Did you do your homework - Lessons on Love - Mind Matters

First let me get to last week's homework assignment. How would you introduce yourself to God? I see this every time I visit because of my position as an outside consultant to the board of directors of Heaven. When you get to the head of the celestial admission line they will ask you that question and if you hesitate, say me, or your profession, or some other role you play they say, "Come back when you know who you are." Why? Because those answers separate you from the divine.

You are made of the same stuff so when you get to Heaven and they ask you to introduce yourself say, "It's you" or "Your child is here." The best answer I have ever heard was, "Tell God his replacement is here." That was from a high school student who undoubtedly has great parents. My wife answered, "Bernie's wife." She knows I have connections.

The second question; What can I pray for, for you? I asked this of my 90+ year-old mother-in-law while she was sitting in her wheelchair having a tough day. I was thinking it would give her a chance to vent her anger and pain. Instead she paused and said, "World peace." Wow, she went way up on my list of special people.

I have asked that question of thousands of people and have had less than a dozen give that answer. We are so into our own stuff that we do not see the big picture and how it benefits us and how we feel when we care for others and volunteer to help. Volunteers live longer healthier lives than their whining and complaining friends.

Remember the opposite of love is indifference. And how do you get attention when you do not receive love and feel rejected? You cause trouble so everyone now notices you. From Virginia Tech to the recent article about the teenager who sexually abused a child, he baby sat for, I can tell you they were all reacting to rejection and the feeling of being unloved. In "East of Eden" John Steinbeck wrote, "The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears.

I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt- and there is the story of mankind." Amen.

I have seen this in our family when one of our five kids said, "I don't get 20 percent of your time." I answered, "Your brother is driving us nuts so he gets 40." I admired his speaking up rather than retiring to his bedroom and feeling unloved. So parents, teachers, clergy, health professionals please love the children of all ages you care for and about. We can reparent the unloved don't ever forget that.

You can become their CM or CD, which is a Chosen Mom or Dad, and literally save their life. Because when someone persists in loving you, you ultimately realize you are worth loving and begin to accept and love yourself.

You have to remember love is a weapon and when you can understand and forgive you give yourself a gift. You want help getting through the day read my book "365 Prescriptions For The Soul." I know from personal pain that when I remain bitter, hateful and unforgiving about some past event I am still being abused by the person I can't forgive; be it a criminal or abusive parent.

As I have said I prefer to kill with kindness and torment with tenderness. It drives people nuts when they are screaming at you and you say, "I love you."

One day a teenager was behind me in heavy summer traffic. He was screaming and cursing at me and there were 20 cars ahead of me which were the problem. A police officer refused to talk to him when I requested his help.

So I got out of my car, walked over to his and said, "I want you to know I love you. I am sorry your parents don't." The latter was not a nice thing to do but I was not feeling so loving at the moment. He backed up, made a U-turn and drove away. I feel sad for him.

So now let me help you get a little therapy and feel better. I find my way of finding some chocolate ice cream is to go shopping; not to spend money but to meet people. I love being a character and meeting what I call other kids who are innocent also.

At the Westville Kosher Market I used to ask, "Do you have anything good today?" The answer was always, "No, we only have excellent food." So now I say, "I don't want any good food," when I go in to order. Other customers stare at me but the owners know I want some of their excellent food.

At the Amity Stop & Shop seafood section there is a wonderful woman who calls everyone, "Young man" or "Young woman" and it feels good to talk to her after that greeting. She is one of my therapists and we have shared our wounds and wisdom. Another employee calls everyone dear and I love it when she calls me dear. The other day I was last in line at the service desk and when she turned to the next in line and said, "Yes dear, how can I help you?"

I walked to the front of the line and told her my problem. The rest of the line is staring at this brazen guy and what does he think he is doing. So I said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm her boyfriend and when she said dear I thought she meant me."

Of course they let me go and were all smiles not knowing if it were the truth or not. Also in the automatic self-check out I love to have the machine speak Spanish, it is such a melodious language.

I do not know Spanish so when I have an onion to purchase I do not know how to bring up its image and click on it. I get lots of attention that way and learn how to say onion in Spanish.

At Amity Meat Center they all call me by my first name. When I asked how come they knew me they said, "We don't know you. Your belt buckle has your name on it." Yes, my belt buckle is BERNIE and that keeps my ego deflated.

At the Wachovia bank drive-up window I ask, "Is my order ready yet. My wife called it in." The new tellers all panic. The old-timers say, "Relax it's Doctor Siegel, give him some treats for his dogs."

If you are a bit shy just walk up to clerks, sales people, drive-ups, toll-takers and say, "How may I help you?" or ask for the senior discount and have some fun with the confused folks you are addressing.

Well I guess that's enough for the moment. So here's your homework for this week:

Where are we all alike? I mean that if I printed a photograph of one of you in the next issue of The Bulletin and there is no way you could identify who it was, what is it. I will close with some words of wisdom from Woody Allen. "To love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer and to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy then is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness."

If you understand that please consult a "psycho" therapist.

Peace, Love and Healing to you all.

Bernie Siegel, M.D.