After 20 years of doing dentistry, I’ve noticed trends. One particular pattern I’ve seen is that most people jump at the chance to go on the laughing gas. There are some people, however, who don’t even want to try it. For them, it’s a hard no. This is where my interest in human behavior mingles with my technical skillset. Over the years, I intuited a common thread, a personality trait, that runs through this particular subset of people. When I sense an opening, I playfully inquire, “By any chance, are you a control freak?” Ten out of ten times, they smile and say yes. At least they admit it.
One of my most fulfilling rehabilitations as a practitioner is when a person with this tendency agrees to try the laughing gas, slowly breathes into it, relaxes, and ends up loving it. Witnessing them let go and enter that space of relaxation, trust, and surrender is a beautiful thing. Doing dentistry on a relaxed patient is also a lot easier.
One of my earlier premises back in April, about the Era of Coronavirus, is that during this period of time, whatever personality traits, for good or for bad, live inside you, have become magnified. I named this phenomenon Personality Magnification. Whatever was hardly noticeable about your personality BC, became obvious from a mile away AC.
Coronavirus became a field day for this particular subset of people, the same subset who notoriously turn down laughing gas. In declaring war on the invisible microbial world, humanity gave these individuals inferred permission to fully unleash and magnify this tiny control freak that lived inside.
Overnight it became virtuous to boss around strangers (I’m talking to you, Verizon lady), monitor people’s comings and goings, and report people to authorities. Inner snitches were equally liberated. I think back fondly to the days when the personal status of our health was no one else’s business. We will get back there.
Whenever I see a theme recur over the course of a few days, I take it as Hashem trying to flag me down and teach me something. The theme I noticed last week was friends telling me stories about people who have been super-careful over the past nine months, followed every rule, and in the end got coronavirus. Three people, over three consecutive days, told me three identical stories. All instances involved card-carrying control-freak types. A triple Divine redundancy with all arrows pointing to the futility of worry and control. It reminded me of something Robert Downey Jr. once said, “Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.”
I wish I could offer those people, the whole world, in fact, some laughing gas. Look at us. We are trying so hard to lay mousetraps for invisible mice. Invisible mice always have the upper hand. How will we ever know when they are all caught or when the hunt is over? What is the endgame here? When all invisible mice are dead? In the meantime, these traps are snapping down on our own toes.
It is not anyone’s fault. The control freaks among us have been seduced by the media. The media has deceived us with an illusion of control, a dangling carrot we will never get close enough to grab. The illusion of control tempts us all day long. The numbers go up, the numbers go down. The media has created a wild goose chase that puts us in a demoralizing tailspin. The only real control you have is to shut off the news and step out of the game.
The truth about control is that we have none. The irony is that the second you realize this, you start to have some. You understand you can only control two things — your internal world and your reaction to the external world. The external world will never be your lapdog. Better to train your internal organs to react with peace, curiosity, and good humor to life’s bizarre offerings.
Coronavirus used to make me angry, the way it tossed our world upside-down. I am now realizing that maybe the world, like a snow globe, needed a good shake-up. I am slowly becoming thankful for our Great Awakening.
From the character traits in myself that needed work (patience, surrender, acceptance, tolerance of differing opinions) to the deepened relationships in my personal life. From highlighting the systemic problems inside the medical industry to observing the brainwashing capability of mainstream media. From the exposure of swamp politicians to the awareness of the tragic underground trafficking of children. Everyone from Bill Gates to Bill Barr is showing the world exactly who they are. The masks have fallen off. Coronavirus has opened up a curtain. We are all invited to step inside a realm of heightened awareness that has been hiding in plain sight. We have been given ample time to wake up over the past nine months. The time to see all these revelations is now; this level of exposure to naked truth is unprecedented.
Being surrounded by all this emerging truth feels euphoric to me. I have a friend, a fellow truth seeker, who nailed the emotion perfectly. She said, “I am always thirsty for the truth and it feels nice to revel in what is unfolding.” I’m sure many people are feeling this way. Truth has a grounding effect, emes mei’eretz titzmach. I love rolling around in it.
One of my most eye-opening awakenings happened last week. Something interesting was reported by NBC. Chaim Eshed, former Israeli space security chief, announced that earthlings have been in contact with extraterrestrials from a galactic federation for a while now. When I mentioned this to my naturally logical 22-year-old daughter, she said, “Yeah Mom, these days you are a minority in the scientific community if you don’t believe in extraterrestrial life.” Hmm, good to know. In this week’s upcoming episode of The Twilight Zone, UFOs will be landing on my backyard deck. I’m totally ready.
Which brings me to another strange Divine redundancy from last week. Two weeks ago, there were strong winds. The power went out in my office. We had to cancel a lot of patients. My staff left for the day. One last patient still needed to be rescheduled. He needed an 8:30 a.m. appointment. I called the mom and offered her son the following Monday-morning 8:30 slot that had miraculously just opened up. (Our 8:30 a.m. spots are hard to come by.) He came in. I went to do his exam. I always call him by the English name on his chart because it’s a cute name. I don’t know what compelled me, but at that visit I asked him what Hebrew name he goes by. He said, “Peretz.” I thought of a kid I grew up with back in the Scranton Hebrew Day School with the Hebrew name Peretz.
The next morning, I spotted Peretz punching in the code to the wrought-iron gate where I drop my son off at school. I had never seen him there before. Hmm. A few days later, on Shabbos, I was reading the parashah and saw that Tamar gave birth to twin boys, one of whom she named Peretz. Whoa, I felt Hashem messing with me as my mind sparked back to my vivid Peretz encounters from earlier in the week.
Then I read the commentary below the text and my mind started churning. It said that the name Peretz, Kabbalistically, refers to the moon. The Davidic dynasty is also likened to the moon. Both seem to disappear but will reemerge to their full greatness during the times of Mashiach. As it turns out, Mashiach is destined to descend from Peretz.
I immediately came to only one conclusion. My triple Peretz synchronicity could only mean one thing: Mashiach is coming. Later on that day, I said my Tehillim for the week and stumbled upon the word Peretz again. (Tehillim 106:23) I had never seen it there before. I was like, “Hashem, too much!”
As I was relating all this to my family around the kitchen island on Shabbos, no one was nearly as excited as I was. My daughter’s boyfriend looked up and said, “You realize you’ve been saying Mashiach is coming for like six months now, right? You’re kind of like the boy who cried wolf.”
Shot down and deflated, I finally understood why that Ani Ma’amin includes the words “v’af al pi she’yismahmehyah.” The redemption appears to be taking its time. That is actually a kindness, because we need time to absorb all this truth first. Truth and kindness always go hand in hand.
Another kindness I see is that we are riding out this storm from the comfort of our own homes. We are navigating every blind curve together, hoping to land somewhere safe. Every ounce of circulating truth we take into our systems will soften our landing. Truth, like laughing gas, needs to be inhaled gradually; too much at once could overwhelm the system.
Truth acts as a smelling salt sent to wake the sleeping soul and widen our pipeline to Hashem. Life coach Martha Beck said, “Nothing feels better to the soul than the truth.” With all this ambient truth available in the air lately, I finally understand what she means. During this time of the Great Awakening, as I lift my nose to the wind, my soul has never felt so awake and alive.
Dr. Gila Jedwab has been practicing dentistry for nearly two decades. She graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in 2000 and completed her residency in general practice at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her dental practice is in Cedarhurst.