Becoming Whole

Two years ago the dentist told me my tooth was dead. It turns out that teeth are living beings and, just like people, they can die. And, just like people, when they go they leave a big gaping hole where they once lived.

This is a story of healing and transformation of release and surrender. This is a story of fear and despair outshined by courage and the will to live.

Choosing to remove the long and beautiful incisor tooth that had been with me most of my life felt like a big decision. But, like putting down a beloved pet or taking a loved one off of life support, it was one of those tough decisions that isn’t a decision at all but really more just a matter of timing. And it took me awhile to saddle up to it.

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Over the two years that followed this pronouncement of death I had a lot to learn, feel into, discover about myself and let go of before I was able to release the tooth itself. Who knew a tooth could hold such mysteries?

I knew something had to be done about this dead tooth that was slowing leaking infection into my otherwise healthy body but I just didn’t like any of the options the dentist offered. I didn’t want to give up on this tooth that easily. I wasn’t ready to have it taken away and, in alignment with the natural values and practices I live my life by, I felt there must be a way to revitalize it naturally. If it could be done, I would do it!

So I started out on a journey that I thought was about proving that natural medicine can cure even the seemingly uncurable. It’s funny how life works…we think we know what we’re doing while, in fact, we’re doing something so much more important. This journey led me a different healing path entirely and it was exactly where I needed to go.

My first stop on the journey was to the office of a magical natural healer with gazillions of tricks up her sleeve and deeply powerful intuition. By tuning into my tooth and unfolding my story through a series of questions she revealed an energetic pattern that had its roots in the foundational trauma of my childhood.

In the Summer of my 9th year I experienced a loss that shocked my soul and shattered my heart. My oldest sister and the hero of my life died instantly when she crashed her car into a tree. In that moment my little girl consciousness scrambled to make sense of this outrageous truth. A complex mess of protective mechanisms and coping strategies were set in motion without my awareness. Ever since that moment I have been studying the fallout from this trauma and untangling the patterns it created.

After 25 years of deep inquiry, personal growth work and the profound healing I’d experienced I thought I had covered it all. When I came in asking for holistic methods to bring my tooth back to life I really didn’t think it was going to go back to that same old story. I was almost annoyed…but I’ve learned to accept each new layer of the onion, because they always teach me what I need to know.

When my sister died a huge part of my spirit receded into the shadows of my being. The vulnerable squishy tender hopeful optimistic playful loving part of me went into hiding and a hard shell formed around my fragile heart. Part of that shell was a personality double that fronted for me and kept everyone else at bay. She wasn’t necessarily happy but she had some fun and minded her p’s and q’s enough to stay out of trouble and off the radar. She aced her tests and answered all the questions just right to keep the grownups satisfied.

In an effort to protect myself I withdrew from the fullness of life.


I no longer sunk my teeth into life. I no longer cared what happened. I no longer believed that the future held magical goodness. I became cynical and scared. I was afraid to grow up. Afraid to trust. Afraid to hope. Afraid to succeed. Afraid to shine. Afraid to connect deeply with others. Afraid to ask for help and receive it. Afraid to love. The belief that I took on in those tender years was that if it got too good, it would get taken away.”

As I journeyed into adulthood I always struggled with these disparate parts of myself. I wanted to hope. But I was scared to. I wanted to dream BiG. But I didn’t believe it would work out. I loved the brilliance of the human spirit and creativity and I hated humanity for what we’ve done to the planet. I was often inspired by the chance to be alive at this time of great change and then scared shitless by it. I yearned for connection, depth, honesty, engagement with the REALness of life, but I subconsciously held it all at arms length to stay safe. I played out the control freak and the emotional tyrant patterns in my relationships to fend off true intimacy. The “I can do it myself” attitude that helped me survive those early years after the death when all of the adults in my life were decimated in their own grief wound up keeping me from being able to ask for and receive help from others.

As I faced down this dead tooth all of these old patterns were exposed for the sabotage mechanisms that they were. I was trying to keep it all together…all by myself…paying the rent, improving my business, staying healthy despite the low grade infection I was running, being a fun mom and providing all the good things I think my daughter needs, being an active community member, staying sane (enough) to manage day by day…all while trying to bring a tooth back from the dead. It was all fueled by fear…and none of it was working. Over these past two years my whole house of cards has fallen down and I have been left with my greatest fears rearing their ugly heads.

I lost. I lost the game of keeping it all together. I lost the game of “I can do it all by myself.” I lost my financial security. And I lost my tooth.

As the infection got worse and I could no longer control it with herbs and natural self care I had to humble up and release. I had to soften my attachment to the outcome. I had to ask for guidance and help in so many ways. And, to my great delight, it was right there waiting for me after all these years…

My mother stepped in to pay the dentist bill. My dear friend and midwife drove me to my appointment, making sure I was well nourished with food and tea and melodies. My sister took care of my daughter while I was away and then my daughter took care of me when I got back. My lover held me close and counseled me through the emotional release of letting go of all these years of holding on. And…he thinks I’m beautiful even with my toothless smile! (thank the Goddess)

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In losing this tooth I have become whole again.

As I prepared for the tooth extraction I realized that it was gathering all these old stories and patterns…that the tooth was actually collecting all of those protective mechanisms, all those ways that I kept myself from living in my full authenticity, all those fears that kept me locked up so that they could be released.

I used the Heart Sutra Mantra while the dentist was removing all of this from my being in the form of an old dead tooth.


Gone, gone, totally gone, totally completely gone, enlightened, so be it.

And as I planted the tooth in the ground in sacred ritual with song and mantra that tender part of myself that had been hiding away all these years was being called to rejoin the wholeness of my being.

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Now, 27 years after my sister’s death (which I just realized is the Saturn return of that trauma, btw) it’s time for me to release that old identity and be reborn into the next version of myself.

Now I’m fully HERE…grateful to be ALIVE…excited to grow up and grow old, willing to love and play…living outloud, raw and vulnerable…believing in miracles and the Divine benevolence that runs through all things…relaxing into my fullness of being…investing my heart and soul into it all and saying YES to my heart’s longings…letting myself fall and falter in plain view…getting messy and making mistakes…not knowing the answers and still willing to try…wearing my heart on my sleeve and letting you all know that i LOVE you! i LOVE this earth! i LOVE humanity…and, even though it’s scary and confusing to admit that we don’t know the solutions to the problems we’re facing as a human family and a global ecosystem, I believe that WE are the ones who can figure them out together and make the world healthy and whole again with our healing!

Thank you for reading and for being on this healing journey of LIFE with me!!

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Here’s a little musical treat for you all to go with this story….Buried in Teeth by Mariee Sioux 

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