Be The Joy In Our World

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

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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.

 

What Truly Matters

You are standing on a sports field with a line of strangers. The grass is just mowed, damp from the morning rain. Gnats are gathering at your ankles, and the sun is shining on your back. The warmth leaves a trickle of sweat down your shirt, but you stay still, listening to the man before you.

“Take a step forward,” the man calls, standing bald and boxy at 5’11. “For every time you said ‘good’ when someone asked how you were doing this week.”

For those of you at home, count your steps in deep breaths.

 “And take a step forward,” he continues, “for every time you tried to hide your tired eyes in skin-colored makeup.”

You listen, and respond with a step.

“Take another step for every moment this week that didn’t go as you planned.”

You walk and walk, until you are circling back across the field.

“And reach your arms to your body in a hug for every time things went their own way, and you followed that new track.”

Chances are, you are not the only one standing in self-embrace at this moment. Chances are, you are not the only one with your arms still at your side. Chances are, where you stand at this moment doesn’t matter. But it’s easy to forget, in seeing where others stand, that this is really the case. We look out for comparison. Are we good? Are we right? Are we keeping up with the pack? We look down at ourselves to see what could be different, perhaps better. We wonder how all of our decisions amounted to this present state. Could we have decided differently?

And we get stuck in a cycle of self-doubt.

If only I were different. If only I knew then what I know now. If only. If only.

If only we would stop! And see that where we are is okay. Because this is what is. This is reality. No, it’s not the same as our neighbor’s reality. And often, it’s not where we hoped we would be at this time in our lives. But oh, boy, is our reality filled with opportunity!

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You lost someone from your life?

Okay. It happened, and now you have a chance to be that energy and strength for yourself.

You faced a roadblock in your job?

Fantastic! The hard part is over, and now you can really, truly grow. Real fulfillment comes from challenge and perseverance anyways!

The reality is, when we get lost in doubt, comparisons, cycles of what ifs, we forget what truly matters: We are powerless. The world, the people around us are not ours to control. AND, in the absence of control, we can find the strength to let life change course, and to still choose to move forward.

So take a deep breath with me, and look into a mirror. Notice your eyes, the authenticity coming from beneath that mask we so often wear. And say aloud – yes, aloud! – “I am powerless, AND I have such strength.”

You are here. And here is good, because here and now is simply what is.

 

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

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

It’s a rainy day, and yet it is filled with such sunshine – The Sunshine Blogger Award to be specific. Thank you Didi’s Art Design for adding this light to my week and for sharing such warmth on your blog. Be sure to check out all poetic thoughts that Didi’s Art Design has to offer!

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The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award are simple:

Rules:
1) Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

2) Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

3) Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

4) List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

So for Didi’s Art Design’s 11 questions:

1) What are your hobbies?

I am a dental student by day and a writer by night; and in the in-between, you’ll find me on the comedy stage! It’s a busy life, and I love it!

2) What is most important to you?

Laughter carries me through every moment of every day.

3) How can we achieve harmony between nations and people?

Peace begins within each of us, and from there, we can share peace with others.

4) What kind of improvements you suggest for your our society?

There are oh so many opportunities for growth in our world, and they all stem from a growth in not only random, but intentional acts of kindness.

5) What is your biggest wish?

What a hard question! I am so caught up in the beauty of this moment that my mind can’t seem to land on something more I would want in my day!

6) What was your biggest mistake in your life?

There have been only endless opportunities before me, opportunities for growth and opportunities to learn.

7) If you could bring a new subject to a school, what would it be?

I have done just this! Crafting Yourself brings lessons in self-efficacy and resiliency to the hands of middle school children, all through the creativity of art!

8) How do we end poverty in our world?

We begin to create equity in our world by creating equal opportunity in each domain of our world: health care, education, employment, and more.

9) What book do you find most interesting?

There are so many options, but I do love the concept of “If on a winter’s night a traveler.”

10) What is the meaning of friendship to you?

Friendships is laughter and joy. It is sharing moments of both pain and hope with someone you trust, and exploring this world with someone who can share with you a new way of seeing things.

11) What does, “Man know thyself,” mean to you?

This question is truly wonderful, because each day that I grow, this sentence means something new. I simply can’t wait to see what this phrase will mean to me in the morning.

My Nominations for The Sunshine Blogger Award are:

  1. Safarii + Co
  2. Poeta da Garrafa
  3. In a Messy World
  4. Christine’s Collection
  5. Hope Dealer
  6. Written by an amateur human
  7. How to Climb a Mountain
  8. Safira’s Journey
  9. Naturally Nuri
  10. Forged from Reverie
  11. Write Ally! Write!
  12. And YOU! Add your blog url to the comments and share the sunshine with all of us! You most definitely deserve this blogger award!

As for your 11 questions:

  1. What are you most passionate about?
  2. How would anyone know?
  3. Who most influenced the person you are today?
  4. What is one thing you wish you could add to your day?
  5. What is stopping you from adding that in?
  6. What is one thing you could empty from your day?
  7. What would you do with that freed time?
  8. When did you decide to pursue your profession?
  9. What is one thing you love about your profession?
  10. Why are you so good at what you do?
  11. If you closed your eyes and imagined the perfect day, what would you do first?

Happy blogging, and enjoy the sunshine! I can’t wait to see how far this sunshine spreads!

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