How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 30

I was wondering why it took me so long to identify the lessons I had learned from my experience with losing my voice when I read this sentence for Joseph Pierce Farrell: “We are vibrating molecular beings whose entire physical composition changes every seven years.”Losing my voice took place seven years ago. It seems that in order to go through such an entire change, I needed to reflect on the whole experience, put it into writing and share it with people. 

And though the experience taught me valuable lessons, yet many of them I didn’t figure out at once. And some lessons I still train myself to adopt. 

Ending up this series of articles in which I shared the life lessons I learned from the most painful experience I went through in my forty years on this earth, I intend to share now the most profound lesson I had learned; ‘To trust the universe’. Everything happens for a reason and nothing is random. The main problem is that we tend to dwell into the events instead of getting their meanings and their values. Hadn’t I lost my voice I might have been still living lost without my personal mission statement which I consider my compass in this life. Losing my voice bonded me with my family and my best friend. It made me see myself from a different angel. It helped me become more alive and more grateful to what I have. It made me see my husband as a companion. This hardship taught me to trust the universe and to accept what happens, having faith that it happens for my mere good, even if my logic tells me the opposite. It taught me to accept the events as they are as this is the way the universe wants them to happen in the best timing and the best way. It taught me to surrender faithfully to fate while expressing both my trust and my gratitude. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 29

Though the experience of living voiceless took place in October 2009, it never seized to teach me valuable life lessons. Three years after the sickness leave I had requested to rest my voice and it was still vibrating. Though I had completed a couple of voice therapy courses and committed to using the microphone in class and was very meticulous with the doctor’s restrictions, it remained unstable. I tried to train myself to accept the fact that I have a permanent problem with my voice and that I must be very careful with it as the more I get older the more it’s expected to get weaker. Then one day during a family gathering one of my husband’s cousins heard about my case and she persuaded my husband to seek a second opinion. “This doctor is a genius,” she assured us. 

As usual, my mother and my husband carried my burden and took me for a check up to this genius doctor who asked me to speak as much as I can non stop. He asked me then to bring him a 3D laryngoscopy and on my second visit to his clinic, he shared his opinion. 

Shocked with what I heard I didn’t know what to say or how to react. Three years of wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment and wrong training for my vocal cords. It was unbelievable. My first doctor was a very experienced and famous one. How do I believe that he wrongly diagnosed my case?  

In few weeks I had a third opinion. The last two doctors agreed on the same case. An operation is what I needed back then in October 2009. And because I spent three years with wrong treatment and therapy sessions, I had to go for a new vocal cords therapy as the years had weakened my cords.

This was a tough lesson. One that is carved on my DNA. Always take a second opinion. People do mistakes. Human aren’t machines and even machines mess up sometimes. Don’t count on someone because he’s an expert or famous. No matter what we reach in life we can screw up. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 28

The experience of living mute repetitively for weeks not only taught me to put my problems into perspective, it taught me as well to put my blessings into perspective. On most days I wake up having my senses functioning well and my body parts in good condition. On few days I wake up with headache or pain in my back. Before my voice problem, when waking up with pain, I used to magnify it and live my day focusing on it and complaining. Yet after living voiceless for weeks, I learned to celebrate every single day, whether I wake up with pain or not. If I’m in pain, I feel grateful that it’s only limited to an organ and that I’m capable of living and moving independently. And if I am painless, I start looking from my window to the sky, the clouds, the trees and the birds. I look to cherish my sight, to precious the fact that I woke up able to see. I look at my children’s faces and feel blessed that I’m able to see them growing day after day. I hear their talks and feel thankful that I can hear their voices and can comprehend what they are saying. Turning mute made me more aware of my senses and the miracle called life. Everyday for me while being fit became a feast and every sense became a gift disposed to me which I value and try to use to the best I can knowing that it could be taken from me at any given moment.  
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 27

When I woke up mute at the beginning of my vocal cords problem I was so angry for losing my voice all of a sudden. However, with the many months that passed I remembered how my voice faded several times during the previous summer. My eldest sister had noticed and asked me to have a check up and I played the deaf. Recognising this, I learned to listen to my body. To pay attention to the signals it sends and to act accordingly. It’s true that I screwed up few times since then, yet my attitude towards my body changed. I learned not only to respect it yet to honour it. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 26

Terminating my sickness leave, my life went back to normal. Only from the outside. Colleagues dealt with me as if I was the same person who left her job to rest her voice weeks ago. And friends welcomed me back to my normal life, one charged with social activities. And though I acted out as if I’m the same person from the surface, deep inside me I was a different one.The whole experience of living mute, staying isolated from people and feeling disabled while doing my simple weekly chores, coated me with a new understanding of life. I learned to stop over crying little problems. Before this experience I used to get angry more often. From the traffic, from not finding a place to park my car, from the long queue in the supermarket. Yet after my personal experience with muteness the focus of my eyes got adjusted. I learned to focus on the blessings and to give the things that annoy me the appropriate weight. I learned to put my problems into perspective. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 25

By the end of my sickness leave to rest my voice I made a deep reflection on the weeks that had passed. One of the things I thought of was the love and care I had received. I made a list with all the people who cared for me whether by a call, a text message, an email or a visit. And whether this person was a family member, a friend, a colleague or an acquaintance. Feeling grateful to them, I thought that I wanted to thank them practically. A party, I thought.

I threw a party and invited them all for lunch. Welcoming them at my place, I took the speech and thanked them all for caring for me in my sickness. They were busy and they had their own lives, yet they all had one thing in common called compassion.

I learned to be thankful and to express my thankfulness through actions.  
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 24

When my husband forced me to take a sickness leave to rest my voice I was so mad at him. Knowing him as a civilised man left me puzzled, wondering how could a civilised person force his partner on something. Weeks passed with no real progress in my voice. One evening my husband discussed my status with one of his friends who used to give our children piano lessons. It turned out that his friend, who is a professor at the Music Institution, gives vocal lessons for professional singers. He suggested that I take a course with him to strengthen my vocal cords and he promised that the results are guaranteed. As usual, I resisted. Bored from my previous experience with voice therapy and its poor results I refused. My husband kept encouraging me to give it a try and he announced that not only he would accompany me this time, yet he will do the vocal exercises as well.

On my first lesson I saw my spouse with a total new lens. The person who forced me to stay home for my voice was standing in front of me repeating after the professor the sounds while wearing a smile on his face and with his eyes shining with hope, compassion and love. I still recall this moment. I felt as if a part of my heart was unlocked, I tasted a new level of love and care that I had never tasted before. Seeing how he stood up for me and the effort he exerted to help me restore my voice I felt blessed. I learned from him the real meaning of companionship. I comprehended the concept of sharing from a different perspective. I learned how a husband can be a friend, a father and a guarding angel. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 23

After spending weeks avoiding people during my sickness leave to rest my voice I started to miss my old life. I wasn’t used to spend longs hours home alone, I used to hang out and to do my chores myself. I used to go shopping and was kind of a shopping addict. Yet going out alone while being mute wasn’t an option for me at first. I waited for a family member or a friend to accompany me and went out only in urgent matters. I am not sure if it was my feelings of embarrassment that I am mute, was it shame or only my feeling of being disabled. However, after some weeks I longed to live independently and to carry my life normally.
One evening I decided to go shopping on my own and took with me my copybook and a pen just in case I needed to communicate with people. In one of the stores I visited I needed help. I approached one of the staff and wrote her that I have acute inflammation in my vocal cards and hence I can’t speak and followed this info with the help I needed. The girl’s eyes shone with empathy and care. In few moments she got me the size I needed and assisted me till I was done with my shopping. 

Going home this night I fell more in love with people. I learned that human beings were born with reservoirs of love, kindness, care and compassion. The only problem is that the ones in need don’t truly ask for help or express their needs. Hadn’t I asked for help and explained my case I would have returned home frustrated and angry. Yet just communicating myself on a paper to a stranger left me feeling cared for. I learned that I must communicate my needs and my circumstances instead of expecting from people to guess them. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 22

During the weeks I spent workless I coached myself. Back then I wasn’t familiar to the idea of coaching. It wasn’t yet common in my community. Later, when I started reading books on self-help and coaching I discovered that what I did is called coaching.During my sickness leave I lived mute and spent more time with myself avoiding people. I had new companions that lived within me. One of them was fear. Fear became a close friend. I feared to lose my voice again, and honestly I still carry a grain of this fear. But most importantly, I feared to lose anything at any given moment. I feared to lose a family member, I feared to lose my house in fire, I feared to lose my job. The idea of waking up voiceless hit me with the fact that anyone can lose anything at any given moment for no logical reason. 

Writing my feelings in my journal, it became obvious that my fear was growing and that I had to do something about it. Searching in a bookstore I found the book of ‘Stop worrying and start living’. I devoured its pages and quoted some of its powerful sentences. Every time I caught a fearful thought I repeated one of the quotes I memorised. Gradually fear faded on the pages of my journal and I realised that I adopted a different mindset, a paradigm shift. Instead of living in constant fear of losing anyone or anything I treasured, I started to feel grateful every single day for their existence. I decided to try the best I can to enjoy their presence, making memories and being present in the moment. I learned to accept the bitter fact that no one and nothing will last forever and it made me cherish my blessings and honour them daily. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/

  

How Turning Mute Made Me Better Not Bitter #Lesson 21

Befriending myself during my sickness leave after ten years of continuous work moved me to another level of living. I started to decode my feelings easily in my journal and my ability to manage myself developed. One of the things that I suffered from the most during this period was communicating with people. Forced to live mute I had to find other alternatives. I depended on writing with most people and on sign language with my children. Yet for people who were close to me it was different. We started to communicate through eye contact. It turned out that befriending myself made me truly aware of my feelings and needs. And with this clarity it became easy just to look at my beloved ones in the eye and they guess what’s up. It’s true that it took them some time to get used to this mean of communication. I learned that every problem has multiple solutions. That the human brain has limitless abilities. That no matter how old we are we can still develop new skills. That self-awareness is key to managing oneself and to find inner peace. 

I learned that in order to be correctly understood by others we need first to understand ourselves. 

Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/08/16/how-turning-mute-made-me-better-not-bitter/