A hedgehog is lovely

Star is a very lovely hedgehog. He has a certain charisma, and likes a lot being surrounded by animals, and flowers, and people. He loves to explore the world around him, and is so-so curious.

One day, he decided to explore even beyond his forest – he heard there are great fields, and beautiful waters. Star wanted to see them all.

He started slowly, because hedgehogs have tiny legs, and also quite a big body (considering their size). So they are not very fast. Nor do they want to be fast. They want to be slow, so they can enjoy every little piece of time that they have on this Earth.

Star left his forest, he crossed a small pound, then went up a hill, through some tall grass, along the river. He met a lot of nice animals and plants on his way, so he enjoyed everything a lot! He was amazed by everything he saw, smelled and experienced.

After a few days of wondering in the wild, he decided to rest for the night at the root of Cera, one of the most special Sunflowers there were. But Star couldn’t know about this. He said hello.

– Hi, smiled Cera. Welcome to my home!

She had the most beautiful smiles that Star had ever seen. She was just soo.. sunny! Star fell in love.. It was nothing he planned, nor wished, but Cera was so graceful and beautiful, and made him feel alive in a way that no one else had ever.

And Cera loved him back. It was more than Star could have ever hoped. He was in heaven.

There was, of course, only one problem: he wanted to see the world, and Cera was a flower. So she couldn’t move. She had deep roots, and a beautiful community around her. She was admired and she had big plans to being positive change in the world. She was so radiant – she already did that.

Star began to wonder. Would this work, is it a good idea to be in love with a Sunflower. Should he not see the world anymore. And eventually, he asked himself: is Cera as wonderful as she seems? Probably not. Probably she is just a regular Sunflower, and he should really stick to his plans. After all, that’s why he left the forest!

– I do not think I love you, Cera. I am sorry to say this, but you are not enough for me.

Cera stood tall and proud. She understood that Star has needles. Not on his fur, but inside his words. Needles that were meant for her. Maybe he did not understand how sharp those needles were. But needles nevertheless. She encouraged him to see the world.

Star left. He crossed paths, and fields, and water and sand. In some places, he stayed longer, in others he just passed by. But as time went by, he started to miss “something”. It was not clear how he felt. And he did not want to think too much about it – after all, life is short, and the world is big.

One day, he entered a beautiful biiig forest – like the one he always dreamed about. It had huge trees, lots of plants and animals. He saw such marvellous things there, and such special beings – like never before.

He stayed there for a longer time. He made friends, and did not think about missing anything.

Then, one day, as he was walking through this forest, he saw a beautiful blue flower. And.. blue was his favourite colour! This flower was small, and seemed a bit helpless, but had such bright blue! And she made him feel excited again! Monae (that was her name) watched everything with such curiosity and wonder and excitement – it made Star feel.. young!

Star loved her – and Monae loved him back. He decided to plant her on his fur, and take her on his trips. So she could see the world as well – and they could be amazed together.

Star began the long way back to his forest, where he wanted to introduce Monae to all of his friends. They loved her! She was so full of life, and happiness and wonder – it was a joy to be around her. Tiny flowers have this special power, they belong in any place, and everybody loves them. They bring a smile on anyone’s face, simply by looking at them. And they are so easy to move around, their roots are not deep. And they make another home very easily as well – no need for a specific weather, or soil, or light.

Small flowers grow anywhere, and they are very adaptive.

Small hedgehogs do not know their words have more needles than their fur.

Sunflowers are.. well.. flowers of the Sun.

And without Sun, there would be no life anywhere on Earth. There is something unique to be a flower of the Sun.

Titi bends all the time

Titi is a small willow tree. She is just growing up, and immensely curious about the world. She loves her forest, and everything inside.

Titi is a good friend of all small insects, who find shelter within her hair, which flows all the way to the ground. They always ask Titi to keep her branches down, because it helps them.

Bor, her neighbour, is a tall, beautiful pine tree. His head is always up, never bending – with a strong, powerful trunk. Bor has a saying “stay tall for your values, don’t flow with the wind”. And another saying “the sword will not cut a bent tree” – it means that it is “safe” to have your head down, but not at all honourable.

It is, of course, easy for him to say so, since he was born tall. His mom and dad, pine trees as well, made sure that the environment were he is placed will be fit for him. Will be fit for a tall, beautiful tree.

And Titi felt bad, small.. she was bending all the time. She was literally bending with the wind. Maybe if the wind would stop blowing, she would get enough “strength” to go up.

But the wind never stoped blowing for long enough.. and besides, she loved the wind – he made her sing. The leaves would move in a beautiful dance.

And the insects.. she was so curious! She loved watching them in the grass, going here and there, searching and finding and searching again.

Titi realised she loved her bent head. It brought flexibility. And made her more creative, living a more colourful and fun life. She was open for change.

And into the forest I go

Introduction

The forest is the true Wonderland. Any forest, anywhere – as long as it’s big enough, and free enough.

Big enough for various trees, and plants, insects and other animals.

Free enough to grow and develop in its own rythm.

And us.. we just have to have eyes to see.

Welcome! This will be a journey through Wonderland.

Little W

There was once a little girl called W. The main thing one should know about W is that she loved her friends – they were the most important persons in the world for W. The other thing one needs to know about her is that she absolutely loves flowers. Wild flowers, just like her. The garden flowers were beautiful as well, but the wild ones were her “thing”.

One day, W was having a hard time understanding her feelings. She felt that her friend, Aron, was not really caring about her needs – even though she explained very cleary what she wanted. He always brought her flowers: beautiful red roses. The ones that can only grow in a garden.

After some time, in which Aron offered her a lot of flowers, W felt she needed to say something. She was sure that it would hurt Aron. So, she asked her other friends, if and what she should say.

– Oooh, I wish I had such a nice friend, to bring me roses, said Cleo. You are so lucky, W!

– Hmmm.. why are you complaining? It’s true, they are not wild flowers, but perfection does not exist. Stop searching for perfection, said George.

– Nobody brings flowers anymore nowadays. Hold on to Aron, and be happy. Said Mara.

All her friends were telling her to appreciate what she has and just be happy. Of course, don’t say anything to Aron.

But then, one night, she started to tell something to herself:

– I love you, W, and you will always have me. I wish everyone to be happy, and you even moreso. Be honest with Aron in such a way that you stay true to yourself and you don’t hurt him. If roses don’t make you happy, don’t take them. They are supposed to bring a smile into your eyes. Mara might be right, Aron might be the last one who brings you flowers. But you can take your own wild flowers. Because their name start with W, like yours.

And W was no longer so small, she grew a little bit afterwards.

Ror the Bear

Ror is a strong bear. He is no longer a baby bear – not for some years. He is liked and admired (many times feared) by all the other animals around him. It is not because of his posture (although his posture is quite impressive). It is because of his principles. Yes, he is a bear who has a clear set of values and he never loses them.

But values are not black and white – and most of us have different definitions of what it means to be “fair” or “friend” or “valuable”.

Ror has his own definitions, of course. Sometimes, it is easy for him to explain why his values are important – and the rest of the animals understand what he means. And appreciate this about him.

Other times, however, it is not so clear. Especially because it is quite impossible to have a general definition for words like: courage, change, good, bad.

Ror is also a great speaker – he likes to talk about values and principles and changing the world for the better. It is a wonder to be around him and hear him talk. However, his ideas do not have a perfect match with anyone else’s. And many times, his friends have warned him that these ideas are pushing them away.

The other animals sometimes get upset, because they also have a definition of “good” – which is not as clear as Ror’s. And because it is not so well-thought, Ror can easily find the weak points in these definitions and highlights them. Which, of course, doesn’t make him a very pleasant conversation partner. Bu Ror knows that conversations shouldn’t be pleasant – we rarely grow due to pleasant conversations. But we often grow during challenging ones. And Ror knows and uses this, even if it brings a risk to keep other animals apart.

There is a small sparrow which lives in the woods, in a strange way (we all know that sparrows like to live near villages, and create their nests around a human house). However, Dhalia lives in the woods – and she is a friend of Ror. She likes to hear him talk about all kind of subjects that interest him (and boy oh boy, are his interests diverse..). Ror helps her have a deeper understanding of the world around them – and she started to ask herself important questions “what does she want in life” and “what kind of sparrow does she want to be” and “what is important for her”.

This is a very very big question: what is important for us. It gives an answer which is not perfect, and which can change in time. And is very confusing, in many ways.

For example, friends are important to Dhalia. And she cares a lot about the animals around her. For Ror, doing things is more important – the results at the end.

And this is where the two friends do not match – everyone has such points. And it only dependa on us how much we let them interfere in our relationships with the others.

Dhalia moved her nest a little further away from the place where Ror hangs out. She was no longer feeling so close to him. She though that he is lonesome, and was feeling a bit bad to move away from her friend. Dhalia was wondering if Ror is ok with not having as many friends. Actually, the other animals were thinking the same.

But you see, we are all different – and even though we know this, we still think about the others, taking into account just our point of view. And it is true, Ror didn’t have as many friends – but he had something even bigger: he had values. And even though he could not speak to his values the same way he spoke to his friends, and he could not ask his values to help him with something the same way he asked his friends – his values gave his something a lot more important: they gave him balance. And by having a balance, he was happy. The real happiness.

Ram

There was once a boy – called Ram. He was a descendant of a looong family of trees. His ancestors were the ones who brought life to Earth, by creating enough oxygen for animals to live and evolve.

But Ram had something special about him: something he didn’t want, nor liked. It was something that his family taught him, because sometimes families are carrying over traditions which do not bring good. Just because they are traditions – and none of the members dared to change (or maybe they did dare, but were not successful). This specific tradition was that “tree-boys do not cry”. It would be considered a sign of weak roots, and damaged branches. So Ram never cried – nor did he know how to cry.

Little by little, Ram grew into a beautiful teenage tree, with very nice branches, surrounded by his family and friends. Still, he was not able to cry.

This year, a lot of things happened in his life: a good friend of his decided to move her branches closer to the sun (and further away from him), his parents were both offering fruits to animals from the area (and were busy with them).

And Ram’s branches started to mix in a weird way. No matter how much he tried, his branches were getting tangled, and weighting heavier on him. Day after day, the more he tried, the tangler they became. His branches were taking over control of his life – and he felt powerless. He disappointed, he thought he was strong and brave – but it was clear he wasn’t.

The heavier and tangler they became, the smaller Ram was getting. But he kept fighting, wanting to have control again. With no success… His roots were also getting smaller, further away from the roots of the other trees – in such way, that he even stopped communicating with them (everybody knows that trees communicate through roots).

Ram was feeling lonely in this situation – and he was also moving away from the other trees. His branches were knotting together – and in doing so, they were not getting enough light. And his roots were also becoming smaller. Ram was weak.

All of a sudden, rain started to pour – and as much as he liked rain before, now he resented it. Because rain came with wind – and the wind was moving Ram left – right, weakening him.

During the rain, a small branch from a nearby friend cracked and hit Ram. And he started to scream of pain – it was so much. The branch felt so heavy. So Ram screamed, and screamed… until, out of nowhere, tears were falling down his log. And Ram cried – he couldn’t take anything anymore. And he cried and cried.

His tears reached his roots, bringing all sort of minerals with them. So his roots started to gain power again. Because of that, they managed to send enough minerals to the branches as well – and they gained strength, too!

It did not happen over night, but Ram became strong again. He was finally able to cry, and understood the power of tears.

Like us, too.

Although most of us only understand this so late..

Truth

There was once a girl who never lied. She was honest, trustworthy and reliable. Until, one day, she lied. And no one could tell.

Sometimes, the heaviest burden is within yourself. And you are your most drastic critic. Your most fierceful opponent. You have an immense power to put yourself down.

Truth.. that was the name of the girl who never lied. Well, it was not her real name – but everyone thought it fits her perfectly, because she was so surprisingly honest, with everything.

The day I was telling you about was a sunny and normal day. Someone asked her candidly:

– Did I ever hurt you?

And she said “yes”. Even though Truth knew her friend didn’t hurt her on purpose. Truth had a wound in her heart, she didn’t really know from where or when – but it was there, and it was growing.

And she lied to her friend. Or maybe she didn’t lie. Because, only Truth knew how that wound felt like and only she could imagine how did it start. But nevertheless, she never intended to hurt her friend. Or maybe she did, so that her friend would feel a little bit of the wound.

However, she shouldn’t have.

And Truth felt so immensely bad afterwards. Because words slip from us, and many times they are heavier that we hope for, and last longer than predicted, and hit harder than we want. And Truth should have known that: she loved words.

Being human is to live such moments. To have contradictions in yourself, to be truthful and lying, and not to feel lost in between. Because this is what works in progress mean. And humans are works in progress, that mistakenly think they are finished.

A mom called Claudia

Claudia is a young mom – she fell in love when she was twenty-something, and without even realising she turned into a wife. Quite the wife that one would imagine: that cooks, and washes, and takes care of the house. Of course (because these things are clear when thinking about a classical story), shortly after the wedding she became pregnant. Her story was what everyone would expect it to be.

She stoped working as a hair dresser at the saloon, because her daughter needed her close by. Erika, her daughter, became the most important person, as well as duty. Claudia would cook for her, teach her all things, sing to her – just took care.

After three years, when Erika was big enough to attend a day care, Claudia decided to start working again. Mostly, because she needed the money. But Erika also needed her. So Claudia took hair dressing appointments in her apartment. Erika would sleep in the next room, while Claudia would cut, trim, and fix hairs for all her clients. She would always pay attention if her daughter woke up, or asked for something.

One day though, Erika did not want to sleep when she was supposed to – that is, in the same time that Claudia had a client. So the little girl decided to assist her mother. Claudia gave her a coloring book, and a pack of biscuits to keep her busy.

Erika was paying a lot of attention to the book – so much, that she dropped one pencil on the floor, in front of her. She could get it, but as with all little children, she could not yet understand how independent she really was. So she asked for her mother, who was cutting hair just two meters away.

And Claudia heard her. She stopped cutting hair, took the pencil from the floor, and gave it to Erika. And that was all.

And this is all there is to the story. Just a strong mother, who juggled work and family, and had a hard time doing both. Especially both at the same time. But she did it.

The girl who took care of herself

Let’s call this girl Dana.

Let’s also say that her birthday happened recently, in a year when a nasty virus rumbled around.

Third, let’s assume she caught it – or the virus caught her, however you want to put it. And for her birthday, she received a lot of energy from all her friends who called her, messaged her or simply thought about her.

But the following day, she woke up with a weird, strong, and frightening pain all over her body. Her bones and muscles never hurt before, the way they did now. It was as if her body suddenly gained 50kg more, and it the same time her bones lost half of their structure – the painful way. The worst part about this virus, though, was that it kept everyone at a distance. No one could enter her room, no one could help her.

So she got up and made fire in the fireplace, so her room got warm after a while. And then, she forced herself to eat, and drink a lot of water (because she always believes that drinking water will save her from everything). Then, she answered a few calls of friends, and assured them that everything is ok. And afterwards, she tried to tame her own demons who were suggesting she might become “one more number” on the virus’ list.

She took care of herself. Held her own hand, cared for her body, listened to her emotions, took a stand when she had to.

She received the most important birthday gift: the feeling of being complete.

A girl called Second

There was once a family which had two daughters: Maria and Second. Second’s name was predestined – she was always second in her play, at competitions, at school.

As a child, it was her biggest wish to be the first one. Just once.

But no matter how hard she tried, she never succeeded to be the first in anything.

It is very hard to be the second one. Sometimes, she was really very close to be the first – but then she had a tummy problem, or she received a bad news and couldn’t perform as good. Most of the time, she fought harder and worked harder than the person on the first place. But people are many times blind for these situations. They only care who takes home the biggest prize. Who is so deserving to be on the first place. They are unaware that circumstances change, and affect one’s performance. However, Second didn’t consider herself unlucky. She just had to work harder, and maybe.. next time..

Years went on and on, and Second never finished on the first place. But as years went on and on, she grew stronger and stronger, more confident. She started to see more around her. For example, she saw how much attention the first place always received, and how much pressure it endured. She saw that people always had an opinion about the person on the first place, but rarely one about her. And Second liked that – it meant she was free to be whoever she wanted.

Second place brought her autonomy, and independence. She loved her name.