On Suffering

Dear Readers,

On A Walk!

August 21, was my 42nd wedding anniversary! Hubs and I met in 11th grade of high school, dated 7 years, and now married for 42.

Now that we are seniors, LOL, we look around and ask ourselves how did we get this far! We had many amazing fun time together, and a few hard times. Mostly we had normal good times. It is the everyday times that matter the most. It’s how we forgive each other, how we treat each other with compassion, how we help each other, how we know we are stronger together.

One of the hardest things for me has been the loss of my hearing. 
I have written about this before, but lately my suffering has come back because I have been to several larger group gatherings, where I cannot hear very well, even with my implant.
Tomorrow I go to another dinner party with close friends, and I already started to tell hubs I don’t want to go because of my hearing. 

Hubs and I in high school!

I am deaf in both ears, and although my implant has been wonderful to hear speech with one person, or with two people, in groups of more than 3, I miss a lot. 
It makes me feel isolated and left out. It makes me sad and angry.
I can’t hear jokes, and so everyone laughs and I have no idea what they are laughing about.
Music is not supported by implants, so I have lost music as well.
I can’t do certain volunteering things because I can’t hear. Even at my volunteer job, I miss many conversations.
I can’t hear my yoga teachers, or conversations in the locker room. 

Most of the time, I am at peace with this. But lately, I have been feeling angry, and not wanting to go to places, even to dinner parties with friends.

So, I picked up a book I love, called, How to Wake Up:A Buddhist Inspired Guide to Navigate Joy and Sorrow, by Toni Bernard, and started applying some of the things she has learned to help her in times of suffering. 

I started my thoughts with compassion for myself. I told myself, “I am sad I cannot hear at parties. It hurts me to not be able to hear my friends talk. I am angry I can’t laugh with other people.”

Next, I talked kindly and with love to myself, “May I be kind and gentle with myself even if I can’t hear everything. May I have a good time, with what I can hear.”

Now I think of appreciative joy, where I think of joy for the other people at the party who can hear. This can be hard at times, especially if I think they should know by now, and be sure I can hear. But this only makes me resentful, and that makes my life unhappy. 
So I am learning to say, “I am so glad people had fun talking! I am glad my friends got to see each other and laugh at silly things.”

Our Wedding Photo

Finally, I am learning to accept what I can change, and if I can’t change it, to let it be. I can’t get my hearing back. It’s gone. Implants do the best they can, but they are not ears. 

I can let resentments about my hearing and parties, rule my life, but if I do, I will then have suffering upon suffering. 
Would that make me any happier?
If I isolate myself will that make me happier?

All I can do, is find out what I can do with my limited hearing.
Rejoice in the fact I can now talk to people one on one.
Rejoice for all the other people who laugh together!
Rejoice I can hear nature sounds!
And send love to all those who have hearing loss.

With a Loud Doorbell,
On Day 1450,

16 thoughts on “On Suffering

  1. I have learned so much from Buddhist teachings. So glad you are exploring that realm. Pema Chodron is a wonderful author as well. I wish you peace and contined insight into your amazing self. Love you Wendy!


  2. Happy Anniversary!! Your frustration at not being able to hear in large groups must be so overwhelming. You are so brave to work to cope with it instead of giving in and isolating yourself. Isolation would only bring more depression and suffering. Sending hugs! xx


  3. This is a beautiful post. Your words, your photos, your descriptions… thank you for sharing yourself. I’m going to check out that book. I’m on day 61 and I appreciate your writing. Sending you hugs.


  4. Wendy, beautiful reflection on what must be a really difficult thing. You are such a warm, loving, sociable person!! I love this post. And I'm so glad that the smaller gatherings are doable and fun for you!


  5. What a wise woman you are. As I tell my children, we all have something that tests us to the core. It's how we show up to those tests that defines our life experience. What a beautiful and brave way you are showing up to your life. I'm so inspired by you. Thank you so much for sharing. Happy 42nd! xo Diana


  6. Your writing often makes me pause and think about how much I take for granted.I hope that if a hearing impaired student came to my yoga class that we could find a solution…and that they would tell me!It must be isolating. And easy to fall into isolating behaviours, but then be sad for yourself.I really like how you are using the Buddhist philosophy to work through that reality. Because you are missing something you used to love, music, and that deserves some sadness. To pretend otherwise nullifies your experience.It’s hard to find the fine line between acceptance of what is and denial of how we feel.Hugs and love. I expect your friends are happy to help you.Anne


  7. Happy Anniversary! A true love story. As for your struggles with hearing loss, I cannot pretend to know what you are dealing with, but you are dealing with it, in a healthy way. It's hard work to change one's self-talk, but it can be done, and you are one person who I believe can do just that! Love the pictures, xoxo, dp


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