Q&A with Bernie Siegel, MD and Charlie Siegel, authors of When Your Realize How Perfect Everything Is

Below is an interview with Bernie Siegel, MD and Charlie Siegel, authors of When Your Realize How Perfect Everything Is: A Conversation About Life Between Grandfather and Grandson

1. Why did you write When You Realize How Perfect Everything Is and can you tell us what it is about? 

Bernie Siegel, MD:

It is about the experience of life and the truth about it and about re-parenting and empowering people as their CD = Chosen Dad.

1. Why did you write When You Realize How Perfect Everything Is and can you tell us what it is about? 

Charlie Siegel: When You Realize How Perfect Everything Is is a spiritual, uplifting collection of both mine and my grandfather’s inspirational poetic writings, gathered into a conversation format as we share our insights about life through its chapters. We both wrote our poems years apart, but when we shared our work with each other, we found so many amazing instances where we had both written about the same topics, with similar healing messages and metaphoric language, without ever knowing we were sharing in a sort of subconscious conversation through our work. The book came into being as we started to organize our poems into sections, alternating our work back and forth across the pages, and a flow of a beautiful conversation was witnessed. There are so many positive perspectives and empowering views shared in our book, we share it with the purpose to help and inspire as many people as possible. My fine art nature photography illustrates it to help to connect us all with the beauty and wisdom that surrounds us in the world.

2. (For Bernie) What was it like to write a book with your grandson?

Bernie Siegel, MD:

Exciting to share and create with family and learn from each other’s experiences in life. We are all unique.

What were some of the joys and challenges? 

Being proud of him and his parents who created this amazing, insightful young man who has done so much in the time most people need to just wake up to the labor pains of life.

3. (For Charlie) What was it like to write a book with your grandfather?

What were some of the joys and challenges?

It is an honor to get to share in writing a book with my grandfather, whose work has touched so many lives around the world. I remember being a little kid at his lectures and selling his works on the bookshelf in my mom’s spiritual store all my life. 

I am a spiritual fiction author also. I published my first novel in 2017 and I’m now at work on my next. I look up to my grandfather for inspiration in the way his written works have touched so many. I look forward to continuing on that path of helping to heal and share spiritual lessons through my books. 

Our works share a common theme of spirituality and helping people to live their lives as their best, more wonderful selves. We both also agree that our work seems to come from somewhere else when we write, with inspirations coming to us and flowing through us into poetic form. It’s nice to share this with my grandfather and our works so easily aligned into the conversation format throughout our book that it was really a joy to create. My photography speaks to the messages contained within the conversations so he was happy to have my work illustrate it, as well.

4. You write about relationships in your book, how can we cultivate good relationships with our extended family (grandparents, siblings, parents, cousins), when we are pulled in so many directions by our own immediate family (husband, wife, children) as well as our work responsibilities? 

Bernie Siegel, MD:

We can decide how we spend our time and empower ourselves and not lose our lives to the desires of others. Saying No is vital when it is not what you want to do. That is survival behavior. Also we all need to become LOVE WARRIORS. Literally when people are driving you nuts just respond with I LOVE YOU. It stops them cold. I know from experience. A young sexually abused man I was helping called to tell me he was going to commit suicide. I said, “Tony. why don’t we kill your parents?” He answered, “No, I never want to be like them.” The subway train he was going to jump in front of was late. No coincidence. So he called the suicide hot line and wrote a book about his life and experience to help others. We all keep writing books because the world needs an education and for us to become the Chosen Parents of the unloved. Those who grow up feeling unloved have a 98% illness rate by middle age and 24% if they felt loved. That’s why we write our books to help the unloved and wounded.

4. You write about relationships in your book, how can we cultivate good relationships with our extended family (grandparents, siblings, parents, cousins), when we are pulled in so many directions by our own immediate family (husband, wife, children) as well as our work responsibilities? 

Charlie Siegel:

There are so many ways we can connect with our extended family. For example, my grandfather and I do not see each other all that often, and we have not had an extremely close relationship in day to day life, but we have shared so many things with each other by sharing our writings and art. When my grandfather wrote his two children’s books, I was a kid and I was his book reviewer. He sent his work-in-progress children’s books to my parents to have me read and give him an honest review from a kid’s perspective. As I grew up, he shared more of his work with me over emails. I would send him new fine art nature photographs I was releasing for sale, just to send him a smile and say hello. We talked about how we both see the beauty and the healing lessons in nature. I would also send him new poems and short stories I was writing. As we passed our works back and forth, we saw that even when we are not together in a day to day aspect, there are similar interests or abilities that we share, and similar views of the world. 

I grew up spending a lot of time in my mom’s spiritual store, Wisdom of the Ages, in Simsbury, CT, which I now manage alongside her. Learning spiritual concepts and teachings as a way of life from as far back as I can remember made me who I am and makes me who I continue to be. Then when I reach out to my grandfather, I see that we share a similar spiritual outlook on life, which we arrived to with different teachers and different experiences, but that we still share all the same.

Even when we are busy, or different, or far away from each other, we may share beautiful similar traits on the inside that we can expand on and enjoy together. And who knows, they may become an inspirational book like they did for us. 🙂

5. How about our relationship with nature, how can being in nature facilitate inner growth? 

Bernie Siegel, MD:

Nature knows how to survive and absorb the pain and utilize its wisdom. Seeds sense gravity and grow up pushing aside all kinds of problems from pavement to rocks. Trees grow around nails and we can all learn from nature that with hope we can accomplish amazing things and survive all kinds of afflictions with self-induced healing built into us all by our Creator.

5. How about our relationship with nature, how can being in nature facilitate inner growth?

Charlie Siegel:

We are all one with nature. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that when we are out and about in our busy daily lives. But when you place your hand down on the soft grass, or hear the rush of the mountain streams pumping like the blood through your veins, you hear a little whispering that says maybe your breath is a part of that wind or maybe your strength is a part of that mountain. When we are in nature, we can remember who we are and where we come from. We remember we are all a part of the beautiful web of life. When we look at our fellow man, we can realize that we are all a part of nature. 

My nature and wildlife photography exists as a window for others to see the beauty of nature through. That they may witness it, bring it inside, hang it up on their wall and meditate on it, and remember the peace it gives them and the peace they can share. By noticing the beauty in nature, we can notice the beauty in ourselves and all those around us. In the Native American Lakota way of saying it, All my relations.

6. The title implies that everything is perfect, how can you suggest that everything is perfect when so many people are experiencing serious health problems and death, financial loss and unemployment, and emotional distress due to COVID 19?

Bernie Siegel, MD:

When COVID-19 reduces the earth’s population and pollution and teaches us that staying home is about preserving our planet which is the home of all the Earth’s residents are sharing the curse will become a blessing. We are all one family the same color inside. Death is not a failure it is inevitable. We need to learn to live and have faith and hope and then amazing things happen and it is what i preach to my patients; survival behavior and we all need coaches to guide us. Thus this book.

6. The title implies that everything is perfect, how can you suggest that everything is perfect when so many people are experiencing serious health problems and death, financial loss and unemployment, and emotional distress due to COVID 19?

Charlie Siegel:

The anonymous quote that the title of our book is based on, “When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky” deals with a very spiritual concept and way of looking at the world. 

When I was arranging all of our poems into the conversational flow of the book, I realized that overall, that concept was what we were sharing through the many varying, healing messages of our work. The idea that when we look at our lives as if gazing at them from above, looking down on the years we are living as if looking at a path we have traversed and continue to travel, wherever there have been difficulties, or “imperfections,” we can see that there was a beautiful opportunity for us to grow from that tragedy, or loss, or hardship. There is always a way that we can turn to each other and to ourselves and say, “What can I learn from this?” “How can this make me into the best possible version of myself?” “How can I grow from this?” and in some cases, “What am I gonna do about it?”. And when we can learn to live our lives looking through these eyes of love, seeing that the difficulties that can be given to us can be blessings when we learn to use them to grow and evolve, we can see that really everything is perfect.

My first novel, “Conversations with an Angel: A story of healing through the passageways of grief” (published 2017) shares a spiritual story to help anyone who is going through grief or loss. It talks through the process of experiencing grief in a healthy manner and also teaches from a soul’s perspective, how those who must leave us behind and pass onto the Other Side are still connected to us through love as a bridge.

There are definitely times in our lives that are darker than others, especially for many at this time of the COVID19 pandemic. Not everything is good, or perfect in the simple sense. But even when we have loss or hardship in our lives, we can realize that God is still with us, and the perfection comes in when we learn to respond to these difficult situations by evolving into the next best versions of ourselves. And by seeing that when we are surrounded by darkness, perhaps the presence of God we are seeking is inside ourselves, and it can be our daily task to spread that Light through our actions, our ways and our energies. A burning candle can be the most beautiful when it is in a darkened room.

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