It’s been months since I’ve written anything. My joyful news today is that it’s taken a powerfully present root canal to jump start my creativity again after this long winter and the aftermath of Dad’s death. All of a sudden, I’m full of words and I can’t wait to get them on the page.
This morning I had the first root canal of my life. Forty years ago, I had my first– and only– tooth pulled because I didn’t have the guts (or the $100!) for a root canal. As of this morning, the price has risen to over $1000, and I found the guts to face it. This time, I had my arms full of Powerful Presence strategies.
I never thought I’d consider getting a root canal to be a transformative experience –
yet I have to shout from the rooftops today that it is.
Over the next three days, you can read about the strategies I used to get through it, just in case you’ve got something like this scheduled in the near future:
Step One: Preparation
1. Face Your FEAR: The biggest thing that was holding me down me was my FEAR of the procedure. I imagined some sort of WWII decimation taking place in my mouth (think: the bombing of Dresden!) and every time I thought of it I got nauseous with visions of my imagined torture.
Remembering the First Belief, (You Bring About What You Think About) really helped me to focus on shifting my thoughts away from disaster. Knowing that FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real, I started asking other people who’d had root canals what it was really like so I could get a handle on my expectations.
My dear friend, Powerful Presence Alum and amazing VA, Pam Ryan saved the day for me. She has this very soothing voice and very calm manner. Nothing shakes her up. So when she recently had a root canal herself, she told me in her warm kind voice that “it was just like getting a cavity worked on — for about an hour.” The payoff from our preparation conversations was hearing her calming voice in my head during the procedure.
2. Believe That You Have What It Takes: Here’s where the Second Belief really paid off! Keeping this in mind was the biggest challenge –it meant that I had to release the notion that I created forty years ago that I wouldn’t survive the trauma of the procedure. (I guess you’d have to have experienced dentists in the 1950’s and foot-powered drills to appreciate how deeply ingrained that belief was.)
Here’s where the strategy of Looking in Your Eyes in the Mirror comes in very handy. I teach it Session 3 of the Journey to Powerful Presence and I’ve been using it since I learned it in 1978. Using it will give you a confederate who’s always there, who always listens and who will comfort you when you’re feeling scared.
If you think this is crazy, consider this: when someone you love is afraid, you have no trouble comforting them –you know what to do and what to say. All you’re doing here is taking that exact same expression–in your words and on your face– and giving it to yourself in the mirror.
When you first learn to use this strategy, it might seem silly or even difficult; over the years I’ve experienced both those reactions to it. The good news is that if you keep at it, you will always have someone right by your side when you need them. I’ve been using this strategy for years – and I was never more grateful for it than I am now.
3. Use What You’ve Learned: The first of the Three Actions of Powerful Presence really paid off for me. I’ve learned over time that I need to create a space of safety, comfort and peace for myself whenever I ‘m doing something stressful (this includes things like flying – or going to the dentist). Since my Endodontist does not give general anesthesia for a root canal, I knew I had to bring my own version of it with me.
So I packed a special Personal Power Bag with the three resources that I needed for this situation: my noise-cancelling headphones with my iPod (loaded with over three hours of Celtic Christmas music from Wyndham Hill), my lavender-filled neck pillow, and my Nikken Magnetic eye-mask (guaranteed to relax you the moment it covers your eyes).
Tomorrow I’ll tell you how it went. For now, I hope you got at least three great ideas from my experience today!