How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 14, 2010 - Health & Fitness - 191 pages
2011 Nautilus Book Award — Gold Medal in Personal Growth/Self-Help/Psychology

2011 Nautilus Book Award — Silver Medal in Memoir/Personal Journey

This life-affirming, instructive, and thoroughly inspiring book is a must-read for anyone who is - or who might one day be - sick. It can also be the perfect gift of guidance, encouragement, and uplifting inspiration to family, friends, and loved ones struggling with the many terrifying or disheartening life changes that come so close on the heels of a diagnosis of a chronic condition or life-threatening illness. Authentic and graceful, How to be Sick reminds us of our limitless inner freedom, even under high degrees of suffering and pain.

The author - who became ill while a university law professor in the prime of her career - tells the reader how she got sick and, to her and her partner's bewilderment, stayed that way. Toni had been a longtime meditator, going on long meditation retreats and spending many hours rigorously practicing, but soon discovered that she simply could no longer engage in those difficult and taxing forms. She had to learn ways to make "being sick" the heart of her spiritual practice - and through truly learning how to be sick, she learned how, even with many physical and energetic limitations, to live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy. And whether we ourselves are ill or not, we can learn these vital arts from Bernhard's generous wisdom in How to Be Sick.

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User Review  - m.belljackson - LibraryThing

Written for people with chronic illnesses from which, at this time, there are no cures, the author shares many of her own experiences after learning that getting better and being her old self was no ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - D.ElaineCalderin - LibraryThing

A fantastic book for the chronically ill and for their circles - family, friends, and doctors. Amazingly well written, flowing, and highly useful. I would recommend this book to any one. Read full review


A Romantic Trip to Paris
This Cant Be Happening to
The Buddha Tells It Like It Is
The Universal Law of Impermanence
Who Is Sick?
Finding joy and Love
with Equanimity
Turnarounds and Transformations
I4 What to Do When It Seems You Cant
From Isolation to Solitude
I7 The Struggle to Find Community in Isolation
And in the End
A Guide to Using the Practices
With Gratitude
About the Author

Spinning Straw into Gold
With Our Thoughts We Make the World

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About the author (2010)

Toni Bernhard is the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers and How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow. Until forced to retire due to illness, Toni was a law professor at the University of California-Davis, serving six years as the dean of students. She has been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. Her blog, "Turning Straw Into Gold" is hosted on the website of Psychology Today. She can be found online at

Sylvia Boorstein is the author of many well-known books, including It's Easier Than You Think, Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist, and Don't Just Do Something, Sit There. She lives in Geyserville, California.

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