Woke up three days ago with an unusual pain in my right jaw that caught me off guard, and forced me to adopt a frozen expression that resembled a Botox injection gone rogue. Couldn’t open my mouth fully, couldn’t bite down. Yikes.
The pain has since subsided, but given that I’d never experienced this before, and hadn’t been gnawing down bushels of carrots or Jolly Ranchers, I had to know: what gives? A 1 AM troll online through WebMD landed my mouse on TMJ, aka Temporomandibulor Joint Dysfunction. Medical speak for messed up jaw. Various causes were listed, but none fit. Except maybe ‘stress’. Seems every shitty thing that happens to our bodies can be attributed to stress. I didn’t feel stressed, but…
I just moved. This is move #6 (or 7, I quit counting) in the past five years. Not a major move (that one happened last January from Philly to Boston in the middle of an epic snow storm), but one block over. From a small apartment to larger town home. Simple.
According to another 1 AM random web search, I discovered via HealthSource that moving is considered one of the top 5 Stressful Situations. Up there with major illness, death of a loved one, divorce, and job loss. I could understand that, as past moves have left me swearing at inanimate objects (you f***ing sofa why won’t you clear the corner!!). And one time I tackled two life events at once time – divorce + moving = a seriously stressed out girl.
But this move was different. I chose to keep it in perspective, and allow the boxes to fall where they may. And, as you’ll read below, even a temporarily twisted jaw became a life lesson lesson:
1. My daily Warriors and Plank poses are doing more than I thought. Delivery dude left a giant futon I ordered on the door step and dashed. The man of the house is in Spain. Which means this girl had a choice: leave it or lug it up two flights of stairs. I lugged it, assembled, and did a victory lap around the guest room. Now get on your mat and do your Warriors and Planks!
2. Do I really need eight sets of coasters? Moving helps you ditch the stupid shit weighing your life down. Ok, I now have seven sets of coasters. It’s a process…
3. Cable guys and movers are cool – talk to them! Glen the mover saved my fingernails with a few box opening tips, and I got to pass on some yoga pose suggestions to relieve his achy neck. Kirk the cable guy shared what it was like growing up Italian in an Irish neighborhood in South Boston (he cultivated a fabulous sense of humor to survive). Told me where to get the city’s best pasta too.
4. i-Stuff and ear buds are overrated. Crazy how much extra time I had, even in the midst of move, without all my electronic gadgetry. We’re constantly told to unplug, but moving does it for you. Whether you want to or not.
5. So I unconsciously clench my jaw. Moving made me conscious of it. I noticed it when I lifted anything heavy, or tried to focus. Do the spices go here? The mugs there? My poor jaw tightens into a clamp as I stare at the cupboards. Now I know, and practice deep breathing.