Yesterday one of my teachers shared a story from her life in class. It was a simple story about bug bites and an orchid and yet it shaped the rest of my day. Stories are inherently "sticky" according to Chip and Dan Heath in their book, Made to Stick. This means that we remember them more easily and are more apt to apply their message to how we live our lives in the future. My teacher could have just as relevantly shared the yogic concept from the Sutras of Patanjali that the pain of the future is avoidable. Perhaps even in Sanskrit so that she sounded like more of an authority: Heyam Dukham Anagatam. I have certainly heard that phrase enough to remember it and know what it means, but if you ask me how I've applied it in my life, I would have to spend awhile thinking about it and in the end I'd tell some sort of story, perhaps like the one that happened to me yesterday . . .
Leaving the studio, with my teacher's story still lingering in my awareness I noticed my inner voice suggesting I make a detour in my trip home and stop to do an errand. This was not in my plan but I listened to that voice just like my teacher had shared the experience of listening to hers. The errand didn't seem that important and even when I did stop to do it they didn't have what I thought I was looking for. I ended up buying a shower curtain which was nowhere on my radar as something I was looking for, but my teacher's story had inspired me to listen and trust. Back at home after installing the new curtain and for the rest of the day, I began to notice the quiet thoughts that run in the background of my daily activities. The simple act of hearing a story and buying a shower curtain I didn't think I needed, led to me feeling ready to welcome my daughter home from college despite my busy teaching schedule, brought my awareness to things I hold onto even though they are not who I am and opened me up to more fully inhabiting my life. What are we really sharing when we share our stories? I think we are doing more than recounting the events of our day in hopes of some comfort or validation, but instead sharing what truly inspires us and shapes who we become. What is inspiring you in your life today?