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Publication: Fifty & Furthermore
A Must for a Meaningful LIfe

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FIFTY & FURTHERMORE - Monday, December 4, 2006

"I'm Dr. Dorree Lynn, founder of FiftyandFurthermore.com. 
Growing older can be a time for creative and passionate 
living, and I will apply my years as a psychologist to help 
you with the challenges and wonders that come with this new 
life stage."

Hello and welcome to FIFTY & FURTHERMORE! 

Today I would like to revisit the concept of spirituality. 
Below is an article written for FiftyandFurthermore.com a 
while back on the importance of spirituality for a meaningful 
life. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the same topic. If 
you would like to make a comment or ask me a question, please 
email me at the address below and as always, I will do all I 
can to provide you with the advice you seek.

As I always say, "life is too hard to do alone - reach out!"

Dr. Dorree Lynn, Psychologist

Please send questions and comments to: email Dr. Lynn

by Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Yehuda

A number of years ago, I was conversing with a congregant - 
I will call her Lola - who was battling cancer. She was a 
remarkable woman, a professor of social science in a well-
known university, whose life took a turn in a different 
direction when she was diagnosed with lymphoma. I myself 
had a rather bad experience with leukemia a number of years 
earlier, and after a long battle, my own condition improved 
as the leukemia went into remission.

Lola had been sick for about three years at that point. 
She had gone through surgery, chemotherapy, a remission of 
about a year, and was back in chemotherapy as her cancer 
reappeared. She told me that she was very angry at herself. 
She said that she recognized that her body was susceptible 
to attack because her mind, her spirit allowed the body to 
be weak and open to the antigens that caused her to be sick. 
She asked me how it was that my leukemia went into remission 
and stayed in remission ever since.

I was at a loss for words. How could I help this woman with 
words of faith and spirituality, I asked myself, when what 
she wants is a formula for healing - a formula I did not 
possess? We sat there looking at one another for a long 
moment, silent. Then I took her hands in mine and held them, 
passing some of the warmth of my body to her pale, cold 
hands. After a long quiet period we both began to sob. She 
leaned her head on my shoulder and I began to speak very 
softly in her ear.

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Each of us is an island unto himself. We travel in a world 
of matter - but we are not matter. We are spirits, housed 
in bodies made for our journey through our allotted time on 
earth by a benevolent deity who is totally unlike us that 
he could not understand the shortcomings of the vehicle he 
put at our disposal. Neither he nor we understand the 
fragile, temporary nature of our physical being. Nor do we 
recognize just how miraculously great it really is. It is 
woven of imperfect, temporary matter that needs to be re-
placed constantly. It grows and changes with time, and yet 
remains true to its blueprint. Hands do not get replaced 
by feel, and skin does not turn to kidney.

While our spirits are individualistic and free, our 
physical existence makes us vulnerable and incomplete. Our 
spirits may soar, but our daily life requires interaction 
with others like us, and many whom we judge to be not too 
much like us. We seek companionship and alliances, partner-
ships and affiliations. We open ourselves to other spirits, 
and we expose ourselves to other imperfect physical beings 
and all too real encounters – with all the attendant 
dangers of such exposures. We are open to attack upon our 
spirit and upon our physicality. Why are we then surprised 
that we fall prey to all manners of assault by other 
elements of the world we live in? We fear and have proper 
"respect" for the large and obvious dangers of this world: 
we avoid lions and tigers and bears; we stay away from 
waters inhabited by sharks and crocodiles and alligators; 
we do not go near poison bearing snakes or scorpions – it 
is part of our learned survival knowledge.

We are not too good at recognizing other dangers. We do not 
recognize that a healthy body can only exist when the spirit 
is strong and buoyant. We poison ourselves with indulgences 
such as over-eating, ingestion of slow-working poisons, pre-
occupation with banalities and lack of proper protection of 
our oh-so-temporary physical vehicle of temporal abode – our 

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At a given point in time in our journey through life we must 
reconnect with our spirit. We must recognize that the 
greatest gifts of life lie not in our physical existence: 
drinking another bottle of good wine, eating another fine 
meal, meeting another fine fun friend. The great gifts of 
life that endure are experiences that imprint themselves on 
our very core. A meaningful relation with a kindred spirit; 
sharing time and effort with others who are like-minded; 
knowing the satisfaction of seeing our life’s work continue 
with others whom we have trained and nurtured to take our 
place. What is important is not to number our days, to take 
pride in the fact that we have achieved a longevity of days. 
What is important is to let our spirits soar in the knowledge 
that no matter the number of our days, each one of them was 
numbered by our action, by our imprint on that day, by the 
impression we have left on that day.

Lola raised her head, my hands still holding hers. Her eyes 
were clear, tears still evident, but they were smiling. She 
thanked me, and said that her vision was now clear. She knew 
what she had to do. She will help others whose lives were 
short-circuited by a life threatening disease. She left my 
office and went back to the university to teach. She became 
a strong and inspiring advocate of living life to the fullest 
even in the throes of struggling with illness and the treat-
ment that can be more debilitating and agonizing than the 
illness itself. She triumphed over her cancer, went into 
another remission, and lived another five years. She made 
peace with her spirit and learned to live every day as if it 
was her first, as if it was her last. Her spirit is still 
with us through the indelible footprints she left on the 
sands of time.

     For more insight and advice from Dr. Lynn visit: 

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