A Tale For All Seasons

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.

“In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,” the coal-mouse said.

“I sat on the branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow—not heavily, not dramatically — no, just like in a dream, snowing without a sound and without violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – snap, the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the coal-mouse then flew away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one more person’s voice lacking for peace to finally come to the world.”

(Kurt Kauter)

The Maddening Discipline of Learning How to Let Go

Here is a wonderful story told by Richard Bookstaber:

In Southeast Asia, monkey trappers stake a small wooden box to the ground with a hole just large enough for the monkey to slide in its hand. Inside the box is placed a lychee nut. The trappers wait in hiding until a monkey comes by and reaches in for the prized nut. As the trappers emerge from their hiding place, net in hand, the monkey howls and screeches, and tries to pull the nut out of the box and escape. All the monkey has to do to free its hand is let go of the nut, because the hole is too small for the monkey’s hand if it is clenched around it. The monkey, too focused on the reward and ignoring the danger, refuses to give up the prize, while the trappers descend with their nets.

When was the last time you got so carried away with achieving an outcome that you eventually lost sight of what you were actually surrendering in return ? Whether it is a promotion, winning over the competition, looking to maximise return or what have you, the heat of the pursuit can at times make us overlook the actual value of what we fight so hard to get, in relation to how much it actually is costing us to get it. Beyond a certain point, by holding on so frantically to the nut of victory, we may well put ourselves in jeopardy with something else (dignity, reputation, financial risk etc.)