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Starfish and the Dancer

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a person moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance on this morning. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out.

“Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But, young man, there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference to that one.”

This story is one that I often like to share in class. It’s a beautiful little reminder that no act of kindness is ever too small. You never truly know how one kind word or kind deed might make a difference for someone else. Even more impactful is how that one simple kindness has the ability to increase and spread the energy of loving-kindness throughout the world. In the words of Mother Teresa, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only small things with great love.”

(Reference: Soul to Soul by John Mundahl)

Shared by Jenn Cheatle. Jenn is a beloved teacher at The Space. You can experience her kind and loving nature in Healing Flow, Healing Hatha, Healing Yin and Private Yoga.

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