Everything tells a story, and every story teaches! I have been listening to a lot of stories in my coaching this week - beautiful stories, horrible stories, interesting stories, boring stories. As I listen, the creativity, stupidity, resilience, frailty and strength of these people teaches me. It teaches me how screwed up my judgement is. It teaches me why the world is broken. It teaches me how precious it is to find authenticity and love. It teaches me how to treasure breath and life and movement. It teaches me about searing pain and wounds and scars. It teaches me about exhilarating pleasure, simplicity, hope, and healing laughter.
Every person has a story. They choose whether, when, and how they tell it and who they tell it to. But everyTHING has a story too, and you can choose what it teaches you and what you learn. Your journal, your pictures, your car, your dishes, your laundry, your bed, your bathroom sink, your shoes, your shelves, your mail - it all tells a story. It all teaches! Some of the lessons are powerful and new, others are silly and recurrent. But I think we should still listen.
I have had a few people over to my house this week. I would describe the status of my house this week as "less than stellar," a friend calls it "lived-in," and you might just call it a mess. It needs to be cleaned, and things need to be organized. But if I listen to the stories being told by the things in the mess for the purpose of learning, rather than rush in a spirit of embarrassment and self-loathing to put them away, I grow in gratitude and intention.
The muddy footprints on my kitchen floor tell of a crazy dog that is never doted on enough for her liking. The configurations of blocks, figures, books, and pillows in random and not so random corners tell the story of a boy "creating activities". The Buzz Lightyear in my bath towels tells of imagination and adventure. The shot glass of milk tells of a brilliant little girl that delights in her mother. The extra card tables and chairs against the wall tell of people connecting over food and laughter and debate. The landing on the stairs with folded laundry tells of progress. The stack of papers on the side table tells of a loving husband that finished some flyers for his wife's workshop. The pile of laundry in the bedroom tells of scary monster shadows and parent/superheros that vanquish them. I still need to clean and organize my house, but I can learn and apply important lessons in the process. Lots of them, actually.
It all tells a story. It all teaches. The question is what do we need to learn from it?
Look around you. What is telling a story? Dust it off, freshen it up. What is it teaching you?