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.

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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.

 

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.

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.