Sinking my teeth into the matter

When I first began writing this, my tooth was throbbing steadily in the background, the pain being caused by a deep filling I’d had done, which had hit a nerve. While investigating what what was physically going on, I learned some other interesting things in the meantime.

Having a sore mouth meant wanting to eat less, particularly anything hot, cold, crunchy, sweet or acidic. I discovered that I can get by with a lot less food perfectly well, and while I’m still waiting for the pounds to drop off (any day now), I can at least say that it’s helped me explore whether I’m actually hungry and to differentiate between what I think I need to eat versus what will actually make me feel nourished and full.

Having this kind of pain also caused me to rest and tune into my body more closely. I think we all undervalue rest, downtime and recovery, and work our bodies hard until fatigue, illness or injury strike upon us and force us to stop and take a break. I now realize how much better I feel after I’ve rested and recharged, putting aside all the ‘million things I could have been doing.’

Perhaps this has been the biggest revelation of all – our relentless desire to be doing things, acquiring things, achieving things, constantly keeping busy. When an illness or injury strikes, it forces us to slow down and take stock and decide what’s truly important and what we can actually live without. When we crave things, what we’re often feeling is our lack of or loss of something else which we are trying desperately to fill with something like food, entertainment or some other kind of stimulation.

Many of us are plagued by a fear of missing out or making the wrong choices but if we give ourselves quiet times to reflect and tune in, perhaps we can work out what we really need that will keep us feeling healthy and whole, nourishing our hearts and sustaining us more completely.

Nobody likes dealing with pain and I honestly wouldn’t wish a toothache on anyone, as it truly is a miserable experience. But in stopping to consider what I could and couldn’t eat, I am now a lot more mindful about the food I take in, and similarly evaluate other experiences too.

Being without an ability to do something can make us hone in on what’s truly important at a deeper level and we can learn to truly feed ourselves, heal and grow in the ways that we need most.