Dental Blues & Views
I went to the dentist today. It's been like 3 years since I last had a cleaning.
Found out I need two fillings (tomorrow morning, hooray?!). And had lots of scrapey-scrapey done. My mouth hurts now. I'm a bit cranky.
But, I did notice something while I was sat there in the chair. I noticed that when I focused on my meditation breathing, counting a slow 1 - 2 on the inhale and then 3 - 4 on the exhale, it was a lot easier to relax my jaw muscles and control my gag reflex. I logically know that focusing on the breath can help a person relax in many situations, but I think this is the first time I've ever used it at the dentist. I always focus on the breath when I'm getting my blood pressure taken at the doctor's office, and I know it helps, but I've never physically felt the tension decrease before.
At the dentist, I actually physically felt the muscles in my cheeks, throat, and arms soften. It was really interesting to observe. My body was still pretty tense because let's be honest the scraping/pressure stuff never feels good, but I was more physically present than ever before. Being more physically present, and being able to switch my focus to breath, really changed the experience for me. It still wasn't fun, but it was less awful than usual. And I was able to remind myself that it wouldn't last forever and I would get through it instead of focusing on the pain and uncomfortableness. I was able to physically calm myself and stay present, and that was really fascinating to me.
On a more pleasant note, the view from the 2nd floor of the new dentist's building is beautiful. It was lovely to be able to look out on trees and people walking about and general life between the check-up and cleaning. I'm used to dentist offices where you stare at a wall with an outdated poster or a TV on it. I really enjoyed being able to watch life happen outside a window while I waited.