"A immensely wise book. Health psychology has been poisoned by the view that the best way to approach illness is through a muscular, militant resistance. This books shows otherwise. Bernhard reveals how letting go, surrendering, and putting the ego aside yield insights and fulfillment even in the presence of illness. This is a major contribution."
— Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words
"Toni Bernhard has written a beautiful and heartfelt account of chronic illness and inner transformation. Her immense courage is present on every page. Truly worth reading."
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
I fell ill on a trip to Paris in 2001 with what the doctors diagnosed as an acute viral infection, but I never recovered. I wrote How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers while bed-bound – on my back, laptop on my stomach, notes strewn about on the blanket, printer within arm’s reach.
My goal in writing it was to help and inspire those who must meet the challenges posed by any chronic illness: coping with the relentlessness of symptoms; weathering fear about the future; coming to terms with a life of relative isolation; facing the misunderstanding of others; dealing with the health care system; and, for a spouse, partner, or other caregiver, adapting to so many unexpected life changes.
The book contains easy-to-learn tools and practices to help people live skillfully, maintain equanimity, and even find joy despite the profound changes in their lives. Each tool and practice is illustrated with examples from my own experience, so the book is also highly personal.
A recurring theme in the book is that, although our bodies may be sick, our minds can be at peace.