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Tomorrow, I get braces on my teeth.  I’ve started a separate blog focused on that, but instead of making it a mere chronicle of braces, it focuses on “What’s in a Smile“.

Not that I want to jinx things with such gloomy titles as “anticipating pain”, but really, let’s face it, it will be painful.  I know.  I had braces as a teenager, many years ago.  This time, I  have more tools in my toolkit, including my acupressure and TCM training.  So, I’ll take the opportunity of this dental experience to explore more avenues to health and wellness.

So, the first thing I note is that the body part governed by the Water Element, which we’ve talked about this winter, is our bone structure.   And certaingly the teeth and jaw are the prime recipients of stress and movement for braces.  So, I guess you could say that I’m acting “in season” to start addressing my teeth.  After all, wintertime is a good season for soups and more “watery” culinary fare, so this is my chance to dig out those recipes and use the blender.

To be more specific about teeth and the meridians, it is said that there is a tooth-to-meridian association.  In other words, all the meridians are connected.  So one important intention for me to have it to pay attention to the pain, and understand that while I may feel most pain in my jaw and head, that since my body is an interconnected whole, it is possible that I may feel out of sorts in other areas of my body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, balanced daily routine is said to be a key to long healthy life. I think about my grandfather who was very organized; for example, he had his breakfast at 8:30am every morning. I could practically set my watch to it. And he lived fully to 92.

So let’s say you agree that routine is good. But can too much of a good thing become not so good? I’ll share my friend’s experience of getting herself out of a rut.

For five years, my friend started each day with a walk around her neighborhood. It energized her. Got her off to a good start to write. (She’s a poet.) Recently, however, she noticed her aversion to her walks. She just couldn’t get going in the morning. She had walked herself into a rut. (Imagine if she had walked on a dirt path–instead of concrete–for 1800 days; there might be an actual rut in the road.)

So one day, she decided to make just one change. Instead of turning left, when she stepped out, she turned right. That was it. She walked the exact same route, but in the opposite direction. And that one difference made all the difference she needed. She was more present on her walk, because she couldn’t go on automatic pilot. She noticed things anew. She’s now back to her healthful routine. With that one simple–but profoundly effective–change, she has gotten out of a rut.

What daily routine could you change by just one facet, to give you a fresh new experience?

Some ideas (inspired by a great little book on neurobics called Keep Your Brain Alive):

  • Use your non-dominant hand when doing everyday things. For example, if you’re right-handed, use your left hand to brush your teeth, button your shirt, open the door, stir your coffee or tea…
  • Stimulate your other senses. For example, use touch, rather than sight, to pick out your clothes. Smell your lunch before you start eating; can you pick out the ingredients?
  • Change your seat. Choose a new spot at the dinner table. Or try a new seat at your next meeting. You might get an entirely new view of things.

Please share rut-releasing tips that have worked for you!

I’m feeling some anxiety about changes–real, imagined and expected–in my life now. I came across this article in the Yoga Journal, by meditation teacher Philip Moffit, where he talks about change and intention: The Dharma of Life Changes. Since intention is a key word in my own work with clients and with myself, I was curious to see what the author had to say.

I was especially drawn to these questions that Phillip Moffit proposes:

Diligently applying mindfulness allows you to answer three basic questions:

  1. What are your real motives?
  2. What are the possible effects of any change?
  3. Is the manner in which you plan to go about change skillful?”

These are seemingly simple questions, but how simple is it to “diligently apply mindfulness”? I find my mind wandering easily to worries and planning, so I remind myself of the benefits of spending a few minutes to do a self-acu mini meditation.

Whatever movement in your life that you are dealing with or working on bringing to fruition–managing your weight, improving your life balance, greater financial success, a new job, a growing family–try out these questions. Change is a part of life; it’s nice to have some guidance in how to navigate through those times.