Lost In The Page

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© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

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Take That Back: A simple game to refresh your life

I come to life

on a comedy stage, with a suggestion, and a promise of a good laugh. I come to life on a dance floor, with country music, and a group of new or old friends. I come to life at home, with a pen and a paper, and too many words to decide on just one to come next. I come to life in a clinic, with a child, a few stickers, and a toothbrush in hand.

But do I have to be in those specific situations to feel alive, to feel energized by life? Am I less alive through the rest of my days?

No way! 

Because it’s not the place or the situation that brings light to our eyes. It’s our own mindsets. It’s our willingness to free ourselves from restraints and to gift ourselves the joy of life in every moment. It’s the decision to let the worry, stress, and clutter of life pause so that we can just be, and just breathe.

And it’s the forgiveness we offer ourselves when we choose the wrong path and end up locked in a challenging moment.

There’s a game we play in improv comedy called ‘Take that back.’ Essentially, when you say a statement, the coach, at any moment, can demand that you ‘take that back.’ Say you just exclaimed your love for fried fish. Well, take back that love … so now you commit to a love of rolling chairs. Say you just whined about your character’s lost keys. Well, take back that emotion … and now you are overjoyed about your character’s lost keys. Standing in an objective position, the coach can see what helps and hurts the scene, and can guide you to success with just a touch of ‘take that back.’

And with practice, you can do the same in your own life!

Start noticing how you feel throughout the day. Check in with yourself when you wake up, when you are on the bus. Check in with yourself when you have work sitting before you. Pay attention to those moments when time just feels like it is dragging through mundane and tiresome tasks, or when time is lost to ‘spacing out’ of the moment. Pay attention to each moment.

After noticing for awhile, letting the awareness grow more natural, start to ‘take back’ your experience. Say you woke up with the thought, “It’s Monday morning. Ugh. The early alarm, the trudge through traffic, the full week of work ahead.” You feel tired and weary. You’re already counting down the days of the week. Sure, you could try to let that thought pass, but your body has already responded to the negativity. You’re already feeling weak.

Which is the perfect time to tell yourself, ‘Take that back!’

So you start again, opening your eyes, thinking, ‘It’s Monday morning! Yes! An early start, a productive day, and so much I can accomplish. This will be great!’

Already, you feel energized. Already, you feel hopeful. Already, you are wondering what great things will come of the week instead of reminiscing about the past weekend or anticipating the next. Already, you are more alive and free of your thoughts in the moment.

It’s not an easy exercise to use on yourself. (There’s a reason improv teams use a coach!) But it’s an exercise you can learn and build into your life, and, if you try it right now, just for kicks and giggles, I guarantee* you will experience a momentary transformation in the experience of your day.

*Restrictions apply. Must have your own capacity to set back time in order to complete the guarantee refund of reading this post. And if you have that capacity, YOU JUST INVENTED TIME TRAVEL. DO SHARE, PLEASE!

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© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

What makes you happy?

Whatever makes you happy, be it

– a dance party

– a night in

– a night with friends

– comedy

– faith

– a good book or even just a selfie

Share it. Love it. Embrace it.

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That joy is what brings a smile to your eyes and light to your life.

What makes you happy? Think about some sources of joy in your life and share them with the world! You might just inspire joy in another’s life.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

Because You Deserve a Healthy Smile

Chances are, every single one of us reading this post either has or knows someone who has dental anxiety. The fear is real!

More importantly, the fear is manageable.

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Working with your dentist and these five simple tips, you can start to bring that anxiety under control, because nothing should come between you and the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve.

CLICK HERE to read my latest dental article on The Huffington Post, and be sure to share it with that dentist or anxious family member/friend in your life!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

I approve of this message

It’s tempting to look out for approval.

We were taught to do so ever since the first grade. We studied for good grades, sat with arms folded for respect from our teachers, and eagerly awaited that next star-shaped sticker for our prize boards.

We did everything we were supposed to do, and looked out for the praise. In a context of operant conditioning, we learned how to behave and how to garner respect. And when we made mistakes, we looked in apology to those supporting us, and tried again.

But we were never similarly untrained.

No one ever gave out star-shaped stickers for NOT seeking approval. No one ever handed out extra candy for letting our self-drive and self-acceptance be enough. Few dared to tell a teenager that the only opinion that mattered was from the reflection in the mirror, not when it came to the day-to-day choices in life. It is much easier and so much more predictable as a caregiver, after all, to stay in control of the world and the people around us.

It’s not that we don’t all want our friends and family to grow strong and independent. On the contrary, we couldn’t imagine a better outcome for our loved ones.

Yet, it’s easy to forget

we as humans don’t naturally know how to look to ourselves for approval. We as humans don’t readily break the patterns by which we were trained. Have you ever tried to break a burdensome habit? It’s hard work! And it takes a lot of time, attention, and awareness of the problem. Not too many of us will turn to that hard work without some external factor pointing out with a big flashing arrow that how we are operating is no longer working.

But with so many resources out there – quotes and the like – reminding us of the value of self-approval and self-direction, you can be sure you are not alone in carrying this trained habit to adulthood. The market simply doesn’t spew out supply without a proportional demand.

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Of course, self-approval has its risks.

When you start to give yourself the approval you seek, you may make some mistakes. And you may have to own up to those mistakes – there is no longer someone to hide behind. The mistakes are softened, of course, because you are aware of the hard day you are having and you understand the sources of that choice. You are responsible for and understanding of your actions.

AND you are empowered by the freedom to choose what comes next. No one can push your head to a slump, and no one can take from you the pride of your smile. At a beautiful level, you are in control of the positive and negative outcomes. Everything you need comes from within, and everything you are is imperfectly perfect.

Everything you are is good.

And everything you can become is stunning, because only you can set the limits on your potential.

But don’t think I expect that you change this trained habit in one day. Instead, let’s try for one minute to make choices without approval, and to applaud those choices on our own. If it’s hard, that’s okay. We can try again in a later moment. Little by little, day by day, you can build to a life where you rejoice at the smile of another, yet garner pride from the approval you give to yourself.

In this moment and moving forward, you are your own greatest advocate.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

 

I Found Hope

Hope and faith are always viable options.

Through challenging times, through tiring days, through painful experiences and stories of tragedy, we must never lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us.

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When reading a book, not even thinking about this blog, hope found me. I was curled up under a yellow blanket, hot tea by my side. And I followed hope to her next simple message: “Believe in man.” Believe in mankind to do good. Believe in mankind to be good. Believe that the world and even the current page of your novel is filled with kindness and inspiration. And believe that you have every right to move past the noise – even cross it out in black ink! – and delve straight into that place of inspiring hope.

Because, at its core, the world is … beautiful, and simple, and, quite frankly, good.

How do I know that?

Well, for starters, because you are a part of this world!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Finding Your Light

Every day, we are presented with two options:

  1. We could see the world through the lens of our challenges . . . or
  2. We could move through the day with an illuminated, energized spirit.

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Option 1, of course, happens to be the simpler path. Instinct tells us to complain about that which we don’t want to do. Pattern sinks us into this habitual behavior. Routine distracts us from recognizing the burdensome choice we have made.

To be honest, it’s much easier to stop at the first paragraph, at the word ‘burden,’ than it is to search for the ‘light.’

Yet, we must never forget

the light is there. It’s always there. No matter our struggles, no matter our challenges, no matter how dark the page or what news we wake up to on national TV, the world is filled with such light!

And by choosing to live our lives on an illuminated path, we might just shine some light on the friends and strangers around us.

Who knew blackout poetry could be so bright?!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

Just one realization could change your life.

Let’s try something new…

Let go

of your worries and fears. For just this moment. Let go of your to-do lists and your experience of chaos. Let go of that feeling that you are so tired and life is so busy. Simply choose, right now, for a moment, to let go, and take a deep breath. Simply choose, for a moment, to be still.

And allow the moment to pass.

Now, don’t jump straight back to the tension you carry. I know, your boss/teacher/child/neighbor isn’t going to let go of his/her request. Your landlord and electricity company aren’t about to let go of their owed pay. The world isn’t going to stop because you need a break.

Except, think back to the last moment: it just did.

In the moment you chose to be still and feel free, the world stopped. In the moment you chose to take a deep inhale, the demands paused and waited for you. Nobody felt slighted. None of your obligations ballooned into insurmountable tasks. In that moment of silence, nothing bad happened.

You just were, and the world simply waited.

And doesn’t it feel nice

to know that you are in control – of how you feel, of how you respond, of the tension you carry? Doesn’t it feel freeing to realize that you are empowered by the simplicity of your breath?

Today, the Jewish people are eating in a Sukkah, a three-walled ‘shack,’ if you will, lined with a roofing of palm branches. As one of three pilgrimage festivals in the Jewish faith, Sukkot reinforces the simplicity of eating, the temporary in life. Our shelters can blow away. Our food is simply what grows in the field. In the Sukkah, we are separated from the material possessions of the modern world, and brought back to a zeman simchateynu, a season of joy, when our ancestors’ fields shared their yields. We can choose to worry about the challenging climate outside or the burden of carrying out our food, but instead, we empower ourselves. We rejoice in the beauty of what we do have, and leave the worry behind.

Yet, in our day-to-day lives, outside the holiday season, we all tend to forget our own power. We tend to clutter our world with interpretations of what we see.

She has a curled brow – that must mean she’s frustrated with how slow I’m working. He’s looking away; did I do something wrong? And the guy across the room is just sitting and smiling; if only I could be more like him.

We see ourselves as our weaknesses, the time as a deficit, our neighbors as a measure of compare. We place meaning in the wind when really, the wind just is. That woman just was. Our stories are just a product of our minds’ creation.

They aren’t reality.

And neither is our anxiety or tension or fear that we feel. Neither is that draining thought that we have so much to do in so little time.

I was reading a book, crossing out the words that ‘didn’t matter.’ And, in erasing the clutter, I found the gist of the story: “Beneath a tall man stood a shorter man and the two were surrounded by others.”

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Now, that wouldn’t be the Blockbuster slogan on the back of a cover, but the simplicity of the ‘true’ story – and how I came to find it – carries important lessons:

(1) Change is hard – especially when, through the choice to change, we lose the option to go back. For the longest time, I would ‘cross-out’ words in a book with pencil, drawing only a line so I could see what used to be there, erase the marks and ‘go back.’ For the longest time, I wouldn’t even mark a book, ruin the perfection of the page. But then, I irreversibly marked the page, and I found my next lesson …

(2) In making a choice, we allow ourselves power. So much in life is out of our control. So much simply happens, and, in return, we respond. The response can be instinctual and follow our natural patterns of behavior – like not writing in a book, or only writing in the margins in pencil – OR the response can be daring, that choice we always wanted to make but were simply too timid to try. In fact, the choice that doesn’t meet expectations often challenges us most to exceed those expectations.

And, of course, in removing the extraneous detail of a story, I came to the most important insight of all:

(3) Life, at its core, is simple. 

It’s not a stressful experience or a tiring string of days. It’s not a journey of working to live, or a challenge to experience the craziest and most beautiful parts of the world. Those expectations, like the author’s ‘clutter’ of words, are simply interpretations of what is really happening: there is a man, and a shorter man, and a lot of other people around them. What everyone is thinking or feeling, what emotion fills the air and what color paints the grass – those are choices that we can each make in the moment. Today, I choose rest to fill the air. I choose softness to paint the grass. I don’t recall what the author chose, but I am certain his world was much different from mine. I don’t know what you will choose, but I am certain your world, too, will be unique.

So think back to that thought of ‘having so much to do in so little time.’ What’s the gist of the story?

You have things to do. And you have time.

The adjectives you choose to paint that reality can either lead to simplicity and freedom or clutter and stress, but the choice and the power is all yours.

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Reality is a funny thing

because no one reality actually exists. We place interpretations on interpretations on interpretations of the world, and somewhere in that mess, we find ourselves overwhelmed and toxically stressed.

So take a step back, return to the simplicity of your life, and make the interpretive choice that will suit your health and wellness best. After all, you are the author of your world.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

 

 

The Reason Today Is Worth Celebrating

Much too often, we minimize our accomplishments.

We tell ourselves, ‘Sure, I did that, but so could anyone else around.’ Or, ‘Yeah, I did that, but I could have done it better.’

And maybe that’s partly true. There are lots of talented people. There is always room to improve.

But could you have done just as well two months ago?

Could you have accomplished that task last year?

The measure of our success has never been the people around us. The target in sight has never been based on a neighbor.

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Because our only locus of control is in ourselves. Our only standard of compare is against ourselves.

We take who we were yesterday, and we try to grow into an even better person today. We take our mistakes of the day, and acknowledge that they will help us grow tomorrow. We hold in ourselves the belief that we are our own greatest advocates, and we are our own cheering fans.

We applaud our successes, no matter how small.

And we give to ourselves the encouragement we would give to a friend. Because we know the truth: what we did today was INCREDIBLE. And what we can do tomorrow will be inspired by today.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

You are so strong, you can…

There will forever be challenges.

In school. In work. In friendships and life.

And in each of these challenges, there will always be YOU, strong enough to rise above the waves.

BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN. BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL. BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE.

Because, my dear, the world (and I) already believe in YOU!

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You are so strong, you can!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Your Monday Morning Meditation

Where do you focus your energy?

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You wake up each day to the beep of an alarm. But you don’t get up, not yet. Instead, you lie in bed, hands open, body flat, eyes closed. You imagine yourself in the calm of a cloud. As you start to sink into its cotton surroundings, you notice the tension in your scalp. You feel that tension deeply, and you choose to let it go. You move down to your forehead, feeling the tension, and allowing release. You then move to your eyelids, your lips, your neck, and your shoulders, each time feeling the tension, and letting it go. You exhale softly as you do this, releasing the weight of your thoughts in the warmth of your breath. You whisper in muted sound, ‘Today is going to be great.’

When you get to your toes, feeling the tension and letting it go, you start to notice your body feels heavy. You feel the curve of your back sinking into the cushion of your bed. You feel the weight of your head molding the fluff of your pillow. You are safe. You are held. You are carried by the softness that surrounds you. And in the trust of the world, you let go of control. You let your body fall without worry; you let yourself sink into your surroundings.

Until you can’t sink any further, and you open your eyes, and open your mind. You open your heart to possibility, and to gratitude for the day. Nothing has yet happened. The day hasn’t started. Even if you have a meeting scheduled or an exam set, it hasn’t happened. Your day is a blank slate. Your possibilities are endless.

Coming back to the world, you notice the walls of your room. You notice the texture of your ceiling. You feel the temperature of the air. And you let a smile lift your face.

Anything can happen. And you begin your day excited by faith.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.