After all the excitement about the end of the world, I have to admit that I take my life and capabilities for granted. Those of us, who are without challenges, assume that the world is our oyster.
As I reflect on the last 6 months, my New Year’s present was a double ear infection. The infection rendered me stone deaf for 25 days. If you can hear, there is nothing scarier on this planet that waking up unable to hear the world around you. The silence is deafening. My IPod was a completely useless device and driving in highway traffic provided an entirely new set of challenges. All the music that centers my work habits was useless. I wondered how individuals born without sound in their lives survive. I was petrified.
I am a project manager, mentor, and educator. I rely on all my senses to give me feedback on the environment that I am in. I listen to the conversations that flow around me to ensure that I am plugged into the real world. I can read documents upside down on a desk and lip read .. but I am seriously out of practice on the lip reading skill and I have to work at it. When you lip read, people need to look at you when they speak and side bar conversations are difficult. Just because they are looking at you doesn’t mean that lip reading is easy, gentlemen with moustaches are more difficult to read because their upper lip tends to be invisible and for people who talk really fast it is like trying to tame the ocean or slow down a speeding train. It is easy to tune out the conversation; just like in the hearing world.
The bottom line is you have five senses; hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting and smelling. Losing any one of these senses will put your physical compass out of whack. 30 days without my hearing gave my world a new focus. I will never take any of my senses for granted. Maybe, that was the point.
The reminder .. listening isn’t about having ears. It is about being fully present in every situation. Live every day as if it is the only one you have. Because all we really have is the moment that we are in.