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  • Sona Parmar

Lost in Translation

The life of expression is the tuning fork by which we find our way to the sacred.

- Mark Nepo



I like to talk. I like to express. I like to sing. I like to articulate.


I didn’t realize how important this was until recently, when a couple of new relationships in my life involved speaking in a language that was not English.


In English, I know exactly how to say what I want to say. The words have power, they pack intention, they evoke. I can play with English.


While I can speak other languages, I lack that command, that finesse, that ability to speak directly to someone’s heart. And yet, in order to maintain these relationships, I have had to learn to peer into some strange corner of my brain to be able to say what I mean. I’ve also had to simplify enormously.


It feels like a black and white movie. And yet I guess a black and white movie has its own charm. The message is still transmitted.


It is said that language was invented to lie (watch people’s actions, not their words), so in this simplification of my vocabulary, I’ve had to get very clear on what I want to say.


While I’m not quite a cave person communicating, the importance of imparting the right energy and feeling, and even some humour, makes the process even more intentional. It has been the perfect exercise in mindfulness.


Discipline in speaking means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. You don’t use twenty words when two will suffice. And, of course, silence is golden.


And then, on the flip side, I have to practice discipline in listening. Without active listening, I miss the nuances from the other person. Hell, I would miss entire sentences on a day that I am tired.


I have since started to apply it in my English-speaking relationships, and feel as if I deserve a pat on the back especially for listening so intently – which is when I realise that I really should have been doing this already. I think I thought I was.


Sometimes all it takes is something infinitesimal to change everything: change the way you look at things, change the energy you put out, and thus the reality you create.


As a teacher of mine once said “one moment has the power to transform your whole life”.


So then, the question has to be: will you let it?


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