February is here and we are beginning to see signs of Spring on the way. February is an exciting month, not only because of Valentine’s Day and the special time that it represents to tell loved ones how much they mean to you, but also it’s rodeo time in Houston. This is a special time of the year when the trail rides come to town, then the rodeo parade and then the chili cook-off and all the other events that surround this time of the year. It seems as if Houston comes “alive” every February.
On another subject, I want to share with you something that I personally have been doing since Thanksgiving. It’s called “Zendoodling.” My son’s mother-in-law, Barbara, is a creative artist. She does beautiful work. She also teaches art classes in the small town where she lives and has quite a reputation, not only for being an excellent teacher but a gifted artist. At Thanksgiving we were visiting my son and his family in Sioux Falls, SD. Barbara and her husband, Winston, joined us for dinner. After dinner Barbara and I began to visit about some of the things that I was doing to help my handwriting. I have been trying to perform exercises that would help me not grip things so tightly. It seems like all of my professional life I have worked with hand pieces, drills, and very small instruments. I have found over the years that my grip just seems to continue to get tighter and tighter. One of the suggestions that was given to me to help loosen my grip was “Adult Coloring.” So I went out and bought an adult coloring book and started coloring in the evenings. It was very enjoyable. At Thanksgiving, while visiting with Barbara about my newfound interest in adult coloring, she said “Ron, have you ever looked into ‘Zendoodling’?” Of course I said, “No, I have not.” So Barbara began to teach me how to “Zendoodle” designs and patterns on art paper. I even went to Hobby Lobby and got a special drawing pen and paper and a Zendoodling guidebook. Come to find out, this is a very popular craze among adults.
So what is Zendoodling? Well, as some people have described it, it’s like “yoga for your mind.” When you begin to doodle and form repetitive patterns, you relax and time almost seems to standstill. I not only enjoy Zendoodling for helping relax the muscles of my hand, which it does beautifully, but it also relaxes my mind. Now I can spend an evening listening to good music while I doodle on paper, creating beautiful designs. Is this anything that I’m going to publish? No! Is this anything that I’m going to frame for a room? No! It’s just something that is totally fun and relaxing.
All of us today live extremely busy lives and I, like my patients, find it very difficult to relax. When we do sit down to relax, it seems as if there’s always something we need to do other than relax. As result, by the end of the day we crash and burn. We jump in bed, totally exhausted, and expect to get a good night’s sleep. When sleep doesn’t come, we get frustrated. The more frustrated we become, the less sleep we get. So it becomes a vicious cycle. The result of that cycle is that we live most of our life in sleep deprivation. The thing that I have found most beneficial with Zendoodling is the ability to relax your mind and put all stress aside. Not only is this activity fun but it’s also a way of escaping, if only for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll sit at a meeting or I will be on an airplane and rather than being stressed out, I simply pull out my doodling paper and pen and start drawing. I can safely say that my plane trips now are extremely brief, because I allow my mind escape into doodling.
If you’re interested in pursuing this, I recommend that you go to Hobby Lobby and get a Zendoodle book. There are also books available on Amazon. You can even go to YouTube and watch videos on how to Zendoodle. Google “Zendoodle” and read about this art form. I challenge you to do this. I love the description of the Zendoodling as “yoga for the mind.”
Dr. Pettit and I continue to be extremely busy. We have lots of activities going on in February. I will be travelling to Chicago for a meeting of the American Equilibration Society on the 24th and 25th of February. This is a society that has been in existence for almost 80 years. It is a very prestigious organization. I am the Program Chairman for the AES meeting in 2017. So this next year, I will be extremely busy planning for that meeting. Dr. Pettit and I have activities planned for March. It too will be an extremely active month for us. I will tell you more about that in the March newsletter.
As you can see, we continue to be busy on your behalf. We are constantly seeking new ways of helping you deal with TMD and orofacial pain. Some of our techniques, like Zendoodling, are not scientific but simply a way to help relax and control the pain and discomfort in order to rebuild the immune system. We’re here to help you. That is our major goal. We will continue to strive every day to provide you the greatest and best care you can receive anywhere in the world. That is our commitment to you.
Ronald C. Auvenshine, DDS, PhD
Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain