Yesterday my dentist removed a tooth. I had previously had a root canal and a crown done on that tooth, and now I was having it removed because the crown fell off, the tooth cracked and there was a minuscule spot of rot, all which led to the determination that trying to keep what was left of the tooth sturdy and healthy was more trouble than it was worth. I had a moment of frustration as I thought about how I had paid for and suffered through two prior “treatments” for this tooth (root canal, then crown) only to have it removed anyway. A waste of money; a waste of time; a waste of pain. Then I kind of laughed at the situation – at the fact that, no matter how much time and effort we spent on that tooth, the only way to really be free from the angst it caused was to remove it. Perhaps if we had been able to make that determination from the beginning, I could have saved myself some pain, some money, some time charged at work not to mention time missed from my daily activities as I recovered.

Alas, hindsight is 20/20 and not all endings are evident at the beginning. How often have I wondered: “If only I could have known then what I know now, I could have saved myself so much wasted time, effort and pain.”

Once, I would have fretted over losing that tooth, something that will never grow back, leaving a hole in my mouth that will never be filled by another tooth. I would worry and look up dentist after dentist with Smile951 and I would worry that it is yet another sign of my aging and less than healthy body and wondered when my next tooth will go or what else will go wrong or fall apart on my body. In essence, this single event would have caused me to question my past decisions, doubt my present health and worry about my future problems.

And it occurred to me that I have approached my life and relationships the same way for the better part of my 39 years.

However, as I get older, I am learning more and more each day how to detach from the events in my life that make me unhappy or cause me pain or loss. Where once I would have been devastated for a week, a month or even a year over things that went wrong in my life, I find myself shaking it all off much quicker and moving on. I no longer take responsibility for other people’s actions, words or feelings the way I once did. I am learning to let go and say good-bye to the people and things that no longer work in my life, some that cause pain, some that simply don’t invoke pleasure, and some that can’t figure out what they want and where they want to be; whether they’re the ones who walk away or I am. I am able to remember that sometimes holding on is just prolonging the pain and discomfort for no good reason and that the healing will begin as soon as the source of the pain is removed. Getting mad at those people or things for not being better, healthier aspects in my life is like getting mad at my tooth: nature has taken its course, and this thing that once seemed (and maybe was) healthy and whole and played a valuable role in my overall well-being no longer does, so removing it is the simple, sane logical thing to do.

Sure, I wish every relationship (and body part for that matter) remained vital, healthy and strong in my life, but wishing doesn’t make that a reality. Removing the unhealthy parts from my life, or accepting that sometimes they break away on their own, leaves me more time and energy to focus on the healthy parts, appreciate what does work and value those things and relationships that continue to thrive, bringing happiness, joy and contentment because of that health and strength.

Yes, there are times when a wound can be healed; when nurturing and gentleness, patience and understanding can nurse something that is ailing back to full health. But, sometimes, all the care and attention in the world isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans, and all you’ll wind up doing is wasting your time, your money and a little of your pride.

Sometimes, you just have to pull the tooth, get through the pain and live with the loss.

I hope I can apply this “new found” wisdom to my life. Enjoy the moment, the experience, and the relationship, for what it is and for how long it is there. And when I realize it is not what I wanted or expected it to be, when it is no longer making me happy or, worse yet, starts to cause me pain, I hope I can save myself a lot of wasted time and energy and angst and just remove it or walk away; without bitterness, anger or sadness; accepting it no longer does what it once did or promised to do and leave it behind so that I can focus on the things that remain and still work.

So I say good-bye to my tooth and a few other things I have lost in my life recently. The hole will always remind me of what used to be there and I will miss it, knowing nothing will ever replace it, but at least it will no longer cause me pain.

And that is a good thing.


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8 Responses to >Detachment

  1. Thom says:

    >Well, to be shallow and just focus on the surface of your post: I had the exact same tooth issue that you did. That extraction business was not fun at all, despite the anesthesia. But does your dentist let you just not replace the tooth? Mine was dead set against that, so I had an implant ($$$) and another crown ($$$) put on.

  2. Cubby says:

    >I love your metaphors.

  3. wcs says:

    >Must have been a wisdom tooth…

  4. Ur-spo says:

    >The East goes this well – detached compassion. In the West we tend to see caring as either fully engrossed into it or not at all. I wish you well on finding a way to both feel yet detach from things that could swamp you.

  5. >What a great writing!I also have same things which I need to make up my mind sooner or later. Thanks for sharing your ''new found''.

  6. Sean says:

    >Thanks. I had no idea your system was so sensitive. I don't think I could handle that. I now have a better understanding of you. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Breenlantern says:

    >Sean: I will not be attending Bearweek this year. I have considered subconscious causes, but I really do believe that I have access to things at home that allow me not to upset my routine and any variation of that can wreak havoc with my sytem: not getting enough/the right fluids, not enough rest/exercise, significant temperature and diet changes and not having access to facilities the way I require. When i am able top control and moderate day in and day out, no problem. But the minute the routine or environment or access changes, things can get out of whack very easily. Stress does enhance my symptoms, but I don't love the idea of never taking a trip again because I might get sick 😦 On the flip side, I do love our home and love staying there and we've spent less time away this year than ever before.

  8. Sean says:

    >I hope you're feeling better after you camping trip and that you'll be tip-top for bear invasion (you are going?).After reading your post camping post, I started thinking that it seems that a lot of your illnesses occur during or just before your trips and special weekends. The mind is very powerful and I wonder if maybe there is a connection. I know how much you look forward and enjoy your trips but maybe you really just want to be home by the pool with Jeffery? Or maybe all the socializing is too stressful or causes anxiety? It's just something to think about.

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