Lee Lipsenthal MD: Ho'oponopono Light from Within
Some people naturally come to an acceptance that we are not "in control" of outcomes, but can certainly practice peace in every moment -- no matter what. Not all of us get this lesson so easily, even while actively doing Ho'oponopono.
A comparison between my own recent activities and the attitude of a dear friend and colleague will illustrate. I supposedly practice Ho'oponopono; he doesn't. It's definitely in him anyway.
A couple of weeks ago I was in San Diego for a session with my current homeopathic training program, California Center for Homeopathic Education. The session contained several classroom days, a graduation evening, and also a quiz for which I needed to study.
Imagine my growing concern when, around 4pm on the 100+ degree afternoon of 9/8/11, I was working in my hotel room . . . and it started to get hot. Also, my computer flashed a warning that it was now on battery power, needing electricity soon. This seemed very odd, since it was plugged into the wall.
In my academic fervor, I was NOT Ho'oponopono cleaning.
My insistent human brain thought something might be wrong with the electrical receptacle, so I chose another. And another. These were no help at all.
After unsuccessfully trying all the lamps in the room, I had a diagnosis: electricity off. Brilliant -- and still not a single "thank you" or other Ho'oponopono cleaning tool came to my mind. I was lost in space for sure.
The phone was still working, and I called the front desk to let them know that my room was without electricity. A kindly voice on the other end replied, "Ma'am, the electricity is out over all of San Diego County. We're trying to find out what happened, and we're sorry for your inconvenience."
In my human self-referential state, I'd had no idea anything was happening to anyone else. I had been ensconced with my books and computer for hours -- isolated from the rest of the world. And I shamefully admit: forgetting to clean.
I wandered through very dark hallways to the stairs, and climbed down to the lobby where others were milling about. Word was, the outage extended from San Diego north to the LA area, east to Yuma, AZ, and south to Mexicali, Mexico.
Thankfully, my world could expand beyond room 312 of the Hilton Garden Inn. I started to clean. Lightswitch! :-)
As the sun went down, the hotel staff mentioned how lucky I was to be here already. All the traffic lights being out left gridlock on the freeways and streets. The airport was closed. Also, no restaurants could serve patrons. Fortunately, I'd eaten a late lunch. There was plenty of water, though, and people in the bar were happy to sample more exotic concoctions.
Still having studying to do, I used the last remaining daylight for review -- with Ho'oponopono cleaning now added. How had this precious process slipped out of my mind before? I don't know, but it had.
Suddenly the woman behind the desk came up to where I was sitting in the darkening lobby. "Would you like a glow stick?" she offered. "You just crack it and it gives light for at least 12 hours!" This seemed absolutely wonderful to me.
I'm sure Dr. Rajan Sankaran would love the image of a student poring over his "Sensation in Homeopathy" text with a glow stick -- but that is exactly how I studied that evening. Just like Abraham Lincoln with his candle flame, but probably much safer.
Somewhere in the wee hours of the next morning, electricity returned. And I was grateful for the MANY reminders to clean.
On the other hand, my friend and colleague Lee Lipsenthal MD is a beautiful contrast to these lapses shared above. He has worked with Dean Ornish MD, and has taught physicians all over how to find balance and calm in their busy medical lives. I have enjoyed working with him in many locales -- including Molokai, Hawaii for a "Healer Within" retreat in late May 2009.
Lee has personally helped thousands of people along their healing paths -- sometimes through quieter methods such as HeartMath meditations. His more lively, invigorating processes include shamanic journeying with holotropic breathwork. Through this latter, he helped me make inner peace with my father. He also brought dance back into my life after several years without it. Following a week of properly healthy organic food, we ate sloppy Molokai hamburgers in celebration! It was marvelous to laugh and get ketchup all over ourselves.
But not long after after our Hawaiian adventure, Lee was diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic esophageal cancer. Nobody saw that one coming.
For most everyone else, it was a time of shock and disbelief. But maintaining his sense of peace, Lee wrote, connected, and meditated, between rounds of chemo and radiation -- even though suffering all the pain that goes with those treatments. He spoke his message of living each day with grace to many, many people, including the American Academy of Family Physicians.
For a time it seemed he had beaten the odds. He continued his teaching and traveling. I spoke with him in late July, for the mundane reason of needing a receipt . . . . not realizing he'd just learned that the cancer was back until he said so. We talked about what he wanted to do, and what mattered most to him. He continued to write on Huffington Post, and completed a book due for publication later this fall: Enjoy Every Sandwich. His love for songwriter Warren Zevon inspired the title.
This past Tuesday, Lee passed on to his next great adventure -- leaving behind his physician wife Kathy, his children Will and Cheryl, his parents, and friends the world over. He recently created a video for Enjoy Every Sandwich that expresses his inner peace and amazement with life. To me, Lee embodied Ho'oponopono -- certainly better than I did in the story above. It wasn't always that way for him, but his example gives me great hope for myself and the rest of us, waking up.
Here's the video:
Thank you, dear Lee. I send you wishes for the peace that passes understanding -- but you already know what that is. I send wishes of healing peace to your family and all the rest of us who love you, too. Your light is still shining, here -- and it's far, far brighter than any glow-stick.
Peace begins with me,