Hearing Loss, Self Image

Dreaming Perfect.

June 10, 2012

Last week I had this dream I was perfect.

I was tall and leggy. I had sweet, brown-colored skin and light eyes.

I had perfect hearing.

There was no ringing in my ears, so when you told me things like: Your coffee is getting cold or My name is … or I love you ~

I understood you.

I was happy in this dream.

Of course, I didn’t realize I was happy.

I woke up and tried to get back into the dream, but, as you know, that is impossible.

I almost got there, but in the new version of the dream I was short and fully deaf, instead of partially. Everything else was the same as the first dream.

I thought about the dream all day.

I realized later that day that maybe I wasn’t happy in the first dream, after all. Maybe I had just assumed, in that brief moment when I woke by my alarm, and I couldn’t get back, that I had been happy, since it’s our nature to assume that what we can’t have is better.

I have gotten over my height, my skin color, my weight, and the fact that light eyes got passed over on me.

I have not fully accepted my hearing loss.

Oh, what it would be like to hear a whistle!

A bird. Ice clinking in a glass. The television. My own yoga teacher. My own breath. Someone saying my name as a whisper.

As I sit here and listen to the ringing in my ears that never goes away, I fall into a state of meditation, as if my tinnitus were actually a constant “Om” in my head instead of torture.

Then it hit me like a ton of bells ringing. This package of me, the sum total of all my parts, is greater than my hearing loss. I am normally terrified of equations, but as soon as I stop and think about the mathematics of myself, I know that I have accepted my loss indeed. I realize that this profound hearing loss, which causes me so much pain and aggravation—so much sadness and loneliness—also causes me so much love.

I had never thought of love quite like that. As if it were an effect that had been caused by something. I always thought it was just something like the weather—it just was. Like love just appeared one day like the wind, and we accepted it as Nature just doing its thing, running its course. We don’t question love most days. I love my mother, I love my husband, I love my students. It just is. This I know.

But there is a cause and effect.

My hearing loss has caused me love because people have been drawn to my compassion, which is my loss transformed. I have been able to turn my deafness into my grace, and that grace has opened me to love I never dreamed possible.

So today I change my mind. I accept this thing about myself that I once hated. By doing that I allow other things about me to shine. Those things, like my sense of humor and my touch. My vision beyond what my eyes can see, and my kindness. My philosophy of “If you fall you must laugh” was born out of not being able to hear. You can’t take life too seriously.

I mean, how can you, when you can’t hear most of it?

My hearing loss has allowed me to laugh at myself, which in turn has allowed others to laugh at themselves.

What a gift!

I had a dream last night and I was me in the dream. Regular old me. Mostly deaf, kind of clumsy, hazel eyes, pale skin, silly. In it, someone leaned over and asked me if I was happy.

I laughed and said Of course I am happy. Why wouldn’t I be? Now pour me another glass of wine.

**Post originally appeared on Positively Positive where I am proud to be a regular contributor.

Jen will be leading a Manifestation Yoga®  weekend retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, Massachusetts Feb 1-3, 2013. 


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  • Reply barbarapotter June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I love this and I am so proud of you. I think your outlook is amazing and I know you are indeed happy because it shines from within you.

  • Reply jamesvincentknowles June 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    … the beautiful needs, the innocent kind, innocent kindness, true kind, true kindness, the need for just love, pure love, strong love, passionate and unrestrained love … love that must be restrained sometimes because it is sometimes too big and sometimes that’s what it takes to prove it is not fake … some time … big love that’s giving and patient, real love … that’s what you are, Jennifer. A big love.

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen June 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Wow, That is truly one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, friend. Thank you.

  • Reply Jessica Gentry June 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I like that you share so much. Your perspective allows me to reflect on myself. It gives me permission. But not knowing you personally well, I just don’t see your flaws. I simply see the inspiration you’ve created. So I find it endearing that you show how vulnerable you are. I am learning how to surrender & accept. To just be. I realized I used to identify myself by what I ‘do/did’. But now I am realizing just me is all I need to be. I give you permission to just be you exactly as you are. Perfectly imperfect. As we all are.

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen June 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Dear Jessica,
      you have NO idea how much this comment means to me.
      At the PERFECT time, as well.
      Thank you for saying so.
      It is such a risk being so open so thank you for allowing me to share with grace and for reminding me that I am on my path.
      You are amazing.

  • Reply nancy rattle June 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Jennifer …. I was born with a severely deformed club foot. I was fortunate to have been treated by one of the best Canadian paediatric surgeons of my time … Dr. William Mustard. He also did the first cardiac surgical repair for ‘Blue Babies’ in the fifties. I went on to compete in hurdles in my home-town track and field events. Was I lucky …. even though I now have a crumbling spine – probably as an outcome of my original disability, I still feel blessed for the gift of ability he endowed me with …. and of course, for my parents’ commitment to ensuring my mobility.
    So much of any disability exists in the mind – ours, theirs. There are many ways to see it differently.
    I hear you sister …. keep listening …. keep hurdling … it’s the only way.

  • Reply Jennifer_Woods June 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I love how you observed that you didn’t actually know whether or not you were happy when you were “perfect.” Being beautiful (whatever that is) is no guarantee of happiness. Having money is no guarantee you’ll be content. Having more time available to pursue your desires does not mean you’ll use that time wisely. Would you be the wonderful person you are now if you hadn’t gone through all your difficulties and come through to the other side of them? You’re a positive example of learning from, and improving because of, adversity. In chaos lies opportunity, and just look at the wonderful things you’ve done with it. When I grow up, I want to be just like you. 😉

  • Reply Donna June 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Woot woot! You gave me chills, this is the magic of transformation. We have so many blessings in our lives that we donn’t understand, thank you for sharing your epiphany, it makes me smile. There may be things you do not hear, but there are definitely things you hear that most of us miss,……ROCK ON!

  • Reply Courtney Thorpe June 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for your inspirational post. I couldn’t agree with your perspective more. They always say the grass is greener on the other side but I say the grass is greener with in. I shared this post with friends and family and they were all so touched by it.

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen June 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      wow, you shared it with family? i am so touched!!! Thank you!

  • Reply nikky44 June 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

    So beautiful and so true. The only way to reach happiness is to accept ourselves the way we are, to be guilt free and believe that we did what we could, what we thought was the best. I love it.

  • Reply HearingJoy July 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Jen! Love your post. We have the same situation. I suffered this unacceptable hearing loss drama for almost more than 10 years. It’s over now. I’m into yoga too but only as a student and struggling with my hearing loss. I wish I’ll meet you there. I’m from the other side of the planet. hehe Your words really make me to move forward and do something in life! Keep it up Jen! 🙂

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