Great StoryTelling Network Newsletter
Volume 13, Issue 3 – 8 March 2017
How To Tell A Great Story |
Clickbank Link
Columnists’ Books|
Aneeta Sundararaj|
Ladoo Dog|
Website Makeover|
My Cholesterol Journey in Malaysia|
Eric Okeke|
Corruption, Stop it!|

Rohi Shetty|
200 Humorous Tweetable Quotations |
Vaidya C.D. Siby | Knowledge of Life: Tales of an Ayurvedic Practitioner in Malaysia |

I am delighted to report that ‘Knowledge of Life: Tales of an Ayurveda Practitioner’ was launched with much success on Saturday. It was launched by H.E. Shri T S Tirumurti, the High Commissioner of India to Malaysia. I will try to get some photos of this event and share them with you in the next newsletter.

With that in mind, this edition of the newsletter has a more ‘eastern’ feel to it. I’ve shared a resource that seems to be a complete programme on Ayurveda and yoga. There’s a story about Vipassana meditation by Rohi, an experience at a spiritual retreat by me and another about how Ayurveda helped a girl with thyroid disorder.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading them all and please share your stories with us.

Happy storytelling.
Aneeta Sundararaj

KNOWLEDGE OF LIFE: Premita: Thyroid Disorders

“Having a systemic auto-immune disease is like riding a wave of pain, nausea, emotion and physical limitations. It drains you entirely. You’re instantly being pushed to your breaking point and it never ends.”
Stacey Rudisill

Hormonal changes in the body happen all the time. For a healthy person, the most intense times these changes happen is during puberty and when a woman is menopausal. In some people these changes can occur at other times in their lives because of their lifestyle choices or because of the unhealthy stress levels. In cases involving the thyroid gland, the two main disorders are hypothyroidism (due to a poorly functioning thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (caused by an overactive thyroid gland). I am about to introduce you to Premita, who, through no fault of her own, took a long time to understand her problem.
“Dr Siby,” she said, after telling me her name.

I smiled and said, “It’s OK. What can I do to help you?”

“Well, it all started five years ago. I started to put on weight. It’s unexplained weight gain, Dr. Siby. I would eat salad and still put on weight. I’ve tried every diet possible. Nothing works.”

I put my hand on hers to calm her down.

“It’s OK,” I said. She looked at me and nodded. … “Did you take any medication?”

Premita exhaled before placing a stack of lab reports on my table. “Yes. I did. I went to see an endocrinologist last year. He made me take a full blood test and a glucose test.” She put her hand on her chest and said, “Thank God I’m not pre-diabetic. But I’m on Levothyroxine. 100 micrograms a day.”


Pulling out another report, she pointed to the Free T3, Free T4 and TSH levels and said, “They’re OK now. All back to normal. T4 at 1.93 uiu/ml and Free T4 at 17.9 pmol/l.” She paused, scratched the side of her head and said, “But …”

“But, what?”

“The thing is, because I still wasn’t getting my period, the doctor decided to put me on the contraceptive pill. I hated it Dr. Siby.” … Then, she said something that absolutely horrified me: “The doctor thinks that by 40, I should start taking statins. As a preventive measure.”

I frowned. “Prevention? I don’t understand. I mean, don’t you think that when you say prevention, it’s better not to create the condition that allows the disease to manifest? Isn’t this better than introducing a drug to prevent the disease from manifesting?”…

To read more please click here.

STILLNESS AND FLOW: Seven Benefits of a Vipassana Meditation Course by Dr. Rohi Shetty

Modern life can be extremely stressful. The strain of dealing with multiple conflicting demands at work and home can be overwhelming. Each person copes with this stress differently. Some choose distractions such as TV and video games or self-destructive ways such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Others may need counseling or psychiatric therapy. However, more and more people are turning to meditation as an effective way of dealing with stress.

In response to this growing demand, a wide range of meditation courses are being offered worldwide. However, many people still feel uneasy about meditation and associate it with mysticism and esoteric cults. Among the various meditation techniques, Vipassana meditation is relatively unknown because it is taught in ten-day residential courses and is not actively publicized.

Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique of India, which was discovered and taught by the Buddha. Its present teacher, S. N. Goenka, learned it in Burma (Myanmar). After his return to India in 1969, he started teaching Vipassana to his family, friends and acquaintances until his death in September 2013. Now Vipassana courses are conducted in hundreds of meditation centers throughout the world by his assistants.

Vipassana has seven features that distinguish it from other meditation courses:

No Fees are Charged for the Course
Vipassana is taught in ten-day residential courses but no fees are charged for the course. All expenses are sponsored by those who have already completed one or more Vipassana courses. At the end of the course, participants may give a donation to support future courses. One significant benefit of this policy is that you can do the course with a feeling of humility and gratitude.

To read more please click here.

STORY ASIA: Lost and Found – A Spiritual Retreat by Aneeta Sundararaj

[Author’s note: This piece was written for 7C Life Realization Centre after I attended a 2-day Retreat there. The ‘Swamiji’ here is His Holiness Swami Guru Sri Kriyathasa Sekar, founder of 7C Life Realization Centre.]

On 17 October last year, my father passed away. Prior to this, Swamiji and his team were kindness personified and His words gave me courage to make some of the hardest decisions ever. Because these were the right decisions, I couldn’t cry after Daddy’s death. Instead, I wrote a story which was published in the New Straits Times. …

During my consultation with Swamiji in November, He assured me that Amma had received Daddy. He also said that I’d inherited Daddy’s strong belief in Amma. I heard the words, but they didn’t register in my psyche. Instead, I felt I was alone in a semi-dark cave. My arms were outstretched as I surrendered my father’s body, heart and soul to Amma. Now that She’d accepted Daddy, there was an opaque veil between us. She was there, I knew, but I no longer had access to Her. My arms were empty and I was left to wander around lost.

Meanwhile, life carried on and I felt increasingly disconnected to the world. The more people (Swamiji included) said, “You’re not alone,” the lonelier I felt. The more they said, “Pray,” the more I raged. By 7 January 2017, I stopped praying altogether. Five weeks into the New Year, when a dear friend emphatically beseeched me to forgive the Divine and pray, I thought to relent. Yet, when I drove to the temple, I couldn’t park the car, let alone go inside. I drove away; the burden of being forsaken by the Divine was too much to bear.

I hated the feeling of being inadvertently placed in difficult situations to assess my response. … I then begged Swamiji to intercede with the Divine and allow me to live rather than exist. He told me point blank to give God the space to manifest the right life without interference. He also said that every prayer and thought is attended to. I wasn’t comforted, but frustrated. This was my frame of mind by the time I arrived at the retreat.

… I wanted to use the four chakra meditation sessions on Day1 (Manipura, Visudhi, Swadisthana and Anja) to prepare for the Inner Journey session the next day.

To read more, please click here.


Half the Sky by Valentine Perera

Description: The little island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) gave the world its first democratically elected female Prime Minister. Told in the voices of a largely female ensemble cast, Half the Sky is a fictionalised version of what followed that remarkable achievement. The novel shows, in a light-hearted, yet complex way, how women are just as clever and as capable as men but are still unfairly discriminated in all walks of life. The female narrators describe explicitly how their approach and attitude to sex is quite different too.


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