Make Room For Joy

I just surprised myself and said these words out loud–by myself, out of nowhere—“I love my life!”

I actually stopped, looked around to confirm that no-one else was there, then thought, “wow, that was pretty cool.”

All I was doing was looking in my refrigerator, deciding what to make for dinner, when, BAM! a sense of joy and well-being washed over me. The truth is—I really do love my life. I love who I am, I love what I am becoming and I love what I want to bring to the world. Conceited, you say? Self-centered? Arrogant? I used to think so too.

As spiritual beings living this human life, our only job on this planet is to find what sets us on fire and do it!! Be it!!

I didn’t understand that before. I lived a life of keeping myself small to fit in with the people around me who might be upset by my energy and passion. My child self kept quiet so I didn’t rock the boat and upset the delicate dance of the family unit. My adult self was afraid to fly away and let others find their own path if my spirit needed to soar. Well, my soul kept calling until I did.

The interesting thing about the above self-declaration is that all day I was bobbing up and down like a see-saw from fear thoughts to thoughts of faith—back and forth, back and forth. But, this time, when I felt the fear thoughts I knew they were just my mind trying to keep me from feeling free, so I loved them and let them pass. I acknowledged them, told myself they weren’t real and let them float away.

I think that made room for the joy!

While I may have to remind myself of this truth again tomorrow, it’s becoming more second nature to live in the ease and flow of trust and well-being.

Today I will remember that ups and downs are normal, any fear I have is an illusion and that we are here to feel and spread joy!

How Confusion Can Guide You

I used to think confusion was a bad thing—like a problem to solve or something to “get out of” as soon as possible. If something didn’t feel right or I couldn’t understand what was happening, I automatically thought  I wasn’t seeing things clearly. Consequently, I tried harder and harder to change my perspective so I didn’t feel like a crazy person. After decades of going against my inner knowing, what I have come to understand is that when I am feeling confused I actually am seeing things clearly; I am seeing them from the eyes of my soul.

Confusion is my inner guidance telling me when something’s not right for me. It’s a messenger of truth and a teacher of self love.

When I feel confused, I am in my head and out of alignment with my heart and soul—trying to make sense of something instead of letting truth emerge. When I am aligned, there is no question of right or wrong or should or shouldn’t. It just is.

Confusion is my ally and my friend. It can show me where I am being manipulated or disrespected, either by myself or others. When I think,”If I am really in a loving relationship, why do I feel so devalued?”, I can become aware that this confusion is really my intuition telling me that I deserve more. Now I can make different choices. And when I ask myself, “Why do I keep doing the same things if they continue to bring me unhappiness?”,confusion guides me to see that by making decisions that are not in my best interest, I am actually disrespecting myself—not feeling worthy enough to treat myself well.

Today, I am reminded that confusion is the GPS of my soul. I will invite confusion in, knowing that a magical shift is about to happen. 

When Self Doubt Kicks In Again


For most of us self doubt starts as soon as we wake up.

That little voice in our head chimes in with, “Oh no you don’t. Before you start thinking anything hopeful here, let’s just remember a few things:

What makesyou so great?

Who do you think you are writing a blog?

Who’s going to want to hear what you have to say?

Anybody could do this, so what makes you so different?

What makes you think you can make a living in this new city?

Who are you to think you are glorious and brave and that you could help other people?

Ok, so that might be the voice in MY head, but the point is this:


Marianne Williamson is saying that it is our responsibility and purpose on this planet to be as magnificent as we can be, so that we can each share our own special gifts with the world. That’s what we are here to do!

And she is right.

Knowing this, the pressure is off. Now we can allow ourselves to see that all that self doubt is just our subconscious talking to us. It’s the part of us that thinks it still has to protect us and keep us safe from the “what ifs”. So it doesn’t want us to know that we are great enough and strong enough and magnificent


enough and that we don’t even need it anymore!

All we need is to follow what feels true.

But even when we know that, sometimes we forget.

Maybe at work, someone criticizes us, or brings to our attention a mistake we made—something we missed. It might be automatic to think, “Wait a second. Maybe they’re right about me. Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing”—even if we’ve actually been doing it for decades.

Or maybe we think, “I can’t make this change. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I make it work?”

When we find ourselves here, how fabulous! It’s just another opportunity to practice who we want to be by reminding ourselves of these essential (notice I didn’t say “easy”) ideas:

It’s an old story

Some of us may have grown up learning how NOT to trust ourselves and our instincts. Not to be “too big for our britches”. But now we can ask ourselves, “is all that stuff really true? If part of it is, then we can choose to acknowledge those parts, learn from them, and make decisions from there. But if it’s not true, our self doubt is our old, worn out story.

Which brings us to……

It’s not real   

Oh, thank God. Turns out our brain is just trying to make logical sense out of everything, and still thinks it has to protect us from risky business like sticking up for ourselves. But sometimes we just gotta go with what we really believe about ourselves and tell it, “thanks anyway, but I got this.”

(BTW: every time I do this I feel like I’m 10 feet tall and can take on the world—cuz I’m starting to believe I can!)

We can find validation within ourselves

It is time for us to believe that all the visions we have of ourselves being wonderful and capable and competent and shining are who we really are. In fact, the only reason we have all these thoughts in the first place is because the capacity for greatness is already there—inside us—just waiting to be born.

It’s an assignment

Yup. Just like homework.

We are all now enrolled in life’s new school called “Trust Yourself University” and unlearning everything we were taught in “You Don’t Matter Grammar School”. And even though there may never be a final exam, we will continue to get assignment after assignment until those neurons in our brains are firing anew, and self-validation and confidence are their new normal. Yes!

So now we can welcome in anxiety and self-skepticism, knowing that every time we accept their lessons, we are getting closer and closer to our own graduation into strength and serenity.

This is our path. We are always going to be trying to figure it out. So let’s say, “YES” to all our lessons—and hope they keep on comin’!


When The Lights Go Out in The City

Ok, well. This has been a “lesson in appreciation and not taking things for granted day” today.

So the power has been out now for about 6 hours in San Francisco and I’ve been struck with how crazy everyone is getting. I take that back—they were crazy 10 minutes after it happened.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the demographics of our city by the bay, I will tell you that it is a very young city, and by this I am not referring to it’s inception:  probably 80% of city dwellers are in their 20’s. (OK, it’s true. I haven’t exactly researched this, but I would bet I’m pretty darned close.) Let’s just say that I am middle-aged and single here, and it has occurred to me that I may stay that way.

So, I go outside and these twenty-somethings were all crowded around the building entrance, pacing frantically. Naturally I asked someone what was going on and he tells me that the power is out.  I say, “Yeah, I know, but why is everyone so panicked?” And he says, “Because they can’t even get an Uber!” Now that’s suffering!

Pema Chodron calls it “bourgeois suffering”. Never mind—they probably wouldn’t even care who this Buddhist nun is anyway, but what she’s saying is that there is real, true suffering in the world—and not being able to get an Uber probably doesn’t qualify.

But it was an enlightening day, trying to figure out what could and could not be done without electricity.

Read more When The Lights Go Out in The City

Heart-Based Patient Communication: Pushing Back With the Positive!

By Lorna Smith, RDH

We all have those wonderful, accepting, and grateful patients who respect us and appreciate our recommendations. We love to see their names on the schedule. Some of us would say that those patients are the ones who keep us going. We follow their lives—through dating, marriages and babies, illnesses, and so forth. We become their friends as well as their oral health-care providers.

As much as I love seeing those glorious patients, it’s the fierce ones who really challenge me, and they get me to challenge myself. The skeptical ones, the fearful ones, the defiant ones, and the ones who don’t yet own their disease. Yes! Doesn’t it sometimes feel that we are experiencing “pushback” from both sides? We are trying to convince the patient to accept our periodontal treatment recommendations, return more often for hygiene care regardless of insurance limitations, and improve their home care (or just care, at all). The patient tells us they don’t want any lectures, don’t want any X-rays, want to “just do a cleaning,” and only want to do what their insurance covers. Sometimes, we feel like we are beating our heads against a wall.

Personally, I love it when I hear this from patients! This is my opportunity to find a new way to connect. I ask myself, “What are they really trying to tell me?” I try to figure out how to turn tension or apprehension, or a tug-of-war into a great patient appointment. Most of all, how do I enable a patient to receive the care they deserve and protect their overall total body health?

As dental hygienists, our job is to be a preventive co-diagnostician with the dentist, identify and treat periodontal diseases, help detect tooth decay, oral cancers and lesions, and to “play detective” in coordinating all of that with the oral/systemic link in mind. Whoa!

But, what if our job is also to connect with patients in a more basic and profound way? Like making them know that we have their ultimate best interests at heart and that they can trust us to present to them the most complete and caring treatment plan, but also involve them in every part of the conversation.

The beautiful thing is that it doesn’t matter how we connect with our patients—only that we do. We can try anything we want. We can choose our attitude, our approach, and our response to patients anytime and every time.

Read more Heart-Based Patient Communication: Pushing Back With the Positive!