Yesterday was dentistry.

And though the procedure was essentially painless, by the end, nearly my entire lower jaw was numb. I stepped out of the office with my lower lip as an amorphous, limp jellyfish, merely draped over my teeth. It wasn’t so bad that I was drooling on myself (though I may not have known if I was), my mouth was just simply out of my control and utterly foreign.

“You look fine! You can’t tell at all!” were the words of the friendly receptionist, floating behind me as I exited the building.

It wasn’t my vanity I was contending with, as much as just the odd sensation of a different kind of face. Words passed through my lips awkwardly. My smile was unfamiliar and strained. Sipping water from a glass posed a challenge.

With all of this abnormality, there seemed only one reprieve: silence. The sweet haven of simply recoiling. If I couldn’t control it, then it seemed best to still it.

So I kept my mouth softly closed and watched the world with my eyes. I relaxed my tingling jaw and gave it no job. I listened.

In doing so, I realized how much energy it takes to yak. You know, babble on. Prattle. Chatter, blather, gab. Chew the fat. Verbalize.

This morning my lips are back to normal, but they’re still remembering their speaking hiatus. They don’t want to add anything to this pre-sunrise quiet, where only the distant roosters make proclamations, knowing nothing of novocaine.

It’s not that I’m holding my tongue. I’m just letting it relax.

photo courtesy of Abir Anwar
photo courtesy of Abir Anwar

4 thoughts on “The Beauty of Sealed Lips

  1. Did you ever tried a retreat (what kind ever, like zen, vipassana etc.) without speaking? Not speaking might be a challenge, but on the other hand sooooo relaxing and really inspiring ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I have wanted to do this but have yet to experience it. I’ve heard of transformative 10-day vipassana retreats, in which people said it was very difficult. In the height of my single-mothering of a five year old, I would hear that comment and fantasize about having to do nothing but sit for 10 days straight, in silence. Sounded like heaven to me – though the reality of it would probably be harder than I realize. One day I will experience this…yes! For now, it was yesterday’s drug-induced dentistry that kept me quiet. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I often take myself to the beach for just such a day. I call it my soul soothing day. I find my spot as far away from others as I can and I just listen. It’s wonderfull…and soothing. I am intrigued by the the silent retreat but have yet to try it……on my “one day” list


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