Monday, October 22, 2012

Taking for granted

We always take somethings for granted. We take for granted the fact that we can put our pants on standing up, that we can hold our iPhone with one hand and pinch in or out to zoom in or out with our other hand, or that we can sing, and talk as much as we want. However, lately I am reminded that nothing is forever.

One of my yoga teachers who is very dear to me, had a traffic accident and had several of his bones broken in his one leg, which required him to have two surgeries and 3 weeks of bed rest. His full recovery is not promised, and he has a 3 to 4 months of recovery time ahead. A few days ago we learned that my dad’s shoulder muscles are torn, and he is required to have an emergency surgery, which he is putting off. During the recovery time he is not supposed to use his arm or hand for 6 weeks, and then seek physical therapy to fully recover his shoulder functions. And, recently, I have suffered a paralysis in my right vocal cords.

For the past couple months, my voice has been sounding funny at times. I didn’t know what was going on, so I finally went to a doctor and there I learned that my right vocal cords have been paralyzed. They can’t find a reason for this sudden paralysis, and they don’t offer any treatment other than speech therapy. The doctor is saying that I may get my voice back one day, but there is a possibility that it may never happen. I love to sing, and I am a yoga instructor. My job involves me to talk several hours a day, every day, to teach yoga. I used to love to sing at family and friend gatherings. However, right now, I can hardly talk.

I can’t recognize my voice anymore. It sounds like as if I have a cold all the time, or that I am suffering from flu. After I teach a class, I need to rest my voice, meaning I should just sit quietly, without talking. I learned that even if you are not talking, but watching Tv or hanging out in a place that has music, your vocal cords are responding to these sounds, so they are still working. Thus, in order to truly rest your vocal cords you need to sit in silence. So I’ve been learning to sit in silence, the rest of the time that I am not teaching, in order to save my voice for my next class (gives me more time, space and reason to meditate). I used to sing to up lift my spirits, to channel any kind of emotions I have. I loved those vibrations, and I can’t feel them anymore. When I chant, I can’t make some of the sounds and can’t create some of the vibrations. I used to love to sing… I haven’t been able to sing for so long… I can’t even recognize my voice. I don’t sound like myself. My family and close friends keep saying that I lost my sweet, soft sounding, smooth voice. I smile and nod and say that I can at least still speak, but deep down it hurts because I am longing for that voice as well.

I do believe that I am lucky that I can still speak, but it is hard to live with a voice that is not yours. It is hard to stop talking for a significant part of the day. I learned to choose my words; I learned to choose when to talk. I only talk about things if I really believe it is important to talk about them. Otherwise, I choose to save my energy and my vocal chords instead of wasting them on silly subjects. It is like saving your money until you believe you have something worthy of your money. I just never thought I would have this attitude towards talking…

I never smoked in my life. I always lived a healthy life. I practice yoga regularly. I don’t like yelling or screaming. I hardly ever raise my voice. But one day I wake up with paralyzed vocal cords. I don’t know what I have done wrong to hurt them, and the doctors say that it can just happen suddenly. I believe that our bodies always give out signals about what’s going on. If we are not taking good care of them, they give out signs for us to take a notice and do something about it. This time I guess I just missed the signals, and now I am searching a way to get over this state.

We all have the possibility to lose something we truly think we’ll have with us forever. Once again I am reminded not to take anything for granted. Nothing is forever. If you think it is, that’s a delusion. And if you love to sing, sing. And if there is something you want to tell someone, do so. Because one day, you may not have your voice to say those things. Don’t even take that for granted. Because I learned that sometimes people get their both vocal chords paralyzed, and can hardly talk or cannot talk at all.

In my yoga practice, I try to practice non-attachment, and this situation I’m in is a trial for me. I will go to speech therapy, and try to win back the functions of my right vocals. And during this time, I will need to learn how to be ok, and even be great, with what I’ve got: my left vocal cords.

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