SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Thursday, September 27, 2018

"The Most Incredible thing of All" - Hans Christian Anderson

                                                                                                     (image courtesy You Tube)

While searching for an appropriate story to tell at a corporate event, I came across this story;
"The Most Incredible Thing of all" by Hans Christian Anderson.
Read it here:

and watch it here by Diane Wolkstein:

The story talks about the most incredible thing that a man (woman) can do and that is:
to find joy in another's achievement without envy or jealousy!

Simple, yet such a powerful tale that made me sit up and observe myself.
Can this be a healing story -  it is.
Every time I am faced with jealousy and envy; I tell myself the most incredible thing of all is to practice true joy at another's success.
I enjoyed telling this story and it is still growing on me!

Can humans live without jealousy and envy of the other? A very difficult task, in fact one of the most difficult achievements if I may say so.
Should one not have any envy or jealousy? Any emotion is not wrong , but if it makes us act in a manner as that Thug did, by breaking down and destroying what was created by another, then that calls for serious thought.
Envy and jealousy that one feels can be sublimated or channeled. We can add to our skills, or practice more. Even work upon our own self esteem and not spend that negative energy to pull down another.
Human beings are wired to be competitive for that is a natural survival mechanism, but evolution has also shown us that cooperation can take us furthur and faster than we can imagine.
Not an easy task as the western world is a highly individualistic culture, while our eastern society has always emphasized collectivism and group benefit.
People in the modern society struggle to find a place for themselves in the world, they are constantly striving to stand out as individuals and speak of individual achievements, but in the long run those who are remembered and find true happiness are the ones who work to improve other's life and not just their own.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Villipaatu - Creation Story and more

Oh I how I wish I could translate this word for word!
Shri Subbu Arumugam is proponent of the storytelling art form Tamilnadu called VILLU-PAATU which means Bow-Song ( Song from the Bow)
Here he shares the Creation Story of the Art form:
A Raja went into the forest and killed animals for evening he regretted his act, so he asked his Minister how he could was his sin away. His minister suggested that the Raja should sing!!
So the Bow that was the symbol of violence was turned into a musical instrument by the creative Raja, and then turned the pot upside and place the Bow on it and started singing.
The first note he uttered went like this : THANDANA THOM - which means I give myself to my art. So sing, play music, tell stories for the sake of the art itself...and not for the appreciation you could or want to get! Give Your Self to your Art , Give Yourself, Give : Thandanan Thom , Thandanana Thom!
Does nature expect to be appreciated - it just is - the beautiful waterfall , flowers and trees - watch them and be that way!
Now the Raja also had people around him and he asked them not stay silent but to say AMMAM at every stage.
"Ammam" is "YES...and"
Start by agreeing, and then everything will follow you.
Say Yes first, Say Yes!
( While doing Improv Theatre this is the first instruction we are given! Say Yes...and then add to the story.
Say Yes...accept and then adapt or change the story)

Start your story with Thandana Thom!
End it with a VAZHTHU ( Praise to all the world - express gratitude)

The entire Story telling is done with Music, Narrative, Jokes, anecdotes from personal life, interaction and participation from others around the main Storytellers.
Those who support the storyteller can even correct him at times, or remind him of something he may have forgotten.
Words are played around, feelings are provoked. Yet the storytellers has an unbiased version and provides different perspectives through his telling.
There is a script and there is a lot that happens on the spot.


The true Essence of storytelling!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

"To be recognised as Falcon" - Communicating with our Storied Souls!

Mullah Nasiruddin had never seen a falcon before and spotting it on the window sill, he caught the bird and cut its talons, clipped its beak and trimmed its feathers. "You poor thing, how did you get into such a bad shape" he sympathised, "Now you look better."

(from a collection of Hodja Tales by Idries Shah)

All of us have to clip our feathers, trim our beaks and cut our fit into a framework that exists in another person's view or in the view of society. Lucky are those who are able to remain a falcon and fly the sky and be recognised as one.

I have spent the last 10 years reattaching my feathers, beak and talons. To be the person I always thought I was and thought I wanted to be. Still I find a few feathers are missing and the beak may be more crooked than it used to be, but that moment of recognition when you realise you can regrow your talons, feathers and beak is priceless...

I know I clipped my sense of fun and boxed myself into what was expected of me. I trimmed my wings to soar a little lower, for I was and am still fearful of soaring high and perhaps disappearing away from those who I have chosen and know.

What did you clip?
What did you trim?
What did you cut?

Write to me at if you have a story to tell that resonates with this wisdom tale.
Going forward I will be sharing one story ( or more) every week that resonates with me and my innermost desire to BEcome. Share your thoughts, images, memories and let us embark into a space of shared storytelling.