May 24, 2022

Bears’ Surprising and Unorthodox Journey With Advanced Metastatic Cancer (Stage 4)

Dear Family of Choice – We’ve created this page for all of you who have so loved the Institute, love Option Process®, love The Son-Rise Program® for Autism, and have so loved Bears and Samahria. We want you to hold hands with us, be informed, and be inspired as Bears continues his unexpected healing journey with advanced stage 4 cancer (no chemo/no Radiation).

We will use this page to give important updates, post letters, share stories and most importantly, to celebrate Bears and deeply connect with our family of choice, who are embracing and living the Option Process lifestyle. 

With love – The Option Institute Staff



UPDATE FROM BEARS – 6/19/2023 (The Latest)
Two Thumbs Up On Bears’ Last Update

Stage 4 metastatic cancer, given 5 days to live 12 months ago

Bears’ Core Principles for Staying Alive

Bears’ Exciting Update, For the Love of Samahria – Including Fun Video

UPDATE FROM BEARS – 12/19/2022
“We don’t understand and can’t explain this healing process”

Medical Mystery and Wonder!!

New ‘Twists and Turns’


My Current Medical Reality, Including Surprises

Mass. General Hospital: “Strangest Case They Have Ever Seen”

UPDATE FROM BEARS – 6/6/2022 (The Beginning)
“5 Days to 5 Weeks to Live”

Initial Letter About Bears to Option Institute/Son-Rise Program Participants & Friends – 5/11/2022

Support Letters from Participants and Friends

A Journey with Bears – Guided Meditation For His Healing (created by his Institute participants)
Letter from Daria with Response from Bears
Letter from Monica
Letter from Fabiola
Letter from Einat
Letter from Ed
Letter from Stephen
Letter from Ange
Letter from Patty W
Letter from Paul C
Letter from Kathy
Letter from Jenny
Letter from Al
Letter from Niren & Sangita
Letter from Abigail
Letter from J
Letter from Helen
Letter from Asia
Letter from Chas
Letter from Gail S.
Letter from Karen
Letter from Dane
Letter from Camille
Letter from Lauren
Letter from Brocha
Letter from Ellen V

Two Thumbs Up On Bears’ Last Update – 6/19/2023

“Your examination and your blood work confirmed that we currently cannot detect ongoing evidence of cancer.

“It is clear that you are currently enjoying an exceptional quality of life.”

– Dr. Leslie S.T. Fang, MD, PhD (Bears’ Primary Care Physician)

Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School!

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD PhD
John R. Gallagher III and Katherine A. Gallagher
Endowed Chair,
Clinical Excellence in Nephrology
Firm Chief, Walter Bauer Firm,
Medical Services,
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

June 11, 2023

Dear Bears,

It is now 14 months since your acute episode in April of 2022 with a catastrophic presentation of acute hypercalcemia, delirium, acute kidney injury and liver as well as multiple bone lesions.  We have subsequently identified that the events were triggered by an underlying B cell lymphoma. (Stage 4 metastatic cancer).

However, with no intervention other than management of the high calcium acutely while you were hospitalized in April 2022, you have continued to do well.

When we just met on June 1st., you were in robust health, active and exercising rigorously.  You continue to be hectically paced and dedicate time to your own physical and mental well-being.  You are doing some of the best work you have done for decades. 

Your examination and your blood work confirmed that we currently cannot detect ongoing evidence of cancer. We have had a lengthy discussion about quality-of-life issues and it is clear that you are currently enjoying an exceptional quality of life. I do believe that we will continue to monitor your blood tests but defer imaging studies unless there are clinical indications to so do. 

I do believe that you are doing remarkably well and should continue to share your positive energy with all those around you, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Description: ::::::::Desktop:Les Leslie Fang-1.jpeg

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD, PhD


Read about Bears, Samahria, and staff‘s new program on — How To Navigate Serious Health and Cancer Challenges…Even Threats to Our Own Mortality.

“5 Days to Live.”

Click on the link below:

5 Days To Live Program

Bears’ Off-The-Charts Update On Bears – 3/21/2023
(Stage 4 metastatic cancer, given 5 days to live 12 months ago)

By choice, no chemo/no nothing – still robustly alive, still doing my own journey!!!

New Healing Program Being Considered (read more below including update on Bears from my Primary Care Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital)

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD PhD
John R. Gallagher III and Katherine A. Gallagher
Endowed Chair, Clinical Excellence in Nephrology
Firm Chief, Walter Bauer Firm,
Medical Services,
Massahusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

March 18, 2023

Dear Bears,

Just a brief update on our discussions on your excellent progress.

Since our last communication, we have continued to manage you conservatively, understanding that the underlying diagnosis is that of lymphoma (stage 4 metastatic cancer).

I am pleased that you are doing extremely well and have no evidence of disease either by your recent imaging studies or your labs.

We have agreed that this is impressive considering that you have never received chemotherapy (by your own choice). You only received two doses of Zometa administered to primarily manage your dangerously high calcium level 11 months ago when you had been hospitalized and told that you had 5 days to 5 weeks to live.

I do believe that we will continue to monitor your blood tests and imaging studies as we have scheduled.

I do believe that you are doing remarkably well and should continue to share your positive energy with all those around you.

Yours sincerely,

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD, PhD

Samahria and I and the awesome staff of the Option Institute are considering offering a newly designed program that will use the model Samahria and I created (which is based on everything we have taught for over 40 years) for dealing with impending death/coming out of hospice/creating a design for possible healing and now (at least for now) staying so robustly alive. Part of this is all about attitude (our thoughts, our choosing optimism until the last breath), changing the beliefs we hold to create ones that will be nourishing, and taking practical steps (food, movement/exercise, visualizations, prayer, etc.). This is super challenging for anyone dealing with these kinds of difficult health issues personally or with loved ones faced with such concerns. Please share with others.

Link to fun video just recorded.

“Bears” Barry Neil Kaufman, Co-Founder / President of the Option Institute
Autism Treatment Center of America, and The Son-Rise Program
Author of Happiness Is A Choice and Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Bears’ Core Principles for Staying Alive – 2/20/2023
(Envisioning A New Program for You)

FUN PHOTO – okay…yes, this is one meal among several that I consume daily. Some friends have seen me consume such plates of food and said: UGH. 

I say: WOW. (I currently eat for purpose, not for taste…and it has been transformative)

“Given 5 Days to 5 Weeks to LIVE: Massive metastatic cancer/organ failure, Etc. Went home to hospice but then decided to leave hospice and see if I could program myself to live…and to flourish. Now, almost l0 months later….and robustly still alive with no chemo/no radiation/no intervention. We never made war on cancer….we sent the cancer cells our love (really/sincerely) – and invited them to leave when their ready.

Guideposts of my program: I created and continue to do for myself:

  • attitude – prioritizing love and happiness in very specific ways
  • creating clear purpose 24/7 with clear focus
  • maximizing the experience and expression of gratitude
  • eating special foods and combinations of odd and unusual foods
  • exercising and creating daily movement protocols
  • visualizations and prayers (with a worldwide community of Option Institute/ Son-Rise Program folks)
  • teaching ourselves (Samahria and me) how to most effectively filter through all the information and ‘misinformation’ so we can choose clearly what we want (and what we do not want).  

Your Responses: First and foremost, you sent an avalanche of love and prayers questions/questions/questions throughout these months. Many of you have wanted to know if you could learn a lot more details from our journey and lessons learned and new perspectives adopted. Some of you also shared that if any one of your loved ones are facing challenging and even life-threatening health and medical issues – could also learn more?

Proposal Being Considered: If this is something you or your loved ones might want…we will consider creating a program with this being the focus and substance of what we could present, teach and share. So…please write to me directly, yes, directly at so we have your name and email address and maybe a sentence about what you most want (if you have been following my ‘staying robustly alive’ communications). Also, if you want a full summary of our alerts to you about this journey, let us know in your email so we can send to you.

“We have spent the last 40 plus years helping folks in 140 countries…this would be continuing that mission as always (YES, with all our current programs) but this course would have a very new, special focus. We would love to hear from you if you are interested.”

Blessings, love and gratitude, Bears (and, of course, Samahria, too).

Co-Founders – Option Institute/Autism Treatment Center of America/Son-Rise Program

PS: And thank you/thank you for your continued prayers…..we do believe your prayers are very much part of my healing.

Bears’ Exciting Update on Bears – Including Fun Video – 1/30/2023

Current photo of Bears and Samahria Kaufman

Happily, and still robustly alive on January 26, 2023. So grateful. So honored to be able to write to all of you. Continued healing (or, we might say for now — continuing to rock’n roll), still no medical intervention (no chemo/no radiation), teaching again for many months now, working with individuals and families…. and having the best time at the Option Institute/Autism Treatment Center of America).

“And so, so, so grateful and delighted to walk this path with many who have chosen to love me… and the biggest spirit and sunshine is my best partner and dearest friend and most caring spirit/lover in my life for over six decades (yes, yes, that’s a sweet and super long expanse of time) You guys know her bright light (as she has been for me, she has been for so many of you).

“Love you, Samahria, and I am so grateful that we continue to hold hands so tightly as we walk this new road together.”

Love and smiles, Bears Barry Neil Kaufman


…more love from Bears

Bears’ Winter Update – 12/19/2022
“We don’t understand and can’t explain this healing process”

Fun data – right to the point!

“Summary of the last few weeks (for those who follow my journey and want updates). Again…given 5 days to 5 weeks to live in April (which is almost 8 months ago). No medical intervention since my mid-April hospitalization (no chemo, etc. – zip, zero – though I was told to start chemotherapy many months ago). My most recent scans continue to show further meaningful improvement… continued retreat and even some further disappearance of the stage 4 metastatic lesions throughout my body. And nothing growing larger. Additionally, healing is now occurring in my bones and super positive blood workups for many months now (no signs of continued disease process noted in the blood profiles).

“I said to my Primary Care Physician at Mass General… I am doing really well. And then he laughed and said, ‘You are doing really, really, really, really well!’ Another consulting physician thought my scans were ‘spectacular,’ and another said – ‘I don’t really see any disease process in these latest scans.’ Another said: ‘We don’t understand and can’t explain this healing process happening without chemo or other intervention… but we are delighted for you.’

Yes, yes… I am still alive, robustly alive. “Still much to do to continue this adventure. We (Samahria and I) are very focused on what we are doing (and what I am doing 24/7 with dedication and clear purpose). We love being able to teach again in programs and to work again with families and individual folks – hurrah! Still very passionately alive (and still, it is one day at a time). Thank you all for loving and supporting us and for all your kind notes, messages, and donations to our work at the Option Institute/Autism Treatment Center of America/Son-Rise Program.”

With so much love and gratitude to all of you, Bears (and Samahria)

PS: And thank you/thank you for your continued prayers…..we do believe your prayers are very much part of my healing. We always love hearing from you. Please feel free to write me by emailing

Medical Mystery and Wonder!! – 11/1/2022

Photo of Bears and Samahria Kaufman from November, 2022

Enjoy this latest update from Bears’ Doctor regarding his cancer journey… with reflections from Bears and Samahria below.

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD PhD          
John R. Gallagher III and Katherine A. Gallagher
Endowed Chair,
Clinical Excellence in Nephrology
Firm Chief, Walter Bauer Firm,
Medical Services,
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

October 30, 2022

Dear Bears,

“For a guy with a 5-day life expectancy 7 months ago, you are not doing badly!!

“I have had the chance to review your progress with the attending oncologist/lymphoma specialist and it is important to stress how pleasantly surprised we both are.

In essence, we are still quite convinced that the pathology is related to a B cell lymphoma and that you have done spectacularly well in the past 6 months with no chemotherapy.

“At the time of your original presentation to the Connecticut hospital, you were placed in the ICU with severe elevation of calcium, delirium, acute kidney failure, multiple bone lesions suggesting cancer and although they did not have the diagnosis then, they believed that you had terminal cancer. They actually believed that regardless of the kind of cancer you may have, your kidney condition and your medical issues would not permit you to get treatment. They believed that the appropriate course of action was to send you home with hospice.

“As we have repeatedly stressed, you got the best of hospice care possible from the support and love from everyone around you. Your hard work, fierce determination and positive attitude have made you our Miracle Man!!

“In the past 6 months, without therapy, laboratory and imaging studies have continue to indicate that the tumors are regressing. The serial PET/CT scans are obviously the most dramatic statements of progress. There has been no new lesions and the existing liver lesions and bone lesions are all showing signs of regression.

10/22/22 PET summary:

Re-demonstrated bony lesions as seen on previous scans, similar in appearance on CT images, now with sclerotic changes associated with healing pathologic fractures. PET shows decreased avidity of lesions, the most avid of which remaining is the manubrium (previously 2x hepatic reference, now approximately equal to hepatic reference).

“We clearly do not have good explanation about this welcome course of events but are, at this point, happy to continue to monitor.

“More importantly, you are in the best physical and mental condition you have been in for decades.

“While one should never underestimate the power of the lymphoma, it is clear that we are currently on a winning streak and is doubling down yet again on your projected life expectancy.

“I do believe that you are doing remarkably well and should continue to share your positive energy with all those around you, I remain”

Yours sincerely,

Leslie S.T. Fang, MD, PhD

7 Month Mark

Bears’ Update on Bears (with Samahria)

  1. “I am still robustly alive and beyond inspired and grateful.
  2. “Above is the most up-to-date summary from my key physician at Mass. Gen. Hospital in Boston (written Sunday Night, 10/29/2022).
  3. “My further thoughts – profound gratitude and love and joy…and reflections, like ‘yes, thank you’ to God and the universe for offering Samahria and I this unique opportunity,
  4. “Love and conviction for the principles we have created and taught (which we have shared with you in previous updates) with the Option Process and The Son-Rise Program for 45 plus years worldwide….and now to apply every/every aspect of those teachings when we were (and still are) life/death challenged.
  5. “Your prayers…so many of you have offered your prayers daily…and we believe that is a significant/significant part of this unfolding event (please keep them coming).
  6. “While one may choose to never underestimate the power of cancer…one may also choose to never underestimate the power of beliefs.
  7. “And yes, every day….every minute and every second can be a celebration – all each of us has, and all that Samahria and I have, as well, is today. This very moment. If I am not here tomorrow…oh my gosh, no regrets but so much love and gratitude to live this unfolding version of our lives. One day at a time.”

“Bears” Barry Neil Kaufman, Co-Founder of the Option Institute, The Son-Rise Program,

Autism Treatment Center of America, and Author of Happiness Is A Choice and Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

PS: I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share or make contact BY CLICKING REPLY or SENDING AN EMAIL TO

Recent Photo, Bears Sept. 2022

Remember, Stage 4 Massive Metastatic Cancer…
New ‘Twists and Turns’ – 9/23/2022

5 days to 5 weeks to live. That was the diagnosis and prognosis during my hospitalization almost 5 months ago. Since I am writing this, you can see I am very much alive (and really healing and doing well without any medical intervention since that hospitalization in April, 2022 – no chemo, no radiation… just my own personal stay-alive purposeful action plan).

“The surprising new ‘twists and turns’.

My physician(s) decided to re-analyze the very first bone biopsy
I had about 5 months ago…which,
at that time, did not yield any identifiable cancer cells. Zero. Zip.

“However, in the new reanalysis just done a few weeks ago, they believe they have found a minuscule amount of fast growing ‘crushed’ lymphoma cells and they have guided me to start chemotherapy immediately.

“But wait. That biopsy into my body was originally almost 5 months ago, and after being released from the hospital, I have gained so much strength and healing, and now feel as sharp as I have ever felt in my life (sincerely)…without any medical intervention since that hospitalization.

“If I have a few fast-growing Stage 4 lymphoma cells, shouldn’t I be dead by now…or at least super sick, since I have had no treatment? But I am neither dead nor super sick right now. And all my PET/CT scans suggest healing (liver all okay now), and other bone lesions either staying the same or getting smaller.

Still, the doctors (kind, very sincere and caring) insisted that the lymphoma is being masked and will start to grow. But, again, what about these 5 months and me, right now, feeling wonderful as I write to all of you? Shouldn’t this be part of the clinical equation? Hmmmm! Fascinating!

“Next unexplained phenomenon – how do we know the minuscule amount of lymphoma cells are even there anymore? Stage 4. Shouldn’t it have spread quite profoundly through my body? But if we check out the repeated scans, no such thing happened thus far. And yes, we plan to take another scan in the future months.

“I said to one of my doctors, ‘If I don’t do chemo, what is the worst thing that could happen? Now…don’t laugh…. but I am smiling…I guess I could die.’ Remember – about 5 months ago, I was in hospice and made quick friends with death…as did the most amazing person in my life, Samahria. But, oh my gosh, I left hospice and didn’t die in 5 days or 5 weeks. I redirected my focus and decided to program myself, as best I could, to live.

Kind of fun: I am still living and so grateful. Living big time in the passion of The Son-Rise Program/Option attitude (maximizing love every moment, being super present, filling myself with gratitude, living on purpose with purpose), eating super differently, exercising which helped me regain my strength, praying and receiving all your daily prayers (which I believe is one of the important keys to my healing).

“Wow… so wonderful writing this to all of you. Why? I can wrap myself in all your love, prayers, and kind words. I can wrap myself into my living experience. And these past months have been among the truly sweet, most delicious, and nourishing experiences of my life. I am doing my best to continue to live and thrive. I am living with the most dedicated, daring, and loving person that I have known – Samahria. And, wow, now I am beginning to teach and do individual sessions with people again!

“Samahria and I will stay the course… continuing to live the best days of our lives! Can something change…and we will then change direction? Sure. Right now, heads up high, follow our hearts (and thoughts), and keep reaching for the stars!”

Love you all, Bears

Samahria holds the sun and sunshine in her hands and in her heart and in her spirit. That sunshine, from the inside of both of us, always lights our way. Photo by me, Bears


“YES, still grateful, happy and always maximizing the choice to be loving.

“YES, always using the attitude and the tools from The Son-Rise Program® and Option Process® to guide me — questions, nourishing beliefs, clarity of purpose, persistence, love, and gratitude for what is)…

“YES, to what is and evolving even if there are and were surprises along the way, like the doctors believing I would be dead within 5 days to 5 weeks in April… but I am still here almost months later and the ‘cancer’ seems to be retreating in some areas and not growing in other areas — all WITHOUT medical intervention. And I am working to regain all my strength but my clarity of purpose and passion is fully/fully alive. And then there are the prayers that many of you do daily for me and with me…. sincerely, that has made all the difference. Thank you for loving me, Samahria, and all the folks at the Option Institute and the Autism Treatment Center of America.

“WE LOVE ALL OF YOU! Big time!”

Bears’ Barry Neil Kaufman

My Current Medical Reality, Including Surprises: – 7/13/2022

Current photo of Bears and Samahria taken this past Sunday, July 10th, 2022

  • “Lesions in the liver continue to get smaller and continue to heal (with no signs of cancer in the liver), although part of my original diagnoses was liver metastases.
  • “The new scans from last week were compared with scans about 7 weeks ago… since I have not had any treatment, the expectations with pervasive metastatic cancer would be for all my lesions/tumors to have grown. Instead, all lesions have either stayed the same size while some have gotten smaller.
  • “Also, my getting stronger physically (exercising, special diet, etc.) and continually experiencing super-sharp mental acuity, seemed at odds with my “condition.” No explanation for my doing so well when all medical expectations were the opposite. In fact, I had defied the original prognosis and the medical guidance at the end of April, that I realistically I had 5 days to 5 weeks to live. For me, attitude (Option Process/Son-Rise Program perspectives), purpose (creating beliefs that nourish and nurture – and set direction), to love, to feel and express gratitude… and receiving all those wonderful prayers worldwide coming (gifts from all of you) – are the essential component that have helped guide this unusual adventure.
  • “Each and everyone involved in your case finds it perplexing,” said our core physician at Mass General Hospital in Boston.  Remember, weeks previously that group of experts reviewing my situation essentially called this “the strangest case they have seen.”  However, my core physician said: “tell your students and people who are praying for you to keep those prayers coming.”
  • “All the lesions have caused “holes” in my bones throughout my body, including my spine – so being super careful right now is of prime importance… with my exercising and walking laps. Can these holes heal?  Answer, for the moment, seemed to be “yes – sort of”.
  • “All the doctors still believe I have advanced metastatic cancer… they just say they can’t find it (after taking biopsies three times).  They use words about the scans like “suggests” or “concern for” or “suspicious of” this type or that type of cancer. The most frequently mentioned cancer is metastatic multiple myeloma.


Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston: “Strangest Case They Have Ever Seen”


Dear Wonderful Friends – really you are my family – and as such, I want to share something profound that is happening.

We can decide that new, even challenging experiences, can be used to empower what we teach (thoughts matter, beliefs matter, actions matter, prayers matter, LOVE matters) and rise to a higher and more wondrous level of ourselves.  Something unanticipated has happened and, I believe, all of you are a very meaningful part of this “adventure.”

This might just tickle your imagination (wow, it does mine) and allow you to dream bigger than you have ever dreamed before.  This may also inspire you to want everything in spite of the evidence (like the Son-Rise Program moms and dads who have defied the prognoses of doctors and experts by working with their children… or the folks challenging trauma with the Option Process and then finding clarity and peace, even as others were so skeptical and unsupportive).

We had asked Wendy Edwards (an Option Board member, a Son-Rise Program mom, a Wide-Awake Master Class student and doctor in her day-to-day life) to help us interpret and decipher the information we have been given from my medical files (there is tons of data, CAT scans, MRIs, etc. and biopsies and prognoses). When she studied all the medical data and read the letter below, she wrote the following to me. “Bears, I am so pumped!!!  You are Mr. Miracle Walking!

Well, I am smiling… I am still upright (yes, walking now) even though when I came home from the hospital, I could not stand, and the pain was intense.  However, when Samahria and I were met by the folks from Hospice, we smiled, loved them and expressed gratitude for their help.  Nevertheless, I have been very determined and energetically working my “butt” off to regain strength (still in process) – and the Hospice folks (now called palliative care support team) said (in so many words), I was not acting like a person who had been given 5 days to 5 weeks to live.


“5 Days to 5 Weeks to Live”

Update from Bears (6/6/2022)

“The physician looked at me in the hospital bed. Then he looked at Samahria holding my hand. I inquired: ‘If I have metastatic, fast-growing cancer throughout my body… how long do you believe I have to live?’ He said, ‘Some folks might say months… but I think you should think 5 days to 5 weeks.’ This might seem short, but given that the doctors, Samahria and all of my children thought it appeared as if I would never be able to leave the hospital alive, we said ‘Okay… thank you’, and just celebrated the doctor for his authenticity and his soft and caring manner.

“I have outlived the 5-day scenario. What led to my initial ICU trip to the hospital was a condition called hypercalcemia (as a result of cancer) which destabilized absolutely everything in my body, including my ability to think, and communicate. 

“Fast forward: to this very moment. Still alive (with pain and physical limitation) and filled with gratitude and love for the days, hours, and minutes I have to love (to bathe myself in loving Samahria, my family, my Option Institute/Son-Rise Program family, and all of you who cared and shared in the adventure of what Samahria and I created throughout the decades. Each day, I focus on my purpose to live every aspect of what we have been teaching all our adult lives. It’s a delight. To love is a delight we can do any time… all the time. To feel and express gratitude lavishly. To be present. To have a purpose in all our thoughts and actions – is doable (think: Force of Nature). To keep empowering the beliefs that elevate my thoughts and living experiences.  

“Come into my world/our world. What has become one of my most, most treasured experiences is watching Samahria breathe. Her breath and face, for me, are sunshine, uninterrupted love… God is in her face, too. During what appeared as ‘chaos’ in the hospital, one of our children said to Samahria – ‘it’s okay to cry and let go, Mopi.’ And Samahria said to our children… ‘This is exactly what I would want to do and be… I am truly fine, staying present, and knowing that it would not be useful to Popi – or ourselves- to fall apart and be unhappy. I have spent most of my life learning and teaching the benefits of CHOICE! And my choice is to believe that this is the time to use every ounce of that training to be comfortable and loving, so we can best help Popi.’

“For all of you who have written to me, I have felt so gloriously loved and appreciated. And your many comments about what you have changed, learned, and enacted… huge wows. Suggestion going forward: no matter how much you have loved and adored folks around you (spouse, significant others, children, parents, dear friends, and colleagues), take a step up and love them more deeply and passionately than ever…and tell them, tell them and tell them again and again what they mean to you (and be expressive and show your delight). Now is the time… because all we have is now. My gosh, you can even watch them breathe and possibly see God and sunshine in their faces too.”

Love, “Bears” Barry Neil Kaufman, Co-Founder of the Option Institute, Autism Treatment Center of America, The Son-Rise Program, and Author of Happiness Is A Choice, and Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Barry Neil Kaufman

Initial Letter to Son-Rise Program and Option Institute
participants, friends, and family

Bears’ Impending Death: 5 Days to 5 Weeks to Live

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 / CEO

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