The blue blue parrot

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Once upon a time there lived a parrot somewhere in Africa. It was a blue parrot what made him pretty rare as such. Not only did he have a rare colour, he also was a parrot that was always cold.

Although the sun was shining ferociously, the blue parrot shivered from beak to tail and constantly complained to his friends about the fact that he felt so cold. In particular his girl friend, a gorgeous red’n’yellow parrot. “South” he always said, “south. I heard that birds from the north fly south to avoid the cold winter.”

One day his girl friend was so fed up with the complaining and told him to go south! And so the blue parrot did. He packed a few things and took off. “South” he said, “it is there I will find warmth.”

So the parrot flew and flew. Through storms and rain, but persistent to find warmth, until one day he was to tired to fly and landed. As soon as he touched the ground, he realized it wasn’t something he had felt before. Hard, white and cold! Very cold. He looked around and saw a strange looking, big black bird.

“Hello” the Emperor Penguin said, “could you spare a minute watching my egg? I have to go for a little pee, you see?” “Of course” said the blue parrot and set on the egg, while he watched the penguin wiggle away.

When the penguin came back, the parrot asked, “Why aren’t you flying?”
“Well” the penguin said, “I can’t. Although I am technically a bird, I don’t have wings to fly, that’s why I walk.”
“Oh” the blue parrot said, “but when you can’t fly, why are you black as coal, with a white belly and a golden scarf? A predator can see you from miles away!”
“Interesting observation”, the penguin replied, “but you see, we’re with thousands and we want to be seen as one black mass, so a predator is scared and hasn’t got nerve to attack.”

After the blue parrot the penguin shared some stories and food, the parrot found out he was on Antarctica. He stayed a while and became good friends with the Emperor Penguin, but at one point he decided to move on, further south, to find warmth, at least that was what he thought.

His next encounter, after a long flight, was an even stranger one; a huge black and white bear that called himself Panda. After observing the panda for a day, he asked “Why are sitting all day, just eating?”
“Well”, the panda said, my diet consists almost entirely of leaves, stems and shoots of various bamboo species. And I need around 25 kilos of the stuff a day. There’s hardly any nutrition in there, so not much else to do then eat. I know, it’s a bad habit.”

After the blue parrot the panda shared some stories and food, the parrot found out he was in China. He stayed a while and became good friends, but at one point decided to move on, further south, to find warmth, at least that was what he thought.

He flew on and on until he saw White Shiny Mountains in the distance. When he landed, a completely white bear, which friendly asked what a bleu bird like himself was doing on the North Pole, accompanied him. “North Pole?” the bleu parrot said in a slight panic? But I have flown South all the time, how is this possible?” The Polar Bear didn’t know either.

“So, why are you so white?” the parrot asked, “nobody will see you, isn’t that dangerous?” “On the contrary” the white bear said, “it helps me to move closer to something I can eat, without being noticed. But don’t worry, I won’t eat you. You don’t look appetizing in blue and besides, I’m about to go into hibernation.”

“Hibernation? What’s that?” The bird replied. “Oh, it is e deep sleep for a few months.”, the bear said.
“A few months of sleeping? How boring is that!”, the bleu parrot reacted shocked, “No hanging out, no fooling around, just sleep for a couple of months! I couldn’t survive that”

The bear smiled and said “It actually is the way to survive. The coming months will be very cold and not a lot to eat, so the best way to survive is a good deep nap. A nap where the best dreams accompany me. It isn’t a bad way to pass time, let me assure you.” But the bird already had taken of the second he heard the words ‘very cold’. South. Once again! Looking for warmth.

After another long flight, the parrot touched ground to have something to eat. Suddenly the parrot saw a blurry grey spot moving his way. “Hello old chap” a small beak in the grey/white fur said, “what brings you to London?”
“London?” the bird said, “and what might you be?”
“I am an Old English Sheep dog, although not that old. Must say, very odd to see a bleu bird like you in the park walking around. Normally I see them birdy’s in a cage.”
“In a cage?” the bird replied, “that’s be awful! Nowhere to go, no way to fly, that’s not a life for a bird, that is inhuman!” The dog agreed, or at least the fury cloud with 2 eyes went up ad down.

After the blue parrot and the Old English Sheep dog shared some stories and food, the parrot a good friends with the dog, but at one point decided to move on, further south, to find warmth.

Again he took off, taking the sky, and this time, after a few weeks, the bleu parrot sensed the air was getting warmer. Also, the odour of the air changed. It evoked old memories. Memories of his girlfriend, the gorgeous red’n’yellow parrot.

Suddenly the blue parrot was caught in mid-air. Literally, as in all his musings, he flew into a tree. With much drama the blue parrot fell down and when he opened his eyes, he saw only colours.
“Have you found warmth?” a familiar voice said and when his eyes focused he recognized his red’n’yellow girlfriend!

“Funny you ask”, he said. “I met a lot of interesting creatures, heard a lot of intriguing stories and been to a lot of interesting places while going South. Strangely I am her now, right where I started and to answer your question: I never thought about feeling cold, so finding warmth somehow is not on my mind anymore. To be honest, I am glad to see you again.”

The red’n’yellow parrot looked at the bleu parrot and put her wings around him and said: “Perhaps you should focus on being warm instead of feeling cold.”

Then she smiled and said: “Oh, by the way, I have a little surprise for you”
“Daddy!” four multicolored parrots said.

The blue blue parrot is part of the World of Beast

Possessed

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My original idea was that this story was about stuff.
Whether you possess your stuff or your stuff possesses you. And that the latter is true in many cases and that stuff seems to be determining who we want to be, why we loose track of being ourselves.

The image in the end I had, was this little over weight guy on the beach, trying to compensate his lack of stuff with a hipster Speedo that’s too tight or an over sized swim short and an over-sized watch.

But something changed my mind and made me realize this story is not about stuff, but about time and thought.

Time
Do you possess time or does time possess you?
Are you feeling relaxed and in control or do you feel a lingering anxiety. Always the sense you don’t have enough time and at the end of the realize you haven’t actually done, the things you wanted to do?

Well, then it is time to create time. It sounds impossible, but in fact it is not. Saving time is about braking old routines and creating new ones.

How many times do you check your phone, emails, facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. How many times are you distracted from the task at hands? How many times your thoughts are wondering of? It is all resulting in a very inefficient use of time, so let’s fix that first.

How? Become more conscious of what you do and how you do it. Just control the impulse of distraction every two times out of 3 and you will see you save time. Get up one hour earlier and consciously plan what you want to do with this extra time (make it useful). Stop procrastinating and grab the bull by the horns by doing things immediately. Create a structure in how to approach ‘things’. You will see. You’ll be creating time, you didn’t know you had.

Thought
Do you possess your thoughts or are your thoughts possessing you?
Can you worry about something in an instance? Al the things that need to be done? Is it hard to forget a quarrel or disagreement? Are you feeling insecure or are your thoughts creating barriers, immobilizing you?

Well, now you’ve freed some time, it is interesting to spend time on your thoughts and think about the thoughts you have. Get a hold of what your mind is telling you and figure out how you react to it.

Why are you upset? Think about it in depth. Why are you angry? Think about it in depth. Why are you happy? Think about it in depth. It can be small things. By active listening and thinking about it, you make a start to make a change. And remember, after you thought about it in depth, let it go.
There’s a lot to be learned.

Become a master of your thoughts and you start to become a master of life.

Dance!

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Without bad, there’s no good.
Without black, there’s no white.
Without hate, there’s no love
Without Ying, there’s no Yang,
in fact everything needs an opposite to exist. Without opposites, there’s no perspective and things fall into nothingness.

But the interesting thing is that it is not about balance. It is about restoring balance. In a positive way.

There’s an article I read a while ago about running. The ‘normal’ way to run is to push with one foot and then push with the other and so on. The harder you push and higher the frequency, the faster you run. But there’s another way to run as well.

This way of running starts with falling forward and to make sure you don’t fall on your face, you need to restore balance by moving your feet (try it). This way of running is based on preventing to fall. It is a different technique, different muscles are used, but it is less straining for your back and bones. Besides it is fast. Faster then you can imagine.

Anyway, back to restoring balance.

Live, or reality, is no more then a projection of our imagination. If we don’t know it, we can’t imagine it. And if we cannot imagine it, it cannot become reality because we don’t have the images to see it.

It doesn’t mean we’re stuck. On the contrary, the only thing we need to do is increase our power to imagine, but too many people limit their imagination and therefore are not able to change their reality.

So when Picasso said “Anything you can imagine is real” he was also talking about the limitations of imagination. I think he gave at least 2 messages:

  1. When you look at my () paintings and accept them, you’re able to enlarge the way you can perceive reality.
  2. In live, increase the fuel of your imagination by experiencing more and you’re able to increase your reality.

I see it like this:
Imagination is inward and about being, like thinking, meditating, your inner-voice. Experiencing on the other hand is outward and about doing, see how your increased imagination, creates a new reality and experience that. Being aware of it. This new perceived reality is again fuel for being and thinking, which fuels in it’s turn imagination…

It is like a dance, changing between doing and being and sounds like:

“Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-…”

Enjoy your dance and increase reality.

Stepping out…….in

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Sometime it feels people are stuck in the frame of a picture and that isn’t strange. We’re very good in creating a tunnel vision.

We have the tendency to recycle 98% of the knowledge we have on a continuous basis. Main reason is that we’re too pre-occupied with what we know or just scared to step outside our frame of habits.

The result is that most of the things we see or believe stay the same. That is ok if you don’t want to be happier.

The downside of creating this tunnel vision is that it will clog your spiritual aorta.

That’s why we sometimes need to step out of our frame to clean up the clog and actually it isn’t all that difficult.

It starts by doing something irrational.
Indeed, doing something non-rational and therefore closer to emotion. So instead of controlling insecurities, it is about focusing on that first step. Steppin out of that ‘comfort-zone’ into the space where something new happens.

And you don’t have to be afraid because you can always step back into your frame. Or even hold it when stepping out to feel secure about the irrational thing you’re about to do. But always do it consciously.

Step by step you will notice new things appearing in your frame you never seen before and by time, you’ll see your frame is getting larger as well and you yourself are growing happier and happier.

Stepping out is stepping in.
Into a new world.

 

 

 

 

River Delta – Many ways

It is interesting to think of how people get to where they are, because one thing is sure: “We’re all born as babies and we all have been a child”. It is a funny game to look at people and imagine how they were as a baby or a child.

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Most of the times the contrast couldn’t be bigger, with who they are now. All the innocence, all the wondering is gone and replaced with ignorance and worries. Only sometimes the baby face is shimmering through.

Still, at any point in life, there is a way to be reborn. In fact, there are many ways and the choice is yours.

Some will see that as an opportunity and some will see it as a threat, while actually there’s no difference. The difference is in perception and in the way you choose to experience it. With joy and pleasure or anxiety and fear. In the end we all end up in the same space, just with or without the experience for a next life.

The way I see it is like a River Delta.

One stream branches into another stream, which is actually the representation of possibilities and opportunities you have in life. But, there’s a choice: Either you go upstream, ending up in the main river, or you go downstream ending up in the ocean.

Going upstream is going against gravity and forcing a way up, ultimately ending up somewhere at the spring of the river, on top of a mountain, feeling exhausted and realizing there’s actually no way but down.

Going downstream ending up in the ocean, and eventually vaporize, become a raindrop and float in the sky in a cloud and come down as refreshing rain on the top of a mountain at the spring of the river. Ready for a new journey.

Both are part of the same ecosystem.
Both in the end, end up in the ocean.
Which way do you choose?

River Delta Life is part of the World OF WEAST collection

The 3 storytellers

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I recently read that storytelling is going to be the marketing trend in 2015 and that is funny, because storytelling is as old as the first humanoids learning how to express feelings (actually it started with drawing on the walls of caves). It’s our brain that since then has been so over-developed with the neo-cortex, that we forgot most of that and are focusing to much on words and bullet points as the way to get a message across.

The neo-cortex, pfff that’s a game changer! We learned to think rational instead of using our instincts and gut feeling. It reminded me of my son of three. He wanted to walk on a wooden beam but kept falling off. When I told him to look at the end of the beam and just walk over there, he forgot to look at his feet, didn’t think and didn’t fall off. Instinct won it from ratio.

Back to the storytelling.

The reason we like story telling is pretty simple, it is because, when we were children, lots of stories have been told to us. And boy did we like to listen to them! And as it is part of our childhood, it is also programmed deeply in our brain and we probably get an instant good feeling when we hear somebody tell a story.

Storytelling is very graphical and that sticks; good storytelling creates images in our minds when we listen to them. That way you don’t have to process the words, you just look at the images as the story continues. That’s the power of paintings as well, they tell a story without words, so we can absorb it, without thinking.

Actually, doing the reverse, is telling a story. Think of an image or scene and describe what you see. That’s a good way to tell stories, and it is amazing how the show in your brain works: If someone tells us about how delicious certain foods were and our sensory cortex lights up. If it’s about motion, our motor cortex gets active. Scientists found that the brain sees no difference between thinking about it or actually experiencing it. The same parts of the brain light up! Just imagine what a story can do.

Telling stories also means putting effort into it as a proof you want to make the other understand (it’s investing in the listener). That is the most pure form of engagement. The true meaning of engagement is occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention) or engage someone in (cause someone to become involved in a conversation or discussion). But there’s more, whenever we hear a story, we look for relations to one of our existing experiences. That way we can much quicker understand a story. At the same time the brain of the teller and the listener synchronize, becoming a bit as one…

That’s why metaphors work so well with us. While we are busy searching for a similar experience in our brains, we activate a part called insula, which helps us relate to that same experience of pain, joy, disgust or else. Besides, it makes it easier to understand, no effort’s necessary, no decoding.

Telling stories, instead of giving solutions, works so well because of this. The relating to stories and the synchronization of brains, makes that telling the context of an idea as a story makes that the listener is creating the idea himself as part of her of his own experience (leave your ego at home and don’t try to claim the idea).

Words without a story makes are our brain becomes very busy trying to decode decoding words into meaning. And because of it after that it stops; nothing really happens after that. It’s like the bullet points in a PowerPoint. In the end the only thing you remember is the bullets… (besides it’s a mnemonic for lazy storytellers).

Long time a go, around 850 BC an Arab goatheader named Kaldi noticed how his goats acted strangely. When he looked what caused it, he saw they were eating certain berries. Intrigued by it, he tried them himself and was excited by the effect it had on him. It didn’t take the Arabs long to figure out how to dry and boil the berries in what they called “qaghwa a shortening of qahhwat al-bun ‘wine of the bean’.”

After that the Turkish used this brew as well and with them it travelled to the French who give the brew the name “cafe” and from there it was picked up by the Dutch who named it koffie and were responsible for making it enter the English language as “coffee”.

From now on chances are, you’ll remember this story when you drink coffee and probably tell it is well. This would not be the case when I had presented it in bullet points in a power-point-presentation, that’s for sure.

Now I hear some people say: “I am not good at it, I cannot tell stories” but then I say “You can”.

Try to imagine the idea, the point, the scene, the thing you want to make as a destination. Go back to where you are/stand and tell the story as the road to that destination. OK, 3 bullet points, but told as a story. A good way to become a storyteller is by:

  1. Experience stories, listen to them, be open for new ones and ask questions and
  2. Imagine the story. Think in images, not words but most of all
  3. Learn to tell, by doing and observing the listener.

 

And remember:
“Don’t be the traveler but focus on your listener being a passenger”.

The Indian Chicken and the practically Blind Mole

There are two kinds of chicken: Normal chicken and abnormal chicken. In between there’s nothing or at least not much to talk about. This story however is about a chicken that is beyond abnormal or better ‘absurdormal’ and there’s a lot to say.

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The beginning

This particular chicken lived in India and she was unhappy. She felt out of place and misunderstood. The way she talked, dressed and shared her ideas about the world did not resonate with her sister-chicken. In fact, it gave her a kind of separate status, in other words: Nobody dared to talk to her anymore.

One day she was strolling through the field alone, when the wind blew a piece of paper in her face. When she shook the paper off she saw it was a fashion magazine from America. She was amazed with what she saw and immediately knew what she had to do: Go West, going to America.

She didn’t wait long and left (chickens just travel light, because there’s not much to bring along and besides, how can chicken carry things?). She started walking and left the ground she was born and raised on and stepped into the unknown. But the unknown didn’t stop her, how could it, it was just a metaphorical barrier, and she went on with clear goal: The horizon.

After a while she realized that the horizon was a pretty abstract concept and wasn’t sure this ‘landmark’ would bring her to America…. When she sat down the most amazing thing happened: The earth moved. For the chicken it was clear. It was a sign from above: she was moving in the right direction, while actually it was a sign from below. To be more precise, it was a mole getting rid of his dirt.

The Mole

“Anyone there?” asked a small mole with a pink nose, “I thought I heard a kind of squeak, I hope I haven’t scared anyone? The thing is, I am as good as completely blind and as a result I bump into things.”

The chicken was too flabbergasted to speak sense. The only thing she’d seen come out of the ground were worms, so the most sensible thing for her to say was: “Hi, it’s me, the Indian chicken that wants to go to the west, to America”.

“America?” the mole replied, “Why on earth would you go to America? Getting halfway would take a lifetime and it’s not better then things are here. Besides, you’re going in the wrong direction!”

“I don’t care”, said the chicken, “nobody understands me here, I need to go away! To America. I need to go to a place where people understand me! I saw it in the magazine. Look at me, I am gorgeous, but nobody wants to see it!”

“Well, I am kind of blind as I told you” said the mole, “so I can’t see it either, but the way I sense your presence, you’re a beautiful creature. At the same time, listening to the words you say, I’d say it isn’t about them not understanding you, it’s about you not understanding them”.

“Say again?!” the chicken said. She was almost walking around like a headless chicken, and in this particular case, with the head still attached. The mole sensed her amazement and continued, “Yes, it is not about them, it’s about you. Think of it: It’s much easier to change yourself then to change the world, even when the world is the small field you have been livng on. The thing is, every one of them has created his own reality and they feel comfortable in it! Who are you to change it?”

“No!” the chicken replied, “I have to go West, and do not want to stay here in the East. I know for sure everybody will understand me in the West, it is there I belong. The only thing I need to figure out is where The West is and how long it takes me to get there.

Funny you mention it like that, because actually The West is nearer then you think.

“Is it?” said the chicken, “but just seconds ago you told me it takes a lifetime to get there! So please make up your mind before I go out of my mind!”

The mole looked at the chicken, but didn’t see her of course because he was practically blind and responded: “Well, the thing is The West is always next to The East. It is just a matter of how you look at it. And in your case, I think that might do the trick for you to be happy again”.

“Happy again?”
“Next to me?”
“What do you mean?”
“I really don’t understand it anymore” the chicken replied and almost fainted (of course a chicken brain isn’t that big and this overload of information that was countered by the double amount of questions, more or less made that steam came out of her ears, which in the case of a chicken are hard to find).

The mole intuitively knew the chicken almost went berserk and quickly said “Let me explain by telling you a story about a friend I have”, and he began:

The story within the story

“He was one of those fanatic runners (he was a rabbit), running every day and when you asked him what he loved about running, he said “I love running in nature, because nature takes out all the negative things I have inside, and afterwards I feel refreshed and reborn!”

But then he broke is paw and wasn’t able to run, even after it had healed he wasn’t able to run anymore so stayed inside his rabbit hole and became depressed. He couldn’t run anymore, so the negativity build-up inside him and wasn’t released while running in nature, even his fur turned grey.

At one point I ‘accidentally’ dug a tunnel into his hole and I saw him sitting there. Depressed, down, out of shape and looking 12 years older, so I reminded him that he could also stroll through nature, without running.

He looked at me for a second and realised he’d been a fool for a long time! “Yes” he said, “of course! How could I be so stupid! It is not about the running, it is about the nature and it doesn’t matter how I experience nature I just need to experience it!”.

And after that he went out (and really needed to get used to the light, because he was so much used to the darkness of his hole), so after a few stiff blinkers with his eyes, he started walking slowly and realized how great the trees were and how green the grass and how good nature was in absorbing negativity. Almost instantly he felt happy and never lost that feeling again. I asked him afterwards: “What did you learn that day?” He said: “Every time I feel depressed, I turn around, take a step back and think about the situation from the other way. By doing that I create a new perspective, which gives me so much energy! I realize everything that happens, is just the way I see it, experience it and interpret it. In fact, other rabbits gave me a new name ‘Grabbit’. Grab life the way you want”.

“Good” I said “and just hearing to those words makes me happy”

FullSizeRenderLess steam came out of her hard to find ears when she said “OK, but how does that apply to me?”

“Well” the mole answered, “It’s like I said, it isn’t about them not understanding you, it’s about you not understanding them. Maybe instead of trying to change them, it is better to understand that your judgement is based on what is happening inside you. It’s this what creates the negative perspective. Therefor, in my humble opinion, is easier to accept that you are ‘weird’ and enjoy it”.

The clue

The chicken looked like a sheep, but didn’t seem to be running away anywhere soon, so the mole continued: “It’s like doing the opposite of your first impulse. That small moment is exactly when you can change perspective from East to West (or the other way around of course, or north to south, whatever feels good at that time). And instead of reacting defensive, react open heartedly, instead of panic see the challenge, instead of angry, react with a smile, just try it and you’ll see, live gets easier and much more delightful.

A lot of things were going on in the little chicken brain, but none of them were about traveling soon or changing wardrobe, most of it was preoccupied with not tipping over and processing the word of the mole. Suddenly she heard a series of clicks went on in the tiny chicken head, so loud, even the mole could hear it and he was practically blind, then she said: “I see your point, I never looked at it like that”.

The mole smiled and said “good to hear and by the way… the direction you travelled when I bumped in to you wasn’t west. It was east. The way back to your field is…west.”

 

The moral of this story should be pretty clear, I hope and is about changing perspective. The funny thing is that we’re so caught up in habits and impulse that we forget that maybe the source of change lies within ourselves. Even the realization of this fact will have dramatic effects on any outcome. Take the time to realize.

It reminds me of a nice quote I once read:

“To cause an avalanche you can shake the mountain or find the right place to drop a snowflake”

You’re that snowflake; find the right place.

The Indian Chicken and the practically Blind Mole is part of The World Of Beat collection.

 

Pelican can?

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It was a crowded pool.

It was so crowded, the movement of the birds almost looked like a newly invented elegant dance called the PeliCanCan! Almost elegant, because pelicans aren’t the best dancers in the world, especially not when they are hungry. This particular group of pelicans was hungry.
Very hungry.

As with any group of pelicans (or other kind of hungry flock) there’s always one who’s more hungry, behaving more foolish and more idiotic.

Normal pelicans scoop the water, catching a lot of water and occasionally a fish or 2 (or anything amphibian that unfortunately was swimming in the vicinity of the pelican) caught by expanding their throat pouch. After that they go back to the land and enjoy their meal. The hungry pelican, however, kept scooping. His beak was already stretched with fish. Other pelicans advised him to return and enjoy, but the hungry pelican murmured as good and bad as it goes with a mouthful: “No! Leave me, I can handle it. No problem here, I can manage, I just want to have enough fish, just in case.”

The hungry pelican kept scooping fish and water, ignoring his pelilfriends. His throat pouch was already stretched to the max, but still he wanted to catch one more fish. And then, the pouch broke!

All the fish in the beak, which had already said their prayers and reconciled with the fact that their glorious lives would end as mere fish stick snacks on the menu of a pelican, were free and also free to reconsider the rest of their fishy lives.

The pelican on the other hand, had a serious problem. His pouch looked like a ragged shopping bag and wasn’t able to catch another fish, let alone eat it and that caused a serious problem. No fish, no food, no food, a certain death….

Fortunately there was a pelican who could mend broken pouches, so after some serious stitching, revalidation a lot of liquid food, the formerly hungry pelican survived. He could collect food in his pouch again, but didn’t dare scooping the water, nor eating fish. He ate grass instead. The hungry pelican seriously considered to become the first vegetarian pelican ever, but after a while though, he realized fish was better than grass. Besides grass gave him the gas, so he turned herbivore again, but never ever stocked more fish than his pouch could handle…

 

The moral of this story can be a bit surprising, but is about the fact that it is better to let go of any issues and talk about it then to keep them inside. It might seem more comfortable, but the essence is: “It is not”.

Although it can be a serious threshold to talk about ‘issues’, in the end, letting them out and talk about it, will release you from a burden that will prohibit you otherwise. Talking about it will make you more light-hearted and will create a lot of new insights as well. Not only that ‘letting issues out in the open’ is better then keeping them inside, it also provides you new knowledge to avoid, recognize and handle new kind of issues as they cross your path. And believe me, they will cross your path, but from now on, they are like pins when climbing a mountain. Each pin will get you higher.

Pelican can? is part of the World of Beast

The Squirrel and the Parrot

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Once upon a time, high up in a tree, a flaming red parrot was sitting on a branch. He was shivering and crying.

Along came a squirrel, which was actually not planning to stop, because he was on his way to the biggest acorn and nut feast one can ever imagine, which makes it for a small squirrel close to unimaginable to stop, but he stopped. He was touched by the extensive grieve of the parrot, that he sat down next to him on the branch; his tiny head slightly bend to the left, looking at the red parrot.

The parrot didn’t stop crying though, nor shivering, it even got worse. After a while, the squirrel asked: Well, what’s going on that is making you so sad?

I am completely lost, answered the parrot, and have no idea how to get home! I’ve been looking in all directions, but the only thing I see is trees. I’m completely desperate and have no clue to what to do next. The squirrel looked at the parrot compassionately. Why don’t you fly above the trees? He asked the parrot. The parrot looked at him with terror! Above the trees, he said, are you mad? Just the thought of it gives me a weak stomach.

Amazing! said the squirrel, but how did you get here? Did you climb your way up? No, no, said the parrot, I flew of course. I am not a good climber, besides, that would take forever!
So you flew? asked the squirrel, but what’s the problem then? The parrot turned even redder then he already was and said in an agitated way: The problem? The problem? The problem, dear friend, is that higher then the trees is as scary as the front end of a boa constrictor. And that’s why I am stuck here!

But you flew up to the top of this tree already, said the squirrel, there’s no difference between flying to the branch your sitting now or the sky above the tree. The only difference for that matter, is that by flying above the trees, you’re able to see the forest. And when you can see the forest, you’re able to see more then just trees and find a way back home.

The parrot was silent for a while. And silent parrots as such, are a rarity in this world. Normally they can’t stop jabbering about this and that and so on, so the squirrel hit a spot. The silence went on.

It’s interesting the dilemma you’re in, said the squirrel, and it’s up to you what you want to do about it. Actually it’s pretty simple, he continued, either you stay put on the branch and stay lost or you have to overcome your fears, fly up in the sky and find your way home.

But what if I fall down? said the parrot. You won’t, said the squirrel, you’re a bird, you were meant to fly, it’s what you’re designed for, unlike me. The parrot hesitated for a moment, but soon realized the squirrel might be right and said: OK, maybe I have to take my chances; sitting here on this branch won’t do forever either, will it? No, replied the squirrel, besides it will get very dark soon as well. The eyes of the parrot almost became bigger then its head and almost without a thought, spread his wings and then….

Took off. Just like that, up in the sky.

I can see the tops of the trees, it shouted to the squirrel, and I am not falling! A moment later it shouted: I can see the forrest! And the river! It’s beautiful up here! And hey! I see my home, now I know my way back! Thanks you for pushing me!

You’re welcome, said the squirrel and he went off to the magnificent acorn and nut feast.

 

The morale of this story is that in order to see the forest, you have to climb a mountain. Or in this case: Don’t be afraid to fly. When you don’t take the ‘risk’, the only thing you see is trees. Climbing a mountain creates the right perspectives and turns trees into a forest.

And there’s no need to be afraid. Everybody’s born with creativity and you will find solutions. The most important thing, is to make the effort to see things in a new perspective. Climbing that mountain may seem straining and tiring, but once you’re on the top, you instantly forget about the tiredness and get tons of energy from the fact that you made the achievement, but mostly from your new point of view.

Happy climbing.

The squirrel and the parrot is part of the World of Beast.

The Lonely Pony, A story with a tail

Once upon a time, like a few million years ago, there lived a herd of small pony-like animals on a steppe. It was a pretty big herd for a herd at that time. All together around 26 and a half;one of them was even smaller than the others. Not that he was bothered with that, because every time one of the pony-like creatures made a joke at his expense, he was witty enough to react and leave them standing with their mouths open. His name was Equus.

Because it was several millions of years ago they didn’t have the problem with the humans, simply because of the fact that there weren’t any humans. At least not as we know them now, the noisy and intruding kind. No, at that time the predecessors of humans where much too pre-occupied with themselves, trying to figure out where all those things at the end of their arms and legs were good for, what one could do with them and the fact that the sun, the moon and the stars had to be some kind of divine god. That, and staring at each other, wondering where on earth that other two-legged creature came from.

Now, those were the days.

Autumn_steppe

Equus wasn’t just small; he also was ambitious and liked to eat the good leaves. He liked to eat leaves better than he did grass., Grass was abundant in the steppe, but he went for the leaves in the trees. In order to get to them, he had to stand on his hind legs and stretch his neck as much as he could. The rest of the herd laughed at him, but he didn’t care. He got the best snacks around!

Talking about that, there was one lady in the herd and she was particularly fond of Equus. She liked his attitude, his humor, his persistence and his brown eyes. Equus noticed this and as there weren’t a lot of diamonds around (plus the fact that a pony-like creature isn’t interested in diamonds at all), he picked the best leaves he could find and gave them to her.

They fell in love and she gave birth to a great-looking small pony-like creature and together they couldn’t be happier. Until the moment another beautiful pony-like creature girl was born. That was when they became even happier.

Equus and the Lady both made it a habit to pick the highest leaves, standing on their hind legs stretching their necks. The rest of the herd found them strange and peculiar, especially when they saw that Equus and the lady taught their children to do the same. The distance grew between the herd and them…

Life went on, years went by, and the Equus family grew taller when their children got children and their children got children and all of them started to dislike grass and all of them reached for the higher leaves. It was a funny looking bunch, all those animals standing on their hind legs, stretching their necks, enjoying the green delights. The distance between them and the original herd grew even more. The Equus family was still laughed at, but they didn’t care. They were happy by themselves.

Life went on and a thousand years went by and the Equus family was still mocked and laughed at by the herd. What lunatics you are, the herd shouted, why reach for the unreachable leaves, when the best grass is on the ground, everywhere. The only thing you have to do is bend your head and eat! Any sane animal knows that. The Equus family didn’t care. They had each other. Besides, which animals in their right mind would eat food they had just walked on?

Life went on and a million years went by and the Equus family wasn’t living with their original herd anymore. They left for new areas, with better and higher trees, still enjoying the best leaves high up in the trees and still enjoying themselves.

Their herd was huge and had spread out in the world, but the root of the original Equus family was still together. As a matter of fact, one of the males was still called Equus, in honor of his greatgreatgreatgreatgreat….etc grandfather. And this Equus was well-equipped. He easily reached the highest possible, most tasteful leaves of any tree. With his head in the sun, he was enjoying the day, when suddenly he heard a voice…

The voice said: “Equus, I am so proud of you and your long, long line of ancestors. Resisting the usual, going for the highest and the best, not letting yourself be influenced by what the other members of the herd say. I am proud of the way you have developed. I am proud of what you have achieved and how happy you have been, no matter what happened.”

Equus was confused and looked around, but didn’t see anyone.

The voice continued: “Therefore I will give you, and everybody in your herd, a specially designed coat so everybody will recognize you. But most importantly, I will give you, and all the animals in your herd, a new name. A new name for your species, an honorary title that is. From now on your species is called Giraffe.

 

The Lonely Pony is part of The World Of Beast and is a fable. It is not the way Giraffes have developed, but is a metaphor to explain that sometimes, the misfits, the unusual, the ones that go against the grain are the ones that are celebrated.