Friday Musing – Hearing and the Well of Observation

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August is the month of playing with observation; I return to the well over and over to see what more I find when I dip into this word, one deeper than noticing.

By now, I think you know that the wells to which I go are metaphorical. They are where I dip into exploration of words and qualities of being and living that we often simply skim over.

When I speak of going to the well, I do have a gorgeous picture in my mind. It is a place to which I visualize going to dip and dip and dip again to perceive more, understand more, and be gifted with new perspectives.

When I gather with others at a well, it is amazing to me what we have to offer to one another.

My soul, my inner being is nourished and I discover what it is that I will carry with me to remember and use in all arenas of my life.

I have purposefully been playful during the month of August, a little vacation from all seriousness.

Even with that, I make sure that I leave with “water” in my container that will keep me hydrated when observations are not always happy or easy or pain free.

Let me give an example with which I have been playing and also has sides that are definitely not always playful.


I am now in continual observation, way beyond noticing. We all have things in our lives that make this true, the ever present-ness “thing” that is part of who we are.

For a reason or reasons unknown to me, over years I developed fairly significant hearing loss.

I know it did not happen because of listening to classical music, The Four Seasons, Dionne Warwick, the Platters, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, Barbara Streisand and many others! The list goes on and on. My life was immersed in music.

Most people do not realize I wear hearing aids and of course there are myriad devices of many styles in people’s ears so hearing aids are barely noticed anymore.

They have fabulous technological qualities…blue tooth so that my phone rings directly into them…I can sit at the audiologist while being connected to a computer so that any adjustments needed are made with my approval…they are binaural, which means certain music or meditations floats from one side of my head to the other.

With all of that fabulousness, I observe, too, the loss and some of the extensions of loss.

Hearing aids and masking are an exasperating combination. If you pass me on the street or in a store and notice that I am constantly putting my hands up to my ears, just know I am checking to make sure my hearing aids have not budged. It’s very real.

I have a feeling the habit has become so embedded that it will continue long after masks. I can only have a sense of humor about it even as it saves me thousands of dollars.

And while many love Zoom for lots of other reasons, I especially love Zoom meetings/gatherings for being in the presence of mask-free articulation. My listening angst is reduced exponentially.

Right now, if I wanted to, I could completely erase the happy screeches of the children in the house below mine by simply taking the aids out. Boom. No screeches. That’s possible. Taking my hearing aids out does not make the kids disappear though.

The truth is that I delight in hearing them; they make me miss all the kids with whom I spent years and they remind me to be in childlike fun and joy.

These late summer evenings the katydids become louder and louder. I love hearing the racket they make, as if they are taking over the whole outdoors together. They signal that we are heading toward fall and schools starting soon (up north) and cooler days and nights ahead.

The minute my hearing aids are out I no longer hear them. At all. I miss that.

I could, however, say to the teenagers next door who love the nights by the pool, “Carry on! I cannot hear a thing! I am the neighbor you will not keep awake so you have full permission.”

I don’t hear the rain on the roof and the thunder has to be truly thunderous in the night.

I miss hearing the birds when I wake up. And then I put the hearing aids in and the birds seem more glorious than ever. I no longer take their morning songs for granted.

When my aids are out, I cannot hear myself whisper. It’s amazing how hearing aids allow a person to hear their own speech and how connected hearing and speaking are.

After about a week of battery life, I am sometimes startled in a way that makes me jump when a man says into one ear, and soon after, the other, “Battery low.” Yup! He tells me. If I want to keep hearing, he gives me about an hour to change the battery before things go silent.

I sometimes ask if I want to change the battery or not.


Here’s the thing I have been playing with a bit.

I view my hearing status as a loss and think of it as being deficient in some way.

I also view the silence in which I am at times as a gift. It is interesting to sit without hearing and simply in the gift of full vision.

Seeing without sound is so incredibly beautiful, just as seeing with sound is too. Both. I am observing more and more in the evenings that I choose to take out the hearing aids to watch the moon or the sunset without the sound of cars or sirens.

“Hello silence, my old friend.”

The evolution of the hearing loss has given me new appreciation for other types of loss, especially when it happens gradually and not suddenly, with time to adapt.

I now observe with more intention and empathy when others are in the process of unexpected change.

And at times, my hearing loss becomes its own metaphor and allows me to look at what I want to most spend my time listening to and what I might choose to tune out. What words? What comments? What this? What that? What do I want to tune into with my whole self? My life?

There’s also a special delight that when I cannot hear, I can always pretend to hear whatever it is I want to hear.

It is so worth dipping and dipping to walk away from the well realizing what gifts there are in what are also deficiencies.

I find they coexist beautifully.

a wellbeing sustainedchallengejoylife changesobservationperspectivessilence
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The Well of Observation – Being With Nature
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Playing With the Well of Observation – Part III

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