26/8/19 Connection and the Value of Sharing Our Stories

Over the past weekend, I had the pleasure to be an exhibitor at the Women’s Lifestyle Expo. I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and meeting new people who are keen to start practising yoga. It was a delight to take some time to listen to the stories of people in our community, to learn about their experience with yoga, or why they feel curious about yoga.

I often say that I love learning about each person who comes into the studio, and I mean it wholeheartedly. From a young age, I have had a hunger for knowledge. I enjoyed listening to stories told by my grandparents and I love to pass inspiring accounts along to others who I feel will benefit from them. Storytelling is a significant part of many Indigenous cultures and this is one aspect that I have always held in deep reverence in my studies of Indigenous Learning. Stories imparted to us by people of an older generation have plenty to teach us about ourselves and help us to form a more meaningful worldview, but we can also learn from people of our own generation. The key is to take some time to listen to one another.
 
Ironically, in our age of information, we are missing a large piece for which so many of us thirst. We want to be seen and heard, but we worry that others might not have the time for us amid their long lists of ‘to do’ items. In our rush to get from one place to the next, we forget to be curious about the stories of the people we see around us every day, at school pick-up and drop-off, at the office, and in our neighbourhoods. Yet, in sharing stories – not the filtered ones that we perfect for social media but our real everyday stories – we often come to learn that there is an abundance among us of that which unites us than that which divides us.
 
This morning, while running an errand, a gentleman approached me and my husband when he saw the studio logo on our car. He told us that he loves yoga and that he always carves out time for his regular Friday afternoon Restorative yoga class at a studio where he has been going for the past few years. He shared with us that his male colleagues tease him, asking him whether he’s going to ballet class again. He shared with us a fascinating story about the wonder of synchronicity in our lives and how a single book continued to show up before him for several years before he finally chose to heed the signs and read the book that would have a big impact on his life. Our conversation with this man was not earth-shattering for either side. He didn’t share anything that may have sounded unusual to us. However, I drove away with a smile on my face because our exchange felt reaffirming. It was a true pleasure to take a bit of time out from our errand-packed morning to speak with someone whom I otherwise might have passed wordlessly on the street. These exchanges are important because they remind us of how much we have in common. They can often leave us feeling grounded in our greater intention and remind us of the importance of slowing down, of taking the time to listen to someone in our community, of perhaps choosing to share our own story, though it might make us feel a bit vulnerable. This, to me, is the true value of connection. I don’t discount the benefits of social media, but I believe that real, in-person connection, is where true magic lives and will continue to live.
 
This week, I invite you to greet people around you with your heart. Make eye contact with someone with whom you wouldn’t typically speak. Ask him or her how she is feeling. Take some time to listen. Your conversation, how ever short or lengthy, might teach you something about yourself. What’s more, by dedicating a bit of your time to someone in your community, you might be making a significant difference in that person’s day. We all want to be seen and heard, and everyone is worthy of attention.
 
Go create some magic! Tell us about it if you wish. If you want to share something with us, whatever it may be, please do.

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