RDH Book Club

July 29, 2005
Not Oprah's picks, not Esther Wilkins' either, think Gloria Steinem meets Dr. Phil.

by Susanne Kuehl, RDH

What books are you intentionally reading that has nothing to do with gum disease yet has everything to do with how you grow personally? Personal growth begets professional growth, and it's time for dental hygiene to evolve to the next level. That will only happen if each of us stretches beyond our comfort zone and challenges ourselves. All change occurs in community and begins one person at a time.

Avram King says, "The appearance of a mind that thinks and talks like yours does is close to a blessed event."

Have you heard of the story of the "hundredth monkey?" In her book The Millionth Circle, Jean Bolen, MD, tells us about how off the shore of Japan, scientists studying monkey colonies made an interesting discovery. They left sweet potatoes on the shore of the beach to entice the monkeys into sight. One day a female monkey began rinsing off her potato in the sea before eating it. All her children learned this method as well and eventually all the monkeys in the colony were following suit. Now here's the clincher! Suddenly, monkeys on the other islands were washing their sweet potatoes as well.

The scientists hypothesized that it was the hundredth monkey that tipped the scales for a change in monkey behavior from then on. The "hundredth monkey" offers the promise that, when a critical number of people change their attitude or behavior, culture at large will change.

Dr. Bolen goes on to discuss that for the world to change we need an infusion of the kind of wisdom that comes from the "circle model" of partnership. Circles are nonhierarchical. They are based on equality where everyone listens to and learns from everyone present in the circle. "The more circles there are, the easier it is for new circles to form; this is how morphic circles work. Being in a circle is a learning and growing experience that draws on the wisdom and experience, commitment and courage of each one in it."

Your voice is critical to the power that comes from being in circle. Your insight may be the exact thing the person next to you needs to learn. Not advice — insight. A different set of eyes and ears. Hygiene is isolating enough ... so join our circle and connect with like minds and rediscover how stimulating new ideas can be. This book club will be about dialogue and commentary to stir things up ... but mostly about questions to get you thinking, growing, and evolving.

Our first book choice for you to read this month is a quick read about dealing with change in your work and in your life. Discover what your "cheese" is and where to go in the "maze" to find it. Spencer Johnson is the author of Who Moved My Cheese? Some great "cheese-isms" from the book include:

• " Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese."

• "When you move beyond your fear you feel free."

• "Imagining New Cheese even before I find it, leads me to it."

• "Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese."

When she isn't talking teeth, Susanne Kuehl, RDH, facilitates authentic dialogue for staff meetings, study clubs, and book groups about personal growth. Through her home-based business, Circle Connections, she shares her passion for reflection, inquiry, and dialogue with groups ready to move out of their comfort zone. She yearns to resurrect the conciousness raising groups of the 1960s using the study circle format and talk about anything other than reality shows. You can contact her at [email protected].