Monday, June 30, 2014

Shhh, Your Body May Be Talking to You, So Pay Attention ... I Did and Learned a Valuable Lesson in Speaking My Truth

“Proclaim your truth and do not be silenced by fear.”  ~Catherine of Siena

Normally I face the lessons of life one at a time – and that’s always been more than enough to deal with and still recognize insights gained, and to make them a positive part of my life.  But a recent serious and scary medical-dental diagnosis taught me two very important things.  First, our bodies try all the time to tell us important things that are going on, and we need to pay attention to them so that we can act upon any problems  Second, even when we are actively listening, we’re sometimes blocked from taking positive action because of the decisions we’ve made earlier in life.  

Until recently, I had no idea that I wasn’t in full charge of my life, or that I had let some childhood events and memories result in decisions that were still directing and affecting my health.  What I discovered is that as adults – decades later – those decisions may prove to be not wise, in our best interest or for our highest and best good.  What we normally do is continue going on our not-so-merry way, still acting on those old “orders,” until life delivers us a wake-up call.

After I got my medical-dental wake-up call, here’s what popped up for me from my subconscious.  I was in second grade and because my teeth were prone to decay, I had a monthly dental appointment that continued until every tooth had a filling.  The dentist’s name rhymed with killer, so we kids called him Dr. Killer because every tool he used on us was scary and sharp or sounded like a jackhammer.  

At each appointment, by the time my name was called to go in, my imagination had done its worst and I was a bundle of anxiety.  I was desperate to get out and would keep trying to slip away from the dentist’s grasp.  He had no choice but to try to get me back in the chair.  He always won because his last resort was, “Shall I call in your parents?”  I blamed myself for my dental health and never once complained to my parents, or told anyone else about my crippling fear and faulty teeth.

Several years later my parents took me to see a specialist to find out what could be done to help me.  The young dentist took a brief  look at all the shiny fillings and said, “She won’t have any teeth by the time she’s 35-years old.”

I promised myself right then that when I grew up I would always go to a dentist at least twice a year and do everything they advised.  I was determined to keep as many of my teeth as possible and prove the young dentist wrong.

Knowing what I know now as a senior citizen, I realize that I was just one of millions of youngsters who were introduced to dentistry way back when, and it wasn’t a walk in the park.  I don’t know if novocaine was in existence then, but my dentist never used it.  As a result of being so young and emotionally vulnerable, it felt like torture, and left many of us scarred and fearful of dentists for life.

Fortunately as a young adult I chose dentists recommended by my primary care physicians, and this enabled me to make it through the past decades with only some minor procedures, and a permanent bridge that I thought would outlast me.  At my last mid-year checkup, however, I learned that this assumption might not be realistic.

After the cleaning, the dentist did a thorough checkup.  He looked surprised and said: “This is serious,” followed by a detailed list of dental conditions that would include losing the permanent bridge.  I was catapulted back to childhood for a few seconds and thought that the nightmare experience that had haunted me throughout my early years was about to become a reality.

Since I had seen the dentist six months ago and had no prior hint of any problems, I was particularly stunned.  A part of me wanted to ask, “Are you sure?”  But all the eight-year old in me could manage was to ask if he could help me.  I could tell by the conflicting expressions on his face that he wanted to help but wasn’t sure he could.  I hung onto a thought that drifted into my consciousness, “Maybe this is my wake-up call.”  Still a little shaken, I decided to give the situation some more thought and was determined not to act in haste or react from fear.

On my way home I blamed myself for ever eating anything with sugar in it, and for sometimes skipping flossing because I was too tired.  I also wondered about how all these conditions had happened in such a short time and without my noticing any pain or discomfort of any kind.

The more I thought about the latter, the more I knew it was time to go within and ask what my lesson was in this situation.  According to my inner guidance, it was time to release the fear of dentists and the shame of having flawed teeth.  Doing the release work would also free me to speak my truth – not only about my dental health but in other areas and aspects of my life.

Greatly heartened by that, I e-mailed my doctors and they responded quickly to advise me that almost every unusual malady over the past two years could be linked directly to the dental problems.  While I had been “listening” to my body, and sharing the ailments with my physicians – knowing nothing of any dental challenges at that time – so it never occurred to anyone to share them with my dentist.

With the support of my team of physicians, it took only a short time to settle into a proactive plan.  I had listened to my body – and now I was starting to speak up and take action.

One dentist I was consulting with about my situation went right for a question that he thought was the core of my dental problems.  He had seen my x-rays and the query was legitimate.  “Are you the type of patient who only seeks a dentist when the condition needs urgent care?”  Without a second thought the emotion welled up within me and with a powerful surge of energy I firmly and fearlessly did some more speaking up, sharing pent-up fear and shame that had been suppressed since childhood.

The doctor’s expression immediately changed from a business-as-usual approach to one of compassion.  He told me that it was unfortunate that this has been the common experience of so many senior citizens as well as their parents, and the result was usually that they were never able to overcome those early fears.  This caused many to steer clear of dentists until it was too late to save their teeth.  He explained that this was why he became a "space age" dentist.

He smiled and added, “As for your situation, let’s work together to restore your dental health.” I agreed.

By the time we ended our meeting, the dentist knew I had never broken my childhood promise to take better care of myself.  And I realized from his input that I had still been acting from decisions made in childhood about not sharing information with any dentist.  The fear back then was that it would work against me and I would require even more dental work.  I promised myself I would never make that mistake again.

The Good News is that I am committed to partnering with my current dentist, and he has already completed some of the preliminary procedures that are making it possible to replace the “permanent” bridge.  I am so grateful there was a choice available.  I’ve also learned from this experience that no matter what our challenge is, the key is to pay close attention to the messages our bodies give us when we’re out of balance.  This is a signal to speak up and take care of the problem.  We can also ask for clarification through a dream, or simply turn within and ask for guidance—then listen to it.

Naturally I also realize that the only reason I was able to face this serious situation as an adult is because I was finally aware enough to replace the “old” instructions of a well-meaning and brave little eight-year old (who I love dearly)—with those of a grownup.

 I claim that with God’s grace and loving kindness, I continue speaking my truth and living as the Real Me I was born to be.
Copyright © 2014 by Fern Stewart Welch
The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart,” (April 2013); “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “You Can Live a Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” (Nov. 2008) and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” (Feb. 2008), are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.