How To Move Forward

forget for tomorrow

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

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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.

You Are a Part of the Solution: Remedying the Opioid Crisis

Every day, over 90 Americans die from an opioid overdose. And, we are each a part of the solution.

Click Here to read Mirissa D. Price’s Huffington Post article on the topic of Opioid Abuse and the Dental Profession.

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NPR’s Robert Siegel of All Things Considered came to discuss this very issue at Harvard School of Dental Medicine in August of 2017. They happened to catch me learning how to make provisional restorations in the process (the above photo). Click here to listen to the full broadcast from the Harvard and Boston dental community.

Whether you are the patient, the family member, the medical doctor, social worker, or dentist, it’s time to ask yourself one simple question:

What role will you take in creating the solution? 

© 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.

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.