Dr. Bernie Siegel will speak on "Reflections on the Art of Living" at the next Happiness Club meeting March 17.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. in the 350-seat All-Purpose Room at the Osborn Hill Elementary School|, 760 Stillson Road, Fairfield. Admission is free.

In 1986, Siegel published his first book, "Love, Medicine and Miracles." If you'd like to read a wonderful book by a great author and exceptional person, this is the book for you. One of the things that makes Siegel exceptional is that he prefers being called Bernie, not Doctor Siegel.

I first met Siegel in 1986 when he agreed to be on my Radio Show,"Successful Living" on WADS Radio in Ansonia, to talk about his book. I had followed his writing before this book, so I was excited that he would share his techniques and knowledge. Siegel is a role model for all of us. He is a genuine human being, a spiritual person and a medical doctor. He has reset the mark for medical professionals to understand that people are more than a body that needs to be fixed. Siegel showed us how to heal.

In 1978 Siegel started "Exceptional Cancer Patients," a specific form of individual and group therapy utilizing patients' dreams, drawings, and images. "ECaP," as it is called, is based on "carefrontation," a loving, safe, therapeutic confrontation, which facilitates personal change and healing.

With the following words for openers, Siegel has revolutionized medical care-giving. In his book, Siegel said, "Exceptional patients manifest the will to live in its most potent form. They take charge of their lives even if they were never able to before, and they work hard to achieve health and peace of mind. They do not rely on doctors to take the initiative but rather use them as members of a team, demanding the utmost in technique, resourcefulness, concern, and open-mindedness. If they're not satisfied, they change doctors. However, exceptional patients also are loving, and thus understand the difficulties a physician faces. In most cases, my advice to a dissatisfied patient is to give the doctor a hug. Usually this makes the doctor more willing to respond to the patient's needs, because you become an individual to your physician and are treated to as an individual, not a disease."

Siegel has said, "We must remove the word "impossible" from our vocabulary. As David Ben-Gurion once observed in another context, "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist." Moreover, when we see how terms like "spontaneous remission" or "miracle" mislead and confuse us, then we will learn. Such terms imply that the patient must be lucky to be cured, but these healings occur through hard work. They are not acts of God. Remember that one generation's miracle may be another's scientific fact. Do not close your eyes to acts or events that are not always measurable. They happen by means of an inner energy available to all of us. That's why I prefer terms like "creative" or "self-induced" healing, which emphasize the patient's active role."

Siegel says, "Spirituality means the ability to find peace and happiness in an imperfect world, and to feel that one's own personality is imperfect, but acceptable. From this peaceful state of mind come both creativity and the ability to love unselfishly, which go hand in hand. Acceptance, faith, forgiveness, peace, and love are the traits that define spirituality for me. These characteristics always appear in those who achieve unexpected healing of serious illness."

Lionel Ketchian is the founder of the Happiness Club, a Happiness Coach and can be reached at PrintLRK@aol.com. The website is www.HappinessClub.com.