Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time Flies when You are Busy

There comes a time in everyone's life when things don't go exactly the way we thought they would. I haven't been able to get to my blog, which bothers me more than any of you will ever know. Writing is the foundation of who I am. I never thought I would really become an author one day. I always thought it was one of those things that happen to other people. Yet, here I am in the throes of wondering if "Torn Wings" is ready, or is it not? Is there something more, or is there too much? In the end, it is what it is.

Last month, I moved back to Fargo. I didn't think that would happen either, but sometimes we don't necessarily have a choice in where life will take us. I will always remember (God willing) the time I spent in Wahpeton. I did a lot of soul-searching while I was there, and found things I wished I hadn't and some that I am glad I did. All-in-all though, like all good things, this too had to come to an end. There's a lot coming down the road for me in the future, and living in Wahpeton is not going to be conducive to my needs, or the needs of my family.

Saturday of last week, I started having the sniffles. By Sunday, the sniffles had turned into an annoying cough. When Monday morning rolled around I had been cast into the depths of a full-blown head cold. As the sun went down on Wednesday, the cold worsened, and Thursday all hope was lost of finishing "Torn Wings" this week. I ended up staying home and trying to sleep through most of it. I rallied on Friday and was able to survive the day. Saturday morning, a full week later, I mustered it up for another event in Fargo. Today [Sunday,] I feel better, but probably ought not to come in direct contact with anyone if I can help it - still coughing.

Oh, exciting, last Sunday, a friend gave birth to a baby girl. Yes, I confess, I was texting in church, but only during the last song. There is nothing like new life to end a weekend on a good note.

I'll be working on "Torn Wings" this week, and then off to the U.S. Copyright Office. I am not going to say when exactly it will come out to the masses, but I assure you, the first announcement will be right here on the Butterfly Phoenix blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chrysalis: Torn Wings...Coming Soon!

The na hÉireann men of science, forced to work with the Daoine Réalta, must discover the secrets of The Butterfly Fields before all of Johnsport is lost; and indeed the world. At the edge of the canyons, the armies of the world prepare for a battle of which they have no knowledge how to fight; or win.

Standing at the edge of The Butterfly Fields, fierceness fills the breast - fear is the true enemy. Or, so they believe. Coming face to face with the Emperor, who now rules the heart and mind of The Butterfly Fields, shall truly tell the tale of what is fear, and what is terror.

In the skies above Johnsport shines a star that seems to grow in size and brilliance with each passing day. Is it a sign from He Who Created All Things, or an omen of the days foretold in the Great Book of All Things? The seasons are out of season, famine has swept the land, and a plague of fear has engulfed the Lowlands.

The only hope for the world is the power held between the two McCormick sisters. A power they have kept hidden in the elusive fields of butterflies. The na hÉireann men of science must find the source of this power, and the Daoine Réalta an explanation. The answer to the question must be found - Does He Who Created All Things exist or does He not?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Jesus Man

“If you ask me, how I’m doing, I’d lie and say I’m doing just fine…” ~ Gavin Degraw

Note to Readers:  The Jesus Man post began to formulate after a conversation I had last year [2013] regarding how people don’t listen when others talk, and then came home to a deeply saddened FB status by an old high school friend. His friend, and fellow U. S. Soldier, had committed suicide. The ironic thing about the status was how my friend implored everyone to listen to what is being said. There’s a lesson in this for all of us. If you don’t get it, it’s probably because this post is directed to a much younger audience.

In the 1990s, a young man rose to fame and fortune through his music. That young man was Kurt Cobain. At some point, Kurt Cobain was dubbed The Jesus Man, either through his own volition or his fans’, but it stuck.

On April 8, 1994, at 27 years old, Kurt Cobain took his own life, leaving behind his wife and young daughter. Later, the suicide note he had left behind was published. It was filled with all the reasons why. Summed up, it said No one was listening; not even his fans. They were not hearing what he was trying to convey in his music, which led to unfathomable frustration.

Outside of his fan base, most people didn’t even know who Kurt Cobain was until he had grasped the brass ring of stardom. By that time, most people only saw what was on the exterior of this extraordinary, deep-thinking soul lost in a world of chaos of which he could not make sense. And worse yet, in his mind, could not get his fans to understand him as a person and all the things he really represented.

He was seen by the older generations as a drug-addicted malcontent who was a bad influence on the children. The fans consumed his misery and unsettled soul like blood sucking vampires. His public image was distorted; not at all what he wanted his fans to feed on. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to say all the things his soul was feeling, but he could not get the monochromatic world to listen. He was frustrated.

The songs he chose to perform, whether his own or those of others, all had a deep significant meaning to him. They all had something in common. They were all the double-edged sword of spiritual confliction. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Come as You Are, as you were, as I want you to be. The lyrics of this song sound familiar outside of the music world, don’t they? We hear the words that it’s ok to be who you are, it’s safe, don’t worry; and then all the worries about falling short come to mind and things go haywire from there.

Lake of Fire (Originally, recorded by the Meat Puppets as a swipe against what they perceived as the hypocritical Christian faith.)where do all the bad people go when they die? They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly. They go to a lake of fire, don’t see them again ‘til the 4th of July.  Kurt Cobain was a huge fan of the Meat Puppets and performed this song often. In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain expressed several times his feelings of guilt. He didn’t feel guilty for what you might think. He felt guilty for being perceived as something he wasn’t, and his inability to live up to it. He wasn’t a drug-addicted malcontent whose soul was destined to be consumed by the vampirical fans of misery. You’ll have to think on this one for a while.

The Man Who Sold the WorldWe passed upon on the stairs...He said I was his friend…Kurt Cobain struggled immensely with his own self-identity. He also struggled with what he believed to be true. In his note, Kurt Cobain spoke about love, empathy, and humanity. This song was about meeting Jesus on the stairway to Heaven. He was surprised by the encounter. (Figuratively speaking) He had come face to face with the man who, in his mind, had sold the world. He says in the lyrics, I thought you died alone a long, long time ago. He felt abandon by Jesus long ago in his tormented life. In the second reference to the man on the stairs, he is referring to himself as the man who sold the world - the man who died alone a long, long time ago.

Kurt Cobain was indeed an extraordinary man in his own right. The world will never have the opportunity to know the true depth of his spirit, and what he desperately wanted - needed - the world to hear; because no one was listening.

When a person reaches the point of spiritual bankruptcy there are only two ways left to go - up or out. Unfortunately, many people choose out because they feel they are not being heard. I will always believe that Kurt Cobain was a good soul, lost to the millions of deaf ears his words were falling on.

When others are speaking, are you listening? Really?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rain Dance

Living on the prairie my whole life, there is nothing as ominous as the black clouds that begin to billow on the horizon. In the far off distance, thunder echoes in the sky, as though a voice to announce the coming of something powerful. Lightning streaks from cloud to cloud, as though it is clearing the way for this powerful force of nature. The air becomes dense, permeated with moisture before the first drops of rain ever fall. The once gentle breeze is pushed across the plains, gaining force and speed. The sun seems to no longer shine, hidden behind the immense shadow of impending - change. The only thing we are left with is the sound of the beating of our own hearts.

Often change has been compared to the impending thunderstorm. We don't know what change holds, we only know that we don't know. In that storm there could be the unpredictable tornado that will wreak havoc on our lives; or perhaps there will be baseball-sized hail that will punch holes in our best built plans. We hold our breath until the only thing we can hear is the sound of the beating of our own hearts.

In the silence of those moments before the storm, something begins to take shape and form within ourselves. Electricity streaks from synapses to synapses. Blood begins to rush, coursing through veins and arteries. And, somewhere in the midst of the defense line that forms, the heart becomes the drum by whose beat we dance.

As the rain is unleashed from the skies above, our feet begin to pound in unison with the beat of our drum. Water splashes, as our faces are illuminated by the lightning in the sky above. We turn around and around, spreading our arms wide to greet the coming change. The beat begins to increase with pace and intensity, and our mouths stretch open to taste the droplets as they bounce on our tongue. Hair glistens, drenched in the water as it washes over us.

The thunder roars, melding with our voices as the ancestral cry surges into the atmosphere. The wind howls, in submission to the breath of ascendancy. The beads of change intermingle with tears of joy sliding down our cheeks, creating the interwoven mandala of spirit and creation. We have become the masters of our own storm.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivian Greene

"The mandala is one of the most powerful American Indian items, being a descendant of the plains Indian dance shield and medicine wheel. Prayers for survival, spiritual blessings, powerful visions, physical protection, and long life go into the making of the traditional mandala as it represents the interwoven threads of creation, and the wonder of diversity in Mother Earth."

Triquetra Celtic Symbol Mandala: 

"The Latin meaning for triquetra is "three-cornered." It's also the symbol for the holy trinity. Being a holy sign, this Celtic symbol is perfect for mandala meditation. It stills the chattering as our focus is funneled to the center of the triquetra. Once centered, we are able to feel the connection with the spiritual trinity, and thus become one with the source of power."

We are not so different after all.