“Our work is to realize conscious harmony. First in oneself individually, then in one’s group. Then gradually between groups and so projected indefinitely out in the world. Individually we must realize harmony between all our functions, all our interests, all our duties, all sides of our life-dedicating the harmonious whole to God and to the Work. That is what our studies are preparing us for. They have no other purpose.” — Conscious Harmony, Rodney Collin, posted by Lauren Feder in the notes of her personal Facebook page
It is with deep sadness that I share some of my fondest memories of Lauren here. On November 28, after a four month battle with a rare, aggressive bone cancer, Lauren passed from this life. The loss of her light to this world, and the conscious parenting movement, cannot be overstated. It is a shared tragedy for all of us. – Lisa Reagan, Executive Editor, Kindred
In the brief but intense history of the family wellness and conscious parenting movement there have been many firebrands, trail blazers and bright lights, but none of them, for me, defined the word GRACE so much as Lauren Feder, MD.
As both a medical doctor and certified homeopath practicing in her Center for Natural Family Medicine in Los Angeles, Lauren’s ability to calmly and clearly talk with parents about some of the most controversial family wellness issues – including natural pregnancy and birth, alternative medicines for babies and children and vaccine safety and choice – was uncanny, and rare. You could not rattle her. I could not rattle her. And I did try, as it was my job as a magazine editor and moderator of our teleconferences together.
In the moments of preparation before live teleconferences, I would throw a couple of “hot potato” questions on Lauren’s lap partly in fun, but also in sober acknowledgement of the deep concern and rightful frustration parents attending the calls would bring with them. Her responses were first and foremost validating and respectful to parents, who knew this physician was listening with her whole being.
That Lauren could respond to parents with knowledge of “both worlds” of medicine, as she called them, and then respectfully abide by the parent’s “conscious” choice for their child was and is a remarkable phenomenon in a physician. At times, I would marvel at the apparent innate wisdom that guided Lauren to be neither a defender of the status quo medical model nor the emerging holistic science, but of a parent’s right to choose.
In the nine years I manned the Holistic Pediatric Alliance’s hotline as its parent representative on the board of directors, I spoke with hundreds of parents who described in detail the family doctor they were looking for… and they all described Lauren. “Where are the doctors like Dr. Feder?” they asked, stunned to find there were a handful on a few directories here and there nationally. It was the desire to help identify, educate and to offer professional support to practitioners moving between worlds and meeting parents where they were that inspired Lauren to accept the nomination to become the president of the HPA in 2011.
Through her singular ability to rationally respond to culturally-reinforced fear and fundamentalist bullying from both sides of the proverbial fence, Lauren taught me much about navigating the current paradigm shifts in medicine, and in life – and this wisdom teaching traveled through phone lines from California to Virginia for years.
In one of our rare, in person meetings in 2012, Lauren and I represented the HPA at the National Center for Homeopathy conference in Washington, DC, where we listened to French virologist and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize, Dr. Luc Montagnie, present his research on DNA and electromagnetic waves that lent new insight to homeopathy.
Over dinner, I was finally able to sense and see what I missed in our phone-based work together: Lauren shimmered. There was a light around her being that I recognized from my own spiritual path.
“You have a relationship with Mary,” I stated more than asked. “Yes, how did you know?” she startled.
Now I understood, I thought, as she shared with me her sacred experience and resulting, deeply devotional spiritual life in the Catholic Church. Now I understood the source of her clarity and strength. Lauren was a mother inspired by the love for her children and husband to minister to other families, who sought wisdom and strength for her work from the Great Mother of the Great Physician.
Her unflappable courage, commitment to kindness and quiet strength… Lauren didn’t just live with grace in both worlds of medicine, she walked in grace between both worlds of human and spirit.
I admit, when I received the news from her family that she had passed from this world, I was in shock. I thought of our talks about our sons who were similar ages and my heart broke. I remembered Lauren’s guidance for parents in calls on attachment parenting and marriage, and how she shared stories of her love and life with her husband. I went to my prayer altar near a painting of the Great Physician and lit a candle for them.
In December, I reviewed a template of the new Kindred website with her column, Ask Dr. Feder, positioned squarely in the center landing page. “We were just getting started! We were having fun!” My inner child stomped her foot in righteous rage, “Not fair!” No, it’s not fair that we are left here without Lauren’s grace and comfort, but I believe she would point us in the direction of the source of her strength if we asked. And, thankfully, we have her books where she shared her knowledge and approach to integrating “both worlds” of allopathic and holistic medicine. Her latest book, Natural Pregnancy, was just released this summer. Our last teleconference together about the book is below.
The significance of Lauren’s work in bridging medical paradigms with deep spiritual wisdom while respecting parent’s conscious choices cannot be overstated. Her loss to our community comes at a time of crisis in American families as we face a generation of children growing increasingly more chronically ill while parents are dismissed or attacked if they don’t “pick a side” and go with it. Lauren proved, as a deeply principled, brilliant physician and a conscientious human being, a more intelligent, mindful, middle ground is possible. While she was ahead of her time, her contributions to a growing and strengthening conscious living movement will be felt for generations to come.
Thank you, Lauren, for being my friend. I will miss you. And thank you for this last wisdom-teaching across the miles, or is now, parsecs: Our lives are fragile and nothing is guaranteed, but the light and love we bring to this world is not lost, ever.