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.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Humour - Wisdom of the Mullah - Persian/ Middle East/ Turkey

Finding Humour in life situations is a skill for the 21st century!! If we can learn this one skill then I feel we have learnt the most effective coping mechanism that will help us handle all the arrows aimed at us by Maya the seducer - illusionist! Humour helps us see others and ourselves through a lens of tolerance and acceptance. It includes and helps us gain long as we don't get carried away by our own sense of humour!
Here goes:
Once there was a mullah, a wise teacher, named Nasreddin Hodja. Everyone, from beggars to kings, sought the mullah's teachings, for people said he was the wisest man among wise men.
One summer day Nasreddin was wandering through the great covered bazaar of Isfahan. This was one of Nasreddin's favorite activities, for everywhere he saw people he knew. Some had just returned from long journeys, others were selling wares. It was a friendly and inviting place.
As he walked along he happened upon a group of men arguing. Even from a distance, Nasreddin could hear their raised voices, words flying this way and that, and naturally he was curious to know what could cause an argument on such a beautiful day. "Salaam," he greeted the men, sticking his head into their circle.
"Salaam," they replied, but they could not stop their arguing, and the mullah saw that they were passing something around the circle.
"What is it?" the mullah asked.
"I say this is a jewel," one man said.
"No, no, it is a sign from the enemy," shouted another.
"Not at all," the mule driver cried, "it must be a gift from Allah."
Nasreddin peered closely at the object as the mule driver explained: "I was riding across the desert, and it caught my eye. I carried it here to show the wise men, but no one knows what it is."
"Perhaps you can tell us," one of the men said to Nasreddin.
"Here, take it," the others said. "Tell us what it is."
Nasreddin took the object in his hand and studied it closely. It was a tiny box of metal and glass, a box like any other box. But inside there were letters indicating four directions, and in the center of those a tiny needle shivered when he shook the box.
"See," said the mule driver, "that needle quivers when you shake it, but no matter how much you try to move it, it always returns to point north."
The mullah turned the box over. He lifted it into the air. He turned it again. He shook it with one hand, then with two. But each time he looked inside, that quivering needle was pointing north -- toward the northern end of the Grand Bazaar, toward the distant mountains.
The mullah began to stroke his beard. This is what he did when he was deep in thought. He was silent for a long time, wondering at the mystical turn of that needle.
By now many others had begun to gather around. "What is it? Does the mullah know the answer? How can a needle always know which way is north?" Everyone was asking questions; many trusted that the mullah would know.
Then, suddenly, the mullah began to cry; great gushing tears flowed from his deep brown eyes. Everyone gasped, but just as the mule driver was about to step forward to offer solace, the mullah burst out laughing. "What's going on?" someone asked, but again the mullah burst into tears.
"Can I help?" another offered, but before he could finish his sentence the mullah had again begun to cry, and then laugh, and then cry.
The others shook their heads. They could not imagine how someone could laugh and cry at the same time; it was almost as mysterious as the needle, but the mullah continued, laughing with all his heart, then crying just as hard; laughing and crying and laughing.
"Why are you crying?" some asked.
"Why are you laughing?" others queried.
"It is impossible to cry and laugh at the same time," another said.
Word spread through the city of this extraordinary event, and even more people gathered. Women, drawing veils over their faces, ran to the bazaar; young children begged their teachers to end the school day so they could go and witness the spectacle of Nasreddin crying and laughing. Finally a young boy, feeling sorry for the great mullah, called out: "Please, someone help the mullah!"
When Nasreddin heard the child's words, he suddenly stopped laughing and crying. He grew very quiet, and so did all those gathered around.
"Let me explain," he said softly.
The people leaned in close to listen.
"I cry," the mullah said, "because not one of you among this enormous crowd is wise enough to know what this box is. It is such a tiny box, such an insignificant needle, and yet it has more wisdom than all of you, for it knows what it is. I cry because I am ashamed of your ignorance. Is it any wonder that such stupidity would make me cry?"
The people bowed their heads. Even the children felt ashamed, for they had hoped their elders were wise; now they understood they were not.
But one of the men who knew the mullah well began to smile. "But mullah," he said, "tell us why you were laughing at the same time as you were crying."
The mullah looked at each person in turn, one after another, and a smile crept across his face. Once more he began to laugh, and so the people stared harder -- to the confusion and amazement of his audience.
"I laugh because I do not know what this box is either," he said. "I laugh because even the wisest among us still finds he is a fool in this world."
Soon all the people were crying and laughing, dazzled by the profound wisdom of their great teacher and by the mysteries of the world.

The tale can be found here:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A modern day original Fable

A healing fable

Turtle was in love with Rabbit.
Her family was shocked. This is unheard of; we cannot allow such foolishness to prevail, they said. How can a turtle love a rabbit so?

Yet, she left the water to be with him. She bid farewell to her mother and father, sister and brother and crawled onto the land. Somewhere in her soft heart underneath that hard shell she wore, she felt great love for rabbit, the Prince of Shore.

She had seen him run and adored his pace. The way he combed his hair, took her breathe away. She had seen him feast on carrots and cabbage and felt she shared the same passion. 
Made for each other she felt, so they married.

Rabbit insisted on moving fast. He was always in a hurry. He darted in and out of holes and chewed his food rapidly, while looking at turtle with eyes impatiently.
“Move faster” he would shout back angrily.
“Wait for me” she would yell.

He ran ahead and she plodded behind on feet that now had cuts and scratches with much of land and not much of water.
“Wait for me” she said again, but he was fast asleep under the Apple tree.
She reached the Tree, to look at him and sighed and thought to herself - How different we are, how wrong I was, perhaps it’s time for me to go.
She plodded on and left him behind. She moved on to the bright waters of her life of old.

Rabbit woke up to find her gone. Search he never did. For he knew what was gone was gone and letting go was the best he could.

Who won, who lost we may not be sure. But for sure Turtle was happier than before.


The seeds of this fable were sown a long time ago, in that limbo period of desolation and abundance. Yesterday I completed it. It has the roots of a healing fable and is dedicated to all those who think they make choices that are irreversible. 
If you are moving towards Peace, then That is the right choice.

A healing fable dedicated to the seperators and their loved ones.