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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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.

We are as powerful as…

We are as powerless as our weakest thought.

When we believe we can’t succeed. When we decide a task is too hard. When we put ourselves down for all the chaos around us.

We are much too good at this self-defeating spiral. We’re only human, after all.

And if we choose to let this spiral become us…

the world can seem dark, we can feel victim, and, much too easily, we lose touch with the reality that THESE BELIEFS SIMPLY ARE NOT TRUE!

What is true?

The beauty of the sunrise over the Charles River.

The gift of sharing a smile with a woman you just met.

YOUR POWER to let the world happen around you, and YOUR WISDOM to react in a way that builds from your inner strength.

Sure, there is a lot in this world that lies beyond our control. There is a lot in this world that could bring us to tears or envy, heartbreak or annoyance. AND, just the same, there is a lot in this world that can bring us back to ourselves.

In frustration, we have the power to imagine the most beautiful possibilities. In sorrow, we have the power to dream the most inspiring of dreams. In each day of our lives, we have the power to look out to others with curiosity, admiration, appreciation, and gratitude, and to reflect on this world and the chaos in it as opportunity. Imagine, if we are our truest selves, what inspiring change our lives can bring!

What if I told you, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE JUST BEING YOU?

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

It’s Easy To Forget: You ARE Strong

You are stronger than you even know.

But when facing an obstacle, it’s easy to forget the strength we have. It’s easy to get lost in the discomfort of our obstacles, and to lose track of the accomplishments we have achieved. There are so many!  It’s easy to look at others who can do what we can’t and to think, ‘Maybe this isn’t where I’m meant to be.’ It’s easy to think of our failure as definite.

 

And the last thing we want to hear during hard times is the truth: that we can overcome. The last thing we want to know is that our struggles, our challenges, our months of sleepless nights will be just a fading memory, and that our failures are simply opportunity.

 

The last thing we want to believe is that, in this unpredictable life, there is direction. There is a plan.

 

Whether we believe that we control the plan or that a higher power guides our paths, there is structure to the chaos. And there is meaning in the struggle.

 

  • If we fail and choose to redirect our lives, there is a plan: to learn, to try, and to explore new options.
  • If we fail and keep trying, there, too, is a plan: to stay on the current track.
  • If one day, we wake up and realize that we are at peace, well then, for now, this is where we are meant to be.

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But how do we wade through the struggles to find the right path?

How do we choose to keep trying?

 

With three simple ingredients:

  1. Patience

The first time we try and fail, we may feel frustration. We may feel uneasy. We may want to get up, walk away, and reach for something we know can bring us success. We may, for a moment, want to stop trying.

 

We may lose our patience.

 

But your physician didn’t learn the anatomy of the human body in a single study session. Your contractor didn’t learn to frame a house in one hot afternoon. You didn’t learn to walk in a single jump to your feet.

 

Very few accomplishments in life come naturally. Certainly, the most rewarding accomplishments did not. In fact, we are a strange species, gaining the greatest reward from overcoming the hardest of obstacles.

 

And with patience, with time, with trying and trying and trying again, you may just find that you do have the strength and skill to overcome this obstacle you now face.

 

  1. Self-compassion

Oh, but the hardest challenge during a difficult time is to stay positive. And, more specifically, to stay positive about ourselves! We look to the person next to us and see that he is succeeding in half the time. We look to our self-prescribed expectations and wonder why we are falling short. We look to our momentary failures to define us.

 

And we have to stop!

 

Because our failures are temporary. And we are MOST DEFINITELY not our failures. We are the strength of trying again. We are the courage of still showing up. We are the compassion of accepting our current experiences and the bravery of asking for help.

 

If we imagine anyone else in our situation, we probably wouldn’t think any less of them. A child with dyslexia struggles to read; and, with nurturance and support, he doesn’t give up. An athlete with a fractured wrist struggles to return to the field, and with determination and courage (and six weeks of healing!), she puts herself back in the game.

 

Our situations are no different than that of the child or athlete. Our challenges are no cause for shame or self-ridicule. We may take more time. We may need some help. And we may find that our challenges and our determination to overcome are reason for even greater nurturance of ourselves and even prouder celebration of who we are and who we can become.

 

  1. Mindfulness

Most importantly, though, in the midst of a challenge, we have to remember to live one moment at a time.

 

And this can be so hard!

 

When we can’t accomplish task number one, we start to look ahead at tasks two, three, twenty-five, and we wonder how we will ever build up to that level. We consider the whole of our to-do lists and the demand of just this one obstacle, and we question whether we can handle everything that is on our plates.

 

We forget that, in this moment, we don’t have to handle everything on our plates.

 

Right now, all we have to do is this one thing before us. There is no moment ahead. There is nothing to carry forward from the moment past. Sure, eventually, another moment will come, and so will another item on our list of responsibilities. However, that next moment is no more important than the present. The past has no place intruding on today.

 

And the more we let the past and the future interfere, the less of the present we experience. That is simply not fair!

 

And it’s counterproductive. Because in a state of mindfulness, in a place of full attention to and appreciation of the present, we are at our strongest. We are investing the whole of our energy into this moment, and leaving the worry of the future and the pain of the past at the wayside.

 

With a mindful spirit, a patient demeanor, and an outlook of self-compassion, we are gifting ourselves the greatest opportunity of all: the potential for growth. And that growth is truly a sign of great strength.

 

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

Where Have I Been?

Hey there! It’s been awhile.

And I know some of you may be wondering … where has Mirissa been?

The simple answer: Dental School.

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The real answer: home.

In my absence from blogging, I have been

  • Learning to drill.
  • Meeting with my very first patient (where I was the dentist!!)
  • Volunteering as a pediatric dentist for the greatest of kids ♥♥♥
  • And studying oral health, systemic health, mental health, and everything in between. You can’t separate a smile from the rest of the body and mind!

In a nutshell, life’s been busy. And I’m going to be honest: I didn’t always stop to take the time for myself. I was:

  • Tired
  • Overwhelmed
  • Perhaps a little bit driven 😉

And I let excuses carry me away from my writing!

To be fair, though, I still made time for:

  • Friends
  • Laughter
  • 5 am sunrises
  • And the walk around Cambridge

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And I have had the most fulfilling, incredible time working with my patients, and learning a new set of skills. The challenge is never-ending and the reward is so amazing! 

Every time a patient sits before me, I think, “Wow. What an honor to work with this individual – child or adult – to bring a healthy smile to his/her life. Could I be any more fortunate?”

But life isn’t getting any quieter…

In the next few weeks, I’ll have a new schedule of patients, a new course on my calendar, and a new journey in drilling. Things will get busy – they never stopped! But stick around, because I’m still writing through this journey, sharing my inspirations along the way, and reminding us both that self-care should never get the back-burner … but occasionally, it will have to take a side-burner when a patient’s health and smile is in my hands and the drill is moving at high-speed.

Feel free to share what brings you joy and purpose in life … but first, set your cleaning with your dentist. It’s the greatest gift you could give the both of you!

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