Tolstoy wrote, “This is the entire essence of life: Who are you? What are you?”
While researching for a recent Toastmasters project, I came across this children’s book about a young Blue Songbird in search of a song. A song that she could call her own. And of course my mind went to several metaphors that this story could stand for… But first the story…(paraphrasing version of the story)
The Blue Songbird by Vern Kousky is about a little songbird who wakes up every morning to hear beautiful songs from her sisters. She tries to join in but can’t seem to find the right notes.
Her mother encourages her that she needs to find a song that is hers and hers alone. She must have the courage to leave the comforts of home and seek one out.
So for the first time the songbird leaves home and flies across vast areas of lush green lands and open blue oceans to find her song.
Along the way she spots a funny looking long necked bird. She stops and asks the Crane for some help in locating a song for her. The Crane, not being able to answer, points her towards the far distant mountains. There the songbird will find the home of the ‘wisest bird’, WHOOOH might know.
So the Blue Songbird heads towards the mountains, soaring over the peaks and finds the wise old owl deep among the dark green forest trees. But even the wisest of birds did not have an answer and so the songbird once again took flight to the skies and to unknown in search of her song.
Through many strange places, the young bird continues her quest and asks every bird she comes in contact with along the way ‘if they had a song for her’. Finding none, she continues.
Now she has crossed over snow-capped mountains, down through valleys and desert plains until she finally comes across a very cleaver black crow, who at first sight looked like it was very hungry and might want to eat this young bird. However, the crow turns out to be very friendly and although didn’t have a song for the bird, did offer that he might know where she could go to get one.
To find her song she must fly as far west as she can until she comes across the golden island.
And she does…’across the sea, past lighthouses and storm clouds, against mighty winds, until she sees the warm glow of an island “like a jewel on the horizon,” beautiful music flowing from it.’
As she got closer her heart started to sink when she realizes that she is back where she started – home.
Feeling disappointed and probably embarrassed, she finds her mother and as Blue Songbird opens her beak to explain, a beautiful, sweet special song comes out. And the songbird continued singing of the wonderful journey and the adventures of meeting the crane, the owl and the scary crow.
This was her song to sing, her special song now.
As a paramedic I came across many individuals that were pursuing their song and for whatever reason got lost. I learned early in my career that everyone one of them had a story (song), but few would listen.
When they given a chance to share, there was a transformation that would take place. They became some-body again, even if it was for a brief moment.
I also learned through Toastmasters, that even thou someone has a story, it’s sits inside, just waiting to burst out. There, through training and practice, they find their voice and begin to share their special song.
Through the coaching of others, I learned that there are others who are still looking for their special song. With guidance, courage and an awareness and willingness for change, have started to hear their song.
Helen Keller sums it up, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trail and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Have a comment? Did the story of the Blue Songbird have any meaning for you?
Please make a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Rick Ruppenthal is a professional Life Coach and Photographer. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor to many. Through those experiences , understanding and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery and adventure.