I love Mulla Nasrudin stories and would read them with my son when he was little. So this week's reading
was very familiar-- funny and yet very profound.
It got me thinking about losing a sense. Two years ago, I had lost my voice for two weeks. And that's a pretty long time not to talk, especially for somebody who is a teacher! And it was a very, very profound shift, because not only did I experience the world differently from my "silent space" but I learned that how others saw me was different too.
During that time I went to a conference and people thought I was deaf, because I was writing on a small whiteboard that I carried everywhere. They would talk really loudly to me which I found startling! I would then indicate on my whiteboard "I have just lost my voice". I gave my entire presentation without speaking---by writing on a board, showing slides and getting the participants to interact and talk with each other in an activity I had planned---everything I had wanted to do was accomplished silently! Members of the audience told me it was such a refreshing change to use a different sense---looking at me for cues, reading and watching instead of listening. Several people commented that they found more focus in the slience and that they really were amazed at how I communicated without speaking. I was thrilled that it had gone well, but more importantly it made me fully appreciate all of the senses that we take for granted. It also showed me that being grounded in silence is invaluable.
In addition, this experience really gave me such an insight into how people treat others with various challenges--whether those are real or perceived. It made me remember never to assume anything about someone else when I haven't walked in their shoes.