" . . . Stranger still is how the very core issues we avoid return, sometimes with different faces, but still, we are brought full circle to them, again and again. Regardless of how we may try to skip over or sidestep what we need to face, we humbly discover that no other threshold is possible until we use our courage to open the door before us. Perhaps the oldest working truth of self-discovery is that the only way out is through. That we are returned repeatedly to the same circumstance is not always a sign of avoidance, but can mean our work around that certain issue is not done. "
~ The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
I have been suffering from a toothache for more than two weeks now. I was told by my dentist that I needed a root canal. The pain has been very intense and, at times, almost unbearable even with medication. The day after I was told I needed a root canal I contacted the endodontist that was recommended by my regular dentist since he didn't normally do root canals on back teeth. Tooth #19 to be exact. I will never, ever forget that number. The next day, I drove to the Dr.'s office and as soon as I entered I felt an immediate sense of anxiety. I do get a little nervous when I go to the dentist but it was nothing like the anxiety I felt upon entering that office. It's actually kind of difficult for me to even write about it as I start to feel this now all too familiar feeling of fear and anxiety come up. I was able to sit in the chair and even get the shots of novocaine that were needed. When the dentist laid me back flat to do the work I started to have what I guess was my first ever panic attack. I sat up and started to cry. My heart was racing. I went into "fight or flight" mode and I couldn't talk myself out of it. I even called my husband from the dental chair crying. I couldn't go thru with it. The dentist and her assistant were so incredibly sweet and understanding and even walked me out and sat and talked with me for a little while before I mustered up the strength to drive home. I left there knowing I had to still have the procedure done but also knowing it couldn't be with this dentist. This was the beginning of three days of anxiety that enveloped my entire being. Every time I felt a tinge of pain or thought about having to go back to the dentist I wanted to crawl into the fetal position in my bed or else jump out of my skin.
On Friday, I visited my homeopath and she prescribed a couple of remedies for me to help with the anxiety. I was referred to another dentist by a couple of friends who also had anxiety issues over root canals and said he had helped them immensely. I made an appointment for yesterday morning. Friday night I had a decent night's sleep until about 4 am when I woke up in a complete panic. I sat up in my bed. I prayed. I meditated. I so desperately needed to connect with Divinity and know that I would be okay. My husband woke up and we talked for a while and he put my mind somewhat at ease. He asked me why I thought I was having so much anxiety. Several things came to mind. Fear of the unknown (first time having a root canal), fear of not being able to breath when they laid me back in the chair and fear that the pain would still be there afterwards. He validated for me what I was feeling instead of telling me I was making a mountain out of a mole hill which was how I was starting to feel.
Saturday morning I got up, took a shower, put on my makeup, got dressed and tried to keep my mind clear. My husband and I drove to the office where we were met by the sweetest receptionist and dental assistant. I held it together until they laid me back to do an xray and then panic set in. Not as bad as in the other office (thanks to the remedy I was prescribed) but still panic nonetheless. The dentist came in and began to talk with me. He asked me what I had done to take care of my toothache up until that point. I told him about my experience a few days earlier and he then asked me what made me think I could get thru it with him. I told him I honestly didn't know. He had a very matter-of-fact personality which, for some people, might be hard to deal with but happens to be something that I love. He assured me that he wouldn't lay me flat and that I would be able to breath. I think I've become much more claustrophobic as I've gotten older. My husband opened the window for me which I think was the biggest part of me being able to handle all of this. I felt cold air blowing on me the whole time and that helped me TREMENDOUSLY. The dentist told me what he was going to do and what to expect as he was working on me and I was finally able to find my center for the first time in days. I have to go back on Friday for him to fill the canals that were cleaned out but I know what to expect now. My husband will be with me again. If I told you I don't have any anxiety right now I'd be lying. I still have pain in an upper tooth and I'm praying it's transferred pain from where the root canal was done but I'm not so sure. It's a tooth that just had a huge filling replaced and the dentist commented that it was very close to the root. I've never had dental problems like this before and, quite frankly, I HATE IT which kind of brings me back to why I chose the quote that I did for today.
While looking for a glimpse of hope to rid myself of anxiety before my procedure, I opened up one of the books on my nightstand. It's called "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo. It's a book of daily passages of wisdom to "have the life you want by being present to the life you have." For some reason, I turned to February 4th's passage and read it. It contained the quote above. " . . . the only way out is through" stuck with me and gave me a sense of peace. When I realized that I had read the wrong day's passage, I knew instantly that was the Divinity that I was so desperately in need of. Amazing Grace.
Many blessings for a Sunday filled with peace and love ~ Wendy