Hello my wonderful readers!
Have something special for you on this first post of the New Year…
A time-travelling trilogy!
Enjoy the first part, with the sequel to follow very soon…!
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Funny how certain things can take you back in time. A smell, a song, a taste, an object. It’s like you can just close your eyes and be taken right back to where your mind wrapped around the experience, no matter how many years ago it was.
Such bouts of nostalgia have been hitting me quite often lately. I don’t know if it’s that transitional stage of mid-life crisis people tend to face at my age, or if it’s the reality that I feel I’ve been fighting to get my head back above water since my mid-twenties, a few wrong turns/not-so-bright decisions taking me off the path to a proper future and having me constantly try to catch up and get things back on track ever since. Amazing how just a few choices can spin you in an entirely different direction than what you ever imagined for yourself, and even more mind-boggling, how extremely hard it is to right the wrong, the world being very unforgiving.
One of these things that simply got away before I really realized it was my dental care. Like most, I’ve never been a fan of sitting in a chair and opening wide while needles stab my gums, drills dig deep into my teeth, raw nerves being scraped to produce the most intense pain in one’s life. These excruciating factors can be very persuasive in convincing a timid soul like myself to avoid the whole experience, the reward of a bright healthy smile seeming not to be at all worth the torture it takes to reach it. And so when I had hit my rebellious stage of adolescence I simply refused to go back to the dentist, and as the years flew by, as I began to develop a more common sense mind set, I still found ways to avoid the issue, the traumatic memories keeping me out of that dentist chair with excuse after excuse to keep putting it off.
Next thing I knew I was already a couple of years into my fourth decade of life, trying to play catch up with just about everything, doing my best to keep that not-so-bright smile hidden from view. A visual metaphor for how I was feeling pretty much inside and out.
Maybe if I see about fixing my teeth, it can be a start to fixing my life.
The thought was encouraging, so I made the appointment, the decision putting a temporary pep in my step in the days leading up to my doctor visit.
But thoughts are just that, thoughts. It’s easy to be brave when it’s just in your head, the fantasy of visualizing having no real repercussions. But when reality sets in…?
Stepping into that dental office had me stepping back into my childhood, the furnace of my stomach setting fear ablaze, the heat of it travelling throughout my body. Filling out the paperwork I kept telling myself, you’re an adult now, grow up! People do this everyday. It’s part of life. It’s part of getting your life back on track. For real this time!
But that other side of my brain was trying to dig in its own reason. Yes, I was an adult now, which meant I didn’t have to put up with this nonsense. I could just get up and walk out that door.
Yeah, we see how well it worked for us before. No structure, no discipline, has made us a nobody when others our age have great lives, great careers…
I was just about finished filling out the form when I saw the option for Nitrous Oxide. Ah, yes, I remembered it very well. My mom had taken me to that special dentist across town who used it on patients who were nervous wrecks like myself, in an attempt to keep me on the straight and narrow path to a bright healthy smile.
It had been a one-time occurrence though, as our insurance didn’t cover the so-called laughing gas.
Laughing gas? No, despite what mom told me leading up to the experience, that I would have a funny good time in that dentist chair, such a thing did not happen. Far from it.
I had sat down with sweaty palms, sat back and put my legs up, that dreaded dentist ceiling meaning another trip through hell.
But then the dentist had reached up above my head and brought down over my nose that long skinny mask, telling me to breathe deep.
The smell… A bit rubbery? Wasn’t sure. But I was starting to feel a little odd, a slight balance between numb and tingle. Just slightly, nothing overwhelming.
By the time the dentist had turned on the overhead light and asked me to open wide I was already beginning to see, to know things, from a different perspective. The voices of he and his assistant were becoming distant, and as he began his work I found myself rising from fear, from panic, a more enlightening state taking hold of me.
I could feel pain a little if I focused my awareness towards it, but all I had to do to put it aside, to place it off in the distance, was to redirect my mind to something else.
The two working on me began to converse among themselves, talking about a later appointment, a conference, other office-related chatter. All superficial compared to what I was heading towards.
Truth. I started to feel my consciousness rise a bit, above the drilling, the chatter, the bright light, getting closer and closer to realization the more I rose from this illusion. Yes, in a way, just an illusion. The conversation they were having, the life I had lived so far… Everything. This wasn’t really real, not when compared to the truth I was headed towards. The grand scheme of things was so much more! And all I had to do to get there was keep rising.
But something inside was cautioning me not to go too far, because if I did I wouldn’t come back. But why should I? Real life was beyond this façade.
And yet I decided to not cross that line, to just hover near this state of enlightenment, but not be totally absorbed by it, until the mask was removed from my nose and my mind returned to this existence that was just superficial.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating, refusing to believe my mom when she just laughed at my new discovery, telling me it was just my personal reaction to the gas. That it was my mind playing tricks on me.
But I was just a kid, fourteen years old, not really having the sense to follow my new interest, to research it, and so after a few days it began to just gradually fall away, so-called reality taking me further and further away from the truth I had discovered in that dentist’s office.
Now, nearly thirty years later, I checked the box for the Nitrous Oxide before handing the clipboard over to the receptionist. I then nervously flipped through the Reader’s Digests and Highlights magazines until my name was called.
Just like my ol’ fourteen-year-old self I sat down with sweaty palms, my guts on fire as I sat back into that scary chair, only this time I was also embarrassed, for what the dentist would find when he got into my mouth. Evidence that my life had gotten away from me.
The mask was brought over my head and positioned over my nose. I watched as his hand turned the knob to the gas tank. Was it me or was he turning it quite a bit? Maybe because I was an adult now, needing more for it to take affect? Whatever the case…
Yeah, keep turning, the more the better!
And then it hit me, the ol’ wise friend who had been waiting for my return. The path leading toward the state of enlightenment, as I rose above the voices, the drilling, into the bright light of all-knowing.
This time, with a hell-of-a-lot more so-called real-life experiences attached to my being I found myself merging with truth, with the fact that I was indeed the same soul that I had been the last time I visited, and that it was within my power to be in that time and space again. It was simply a matter of focusing my awareness, my mind, in knowing I was there.
To truly be able to start over, to have my whole life ahead of me again. Youth, opportunity, everything!
I let it absorb me…
To Be Continued…