by Jemma Moses, Newrybar, Australia
I am a 26 year old woman and I am currently working on a psychology thesis at university, looking at self care practices among students and the relationship with stress. Since my teenage years I have felt a lot of anger. I have come to be aware that this anger comes from not truly being me in many everyday situations and with a range of people in my life. This can bring me much sadness, for I haven’t allowed myself to be me, the best thing ever! This anger has been expressed in my body as hardness, including arthritis in my right hand and tightness in my jaw.
I recently had my four wisdom teeth removed and therefore was unable to clench my jaw while the stitches healed. As I went about my daily routine I noticed I couldn’t do simple things like open a jar, whisk eggs, wash my hair, text a message on my mobile, the list goes on, without clenching my jaw. This was great, for I hadn’t been aware how often I clenched my jaw. I noticed I clenched my jaw when I got out of bed in the morning, not on waking but as I went to start the day. When I initially wake I feel lovely, but as I get out of bed I am clenching my teeth in anger and therefore starting my day that way. In other words, I am angry before I go to situations or meet people because I know I will not allow myself to be me in that setting. This is something I continue to work on. Opportunities like having my wisdom teeth removed have been a great chance for me to be more aware of how I go about things in my daily life.
Whilst allowing myself time to recover, I noticed that I didn’t need to say as much as I previously did. As my jaw was very tender I tried not to talk as often and to my surprise found I could still communicate effectively, if not better, with fewer words. I was choosing my words wisely and really taking time (probably only a second longer) to respond, instead of responding in babble something that I think I should say. This was not just isolated to the actual words I said, but also when meeting someone I didn’t feel I had to be something for them because I was using all my energy to focus on being gentle with myself and in this I realised the world will be ok even if I am not being something for it. This was a huge thing for me, for previously (and yes, still working on) I thought the world needs me to play a different role for different people, to make them feel good about themselves or keep them in their comfort zone. Thankfully this does not work, for it takes a lot of my energy.
Prior to working on living an esoteric life (with the assistance and support of Universal Medicine) I would not have allowed myself to stop and learn from such an experience as the removal of my wisdom teeth. The day before the operation I had a session with a Universal Medicine practitioner to honour myself that the next day was going to be a big day for me. After the operation, I kept a healthy balance of taking Panadol, but also not numbing myself too much, so that I went about my day being aware that I needed a lot of rest and little physical movement. If I had had this procedure done two years ago (before coming to Universal Medicine) I would have fought needing to rest and probably would have deemed the whole experience a nuisance.
My experience has helped me understand how medicine, which includes self-care, can be practised all the time. Ideally self-care should be a natural activity, but we tend to let things in our life get in the way. It may have taken having my wisdom teeth removed to learn how often I clench my jaw, but I think this is wonderful. Looking at it in such a way can allow us to become more responsible and aware during times that would normally be seen as a painful nuisance and just something we do or have to get over. If we allow it, it can be so much more.