It’s OK to be sad. Be still with the sadness. Try to not control it, fight it or find answers. Be still, create space and the magic will happen.
My 7-year old son lost his second front tooth last week. No massive milestone, yet, funnily, it was such a life-changing event. I have been thinking endlessly about this tooth. Not just because every tooth lost means a very tired and over scheduled ‘tooth fairy’ has some overnight remembering to do! But, because I realised that this tooth actually represents me at this point in my life!
I know – crazy! Sounds like I am desperately clutching at straws trying to create an analogy. Holy ‘molars’ – has she lost her mind?! But bear with me and ‘braces’ yourself (do you like what I’ve done there?) – it gets good, I promise.
THE STORY OF THE TOOTH
So, this tooth had been hanging by a thread for weeks causing terrible pain and distress! We all had a go at pulling on it. He was constantly wiggling it. His tongue was like the Incredible Hulk on steroids trying to smash it out of the way!
There were tears. There was blood. There was even emergency canteen ice blocks that, of course, were a must for their therapeutic numbing abilities (kids really know how to work it don’t they!). Despite all this, it just kept dangling and holding on even though it was clearly not meant to be there.
And then…..one day, just like that, he was bouncing a ball, just a little too high (inside the house mind you!), and it knocked the tooth. The tooth gently and easily popped out. The process of falling out was completely pain-free, despite the anticipation, the fight and the drama! Ahhh, the relief! You could hear the tooth fairy ringing her happy bells from the heavens. The tooth then went into its rightful place in that glass of water on the bedside table, magnified in all its white glory, patiently waiting for a little bit of magic to happen with the looming tooth fairy visit that night.
“All of this joy completely captured in the most beautiful and cheeky toothless smile”
All was well again. All was peaceful again. All was happy again. Everything was where it was meant to be. And the best bit? All this beautiful space had been created in his mouth, and glimpses of a sparkling new white tooth could be seen popping through. All of this joy completely captured in the most beautiful and cheeky toothless smile.
I AM THAT TOOTH!
I am that tooth!! For a while, I was feeling like I was dangling – not really sure if I was where I was meant to be. It was a place where I used to feel comfortable and served a purpose. But then, something was pushing me out, pushing me toward somewhere new. But I was resisting, feeling like I was just holding on by a thread. Needing to ‘drop out’ but scared to relinquish control.
Scared of the new perhaps? Scared of the unknown? Scared of serving no purpose? Scared of failing!
Like that tooth, I was being pushed, pulled, prodded, twisted – mostly by my own unrelenting standards, self-imposed high expectations and a perfectionist pathology. Trying to juggle too many things, living a life of ‘I should’, and ‘I owe’. These things keep me paralysed; they cause pain.
FLOATING & CREATING SPACE
Like that tooth – I needed to just ‘fall out’! Let go of control and just float. Float in that glass of water for a while to wait for a little bit of magic (and hope like hell the tooth fairy doesn’t forget to come – like she has been known to do in the past!!!).
It is in letting go of control, being still in that glass of water, that, only then, can the magic really happen.
It is only then that space can be created to make way for new life. New teeth, new beginnings, new growth, new opportunity.
Just like that tooth, we fear whether we will be able to handle the anticipated pain of falling out. Will we be able to handle the unknown? The stillness? Yet, by trusting the process, (or bouncing a ball inside!) that tooth can just pop out with ease, without drama and just be still.
LIFE CAN BE CLUTTERED
Life is cluttered! Just like the mouth of a 7-year-old who is turning over new teeth from baby teeth almost on a monthly basis. It is only when we create space within that clutter that new life, new growth and new opportunity can reach its fullness.
R U OK?
This is all actually quite pertinent as we approach ‘R U OK? day’, a day that was established to encourage us to ask each other – truly and deeply – R U OK?
“We are constantly pressured to appear ‘OK’ on the outside and to never truly expose what fears we have going on in the inside”
We are constantly pressured to appear ‘OK’ on the outside and to never truly expose what fears we have going on in the inside, because this may be considered weak, and God forbid if we ‘overburden’ others with our ‘first world problems’. Society tells us that losing baby teeth is actually no big deal – it happens to everyone – get over it.
But that’s just it – everybody’s experiences of ‘losing teeth’, experiences of change, and experiences of their life transitions, are different. These transitions, big or small, can involve incredible feelings of fear, pain and sadness.
‘R U OK? day’ encourages us to ask each other about our teeth! Are we dangling? Are we in pain? Are we being pushed, pulled or prodded? Or are we in fact causing ourselves pain by the pressure we put on ourselves to look like we have it all together on the outside?
“It is only with the breakdown that the breakthrough can occur”
By asking someone ‘R U Ok?’ may just be the question required to help them to sit in that glass of water, have a break, be still, and create some space for new life, new growth, and clarity. It is only with breakdown that breakthrough can occur. Asking ‘R U OK?’ means someone is not alone in their breakdown, and their breakthrough can become magnified.
BREAKDOWN TO BREAKTHROUGH
One morning last week, my beautiful friend asked me if I was OK? I was not OK. And I broke down. I am now writing this, realising that in that moment, what she had done for me, was allowed me to ‘fall out’. She allowed me to be still in the water and create some head space. No longer was I alone in the breakdown.
“It is only when we have trust and faith in the process of creating space to create, that the magic really happens”.
Ironically, the answers that I had been searching for for so long, as I dangled and held on desperately by a thread to a space that didn’t quite fit anymore, suddenly started to become clear. The breakthrough, slowly but surely started to be magnified – just like the tooth, sitting in that cup of water, waiting for the tooth fairy, is also magnified. It is only when we have trust and faith in the process of creating space to create, that the magic really happens.
How are your teeth? R U OK?
(You can only imagine the analogy when I start getting dentures!!)
R U OK?s vision is a world we’re we are all connected and are protected from suicide. If you or someone you know may be thinking about suicide help is available. Call Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 – Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention.