Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last by Lee Lipsenthal, MD.
I read a book, albeit a short one, in a day. Who does that? Certainly not me, but I did. Lee’s narrative is engaging, and its wisdom inspiring. I have selected ten excerpts/quotes that just might make you consider picking up this book. Lee is into living fully for he has no time to waste. As his story begins, Lee is dealing with the diagnosis that he has esophageal cancer.
In Lee’s words:
It may strike you as odd that I could have so much gratitude for this life that I am about to lose, but I had approached my life differently than most. Every day for the last twenty years, I have practiced gratitude. I started by thinking about the things I was grateful for on a nightly basis, writing down things that I was grateful for on a nightly basis, reminding myself of how lucky I was. Later, I began to use gratitude in my meditation practice.
Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. – Brendan Gill
There was quite a lot of anxiety in my household. My parents seemed to worry a lot about everything. Not quite the Woody Allen level of anxiety but not too far from it. Everywhere I went, I was taught to lock doors behind me, look over my shoulder while walking in the street at night, and leave nothing visible in my car. We worried about whether it would snow or rain. We worried about everyone’s health…My parents see the world as a dangerous place. They convince themselves they are at risk most of the time.
Pay attention to the good stuff that happens every day and enjoy what is, not what should have been or what might be. Enjoy every sandwich. My life is my sandwich, and I might as well savor every bite.
When I teach my students about gaining joy in their work, I have them write down the parts of their days that give them pleasure or excitement. I have them reflect on what energizes them and the coworkers they love. I ask them to work on increasing those aspects of their work so that they are spending more time doing what they love with people they care about.
We are so quick to judge other people, yet we often can’t possibly understand their perspective. We didn’t grow up in the same world they did, yet we apply our rules to them.
A core reason why we struggle to forgive is that we believe that by forgiving we are letting the offender off the hook. This is not true. Fred Luskin of Stanford University suggests that we “forgive and remember,” not forgive and forget. Forgive and move on with your life, remembering not to repeat the same mistake.
Living involves tearing up one rough draft after another. – Author unknown
I also learned something profound. I couldn’t “manage” stress. Stress was just my response to life’s events. Stress wasn’t something to be managed. Once it happens, it has happened. My parents taught me to look for stress in my life. I now realized that looking for stress creates stress. The harder I looked, the more I found…If I looked for fun, joy, and playfulness, I would find fun, joy, and playfulness.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. – Helen Keller
Here is a 3:27 youtube trailer about Lee Lipsenthal’s Enjoy Every Sandwich
By the way, the title of the book comes from a response that rock star Warren Zevon gave to David Letterman about what he (Warren) learned about life as he dealt with a life threatening illness.