Witnessing Silence

jesus-love-lightThe physical and emotional memories of the ear infections I got as a kid are now processing themselves.  It’s trauma and pain I’ve blocked out for most of my life, partly because those illnesses are a part of childhood, partly because I don’t want to remember what they were like.

But now, as an adult, after suffering through this season’s flu, I’m moving through a healing journey that is bringing up these old memories.

I don’t have a memory of my first ear infection, but I am sure if I did some deep bodywork, it might come up.  I remember all the ones that came after, because I knew what was in store for me:  Hours and hours of having terrible pain in my ears, loud and relentless sounds of the beating of my heart through my head.  The outside world would sound distant and far away.  I could hear sounds, but they were so muted.   I would feel locked in, alone and scared.  It was tough.  Each infection lasted days.  Mom helped, taking me to the doctor, getting the medications.  But the feeling of being shut out from the world, because I couldn’t hear, because I was in pain used to just bring me to a state of almost emotional detachment.  It was almost too much to bear each time.

Currently, I am left with a temporary hearing deficit at about 50 percent of what I normally hear following this recent illness.   The ear pain wasn’t as great as a before, but the silence that I am hearing is familiar territory.

Only now, with twenty plus years of a spiritual practice, the emotional detachment I am experiencing is actually a relief.

I could choose to grieve this loss or I can embrace it at part of a new experience.  I don’t know where it will lead, and I’m not fully recovered from my illness, so this all may resolve in a week’s time.  Or not.

I realize how much my senses have enabled me to navigate this reality.  Without full hearing, I have more freedom to actually move through the world.  I am spending less time having to interpret and figure out sounds, whether conscious or not.  There is a lot of noise in this world, I realize, and not being able to hear it all is quite peaceful.

I can hear people speaking  to me in person so that I can continue to do my work, to teach, to counsel, to assist.  Phone calls are harder.  The clarity of the voice is not there as it is in person.  Music is harder to tolerate because the note ranges are much flatter, and the familiar songs sound kind of ‘canned’ or ‘tinny’.  Live music seems better, the ability to ‘feel’ the sound helps me hear it better.

But I am newly walking in this more quiet world.  As I continue on this unexpected journey, I will be curious to see what other observations I witness and experience.

If you’ve had experience with an illness-induced hearing loss or any resources you think would be of assistance, please feel free to share.

Eileen Dey Wurst Copyright 2017


Dealing with loss

Every day we lose a day of life.  I’m not being negative, just realistic.  And some days, we lose a lot more, faith in a ‘system’…we might get fired,we run out of money, we have to move, our relationship ends, a friend dies.

How each person copes with loss is quite different.  I met a friend’s co-worker, Rob, who looked at loss as a refreshing new way of seeing the world.  Instead of bemoaning that ‘oh the world is a mess and coming a part’, he looked at it as another opportunity for things to arise.

I think that’s a positive way to put a spin on the inevitable.  I can’t also think it’s a bit of denial, but that’s my counseling spin.

I’m not always so positive, and often, loss for me feels really deep and hurts my heart and the only way I know how to ‘give space’ for it, is just that…give space, give time, and if necessary, do some art to help the process.

A client of mine recently passed on into the next world.  I knew this was going to happen for some time, and worked through a lot to let go of him and my attachment to his own process.

It’s doubly challenging currently living in a city (LA) that embraces everything worth living:  art, culture, life, youth, beingness.

So how to work through this?  Well, for one, I have a lot to live for and want to achieve.  It’s a motivation.  Motivation is energy that expands.  I allow that expansion to being to take shape.

And, I also acknowledge what has now passed on.  An amazing person who contributed much to the world and who suffered immeasurably until the end.

My client asked me as he was ‘leaving’, ‘What is the meaning of life?’, and we both had to laugh, because it’s such an eternal question that I’m not sure ever gets answered truthfully.

My hope is that when we do go to the next world, we get a bit of that insight, and realize that on this plane, it’s just a question, and the statement is only words attempting to give answers to that which is unknown.

But even that question, ‘what is the meaning of life?’ brings me back to my own world.  Does it have meaning?  Yes.  Do I feel I am fulfilling that meaning?  Yes.  So that’s a good start in dealing with this loss.

Having meaning is actually a ‘gain’, because it’s a way of filling our wells, giving us hope and dreams, and not to be cliché, giving us the stuff that life is made of.

And so it is.  And so it shall be.  Sending light into the beyond for my client’s journey toward finding his own meaning and making peace where there was none.

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