BARRY NEIL KAUFMAN

Exploring, teaching … happiness and well being
for more than 40 years…

MY FOCUS

AUTHOR

OPTION INSTITUTE

AUTISM TREATMENT CENTER OF AMERICA

Family

Dear Amazing Son-Rise Program and Option Institute participants, friends, and family,

What would you do if you were told you had 5 days, 5 weeks, or 5 months to live? If you had just 5 days to live, would you live it in the same way as if you had 5 months? In each moment would you create an opportunity to love greater than even the moment before; Live bigger than you have ever lived; and dug deeper than you have ever dug in your life?

Two weeks ago, when the doctors said to Bears, “You have advanced metastatic cancer”, he and Samahria knew that, in the face of this life-altering news, they would use every tool they have ever been taught at the Option Institute for more than half of their lives, to look at their beliefs and decide how they wanted to show up for each other, and how to show up for themselves. Even in a time of the intense physical pain, sometimes isolation, and lots of uncertainty, they can turn to themselves, and one another, with tender eyes and bright smiles and lead with their belief systems, always aware of what they are thinking, always aware of what they have chosen to think and feel, and always knowing what is in their hands.

If you were told you had just 5 days, on the 7th day would you wake to say “It could be any time” and get small? Would you sit by a window feeling sad that life passed by too quickly? Or would you wake and say “Well, I am still here and I have another beautiful day to feel love and be the love I want to see in the world?”

When I sat with Bears today, he talked about how so many people feel life has passed them by too quickly, yet he said “It wasn’t quick. I have lived my life richly, loved deeply, and experienced the world in the way I have always wanted to experience it. It doesn’t feel like it is gone. It’s a part of the hovering universe… it’s not gone”

Bears and Samahria met as teenagers and they agreed not only to dream but to “do” their dreams. They were city kids who rode horses and motorcycles, climbed the Swiss Alps, created a family of 6 children (3 of whom were adopted), developed and shared The Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute and so much more. In doing their dreams, they always found a space to make it possible because they believed their dreams were doable. So one day you may find yourself feeling like you’re at the bottom of a cliff, knowing it's okay to keep dreaming. Now is the time to use what you have been taught to make your dreams doable.

As I sat with Bears, he shared with me that his favorite thing to do is watch Samahria breathe. He said that when she breathes, in each breath he feels love… connection... a deep relationship… God… and he feels intensely alive.

Bears is climbing mountains and even as he is climbing mountains, he has a wish… His wish is for all of YOU reading this letter to do love and kindness first… Even in the face of death… look inside yourself first… and do love and kindness.

When Bears spoke to one of his many doctors today, he stopped the conversation and said “John” (they are on a first-name basis after many many years together) “I love you.” Bears then asked “How many patients have said that to you before” to which John replied, “Not a one.” Bears sat across from me today, with Samahria close by, loving me… and loving all of you. He knows at any moment he may not be here on this planet, and he is asking all of you to be a loving, breathing example of what we teach in this world.

So many people with whom we have worked, believe that they have to feel miserable and unhappy after a loved one’s death as a demonstration of their love. What a wonder it would be if you demonstrated your love with joy and gratitude as a testament to what you have learned - as I watched Samahria continue to do.

We are here, we are strong, and we have life to live in every moment. We are here, we are strong, and we have our life to live in every moment! We want to continue holding hands with all of you – as we navigate our futures TOGETHER.

With love,
Amanda Louison

TEACHER … PHILOSOPHER

Core Philosophy

We live in a ‘victim culture’. We’re taught that our environment determines who we are. I act the way I do because of my childhood, my boss, my spouse, the weather. So we try to change our environment,including the people around us. Sometimes we get downright controlling. Or we just feel like passive victims: if only this or that would happen, everything would be just fine.

It doesn’t work that way.

Why? Because the ‘if onlys’ are always beyond our reach. There’s always something else that comes down the road: the loss of a job, conflict with children, catastrophic illness, not to mention the day to day difficulties of life. Here’s the twist. The Option Institute takes the classic stimulus-response model and adds one element: beliefs. What we believe filters every stimulus we encounter. Change your beliefs.

  • Happiness Is A Choice

    Though many of us speak as if our emotions happen to us, we believe that they are responses we choose in an effort to take care of ourselves. Misery, fear, anger, distress, anxiety, and discomfort are optional, not inevitable.

  • You have your own answers

    Oftentimes, we look for our answers from experts – everyone but ourselves.

  • Changing the way you see things changes everything

    Most of us think that events in our lives are inherently good or bad, and we can only hope for more good than bad.

  • We do not teach "the truth"

    We do not teach "the truth." We do not teach "the right way to live."

ENDORSEMENTS … TESTIMONIALS

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