SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Love is not Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


This is Sonnet No.116, and I'm sure you know whose it is! Our own inimitable Shakespeare!
I remember reading this in school when I was in 10th standard. It has forever haunted me with its timeless thought. I never internalized the full meaning of these words back then. (I could not have!)
But now maturity, time and life has taught me how valuable, and meaningful these words are.

The love he talks about here is of course that between a man and a woman, no doubt. But if you take each couplet, you realise how we can apply to any true relationship.
A friend whom we love.
Our children,
Our Parents,
Any meaningful relationship.

Simply said; Love does not alter with time, no matter what hurdles it faces. It is a marriage of "true minds". As we understand and share and care and accept.
A loving relationship is truly a guiding star that steers us towards growth and empowerment. Passing storms may rock the boat but the love within will guide it to safety.
This feeling does not alter with passage of time, nor does it alter as rosy lips and cheeks are replaced with wrinkled brow and crow's feet.

Yet I wish to add another thought here that Shakespeare left out:
"Love alters not with his long spaces and distances"
No matter how far or physically removed we are from our loved ones in day to day life; it alters not the love we feel.

Take a look at your own meaningful relationships and if you can perceive all or some of the above, then rest assured you have loved...
...and Shakespeare is truly the King of words!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puzzling Happiness!

There is no single route to Happiness.
I believe Happiness is a tangible, achievable goal. But that cannot be had by reaching out to a single thing or person.
To me it is a sum total of many aspects of our life. Like a mosaic design we find these individual parts and place them piece by painstaking piece together and build it into the picture we desire.
So that means we need to have the larger picture in mind. If not the exact at least an idea of how we want the end to look. Again as in all things in life we have no template, no pre-formed  model which we can just use to structure our lives on.
Yet there may be some picture, some image that helps us create our own. But again what we create for ourselves is unique and fashioned by the pieces we choose.

So for now, the search for the pieces begins as we live the life we are given.

Sometimes the piece we pick up may not feel right and so that has to be discarded. Sometimes we struggle with a piece believing it to to be the right one and forcing it to fit. This struggle may lead to distortion of the picture, which leads to another manner by which we integrate things in our life, that is to percieve even the distorted piece as right after it has been in the same place for a long time.

Some times the right piece may in front of us but we fail to recognise it, probably until it is too late...too late to complete the picture. Many times we arrive at a piece unexpectedly and happily pick it up rejoicing at this gift and  at other times the gift  we recieve is thrown away as we fail to recognise it as the missing piece.

This constant search for the pieces occur over the course of our life. We sort them out, identify and decide on which pieces we require and which others we dont.

Some are wise to pick up a discarded piece and use it in their picture and some others are wise enough to discard unwanted pieces. As the pieces are not available all at the same time we also need patience and skill to accumulate these pieces.

This picture that we create is actually multi dimensional. Not only are we piecing together our own lives, we have to incorporate the pieces that belong to our spouse and our children as well.
Like the virtual images that we see spinning on an axis. So also we create for ourselves multi dimensional pieces that is our life, that revolves and rotates as we spin a nd spiral on a fulcrum.

Trying to maintain a balance, maintain our positions, we are guided through this game of life by internal and external forces. The beauty of this balance is that if any of these two forces are imbalanced then it can distort our multidimensional jigsaw.
Nothing is required to be picture perfect as long as what we perceive gives us happiness. Fitting or unfitting pieces,  this life is what we make of it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Compassion Unlimited

We meet many people in our lives, some leave their mark and some others don't.


Yesterday I met an interesting lady. I know her  and have spoken to her many times, but it happens that sometimes when yu are so bored to death (in official parties), we tend to get into converstaions to liven it up, and then suddenly a spark is fired and we connect.
This one was that day. Generally chatting, she slowly started talking about her children (what else, do mothers talk about?!), then about her life growing up in a village in rural UP.
She is from a hardcore traditional family and spoke about discrimination and prejudice against the female child, even within an educated family like hers. Not harsh ones, but subtle ones, like"girls dont do this or that", and how that made her resolve to do any thing and everything a man could do, within her abilities.
So she became the first to ride a cycle/ bike in her village. She learnt swimming.....
Mind yu she belongs to the previous generation...

She spoke about many other things, her work with an NGO, and her desire to do something for the girl child, and so her idea to join Politics!
She is just another woman like yu and me, but the lengths and efforts she has invested in these ideas, her enthusiasm is infectious to say the least.  
At present she volunteers at a nearby slum, teaching the children there.

What is unique is she belongs to a community that believes service is giving Money, Old Clothes and Sweets. Here is a person who is making a difference in her own small way, giving the most precious commodity of all...Time...and inspite of little or no appreciation for her efforts, she does it, is doing it with a smile and joy on her face....

Humanity is Wonderful, we fail to recognise and emulate such compassion.

The greatest Gift we can give/teach/leave behind for our children is...Proctive Compassion.
Putting into action what good your mouth says and your mind feels.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Source of strength


Psychology says that every one has a Locus of Control; it is that which drives them, which motivates them towards their goal. 

You can either have an Internal Locus or an External Locus. The internally tuned person looks within themselves to do things, and is motivated/ driven from within, or so the experts say, while the external folks look outward and require some element/aspect from the environment to move/ be driven. Historically, and culturally Indians emphasis that it is best to focus within and be driven from within. Literature/research too leans towards this, as people are encouraged to look for intrinsic motivators.

Yet I believe, things cannot be so easily compartmentalized.

Yes, every one needs to have intrinsic motivators. This part of the self helps oneself detach from the outcome of our act. This part helps us feel happy for ourselves, no doubt, helping us do our life’s requirement without worrying too much about the end result. Helps us enjoy the journey and not just reach the goal.
But still what are we?
We are but Humans interacting with a moving, feeling, pulsating, world of people; objects, emotions, thoughts, events, acts, and consequences.

We need extrinsic motivators…

We need an object or person, who can drive us, who help reach our potential. Denying this is to deny our very existence. Don’t we all have some thing/person that puts that fuel into us?

I call them my Source of Strength.
This Source is our motivator from whom we are able to derive our own motivations and drives. We need not be the same or even similar to that motivator, it is enough if this some one or something energises us and helps us move towards happiness or our goal.

Ultimately are we all not searching for that?

For an external person like me, I am constantly trying to find something in the environment to motivate me. I gain my strength from the people or things that surround me. I need and am fired by people who are positive, proactive and balanced. To look at solutions and not problems, who reflect and share that reflection with me! I admire and am energised by such people.

In this quest, I am constantly sending out feelers, questions and comments to various people, at various times. And when I do connect with someone or something the feeling of elation is quite incomparable.  

May their tribe increase...
There may be more than one...


Keep Looking and you will find yours...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Special School!

                                                    A Tale with a Difference:


                                          A cosy Home away from from Home:



                Teachers, Parents,Students, an environment that always makes one feel blessed






Uthara and I on World Disabled Day, Dec 3rd, that also happens to be my birthday


Took my kids along too and did the story of "The King's Moustache" by Asha Nehmiah (CBT).
It is the funny but endearing tale of a King who is so in love with his "curly&wurly" mustache that he has every object designed in this shape. The Garden bushes, the Horses tail, and even his Royal bed!
Yet there comes a day when his moustache starts drooping, and becomes straight!. Sad and pensive, our King calls many of the helpers around the Palace to curl it up.The cook, the gardener, and the tailor!

Yet only his Rani comes to his rescue, as she tells him the only way to curl it up is to..."Smile..." and she tickles him!!

I love to tell children this story, as it is funny and at the end I can tickle them pink!
I did so to the children at this special school near my house, literally a stone's throw, where I go every Friday to tell a story. Albeit just for an hour or less, and I know that they don't understand much, yet I come away happy that at least I am able to do this. I  abide my time until when I can do this on a larger scale!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An apt tale

At moments like these when we are literally crying for help, a voice, a thought, a story brings some relief...
Here is a comment by Sharadha(no blogger profile), who left this story on my comment form, and I find it so apt to what I am going through at present.
All I can say is Thank You for sharing...

hi sowmya..
reading this post, got reminded of a story i read somewhere ( a story to a storyteller:)-)

its about how a little boy who spilled the milk went on to become a world renowned scientist.

He was then a five-year-old. As he was trying to remove a vessel of milk from
the refrigerator he lost his grip on the vessel and it fell, spilling its contents
all over the kitchen floor - a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture, or punishing him she said, “Robert, what a great and wonderful
mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in
the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?” Indeed, he did.

After a few minutes his mother said, “You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a
towel, or a mop. Which do you prefer?” He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, “You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big vessel of milk with two tiny hands. Let's go out in the backyard and fill the vessel with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.” The little boy learned that if he grasped the vessel by balancing the weight in both the hands than over-burdening
one of the hands, he could carry it without dropping it.

The now renowned scientist, when only five learned that he needn't be afraid of making mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just
opportunities for learning something new, which, after all, is what scientific experiments or life are all about. Even if the experiment 'doesn't work', we usually learn something valuable from it.