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.

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L’Shanah Tovah

Happy new year to all my friends, family, and neighbors near and far in celebration. Wishing you a holiday of mindful appreciation, and a year of sweetness, joy, laughter, and love. 

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You have given us the ability to become more than we have
been, the urge to be more than we are, and a gnawing hunger to
attain heights only dimly imagined.


For the power to grow, we give thanks.


You have endowed us with the capacity to discern the difference
between right and wrong; and You have enabled us to follow the
right, to avoid the wrong.


For the power to choose, we give thanks.


You have blessed us with the ability to fashion things of beauty, to
sing new songs, to spin new tales, to add to the treasure-house of
human civilization.


For the power to create, we give thanks.


You have equipped us with the yearning to commune with You, to
bring You our fears and our dreams, our hurts and our joys, our guilt
and our gratitude; to share hopes and concerns with You and with
others.


For the power to pray, we give thanks.


You have fortified us with the ability to rise above disappointment
and failure, to go on after we have been bruised and bereaved, to
refuse to submit to defeat and despair.


For the power to hope, we give thanks.


You have enlarged us with the ability to cherish others, to make
their lives as dear to us as our very own, to share their hopes, to feel
their hurts, to know their hearts.


For the power to love, we give thanks.


You have ennobled us with the strength to overcome our faults, to
mend our ways, and to answer the summons “to turn to You with
all our heart and soul.”


For the possibilities of renewal, we give thanks!

(Machzor for Rosh Hashanah)

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

A Life at Peace, and an anniversary

Today marks my two year blogiversary here on WordPress! And more importantly, two years spent with all of you ♥

Admittedly, though, I forgot about this date. Writing, blogging, sharing inspirations and bits of experience from medicine and dentistry, engaging with all of you … it’s all become such an integral part of my life that I can’t even remember a time before this blog. And for years to come, this blog and all that it offers will grow and thrive on!

Good news, though: WordPress didn’t take my forgetfulness all that hard. He just sent me a polite nudge and a morning reminder that I better get on my anniversary post! So here it is.

Thank YOU for being a part of these two years. I can’t wait to see what the future brings on Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey To Share … perhaps a name change away from ‘student’ in the next two years …?!

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For now, though, this moment is just where I want to be.

 

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

Someone Once Told Me A Story – New Poem Published on Tuck Magazine

The incredible Michael Organ at Tuck Magazine published my poem, “Someone once told me a story,” just this morning!

Based on the journey of Hurricane Irma, this poem is a story of love, loss, family, and what really matters.

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Check it out by CLICKING HERE!

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

What Makes You Proud?

What is the one thing that makes you most proud?

Your work?

Your children?

Your dog’s favorite new trick?

Maybe it’s the simple fact that you smile at every neighbor on the street.

Whatever it is, SHARE IT, EMBRACE IT, AND LET PRIDE FILL YOUR DAY.

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YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE PERSON. AND IT’S WONDERFULLY OKAY TO FEEL PROUD.

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

Harness Your Power To Heal

A woman sat beside me at the doctor’s office. “I’m in pain,” she said, cradling her knee. Under the flow of her skirt, I couldn’t see what was wrong. Was it swollen? Was it bruised? Was she bleeding and bandaged? All I knew were her words: ‘I’m in pain.’

 

As we humans tend to do, my first instinct was sympathy. Phrases like, ‘I’m so sorry to hear that,’ and ‘Can I do anything for you?’ came to mind. Thoughts of fetching an ice pack and consoling a stranger claimed my brain.

 

But I didn’t even know if she needed ice!

And as a medical provider trained in empathy, I could hear how distancing these words really were. ‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ is nice, but it doesn’t mean I share in your pain. ‘Can I do anything for you’ is generous, but it still makes this pain your problem, not mine. In a world of personal boundaries, sympathy is the safest of routes, but it’s far from the most healing.

 

But the empathetic route, the option to turn to her and say, ‘That must be hard’ or ‘I can’t even imagine what you are experiencing,’ just didn’t seem right either. Because her knee hurt – I could imagine that much. And, as I have learned in my years of improv comedy, never assume another person is thinking the same as you. Maybe this pain is something that excites her – though, that would feel odd. Or, maybe her experience is anger, not sorrow. Maybe she’s angry because her kid left a toy in the hallway and that led to her trip and fall. I hear an improvised ‘Yes, and…’ in the distance. Maybe her kid is a teenager and the game was a video game console that he was supposed to put away hours ago! The real pain is having to deal with that son of hers when she gets home.

 

Who am I to assume another’s story?

And who am I to intrude on her experience? Sure, I could ask how she feels. I could ask her to tell me more, but I wasn’t her doctor. I wasn’t even an acquaintance. I was a neighbor, a fellow patient in waiting. I was a woman sitting in the same position as her with the only difference being our chief complaints.

 

And even as a complete stranger, I carried the power to help.

 

“Have you heard of biofeedback?” I asked, speaking as though I was simply starting a casual conversation. With a neurological illness as a child, biofeedback was one of the many tools at my disposal. With patients in the dental chair, biofeedback was one of the most powerful techniques for alleviating the anxious mind. And in the absence of technology, I knew meditation could be just as complete. “Your mind is a powerful thing.”

 

I closed my eyes and rested my hands. I softened my shoulders, and let my head fall. I felt the chair beneath my body, and the floor beneath my feet. I asked her to do the same. I took a deep breath in, tasting the air of my surroundings, smelling the plastic of the waiting room chairs. I took a deep breath out, purifying my body of that doctor office smell. I pictured what kind of room the smell came from. I let that image go. I pictured the paintings on the walls. I let those paintings go.

 

“My hands feel heavy,” I whispered, letting their weight fall into my lap. She repeated. She felt the same.

 

“My arms feel heavy,” I whispered, letting my shoulders sag against their weight. She repeated. She did the same.

 

“My arms feel warm,” I smiled, embracing the air around me. My eyes were closed, but I like to imagine she felt the same.

 

“I feel calm and relaxed,” I inhaled, dropping expression from my face. “I feel calm and relaxed,” I exhaled, dropping pain from my mind. “I feel calm and relaxed,” I finished, nearly falling asleep.

 

“Rosa, Rosa Sorencio!” A nurse called a name in the distance, opening our eyes to attention. “Rosa!”

 

And just as quickly as we met, we parted ways, but we weren’t strangers any more. We weren’t women in passing. We were neighbors, or slightly more, united by a moment of calm, gathered in the strength of our own beautiful minds.

 

And if you think this is just a story, think again! Because your mind is just as powerful. Your strength is just as beautiful.

 

Each and every one of us carries such an incredible power of healing. Our only true barrier to calm is our noisy selves.

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I close my eyes. I relax.

I am at peace.

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

Your Voice Can Change The World

I climbed into the back seat of a red sedan recently, beside a woman in her mid-thirties with curly blonde hair. The driver, a middle-aged man whose name I couldn’t pronounce, verified my identity, replied to my buoyant greetings, and then the car went silent. Driving to the woman’s drop-off point in Brookline Village, the only sounds I heard were the horns and sirens filling Boston’s streets. Respecting her silence – she was in the car first – I only offered her a smile, but from the minute she left the car, the driver and I were in constant laughter and conversation. “You know, where I come from,” the driver said, turning onto my street, “we laugh like this with all our neighbors. You don’t see that in the States.”

The next morning, I took the bus. There, too, all I heard was silence. One man was on his laptop, a handful on their cellphones. Nearly everyone wore headphones. But no two people said much more than ‘hello’ aloud. In my thoughts, I whispered, “I wonder what my Uber driver would say.”

Hours later, in the basement of the dental school, I was again in the thick of silence. Granted, this time, I was alone. But, as a special surprise, Allen came walking in, a slight limp in his step. Allen was the air conditioner maintenance man, the regular for the dental school building. Though I had never seen him before, I pulled out my own headphones and smiled his direction. Accepting the invitation, Allen sat down. He told me his story. He told me his jokes. And he told me I must not be from the East, because I was much too conversational. “People keep to themselves out here,” he ended, moving on with his day.

We live in a busy world. People have place to go, tasks to complete. Students and businessmen alike use the bus or the cab or a moment alone to finish their work.  We, too, live in a world that’s afraid. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t upset the other riders with your chatter. Don’t break the norm.

But are we really too busy to meet a new person? Are we really so afraid that we choose to live in silence? Are we really so connected that we can’t handle a greater community?

Sitting on the silent bus, I wondered whether some sort of a ‘chat prompt’ game would encourage conversation. We were already surrounded by positive messages on sticky notes in this uplifting bus. Maybe a set of game-like rules would encourage connection in the way the sticky notes encouraged positivity?

In actuality, though, I stuck to the rules. Thinking of the norms of the bus, I, too, waited until my stop to say hello to a man I see each day. I, too, upheld the silence. And, in doing so, I probably missed the opportunity to hear an incredible story or to share a smile with a workplace neighbor. In doing so, I too  too, contributed to the absence of community that my uber driver and my new friend, Allen, experience in this Western world.

And I started to wonder: Are these positive messages scattered on sticky notes – ‘You are beautiful.’ ‘You are worthwhile.’ ‘You are valued.’ – really what we need? In the absence of connection, how could these messages mean anything?

  • To tell someone he is valued is to allow him to add a moment of laughter or joy to your day.
  • To tell a neighbor she is beautiful is to look up with a smile instead of looking down at your smartphone.
  • To make a difference is to make a sound, starting with a ‘hello’ on a bus or a ‘good afternoon’ in an Uber.

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My challenge for all of us is to start making this difference in the world today. Our challenge is to start making a wave of sound.

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