My hearing loss to be precise.
Last week I went through a period of depression where I was feeling very sorry for myself because what I am missing out on must be so much. So spectacular. So profound. So much must be lost on me.
I am the lone angel with just one wing.
I am the confused face in a sea of understanding nods and smiles.
Then I come back from the Very Dark Place.
Things which I have indeed lost: My eating disorder, my keys, my 20’s, my appetite for drama, my desire to be an actress, a wallet once with 400 dollars in tips from waitressing right before Thanksgiving, my diamond earrings.
Things I have not lost but thought I had: my father, the sound of quiet.
If I try hard enough I can find these things I thought I lost in corners and caves and unexpected rooms of my life.
What have you truly lost along the way? What have you thought you lost only to wake up and realize that it was with you all along?—its hand right there, over your heart, where you left it.
What if I am not missing anything at all? What if everything I ever needed is right here? Even if it sounds a little different to my elephant ears? What if my father is right over there, on a couch in my room right now, smoking his Kools, having a good old laugh at how serious I take my life. What if he’s telling me to “Lighten up, you’re not missing much, kiddo”?
Maybe elephants can hear mountains. Maybe each mountain range creates a different sound, a different tone when the wind blows over it. A soundscape as vivid as a landscape, only visible to an elephant’s ears.
I am like an elephant.
I can hear the mountains talking to me. I can hear the sun and the wind, the sky also when no one else can. These phantom sounds have guided me through the plains of my life. I read lips to guide me through the terrain.
And when the lips fail me, I have always thought I was lost.
The thick jelly roll of noise
filled with soft syllables and unspoken words
is all around you if you just
open the ear in your heart.
Tune the fork which vibrates in your chest
which knows when something is said,
even if it isn’t.
I am the deaf poet.
I hear you.
Clamoring up there in your head
fighting with your own thoughts who
use swords and knives and vicious words to win.
Relying on trickery.
Some things will break or be lost.
There will always be a hole
Where the sound of wind passing through
will be a loud, lonely sound
that I alone can hear.
You must fill that hole with memories,
songs your father sang you, people you love,
your children, favorite songs, photographs.
You must fill it and seal it
With wet sand, bricks, mortar.
And then hang a sign that says
You’re full up.
I am the deaf poet.
I rely on the train of the invisible,
its texture dense, heavy mud.
Your heart has an ear.
My ear has a heart.
I can hear things that you can’t.
I can feel the warrior in yoga, the curl of the back. The opening of the heart.
Even if I miss the direction.
I can hear the quiet in between the quiet, the arches of eyebrows, the pursing of lips. I can hear the music of unspoken gestures, the tick-tock of need, the roaring of lust, the whining of dissatisfaction. I can hear the tree frog sound of anger even though your mouth, moving in circles, eludes me.
Nothing is lost.
Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out Jennifer’s recent Q&A with Christy Turlington HERE.