Not one person I know ever happily exclaims, "Oh boy! I get to visit the dentist today." I have always been one of those people who cowardly cringe beneath the dentist's tools.
For those of you who don't know what "TMJ" is, well, some of us happen to grind our teeth at night. In my case I clench for dear life. Over time, that grinding causes teeth to crack, chip, not to mention your jaw might feel like some football player just head-butted you. Holistically I have tried to release my symptoms of TMJ, but just like those who need anti-depressants for depression, alas, I need, the (cue music, please) NIGHT GUARD.
I had to be fitted for one. The last time I tried this, the assistant left the room after she jammed this huge blockade of gummy gooey concrete-ish slop into my mouth. I was told to bite down and not move. And then, she left! I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was suffocating. My God, I was going to swim in my own saliva! She left the room for God knows how long, and later that day called me to tell me we had to do it again because I "moved" too much. After this wonderful experience, my comfort zone had shrunk, the size of tiny tooth floss! I was so scared. I'd rather grind my teeth to dust than to return.
(I know some of you are thinking, big deal, but those who have gone through it, totally know what I am talking about, and it is a big deal for us!)
But thanks to reading loads of Peterisms, I was finally able to return today. I chose another dentist and dental assistant. I even quoted Peter to the dentist beforehand, "Fear is something to be moved through, not to turn from" and he laughed, a knowing laugh. And even though a couple of times I gagged, and felt like I was going to beckon my breakfast, I made it through! (And besides I had a much nicer assistant who stayed with me the whole time.) I chose not to focus on this crazy clamp. Instead I chose focus upon the golden and crimson trees, the softest coolest blue sky, outside the window. You know, focus on what's right with your surroundings, as Peter wrote about. So I did. Even as I was drooling all over this monster mouth piece until they were able to make impressions of my teeth and pry the peel out of my mouth. And it went faster! And I was proud of myself!
Expanding those comfort zones one molar at a time!
...Then I was having my teeth cleaned, and the hygienist was telling me why she no longer bike rides. She had noticed I had biked to the appointment. I listened as she told me why she gave up her dreams of biking. She said it was because some woman got attacked, near her neighborhood. And she hates riding on the bike trail because weird men used to leer at her.
I thought to myself, wow, talk about shrinking comfort zones. If I ever quit riding just because someone got attacked near where I ride, I would be letting the fear win. "Weird" men leer at me all the time, but that will never stop me from biking. As I flew down the hill at 3o miles an hour I felt bad for her because I wanted her to fly again too. I felt so thankful..thankful that I had expanded my comfort zone, faced the fear again- and that even if I died biking, I would die happy, so what really is there to fear?
Goes to show you can apply Peter's words here, there, and even in the dentist's chair!