By Dr. Carolyn Anderson
“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely”- Buddha
I recently read the book “Enjoy Every Sandwich” and had to share how the book impacted me. The author, Dr. Lee Lipsenthal was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July 2009. As the medical director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, he was no stranger to disease and helped thousands of his patients through their illnesses.
Rather than be angry at his diagnosis, Lipsenthal continued living his life fully each day. He discovered he did not fear death and instead continued to enjoy everyday life and savor even the little things like every sandwich. Before his death in Sept 2011, he wrote a book called “Enjoy Every Sandwich” where he shares how to “find meaning, purpose, and peace in our lives.”
This heartfelt and incredible journey of one of our esteemed colleagues as his life was unfortunately cut short from terminal cancer is poignant and life changing. This book is so much more about living than dying. It is about living a life so rich, so meaningful, so moment to moment that if we were to die today we could do so knowing that we had sucked the marrow out of life and really maximized every moment. The real transformative concept is that to truly live we must be ready to die. It really outlines how following our spirit and living from joy instead of self protection opens up the entire world and beyond. Lipsenthal spent his life dedicated to healing others physically and emotionally and in his death he has continued to heal all of us, this time from our fears.
He takes us through his journey from diagnosis, telling his loved ones, treatment and illness. He is remarkably accepting of his death and in his acceptance shows us how to make sure we live each moment to the fullest. It is not just about dying gracefully but about living completely.
His attitude helps to get all of us in touch with what truly matters in our lives. The recent death of my beloved mother from pancreatic cancer brought me face to face with this process and made the lessons from this book even more compelling. I sensed this with my mom and it permeates every page of this book – if we possibly only have a year to live why would we waste a moment being negative, hurt, holding grudges or worrying about what others think of us. If this is the case when we are imminently dying why should this not be the case for all of us all the time? We are all in fact dying we just don’t know when. As Lee writes “The real exception is to truly live.” If we look for more love, playfulness, laughter and joy in our lives we will quite likely find it. We must shift our perspectives to look for what we want more of in life.
The message to create meaning in all moments of our lives is truly transformative. To “enjoy every sandwich”, enjoy every breath, enjoy every second. Know in your heart what is truly important and do it every day. Be grateful for life no matter how messy or uncertain. We are here for a short time, don’t play it safe, play it full out.
Thanks Lee for your life altering gift to humanity. Thanks for helping all of us heal our fears and embrace our lives.
If you would like to win a copy of “Enjoy Every Sandwich” leave a comment below or on the Impowerage Facebook page. On April 27th, a winner will be randomly selected and sent a free copy of the book. Congratulations to Jo Ann B who was randomly selected to win a free copy of the book.
About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is an eye surgeon who founded Impowerage to raise money for macular degeneration research. She practices cataract surgery in Langley, BC and is a professional speaker who speaks on managing your energy. She recently co-wrote a book, “Pushing to the Front: Front Line Strategies from the World’s Leading Experts, with Brian Tracy.