Life’s rhythms

By Paulo Coelho

The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis tells how, as a child, he found a cocoon attached to a tree and saw that the butterfly inside the cocoon was just preparing to emerge. He waited for some time, but because the process seemed so long drawn out, he decided to speed things up. He began to warm the cocoon with his breath. However, when the butterfly did finally emerge, its wings were still stuck together, and it died a short time afterwards.
‘What it required was patient ripening by the sun, and I could not wait,’ says Kazantzakis. ‘Even now, that small corpse is one of the greatest weights I have on my conscience. But it taught me what is truly a mortal sin: to force the great laws of the universe. We must be patient and wait for the right moment and gladly follow the rhythm God has chosen for our life.’

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  1. Caby says:

    Dear all,

    I have ever heard this story before..

    I learned from this butterfly story that ‘God gives what we need,not what we want’. God created everything with purposes. Believe me,God always gives best results for us cuz He knows what exactly we need.


  2. Seishin says:

    thank you for just being you :) you sure are one of the greatest gifts in my life :)

  3. Demi Molinos says:

    I’ve already heard of this story before…and apparently, I haven’t forgotten its lesson. :)

    Thanks for sharing it Paulo. :)

  4. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,—)>)
    rhythm for you all…
    shiva naache , naache shiva
    shiva mahadeva,
    chota dumm maroo.
    translates to,
    bo0om – an offering in sound to god
    shiva – one of gods many names
    naache – dances
    mahadeva – great god
    chota – small
    dum – toke
    maroo – to invite god shiva into you

  5. Yajna says:

    Dearest Serene,

    I love this site too :)
    Your butterfly story also depicts, that the most beautiful things in life worth waiting for. Timing is everything. Before it came out the cocoon, it was not ready and would not be so beautiful. After it came out, you forgot about it, and so it died, as you missed the most beautiful creature being born. Also, one can not possess something so beautiful, if you do, and if you want to only keep it yourself, it will never be free, never really flap its wings and fly, and it will end up dead inside.
    Experimentation and mistakes are how we learn about life’s lessons. As human beings we are all naturally curious. With regard to an earthworm- just remember, inflicting pain on anything, intentionally, is not the way to satisfy yourself. (its clear you learnt alot, and we all have done it as children but i’m using this as a metaphor.)Even though the earthworm may be able to grow back again, it will never be the same- being full of scar tissue, and there was no real need for it to having to go through that in the first place. You can apply that lesson is many situations in this world today. Many people inflict pain on others just because they can, just because it makes themselves feel better, but they don’t realise what they are doing to that person. Like in cases of child abuse.

    thanks for stories.
    Life’s the best teacher..

  6. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    This is a beautiful story, it depicts how everything in life should happen in its own time. Exactly when its supposed to. I just thought i’d tell you, that its simply said- but incredibly meaningful.

    Thank you for being

  7. Serene says:

    I forgot to say thank you.

    Thank you Paulo & everyone.

  8. Serene says:

    Hi there everyone! Have I mentioned how WONDERFUL this site is?!! :D

    Everyone is so crazily forthcoming! Today’s story is one of my favorites… Actually I have a couple not-so-similar stories.

    Once I found several cocoons too, on a mango/payaya tree, i put them in a jar (with poked holes), to watch them transform into butterflies. I was hoping for butterflies rather than moths that time. But I forgot all about it until one day it was too late and the butterflies died in the jar. It was horrifying…- but that taught me to be careful with the things God grants us.

    Another time, I was in the garden, my sister tells me we could cut an earthworm in half and it’ll still live. So I cut one and she cut one and I forgot what happened to hers, but mine bled A LOT, and after awhile it stopped moving and it was terrible. That taught me that if we are to do an experiment, just do it on one, that is better than trying it on everyone at once lest we are wrong about knowledge and, instead of getting two from one, we get none.

    A great philosophy/cure-all as per Johnny Cash, says “Get a rhythm, when you get the blues”!

  9. admin says:

    Dear Marjo,

    of course you can reproduce the tales on your blog as long as you mention the author.
    Thank you so much for everything


  10. Marmara says:

    Um grande poeta escreveu:
    “Para ser Grande, síª inteiro:
    nada teu exagera ou exclui, síª todo em cada coisa.
    Píµe quanto és
    no minimo que fazes
    Assim como em cada lago
    a Lua toda brilha,
    Porque alta vive.”
    Ricardo Reis
    Acho que diz tudo, ní£o diz?

  11. Marjo says:

    I have always tried to savor the beauty of life through patience. Everytime I speed things up or stride the shortcut, I always end up losing my grip to how beautiful the world is. As a counselor and Sped teacher, I have learned to be patient. And I have appreciated each task with the virtue. But sometimes, the world’s pressures crumble them up. Thanks for today’s message, reminding me how beautiful the world could be with patience. Hope you don’t mind my copying again today’s message on my blogsites. and

  12. Kishen Raj says:

    The story teachs us Patience, not to rush.Knowing that there is season and reason for everything. No Hurry

    love kishen

  13. asha says:

    thank you for the wonderful story,i will be patient and wait for his arrival.
    love asha

  14. There is always a right time for everything and all it takes is God’s will. And those who wait patiently will be rewarded…

    Such a great story of values and wisdom.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Cristina says:



  16. dancing bird says:

    ..Thats a very beautifull story, and what a beautifull teaching Nikos recieved from nature.
    It`s telling us how to observe the nature, because nature itself, can teach us so many things without saying.Simple situations, in wich are really profound, for us to gain wisdom from, and to use in other perspectives in life..

    Wishing love and mental peace..

  17. Wendy Espinoza says:

    Patients is a virtue!!! i feel that it is almost impossible for me not to accelarate the rythm of my life. when i want something i want it “now” i am alwas runing becasue time is precious! people have told me ” slow down” life is to long to complicate yourself. and my responce is alway the same ” i know life is long perhaps too long it is infinite. but who can garantee me that i am going to live long? who knows maybe i only have a few hours left. how many mistakes i’ve done in the past for the lack of patiens? many!! i guess i just need to control myself and start bieng patient

  18. Sun says:

    what if you can all share?

  19. clex says:

    Gracias por este relato. Tienes mucha razón.


  20. Kathleen says:

    I can’t believe how many beautiful and moving stories you have to tell. This is the only site I return to all the time, its guaranteed to make me feel good or just to think.

    Thankyou, with love – Kathleen xx