" She said, "I would find a way to help he to stop smoking." So ask the question; if your pet had a problem, how would you solve it and do the same with your own self. Love yourself and think about how you treat yourself. If you treat yourself more like you treat your pets, you will take better care of yourself. Dr. Sigel took us through a guided imagery through our birth and perfections, and how we felt and our mother felt, the home we went to, the home we grew up in, the garden in the back yard, and how we felt there; he also took us back through all those periods in a way that it hurts to heal (even to the point of birthing ourself and doing everything in a happy healthy way as we grow up). He said he did not want to tell us what and what not to eat because we all know that anyway and he said we need to take more naps.

Dr. Sigel said he used to work with the Angel of Death when he was a cancer surgeon. He literally would see the Angel either at the head or the foot of the bed. If it was at the head of the bed, the patient would live and he could feel good and get lots of credit. If the Angel was at the foot of the bed, that meant the patient was going to die and it was a warning to for him to prepare the family. One day, a close friend was very sick. He saw the Angel of Death at the foot of the bed so he decided to flip the bed. Then the same friend's daughter was dying and the Angel of Death, again, was at the foot of her bed. He flipped that bed also. The Angel got very serious with him and took him into a room with candles and said, "Do not fool around with this. You cannot be flipping these beds. When it is time for a candle to burn out; it is time for it to burn out." In the room, there were candles of all sizes (some tall ones were children and some short ones were old people) and each of them burnt out when it was time to burn out. The message here is we should learn to live our life, follow our soul's journey, and not burn out our candle before our time. Some kids live their life very fully and do exactly what they were sent here to do; and some old people are still bitching and fussing and never living the life that God intended for them to live. All great prophets have told us what to do; if we read the prophets, we will know and if we cannot get the answers from them, then he recommends getting a pet and they will teach you how to live.

He talked about colors in the picture that we drew of ourself. Red is a color of emotion; it can also mean hurt or love. Black is dark and represents pain, grief, and despair. Yellow is a color of energy. Green is growth. Blue is natural like the sky and water. Brown is being grounded. Orange is a sign of change and purple is spiritual. Keep a journal of yourself and once a month draw a picture of yourself. Each time you draw certain dream matter that you are not even aware that you are drawing (you are not in charge of this; just let it flow). So draw a picture of yourself and look at it the next day; if your ears are not there, maybe it is because you are afraid to hear something that you need to hear. If you drew an animal in that picture, then maybe it is the qualities of that animal that you identify with. The important thing is that each picture says specific to the individual who draws it.

How do we innoculate people against peer pressure and worry so much about looks? Only through love can we do this. If your parents loved you, you are strong; if they did not, then you have a hard time handling pressures and illnesses. You can re-parent yourself and you can heal your past hurts. If you grow up with self-esteem and self-love, you will be strong. If you don't grow up with self-esteem and self-love, you will be weak and more likely to join a gang and get into high risk behavior. You will need reparenting.

How can you choose to be who you are? If you hear that you are going to die in one year, you have a tendency to do the things that make you happy. One gentleman picked up his musical instruments and a year later he was still alive and going strong, having the time of his life. Remember bacteria have no trouble struggling and surviving and resisting antibiotics. People, with a greater intensity to live, can make it also. If you are having problems with your kids, say nice things about them when they are not there; in other words, praise them and talk about how much you love them to people when they are not in the room. This will get back to them and they will know it is sincere. Each of us, as ugly ducklings, in our own way must reparent ourselves and heal any hurts that we feel are imperfections. Dr. Sigel talked to twenty-five hundred personal trainers that looked like the people the health magazines and found they were basically miserable people trying to put on a show for everyone instead of just being themselves. When he asked them what kind of banner they would put up in hotels to express the fact that life is beautiful? They said flowers and rainbows. He said he preferred the answer given by cancer patients that said they would put up a mirror to reflect that people are the best things in our lives. So keep saying to your kids that they are beautiful. If you are going to be different, it takes support and faith in yourself. Dr. Sigel says that each doctor should get a cane instead of trying to look so beautiful. Beautiful people are putting on a show and the patients will not warm up to them. The guy with the cane is more likely to be approached and talked to by his patients. When grandma sees a beautiful kid, the kid starts to feel beautiful.