We’re excited to start a new feature on BoomerCafé: interviews with prominent people who have changed the way baby boomers look at life. They are done by Nettie Hartsock, who has made her reputation talking with authors and luminaries (with a Texas twang thrown in). Here is the first installment: Nettie’s conversation with Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of “Faith, Hope and Healing: Inspiring Lessons Learned from People Living with Cancer.” Dr. Siegel talks here about being a baby boomer, old age wisdom, and the current healthcare crisis.
BC: Tell us a bit about what inspired your latest book?
The more I learn about survival behavior, how a curse can become a blessing, how to save your life and being reborn by creating your authentic life the more I want to share this age old wisdom by making it current, understandable and useful to people today.. When you heal your life your body is aware through the changes induced and then does all it can to cure itself of any afflictions. Self induced healing is not an accident. It is a work of art. What inspires me is life, its opportunities and potentials.
BC: What do you think is most empowering about being a baby boomer?
I don’t know why being a baby boomer is more empowering than not being one. If you are alive today you are exposed to the same environment and opportunities. Yes, they have technology available to them and can be empowered by it but also overwhelmed by it. We need to understand that happiness makes you a success while being a success, in the sense of accumulating material things does not make you happy. Baby boomers should be empowered by their opportunities to help others and create the family of man and get beyond personal interest.
BC: How do you stay active in your life and what do you most enjoy about this time in your life?
I do what makes me happy. I accept my mortality and don’t waste my life’s time. I am not troubled by what others think of me and my actions. I am here to serve in my way and not one imposed by others. I hear from people all over this planet and try to help them and the opportunity to do that is a great gift. It gives my life meaning and lets me know I have not lived in vain. We also have a house full of love and pets.
BC: Do you have an opinion on the current healthcare issues that are facing our country?
Yes, we need to treat people and not just a diagnosis. People have an experience and we need to help them with their experience of illness. We need to help children to feel loved so they will not be self destructive and destructive to others in revenge.. People need inspiration so they will make use of the information which can keep them healthy and through self worth lead to self care. Parents, teachers, clergy , doctors and other authorities are all a part of health care. If you did not feel loved by your parents you are in for big trouble regarding major illnesses and a much shorter life. We need to let people know we care and make health care available to all and treat people as well as we do our animals. Nine hundred years ago Maimonides said, “If people took as good care of themselves as they do their animals they would suffer fewer illnesses.” I think it is time we woke up to this fact and get people to love themselves as much as they love their pets. Smoking outdoors to protect your pets while you kill yourself doesn’t really make sense.
BC: You’ve long been a beacon of healing for people struggling with illness, why do you think it’s so important for our doctors to also focus on the human side of healthcare?
Because people get sick. When medical advertising and medical care is only about what you prescribe for depression, flu, cancer, AIDS etc we are not treating people. We need to help them understand how their life contributes to their health. Like Monday morning having the most heart attacks, strokes, illnesses and suicides. Then a curse can become a blessing. As hunger leads to seeking nourishment for the body a disease can lead to seeking nourishment for your life.
BC: If you have to give three tips to baby boomers who want to live a long and fruitful life what might they be?
Love yourself and reparent yourtself if your parents didn’t love you by getting your baby pictures out and loving that kid. Live your chocolate ice cream and by that I mean what makes you happy. Exercise, meditate and eat a healthy diet because it feels good to do so and because you love yourself and your life. Your body loves you but needs to know you love it and your life. Do not do things to not die because it doesn’t work and when you die you will be very bitter that you did everything it suggested and died anyway.
BC: Do you have a favorite motto or mantra that sums up your beliefs?
Be content with what you have
Rejoice in the way things are
When you realize there is nothing lacking
The whole world belongs to you
BC: You’ve been often quoted in terms of believing that disease can be a wakeup call for changing one’s life. Can you talk about how you think that works in reference to your latest book?
When people truly confront their mortality they realize time isn’t money it is everything. Then you spend more time with the things and people you love and who love you and less time with those who you don’t love and who don’t love you. When your body senses that love amazing things can happen. I talk about reflections related to the various inspiring stories from cancer patients and people need to understand it is about quieting your mind and your life so you can see in the still water you are not an ugly duckling you are a swan.
BC: What are you currently working on?
Being a more loving human being and living the sermon.. I am hoping to write a book about so called miracles which is really what life is. Creation is not explainable but it is a joy to experience. I also want to write about the non-local nature of consciousness. What we call past lives, how we can communicate with animals, the dead, predict the future, organ memories in transplant recipients, near death experiences and more. Through my experiences I know these are all meaningful and help us to understand the nature of life.
Category: Boomer Lifestyle