How to Be Sick - Praise

A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers


216 pages, 6 x 9 inches


ISBN 9780861716265

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eBook Bundle (PDF, epub, mobi)


ISBN 9780861719266

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“Full of hopefulness and promise…this book is a perfect blend of inspiration and encouragement. Tonis engaging teaching style shares traditional Buddhist wisdom in a format that is accessible to all readers.”—The Huffington Post

“Toni Bernhards book, is an invitation to gently set aside the fear and the fight in order to truly live. It is based on principles of Buddhism, which she carefully applies to her own chronic and at times debilitating illness. She offers a different perspective on illness and wellness, suggesting the two need not be mutually exclusive.”—Psychology Today

“How does one face a chronic illness? In 2001 law professor Bernhard became sick from a virus that no doctor has been able to treat. Faced with ongoing disabling symptoms, forced to give up her profession, and unable to take part in most of the activities she loves, Bernhard has dug into the roots of the Buddhism she once studied intensively, looking for resources to cope with such devastating loss. She clearly explains how such Buddhist principles as the four noble truths, impermanence, no-self, and dependent origination help her cope with limited energy and frequent enforced solitude. No longer able to meditate formally, Bernhard describes a set of easy mental practices, drawn from her own daily experiences as well as vipassana (insight meditation), Zen koans, Tibetan Buddhist compassion exercises, and the ‘inquiry technique of author Byron Katie, a practice for working with thoughts. Bernhards applications of Buddhism are sound and her insights gentle and honest; others may take heart from her determination to use the Buddhas timeless wisdom to ease the mental suffering brought about by unrelieved physical illness.”—Publishers Weekly

How To Be Sick is an 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

How to Be Sick brilliantly answers one of the most important challenges anyone can face: How to transform suffering into a vehicle for great consciousness and compassion. Toni Bernhard has written an important book that is practical, wise and full of heart. I recommend it to anyone working with chronic pain and illness.” —James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy

“Everyone should read this book—and I plan to buy a copy for everyone I love.”—Lizabeth Roemer, Ph.D., co-author of The Mindful Way Through Anxiety

“Toni Bernhard offers a lifeline to those whose lives have been devastated by illness, and shows us all how to transform suffering into peace and even joy. A beautiful book filled with grace, humor, and humanity.”—Lynn Royster, director of the Chronic Illness Initiative at DePaul University

“This book gives insightful wisdom and a solid dose of hope to people who are navigating the daily struggles of a chronic illness. How to Be Sick is a must-read.”—Lori Hartwell, author of Chronically Happy

“Each of finds our way to live with the challenges and uncertainty of illness. Toni Bernhard found a path that lead to balance, wisdom and love. She caringly points us to the possibility of finding happiness even in the midst difficult conditions. That is a true gift.”—Frank Ostaseski, founder of Metta Institute

“This book full of compassion about how to sit sweetly with your difficulties.”—John Tarrant, author of Bring Me The Rhinoceros and Other Zen Koans That WIll Save Your Life

“Who among us couldnt use these life-affirming skills? Bravo!”—Susan Milstrey Wells, author of A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness

“Readers need not be Buddhist or meditators to benefit from Tonis wisdom.”—Cheri Register, author of Living with Chronic Illness: Days of Patience and Passion

“A profound, compassionate and intimate guide for living wisely with illness.”—Gil Fronsdal, author of The Dhammapada: A New Translation of a Buddhist Classic

“A roadmap to finding grace and balance amid affliction.”—Christina Feldman, author of Woman Awake

“This book is a heavenly messenger.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma

“This warm and engaging book can help even in the most difficult kind of situation.”—Thomas Bien, author of Mindful Therapy

“A very compelling book-great teaching interwoven into the heartful and human drama of family, illness, and day to day reality.”—Shaila Catherine, author of Focused and Fearless

How To Be Sick is a good friend to keep close by so that illness doesnt become the enemy.”—Ed & Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change

“Told with relentless honesty and clarity, this book will help both those suffering from chronic illness as well as their caregivers.”—Stephen Batchelor, author of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

“Tonis words are steeped in the best learning of all: hard personal experience. Reading the book you feel you can trust that she knows, very deeply, what she is talking about.”—Vidyamala Burch, author of Living Well With Pain and Illness

“One doesnt have to be sick to benefit from the advice in this book. This is a book on how to live fully, no matter what.”—Joy H Selak PhD, author of You Don't LOOK Sick! Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness

“When we lose our physical health, it can seem like weve lost our life. Toni Bernhard—with unflinching realness and deep insight—shows us how the fires of loss can clear the way for a new and profound capacity for appreciation, love and understanding. Infused with the wisdom and practices of the Buddhist tradition, this book can bring you more fully alive by healing your spirit.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance

“There are many things to appreciate about Toni Bernhard's How To Be Sick, beginning with the title. Who would have thought that there is a 'how to' for being sick? But there is, and Toni has created it. She has brought to bear everything she had-her illness, her long immersion in Buddhist practice, her innate personal strengths-and forged a path of inner freedom in the face of adversity. Her book is deeply moving and impressive. I often say to people who ask me about my own illnesses what I gleaned or learned, and I say, ‘The only good thing about being sick is how it can be a gift for others.’ Toni has made it so, and I highly recommend her book as a must-read for anyone who is ill or caring for someone ill. Her gifts will transform you.—Lewis Richmond, author of Healing Lazarus

How To Be Sick weaves several themes together in a way that is compelling to read. Toni has used her understanding of Buddhism to support her morale through these difficult years and to provide us with this wonderful book.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job

“Toni Bernhard paints a very realistic picture of the life of the chronically ill. She shows by example how understanding the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths can turn the suffering of chronic illness from a death sentence into a life of liberation, lived moment to moment.”—Inquiring Mind

“Hers is a story of courage, determination, and growth in wisdom and acceptance in the midst of tumultuous personal struggles.”—Barre Center for Buddhist Studies