Monday, October 10, 2011
"Being okay with dying is a weird place to be"
Please go visit this trailer for Lee Lipsenthal's upcoming book, Enjoy Every Sandwich.
I was part of a group exhibition last week at Foard Studios and answering some questions about my photographs involving hospice and the dying process. I was also trying to describe a collaboration I am embarking on with Christina Foard (amazing painter and idea guru!) that involves exploring the dying process through photography, painting, video and poetry.
Sarah, one of the women in the group, began to tell me of Lee's work as a physician and preventative medicine speaker. She went on to say that he had recently died from cancer, but had continued to teach and write about living life fully right until his death. The next day, she sent me this link to his book trailer to me and Christina. I SO wish I could have met him! He says some things in this short trailer that knocked my socks off:
"Being okay with dying is a weird place to be."
"I am living with cancer. Not battling it or fighting it."
Once he was diagnosed with cancer the second time, he says he spent his time, "getting chemo and sitting in my yard and meditating with the trees, which is beautiful."
"What keeps me non-agitated about death is appreciation for the life I already have.
"So many people wait to connect until they are dying, so I started teaching how to do that without facing (imminent) death"
"Find the joy in the simplicity of life."
"The fact that I'm dying gives me more credibility."
This is what I have seen in my work with people facing life threatening illness. Sometimes they reach a luminous, peaceful place where everything makes perfect sense. And life is perfect just as it is. I am magnetically drawn to people who have reached that place, and want to understand it for myself. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lee's book.