Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.

digging deep

Learning to Dig

Colleen HanneganComment

When one says they are trying to get to the root of a problem, we all imagine the dig. If you don't get that root completely excised, that weed will come back and invade your lovely garden. Or the roots of the tree that are growing into the underground pipes and causing them to break open need to be thoroughly dug out. Goodbye tree and roots. 

We're talking tough roots here.

We're talking tough roots here.

I've had  ongoing lessons of digging deep and solving problems this past year. Some of the lessons have been physical and others, emotional.

My physical lesson has been surrounding the death of a molar, the root cause of its problem and how many years I hung onto that abscessed tooth. I'd invested in two root canals, two crowns, and even then the infection way down deep in my root never really cleared up. But I was determined to keep it! I would heal that sucker and use hydrogen peroxide to kill the infection. I was confident.

Oh how determined I was to save the tooth! I'd already lost one just above it, 12 years ago. Blamed that on the stress of divorce. $3800 to have an implant and crown. I never imagined I'd lose another one. I've been an exceptional caregiver of this dental work and smile. The investment of time and hygiene over my lifetime.....replacing silver fillings with enamel, regular cleanings and xrays. Even had braces in my adult years to straighten things out a bit.

But after multiple visits to my expert endodontist and my oral surgeon, the conclusion was, the tooth was broken and the abscess below was not going away. After 15 years of struggle, (seriously), I made the appointment for extraction.

Turns out the root of this tooth was deep and crooked and made removal difficult. I was awake and numbed up but I'll spare you the details of the effort needed to dig deep and get that stubborn tooth and its roots removed. The sound of those clanging extraction tools and the drill was a torture. My poor jaw. No wonder I'd put it off!

   "A pig has a plow on the end of its nose because it does meaningful work with it."  Author Joel Salatin, American Farmer and author of The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs.


"A pig has a plow on the end of its nose because it does meaningful work with it."

Author Joel Salatin, American Farmer and author of The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs.

Like the plow at the end of a pigs' nose; they have a built in gizmo for finding the roots and food bits and solving problems pigs have to deal with. Being close to the ground helps no doubt.

The surgeon and his assistants both commented, "They don't get harder than that. If you can handle an extraction like this, you can handle anything." 

Geezuz. Within 24 hours my body, my whole body, experienced release. Deep well being and happiness! Why had I held on to this problem tooth for so long? Why was I afraid to see it go? I'd had a strong instinct it would not surrender easily. But I also completely trusted my surgeon because of the last excellent experience 12 years ago. All that holding on to infection because I couldn't deal with letting go of another tooth. Fighting infection all that time. What a waste. What a waste.

But my deep digging has also been in dealing with an emotional situation. I think I've conquered it but it just  keeps coming back up to meet me face to face. Meditation, positive thinking, journaling, trying so hard, ignoring it, running from it....nada. In my face again and again.

Just like the damned root. So I decided to earnestly seek (pray) for resolve. I had the message I needed to dig deeper, go deeper, feel deeply, my deeper, deepest compassion, patience, strength, understanding, a spiritual, stalwart stance against anger and strife. A regal knowing of my higher being standing up to the negativity and abrasion I was dealing with in the situation.

What I really wanted to do was yell, but it would not have helped this scenario. Yelling can be extremely helpful in many instances, so can kicking and screaming and fighting with your fists if necessary. Not here. Name calling feels good, but I practice that only at 2:30 am occasionally when festering frustrations pry my eyes open and my heat is rising again. Dammit!

Digging deep to be sure the complete root of my problem is excised, that all the infectious anxiety is dissolved takes a bit longer with emotions than it does to simply pull out a tooth and instantly be done. 

So I'm digging  and making sure I shovel away the resentment I've built up here, deep in my emotions. Such a process, yes? I face my human factors of good and not so good interpersonal relationships in the outside world, beyond my home where all is peaceful quiet and loving; accepting and fun.

Out there, it's life lessons to be learned and only when I dig deeper can I learn to free myself and those around me, from unrealistic expectations that because I'm considerate of others, others are going to be considerate in return. Not always. 

It's my choice to be offended or not. Or to let negativity fester over how others act out their own issues.

What a waste. What a waste. Move on. Move up. Move in or out. Whatever works. At this time, my lesson is to re-move the deep growing roots of anxiety in myself.  This is a difficult extraction.

"There’s no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down." Swami Satchidananda

I'm blasting away and deep down I dig.