We are storytelling animals.
The holidays often are celebrated with some of our favorite personal stories. These stories are filled with magic! The rituals in our lives growing up inform how we create happiness in our lives today.
When you think about it, much of our attitude about what joy looks like and feels like was learned around the holidays. Our memories of the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day color the way we live our lives the rest of the year.
You may not remember every birthday, but somehow our capacity to recall the details of holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah are strongly imprinted. It’s as if holiday stories are etched in stone.
Storytelling is universal. Once we recognize the power of our story, we begin to approach everything more mindfully, even our physical asana practice. It changes our perspective. “We can never do merely one thing,” says ecologist Garrett Hardin. Everything is interconnected. Nowhere is this truer than with story. Every narrative has consequences, even if told only to ourselves. Your words are powerful—as is the way you use them to describe your life.
Mindful storytelling means being able to revisit old habitual ways of seeing our past and our “stories” with the wisdom of self-compassion and undefended truth. We do with this with our past stories and we do this with all the stories we create going forward. It means we are always “upgrading” our stories with our most recent new wisdom and are willing to download higher truths. Conscious evolution means aligning with our calling, our potential, and taking on the “author”-ity of our life story.
Adhikara, meaning “authority” in Sanskrit, it is an essential deepening of your practice off the mat. An adhikari is a person who can accept responsibility and apply this knowledge to co-create their happiest life. In its application it means giving yourself the lead role in your own life story. Too often we live in a disempowered way, as if life is being done to us instead of for us. We act as if we are cast as the understudy.
From this place of authority, “the empowered storyteller,” we are able to tell the stories that connect us, inspire us, and feed the deeper hunger of the collective. It doesn’t mean your story is about always being perfect or behaving well—it means that you are willing to share your humanity, your mistakes, and your courage—your failures and your hard-earned wisdom.
Try this storytelling writing exercise to explore your life:
- Take five minutes to write a list of defining moments in your life. Think of these as pivotal stories.
- Choose one story from your list that you tend to tell others or often think about as a defining moment. Choose one that you are willing to visit today, that you feel safe and steady enough about to enter peacefully. It doesn’t have to be the hardest or most painful story, but if you’re interested to explore one that is, that is fine too. Now, hold that story in your heart and begin writing for five to 10 minutes without stopping.
- Put down your writing and appreciate your courage to show up to your life with self-authorship. Allow this writing to flow into your yoga experience and integrate fully into the present moment. How? Practice a few yoga poses that are the most safe to you, those you feel most confident about. Try this for 10–15 minutes.
Your yoga practice can quickly help you access your soul’s wisdom. It reinforces the authority you have to define your life and see new stories and new possibilities. We can basically use the poses to unpack our story.
Love yourself, love your day, and love your life!
Silvia Mordini is a writer and happiness coach. For 20 years her expert passion has inspired people to connect to their joyful potential. Born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage, Silvia developed a sense of global citizenship early on. In young adulthood she was ran over by a car—a life-changing accident that led her to discover the “alchemy” of yoga to heal and transform. A serial “yogapreneur,” Silvia has owned two yoga studios, founded international Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School, and Alchemy Tours where she guides retreats worldwide. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.