When you work in a spa or service setting you are bound to hear stories. You will hear stories from your team mates, your delivery people, your shop neighbors, and of course, your clients.
It’s always an honor to hear stories because that means the person has taken the time to bless you with their experience from a unique view and also because when a story comes from the heart, it means that they trust and value you as a person worthy to share with. The storyteller wants to share that joy, frustration, happiness, whatever the emotion with you, the trusted listener.
Stories are repeated for many reasons, but mostly because the storyteller’s experience invoked an emotional excitement that brought forth a sense of sharing to recreate,inspire and convince that the story event was anything less than important (and hopefully fantastic).
Why am I telling you this? Because no matter what your job or place in life, you too are a storyteller and a listener. Sometimes you’re both at the same time as you retell a story of another and share the good (or bad) experience in hopes of gaining the fulfillment of passing on news.
Our spa is full of stories. Most stories are stories of long hours at work or home with kids, the stresses of miscommunication with others, the hardship of caring for others, and the running of the rat race of life that we are all involved in. In the “spa moment” these storytellers finally have an hour to focus on their bodies and “listen” to what their bodies are telling them and it’s usually, “Hey! Slow down a minute and let me digest everything!” The story finally flows either with an honest to goodness verbal recreation or it is comes in the form of a “silent” story — when the body relaxes, there’s a deep sigh, and the muscles start melting. Either way, stories heal both the teller and the listener.
This week our town had a new story (well kind of new — it was a repeat of 2013). We had multiple tornadoes touchdown in our community, destroying hundreds of homes and causing thousands and thousands of dollars of destruction (again). This event created stories so varied and heartfelt, it was impossible to not be touched in some way, whether the story was one of sadness and despair or one of grateful survival and heroism.
We have been privy to hear countless tornado stories since August 24, 2016. However, my favorite has been this spa story:
Yesterday a client came in for a spa pedicure that she had scheduled prior to the storms. She was tired, in fact, exhausted, and just wanted to relax for a bit from the craziness that the winds had brought into her normally calm life. This client retold her story to everyone in the nail room of how the tornado ripped into her home and those surrounding it. While everyone involved was safe, much was lost and the long cleanup seemed daunting. As the details were told, the nail technicians and other guests shared words of encouragement.
I, unfortunately, didn’t get to hear this tornado story firsthand, but I did get to hear the followup story. After hearing the pedicure guest’s story, another lady in the nail room sat thoughtfully throughout the rest of her own nail service. She eventually returned to the front desk to pay and then proceeded to pay for the storyteller's nail service as well! The heart of this community never ceases to amaze me. Pay It Forward stories are always some of the best.
So there it is, my story about stories. Pay attention today and listen to the storytellers around you. We all are writing some pretty amazing novels that some will never “read.” I just hope our little spa remains a place to come and share (and listen) to stories for a long time.