Friday, March 21, 2008

Teeth Clenching

This morning my dentist told me I've developed some problems from clenching my teeth in my sleep and from bone loss from osteoporosis.

Now it's mid-afternoon and, in a true fit of self-absorption, I've thought of very little but my mouth since. This pondering has focused on: blaming myself for being tense and wondering what else I've done wrong to cause this. And on how much it will cost to get it fixed. And how bad it could get.

(The form for my worrying was writing a one-page summary of a book that would help me deal with this, that I wish I had today.)

I do know that my immediate focus on money is in large part to ward off awareness of aging and eventual death, and the question of whether I've played my cards right so far in this life. (Quite enough to make a person clench her teeth.)

Just now I talked with my clinical psychologist-hypnotist husband Bob on the phone; and he had some good ideas.

What my strategy comes down to (aside from dental work) is boldly relaxing, which seems to me an oxymoron. To do this I first have to recode my tense muscles as unhealthy. Right now, I view a state of tension as sleek and alert and leopard-like. That's got to change, all the way down in the basement of my mind. I think that once that's done, the rest may come along naturally.

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