The Key to a Magical New Year

The year is coming to an end, and you have done so much! You ARE amazing! Just take a tally of all that has happened – the goals you met, the goals you still can to achieve, where you started, and where you now find yourself. There is so much you have achieved! There are so many smiles you have shared.

After all these successes, we have a right to feel pure joy. Yet, many of us may find ourselves stopped, staring at the one challenge we have yet to overcome, or the new challenge that has just presented itself in the past few weeks. Perhaps it is a work problem or a personal issue, a family dynamic or a negotiation among friends. Whether it is big or small, frequent or a one-time issue, let’s give this challenge the space it needs … by filling in the blank:

My challenge today is

 

______________________________________________________________________.

 

Now, there’s no magic wand yet invented to remedy life’s challenges, but there is mindset, belief, and the power of positive thinking.  And, those come pretty darn close to a magic wand!

 

So, flick of the wrist and douses of magic, let’s turn that challenge into opportunity.  Take exactly what you wrote above, and fill it in the blank below:

My opportunity today is

 

______________________________________________________________________, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll make of this experience!

 

When your challenge starts to get the best of you, repeat the opportunity sentence to yourself.  Better yet, stand in front of a mirror, say it aloud, and announce it to a friend! The more volume you put to these words, the more your body and heart start to embrace your words’ strength.

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May you have a day blessed with true, rewarding opportunity.  You WILL find your way to the other side, and to a marvelous and magical new year.

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

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Finding Your Center

You’re seated on a stool, your knees spread out at sixty degrees, wide enough to fit the bowl of a potter’s wheel. Your right foot balances the pedal, while your hands grace the sides of the damp, tender clay. You don’t know yet what this clay will become, but, together, you and the clay will find a place of being centered.

This is the experience of being a potter, and this is the memory that propelled me into the world of art. Dentistry, at its heart, is an art form, taking pottery to the scale of a tooth. But before I held dental composite, I held the simple clay of the Earth. And, grasping at nature, I became an artist.

Beyond writing, my art forms include pottery, jewelry making, origami (with special interest in making jewelry and magnets based in origami work), and miniatures.

Many of my art pieces have found homes with creative buyers, and now they have their very own page on my blog. CLICK HERE to find out more about my art and check back often for updates!

Do you have a creative side? Tell us about it! Share your work and interests in the comments below.

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

You CAN Change a Life

“Children don’t have to live with dental disease.”

The American Dental Association opened their Give Kids A Smile article with this very tagline, quoting an interview with me after the October 2017 Give Kids A Smile® Leadership Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. As one of ten Give Kids A Smile Leadership Ambassadors in the 2017 cohort, I was honored to learn from the founders of Give Kids A Smile and experience the heart of dentistry alongside incredible and inspiring colleagues. In only a few days, we gathered tips for building our own programs, ideas for integrating medicine and dentistry, and a network with whom we can collaborate to reach more and more children across the nation. Most importantly, we played an active role in providing dental care for hundreds of children in need.

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We all have a role in ensuring the children around us have access to healthy smiles. That role can be everything from bringing good dental care to your own home with tips from the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website to volunteering at your local GKAS events. Perhaps you choose to donate dental supplies or funds to the cause, or help connect children you know to GKAS programs in your area. Maybe you prefer to read a book about dental care at your local library or preschool. As a program of the ADA Foundation, the 501c3 charitable arm of the American Dental Association, Give Kids A Smile provides opportunity for you to learn more about and get involved in Give Kids A Smile at the ADA Foundation webpage.
The opportunities to spread smiles surround us every day. With Give Kids A Smile, the impact is beyond compare.

Contact Me if you have any questions about how you can get involved in Give Kids A Smile or in spreading smiles in your community in any capacity. Collaboration is the key to success, and you are the essential ingredient!

The original blog post can be found at The Huffington Post. 

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

There is always a chance

The celebration of Hanukkah is a celebration of miracles in the context of historic battle. And, it is a celebration of so much more! With each candle we light, we are welcoming hope, faith, and brightness into our lives. With each night we pray, we are joyfully gifted a reminder: miracles happen every day. And so, no matter what happened in our day, no matter what troubles we face, we can always hold onto faith.

What miracles entered your life today? No matter how seemingly small, embrace them, for they are truly life’s most divine gift to embrace.

Don’t Ever Believe You Are Not Good Enough

There is a central flaw in our society. And no, it doesn’t have orange hair or a headline beginning with ‘allegation’ and ending with ‘fired,’ so shake your etch-a-sketch clear.

 

Because the flaw I have found is more pervasive.

 

And it’s nothing new. In fact, this flaw is the concept around which much of our ideologic infrastructure is built. And it’s a concept that we all have the responsibility to change: the concept of Nate.

 

Nate was a young boy in a class I taught. He was five when we met, ten when I left the teaching position. He had a fascination with cars and loved playing games on the white board. He could write in his workbook for hours, but could only ever grip the pencil in the palm of his hand, his letters often large and illegible. He was never very neat, even for a young boy, and would fall into anxious habits without even noticing. If he didn’t have a stress ball or toy in his hand, there would soon be blood dripping from his face. It’s not that he wanted to hurt himself, but his mind and body always had to work. When he was angry, he had little control. But when learned something new, he filled the room with enthusiasm. Those moments, however, were far and few between.

 

For every ten steps his classmates took, Nate had to take fifty. For every lesson his classmates learned, Nate learned one-eighth. Every day in the classroom, Nate fell behind. Grades were simply reminders of a fact he already knew. Academic games he could never win were simply public demonstrations of how hard it was for him to even try. The system around him, the system around which our society is built – with evaluations and standardized expectations and celebration only of success – simply served to point out his flaws.

 

Still, Nate kept showing up. He kept trying. He kept learning and filling the room with his enthusiasm. He always kept his body hunched over, his head someone down. But I never did get the idea that he was hiding or ashamed. Rather, Nate seemed to be focusing. He seemed to be tuning out the messages the world was feeding him and focusing simply on what he needed to do in that moment.

 

Unfortunately, the world didn’t let Nate grow up in his difference, medication calming him down until he could simply blend in.

 

Though Nate had a syndrome to face, we all, at one point or another, have been Nate. When receiving rejection. When being left out of the group. When being told we could have done better, and realizing that what we gave was truly our best.

 

We are all imperfect. And the world is built to put that imperfection right in our face. Job evaluations. School marks. Interpersonal schisms. The world shows us our challenges.

 

And face-to-face with our flaws, it is up to us to remember the one thing the world often forgets to share:

 

We can always do better. (And I mean that in the best of ways!)

 

If you score perfectly on an exam, great. But is your learning actually complete? If you and a friend celebrate a five-year friend-versary, fun! But does your relationship really have no room to grow?

 

The world we live in puts growth on a zero to one-hundred scale, with success being this attainable score at the top. And if you are anything less than perfect, the world is here to point that out, and remind you to do better, try harder, achieve more.  You could be as perfect as that other guy getting a 100 over there. Can you imagine that? 😉

 

And it’s really a great system – if we were all the same human being with the same mind and capabilities.

 

Of course, we aren’t. We are all some version of Nate. We are all some version of a caring, incredible person with unique challenges and strengths. We are all on our own zero to one-hundred scales. And we are all responsible for reminding those around us that their great leaps of progress or small steps of growth are equally incredible.

 

  • So your life is at a different stage than your neighbor’s? That’s okay.
  • So you’re excelling at a faster rate than your classmate? That’s fine.
  • So you could do better on an arbitrary scale? Yep. That’s true. You can always do better.

 

The world isn’t going to change overnight. Our minds aren’t simply going to rewire into the peace Nate found when blocking out the comparisons and judgments being made around him. He took years to build that skill. He still, often, forgot it.

 

But, in sharing his strengths, Nate taught me a mantra I will never forget, a mantra we all have the gift of sharing with those around us:

 

Don’t ever believe you are not good enough. 

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

Three Questions to Help You Become a More Effective Communicator

What do you call an improviser without a voice?

No, this isn’t the set-up to a joke. And yes, there is a real answer to be found. You see, for the past two weeks, I’ve been asking myself this very question. Struck with a long-winded bug and a bout of laryngitis for the holiday season, I found myself in countless situations where all I needed was a voice.

There were days when I went to the dental clinic, attempting to provide pre-op and post-op information for tooth extractions without using any words. And when I approached my patients with a needle, all I could do was smile through a mask, having no words to dictate the scenario.

 

There were afternoons when I climbed into a cab, wanting to say ‘hi’ to the smiling driver. All I could do, though, was point to my throat, and mouth the absence of words. The rest of the ride was in complete silence.

 

And, as the opening line suggests, there were even evenings when I jumped on the improv stage, wanting to contribute dialogue to a scene, but finding myself able to do little more than interact with my body and face.

The transition to silence was a challenge, to say the least.

Because words fill the emptiness of a moment. Or they beautifully frame a memory. They gloss over the emotions of a situation. Or they embrace the feelings in the room. They distance two people with the vacancy of meaning. Or they create a connection only possible through story. Words are a part of life, a part of connection as so many of us know it. And to be without words suddenly is striking.

 

  • When I had something to say, I had to ask myself, ‘Is this worth the effort?’

 

  • When I had something to contribute, I had to wonder, ‘Is there another way to communicate the same meaning?’

 

  • When I wanted to connect, I had to explore why words had to be the only way to do so. What about a smile? What about a nod? What about a simple moment of rare and impactful eye contact?

 

I wouldn’t recommend catching a bug that lasts over two weeks and takes your voice for more than half that time, but I would recommend trying something new: silence. You can use words, of course. When I can talk again, there is so much I’ll have to say, so many comeback lines I had to hold in as the world found joy in laryngitis (there is joy everywhere!).

 

But if, before speaking, we all ask ourselves those same questions I have had to ask myself recently – is this statement worth the effort, is there another way to communicate, is there a stronger way to connect than with words – we can all discover something truly empowering: in silence, we grow more effective. This is true in improv; it’s true in friendship; it’s even true in business. Though, my patients getting extractions through my laryngitis may argue dentistry is the exception to this golden rule.

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As an improviser stepping on stage without a voice, I had nothing to say. So I had to listen. And when it came my time to respond, I couldn’t just offer a quip and move along. That would be far too easy. Instead, I had to search for the substance of my thought, and I had to use everything I had, every creative neuron in my brain, to express just that substance. Nothing more, and nothing less.

And the scenes moved forward as though nothing was lost.

 

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