Tag Archives: Beem Weeks

Fuschia Phlox Releases New Music!

Rating: ★★★★

Fuschia Phlox is a multi-talented musician, writer, and artist from Salisbury, England—with a detour through the Greek island of Paros. This world traveler has recently released a new album of original music entitled 2020.

Her sound combines many interesting elements from multiple genres. There’s a bit of pop and alternative mingled with folk-ish vibes. There’s even threads of EDM running through some of these tracks.

“Crysalis” is perhaps my favorite track in this collection. It contains a rich, mournful tone that remains with me long after I’ve finished listening. Other standouts here include “Kiss Like This”, “The Constant Reach”, and “Just”.

The vocals really shine on these songs. Her lyrics tell stories of life and living and existing in this world today. This is an artist worthy of your attention.

 

Hear Fuschia Phlox Music:

SOUNDCLOUD: Fuschia Phlox

 

Find Fuschia Phlox on Social Media:

TWITTER: @FuschiaPhlox

WEBSITE: Fuschia Phlox

YOUTUBE: Fuschia Phlox

INSTAGRAM: Fuschia Phlox

 

Dying for a Kiss (A Short Story)

Dying for a Kiss

 

It’s like one of those stories you’d read about in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. I mean, who ever heard of anybody dying from a kiss? Seriously! But that’s what happened to me—well, except for the dying part. Two weeks in the hospital—that’s the souvenir I brought back from my spring break.

Okay, let me back up to the beginning.

My parents’ hushed words pierce the wall that separates their bedroom from mine. This particular conversation doesn’t warrant status as an argument, though. And believe me, I know what their arguments sound like—lots of yelling, and maybe an ashtray or a bowling trophy gets thrown by Mom. I guess I’d classify this one as just another log of disappointment tossed on the bonfire that engulfs our family—our collective lives.

Dad is a dreamer. The problem is, dreamers make promises they’ll eventually have to break. He’s also the sort of man who’ll spend his last five dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets instead of household necessities, like food, or gas—or our long-planned excursion to Disney World during spring break.

Dad’s the one who sets it in stone over breakfast in our kitchen—Dad, because Mom refuses to play the bad parent anymore.

“Sorry, kids,” he tells me and my sister, Amanda. “We just can’t afford Disney at this time.”

Amanda, being nearly two years older than me, carries a heavier burden of disappointment than I do. She’s had more time to gather her own collection of tales regarding broken promises, cancelled plans, and the jettisoned idea of ever being a normal, well-adjusted family.

“I figured as much,” Amanda mumbles, dismissing herself from the table.

Dad tries to be sincere in his attempt to save spring break. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t go somewhere that’s almost as fun and exciting.”

When Dad speaks of somewhere, it’s usually a state-park campground in some far-flung forest up north.

Amanda hollers from the living room, “Just so you know, Daddy, I hate camping.”

I don’t hate camping—though it doesn’t exactly make my top-ten list of fun things to do.

*      *      *

A little backstory.

My parents met at a Beatles concert back in 1964. Mom claims love at first sight.

Dad, well, he’s been known to dispute her recollections on the subject. He’s fond of saying, “She had the hots for John Lennon, is all. I’m just the booby prize.”

Hippies, they were—and still are, even though it’s 1979 now. They only just recently (as in one year ago) got married—despite the fact that Amanda is almost fourteen and I’m already twelve. And though they’d both been college students when they met, neither has ever collected the degree they once intended to earn.

Mom works at the IGA as a cashier—minimum wage, with practically zero opportunity to advance into a higher tax bracket.

Dad? He’s dabbled in various occupations—sales, electronic repairs (TV’s mostly, maybe a few stereos), welding, landscaping, auto repair. Nothing ever really sticks for him, though. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) refers to my father as professionally unemployable. Granddad still blames him for making a mess of Mom’s life. They don’t speak, Dad and Grandpa.

Dad’s a good guy, though. He means well. He’s just not one for responsibilities.

So, anyway, the folded map of Michigan comes out, spread across the kitchen table. Mom eyes the places circled in red—those previous vacation spots. We’ve been all over the state: Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Traverse City during the cherry festival, Holland for Tulip Time. We even spent a few days on Mackinac Island three summers ago—though we didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel.

“It’s Andrew’s turn to choose,” Mom says, dropping the big decision in my hands.

Hiawatha National Forest had been my first choice the last time my turn came up. But Dad broke his foot, which cancelled our vacation that spring.

“The Upper Peninsula, it is,” Dad says.

Amanda despises me in this moment. “I told you I hate camping.”

*      *      *

Radio songs fill the van once we hit US 27 going north. The Bee Gees squawk about a tragedy twice before we’re even on the road for forty minutes.

“I hate that song,” Amanda complains.

Dad says, “Well, I like it.”

Mom tries to lighten the mood. “I spy with my little eye—”

“Please don’t!” Amanda begs. Without warning, she socks my shoulder, yells, “Slug bug red!”

“Ouch!” And just like that, it’s on. We’ll both of us be battered and bruised by the time we spy the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

“Slug bug green!” Thwack!

“Slug bug blue!” Thwack!

“Slug bug—oh, never mind. That’s not a VW.” Thwack!

“Hey! No fair!”

Blondie sings about her heart of glass and Amanda momentarily abandons our game—just long enough to sing the few lines she actually knows.

Many hours later, I’m the one who spots the top of the Mighty Mack! “I see the bridge,” I say, hoping it’ll irritate Amanda.

But in truth, she doesn’t mind losing this game. It’s not a thing to her anymore. She’ll leave us the day she turns eighteen—or even sooner, if she has her way. Grandpa promised to pay for her college, knowing my parents will never be able to afford it.

Evening spikes the sky with an orange-pink sunset by the time we find a campground inside Hiawatha. Dozens of tents and RV’s occupy the prime camping spots.

“Andrew and I will set up the tent,” Dad says, parking our van on the last vacant lot within sight. “You girls can get dinner ready.”

Kids—loud and rowdy, as Grandpa would say—run from lot to lot, chasing after somebody’s collie, darting across the road without so much as a glance in either direction.

“Too stupid to last long in this world,” Amanda says.

Mom gives her the eye. “They’re just kids, for crying out loud, Mandy.”

*      *      *

“Andy and Mandy,” the girl teases, laughing at our introductions. “That’s cute. Are you two twins or something?”

“Or something,” Amanda says.

Her name is Nora, this girl with short brown hair. Already fourteen—unlike Amanda, who still has another month. The tents across the street are her family’s—it’s their collie running wild.

“Five kids,” Nora says, answering my mother. “I’m the oldest. Three younger brothers and a baby sister.”

“Sounds kind of crowded, that many people in just two small tents,” I observe.

She looks right at me when I speak—like I’m really truly here, standing in front of her.

“You don’t know the half of it,” says Nora. “I asked if I could just stay home, sit out this vacation. That’s not happening anytime soon.”

*      *      *

Blue jean shorts and a red bikini top—that’s what Nora wears the following morning. And a pocket full of salt water taffy—which she gladly shares.

Mom’s not impressed. “Leaves little to the imagination,” she says, regarding Nora’s top.

“But you and Daddy used to skinny dip,” Amanda reminds her. “So how is that better?”

Mom’s hard gaze issues silent threats. Her words aren’t quite as harsh. “Aren’t you kids going boating?”

It’s not really a boat, this thing we rent; it’s more like a canoe—but only plastic. I sit in the rear, my paddle steering us toward the middle of the lake. Amanda has the other paddle, though she’s not really doing anything with it.

Nora sits in the middle—facing me!

I think Amanda is intimidated, not being the oldest for a change.

Nora talks—a lot. But I don’t mind. She tells us all about life back home in Detroit—well, the suburbs, really, a place called Royal Oak. She used to have a boyfriend, but he cheated on her. Her parents separated last year, intending to divorce, but her mom ended up pregnant.

“Amazing how an unborn baby can save a marriage,” Amanda says.

It’s after we bring the canoe in that Nora says, “Wanna go for a walk?”

Only, she’s not talking to Amanda. Amanda is already halfway back to our tent.

We end up in a picnic area near the lake, just me and Nora. She tells me more about herself, her family, what she intends for her future.

“You’re cute,” she says, sitting right beside me on a park bench.

My cheeks get hot, probably bright pink.

And she’s two years older than me, I think, as her lips press against mine.

My first kiss—well, first real kiss.

On her tongue I taste salt water taffy and excitement and all things possible.

What I don’t taste is the meningitis in her saliva.

Amanda intrudes, tells me lunch is being served at our tent.

*      *      *

It strikes without warning, leaving me confused, nauseated. Words tumble from my mouth, though I have no idea what I’m saying.

Mom’s hand finds my forehead. “He’s burning up,” she says. “We need to get this boy to a hospital.”

Only, I don’t hear it that way. What I hear is, “We need to get this boy a pretzel.”

“But I don’t like pretzels,” I mumble.

*      *      *

Two weeks later, I’m back home. It’s a blur, but my parents say I nearly died.

From a kiss!

Is that a Ripley’s story or what?

And what a kiss—totally worth dying for!

Well, almost dying.

© 2019 Beem Weeks

Comes This Time To Float Blog Tour! @StephenGeez

Greetings to all readers! Join me in welcoming author Stephen Geez to The Indie Spot today, as we celebrate the release of his new short story collection entitled Comes this Time to Float. Take it away, Mr. Geez. . . 

 

Salutations!

Hey! You’ve made it to day 16 of my extended blog tour! I would like to thank my esteemed host, Author Beem Weeks, for sharing some blog space today. I hope to interest you story-likers in trying my first book in way too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez. You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

 

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

 

The Promo Video

 

Today’s Sample: “Veneer”

In the end, bad weather turned out to be what pierced the veneer.

 

Two uniforms pounded on the door, demanding entry and using her name like they had a right. She remained frozen, barely breathing, her stroke-addled leg throbbing, finger twitching on the trigger of Daddy’s rifle.

 

Bam bam bam! “Mizzus Heidway!” came the door-muffled call of Sheriff Dander, his voice a rumble under that drone of wicked downpour shotgunning the tin roof. “Now, y’alls got to come with us! They’s evacuatin’ the whole valley!”

 

Twenty years since Mama died and left her the house, twenty years since Iris came back to live the South Alabama life she’d fled hoping never to return, twenty years running all her errands in nearby towns to avoid in-yer-business local busybodies, yet now these uniforms had the gall to come uninvited right onto an old woman’s property.

 

“If you’re in there, you’s got to come out now!”

 

Nothing is what she ever got to do, especially for two bullies with badges. She’d seen Sheriff Dander on the news a few times, always under investigation for some kind of brutality. Seems like the kind of person who wants to be a cop is the one who has no business being one.

 

Letting her screen door slam, the intruders retreated into a frenzy of rain. Iris Heidway hobbled to the window and peeked through the curtains. A county van packed with busybodies turned around, then rocked and swayed its way back up the hill, splashing through a frantic gravel-washer streaming down the rutted road. She couldn’t see herself climbing in with that mob, or wedged between all those so-and-so’s at some makeshift shelter, everybody grabbing and hugging, you’ll be okay honey this’ll be over soon anything you need just let us know . . .  Touchers pretend they’re doing something for you, but they’re the ones tricked by a fool’s notion of connection. Anybody lays a hand on Iris Heidway, he’ll be lucky to get it back.

 

 

The Whole Story

I’m adding each day’s story to my blog. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

 

The Audio-short

Okay, find “Veneer” along with the other two in my YouTube channel, precise link on my blog today.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA2kP6eBIs7nUtOzrH7ObBw

 

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/comes+this+time+to+float?_requestid=1776240

 

https://www.amazon.com/Comes-this-Time-Float-Stories-ebook/dp/B0846WY2HZ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=comes+this+time+to+float&qid=1582276112&sr=8-1

 

Other Places I Lurk

https://twitter.com/stephengeez

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

https://StephenGeez.com

https://StephenGeez.Wordpress.com

 

 

Once Upon a Record Store

 

Kids today. . .

It’s a common refrain uttered by countless older generations when discussing a younger, newer one. Sometimes the speaker may be complaining that these kids today don’t appreciate how good they have it. Other times, a speaker may be lamenting the loss of a past activity that no longer finds favor with the next generation.

It’s this one, lamentation over loss, that put me in mind to write about one such relic that is becoming more difficult to find as the years march forward. The other day I found myself at the local shopping mall. You know, the sort of mall that had been hugely popular during the 1970s, 1980s, and into the 1990s. This mall, originally opened in 1969, remains an easy place to meet my shopping needs. The ownership has maintained a clean and friendly environment that welcomes customers the way it did fifty years ago.

As a teenager, I spent many hours at the mall, shopping, hanging with friends, and flirting with girls. Back in the day, there were stores unique to malls across the country. Hot Sam’s soft pretzels were always a favorite while visiting. As was Orange Julius. Spenser Gifts offered some of the coolest items. While Spencer remains at the mall here, Orange Julius and Hot Sam’s have long-ago fallen by the wayside. So too have the record stores—which is what I want to talk about today.

Kids today. . . they don’t hang out at the mall. In fact, during my recent visit, I found a handful of elderly mall-walkers and a smattering of customers wandering through the near-empty space. There is truth in the fact that kids are kids—no matter the generation. But from one era to the next, certain things may get left behind and forgotten.

Record stores are among those lost to history’s tide. Kids today get their music from the internet. They buy downloads or they stream it—and even downloads are quickly fading. They listen to music that has been compressed and depleted of its full, rich tones and sound. But if you’ve grown up with this as your only source, you haven’t a clue what other possibilities existed once upon a record store.

For those of us above a certain age, we recall fondly a multitude of record stores that once dotted city landscapes across the globe. I remember spending many hours in local record shops perusing the latest albums or listening to the opinions of others regarding this band or that guitarist or who would be touring this year. We’d meet our friends there—or bond with strangers over the latest Led Zeppelin album.

But it wasn’t just about albums. At most record stores, we could find t-shirts and posters and buttons of favorite bands. We’d line up at these stores for tickets to the concerts passing through the area. And I’m not talking about the over-priced events ordered online these days. I remember buying tickets to see Blue Oyster Cult for $8.00 back in 1980. That was the first of many concerts I’ve attended throughout my life. I paid a mere $9.50 to see Ozzy Osbourne in concert—a show that included legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads. Sadly, Rhoads died in a plane crash just six weeks after I saw him. I still carry the memory of being mesmerized by this incredible talent. As I recall, the actual ticket price for the Ozzy show had been just $9.00. I remember being upset that the record store had the nerve to tack on an extra .50 to the cost.

Many were the days when a new album dropped, and I’d be there—early—just as the clerk began stocking the record bins. With the new disc or cassette (or even 8-Track) secured, I’d hang out a little longer, snooping through the import bins or the bargain bins, hoping to mine gold by discovering an album by a great unknown band or singer. The imports were usually those late 1970s and early 1980s British heavy metal bands that I’d read about in the music magazines. This is how I discovered Iron Maiden and Saxon and Motorhead and Tygers of Pan Tang. I lived and breathed metal in those days. Still do.

Sometimes, I’d hang out in the pop music department, over with the Duran Duran or Adam and the Ants albums. Why? Because that’s where the girls were found. I didn’t care for that sort of music, but I knew enough about it to hold a conversation with a pretty girl or two.

Record stores weren’t just for the young, either. I remember many a visit including my mother or father (and even grandparents), who had their own record collections to build upon. They enjoyed country music and rock-n-roll oldies from the 1950s and 1960s. I now possess many of those same albums. I also own CDs from Duran Duran and Adam and the Ants. It all comes back to memories tied to these wonderful stores and to the people who shared this same journey. Back to a time when life didn’t feel too busy or complicated.

Kids today, they’ll never know the joys of the record store, of the people and the culture that sprang from it across many generations. They have it easier, kids today. They can get anything they want simply by pointing and clicking on their smart phone or computer or tablet. But here’s the truth: something always gets lost when life becomes too easy. For many of us, that something is the record store. Gone but never forgotten.

 

Karolina Protsenko – Violin and Piano! Just WOW!

I discovered this young girl, Karolina Protsenko, on YouTube recently. I know nothing of her life story outside of these videos. But I feel driven to share her incredible talent here on the The Indie Spot! This is why I created my blog nearly a decade ago—to share the beauty of art (writing, painting, music) in all of its glorious splendor. Though these songs she covers contain some of the most beautiful lyrics ever written, this girl teaches us that music doesn’t have to contain words to move the soul. I’m not ashamed to admit to having a lump in my throat just listening to these stunning instrumentals. Please, take a moment and listen.

Can’t Help Falling In Love

Hallelujah

Look Who’s Standing in the Spotlight! It’s Forrest Stepnowski!

Hello readers! Today I am excited to welcome Rave Reviews Book Club’s February Spotlight Author to The Indie Spot. Take it away, Forrest. . .

 

Writer’s Q&A

What inspired you to write and become published?

Answer:  Many people have heard me say I like to represent people who are in the “land of misfit toys.” What do I mean by this? When I use the analogy, I am talking about people who do not fit inside the heteronormative, privileged society. Some question if this world still exists. If you look at current politics in the United States, you can see these examples fully. I represent the different; LGBTQ, people of color, the poor, etc. We are all human, however, there are many who are privileged who tend to focus on their own “special needs” and forget to represent all people.

“We the people” does not mean you pick and choose who get civil liberties, or cutbacks in taxes. It means all people, no matter race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or identity. I may be lost in a utopian point of view, but I believe we can care help each other.  As far as why I pursued publishing? Was it to become a world-famous author that would be a NY Times best seller? No, I never imagined my work would elevate to such levels. Not that I would be opposed to it, however, my goal has always been to inspire others to find their voice, to make the world a better place, and to show others they are not alone. I have survived more than most people, so I have been told. I truly believe literary arts help unite people and help them into a world of common ground. When we start to see similarities in each other’s eyes and hearts, we can become united, creating a world that focuses on the greater good. 

 

Excerpts from “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” by Forrest Robert Stepnowski

Human

 

I sit here in the silence, complacent, and meaningless.

Am I but a whisper of make believe, a soldier trapped in a world of turmoil and lies,

I am alone,

I walk through a shadow driven by what I believed to be my calling,

An inspirational relic lost in the memes of my successors,

 

I am lost,

 

I stare at the night sky wondering where I’ve been, trying not to dwell on the should’ves, could’ves, and would’ves,

 

Not knowing what exactly I’m doing wrong and why I walk in pensive dreams of those who may oppose me,

 

I am drowning,

 

I lay my head down trying to escape the nightmares of existence, of a world that still identifies me as the keeper of rainbows and glitter.

 

Forgetting I left my heels and tiaras at home in a closet that I thought I’ve long since escaped in distant memories,

 

a closet which many wish me to return,

 

The Journey continues,

 

I wake up and begin to laugh at the adversity being thwarted at my doorstep, for I have survived this demon before.

 

It attempts to taunt and hinder me, trying to break my will and sparkle,

 

I am my own utopia.

 

They say god doesn’t give you more than you can handle, I am broad shouldered after all,

 

Even the meek can fight the negative blood outpoured from those who say they are true friend,

 

I am humbled.

 

I am captured by rejuvenated thoughts and energy, and begin to rise and embrace new beginnings… 

 

I fly like an eagle, soaring out of the darkness and into the light,

 

For this I say… I am human.

 

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://www.forresttakesajourney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forrestrobertstepnowski

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frstepnowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forreststepnowski

 

Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey (Available on Kindle and Paperback)

 

AUTHOR BIO – FORREST STEPNOWSKI

 

Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, writer, social worker, and performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important it would be to share his work with others, who may have tread similar paths of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes that they find they weren’t alone. Helping others who have been deemed as “different” because of varying sexual orientations or identities to realize that they are not deviants nor are the “against human nature” has always been of grave importance to him. He wants this group of beautiful people to know they are part of a collective, on an island where being different is embraced and accepted.

 

 

 

The Messages From Metatron Tour and Giveaway!

Greetings, readers! Today I am hosting author Devi Nina Bingham on The Indie Spot! We are joining together with Silver Dagger Book Tours to promote the release of Messages From Metatron: A Course in Self-Transformation. Take it away, Nina. . .

10 Commandments for Meditation Practice

Here are my 10 Commandments for Meditation Practice:

Research shows the long-term benefits of meditation to be significant, even life-changing and positively mood altering. People prone to anger and depression are less likely to have meltdowns if they practice meditation, and stress levels are reduced. Though meditation techniques can be learned quickly, it’s no instant fix and requires discipline. But in a world of constant activity, even a little stillness goes a long way. Become mindful of the insight and hope within. 

  1. THOU SHALT MEDITATE SAME DAY, SAME TIME, SAME PLACE.

To be successful, find a comfortable environment and stick with a routine. My office is transformed into a meditation alter each morning and evening. Meditation is a rejuvenating way to start my day, and a relaxing way to end my day, gearing me down for a peaceful night’s slumber. Try different times and places, then decide what is most effective for you. The key is consistency. 

  1. THOU SHALT MAKE ADJUSTMENTS.

No matter how good your intentions, some days won’t allow for commandment #1. A successful meditation practice includes the flexibility to occasionally adjust your schedule. If you have to skip your regular time, try not to miss it altogether. Instead, find a niche earlier or later in the day, even if you have to cut your time a little shorter. Skipping too many days is a slippery slope. Be flexible because perfection isn’t required.

  1. THOU SHALT USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM.

We all begin with the best intentions but schedules can get in the way. Recruit a buddy, local or remote, who is interested in meditation and agree to “meditation check-ins.” A once- a- week email, instant message or even a 5-minute call can spell the difference between success and defeat. Monks and nuns meditate in groups for a reason!

  1. THOU SHALT CREATE YOUR OWN RITUALS.

Seasoned practitioners will tell you their practice evolved as they did, so know your methods will change over time. Don’t let conventions dictate your practice, it should be as unique as you are. Your meditation style is completely YOUR CALL because you’ve got to use a format that’s right for you. If you meditate best to music, chants, Guided Meditations or Hypnosis, give yourself permission to do it. If you’d rather be outside than in, find your groove under a tree (Buddha did that). If meditating in the dark with candles is your Gothic twist, draw the curtains and enjoy the show. If you’re an eye-open-type meditator, trust your eyes to find their meditative muse (maybe water, a tree, clouds or a field inspires peace). Whatever rituals and location you prefer, if it feels right-go with it. No apologies necessary, meditation should be guilt-free.

  1. THOU SHALT BE HAPPY WITH THE LITTLE THINGS.

There’s a reason it’s called “practice.” Some days you’ll be in the zone and exhilarated and other days you’ll be bored or distracted. Remember, you’re practicing. Meditation is mind training and brains don’t change overnight. As you’re practicing, be excited for the big leaps forward but also acknowledge that tiny steps are forward movement, too. Rome wasn’t built in a day and patience is a virtue.

  1. THOU SHALT ALLOW YOUR MIND TO WANDER.

Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t about clearing or stilling your mind. It’s really about observing what your monkey mind is doing. The restless monkey is going to wander, get bored, complain that it’s sleepy and jump around. It may pick on you, and pick fights-all in your head! The goal of meditation is not to make the monkey sit and stay but to watch the monkey with detached awareness. When you catch the monkey at play, remind it gently to simmer down and observe as it begins to quiet. Concentrate anew on your breath, or on whatever focal point you’ve chosen (like the music, the candle, or the cloud). The point is, your mind will wander because that’s what monkeys do. Don’t be alarmed and but don’t give up, either. It happens to every monkey, even experienced ones.

  1. THOU SHALT RELAX THE BODY.

Begin your meditation with a “body scan.” Your body will “talk to you” if you tune into it: Ask:

  1. Head-Is there any pain, tension or tightness?
  2. Neck and shoulders-Sit erect with arms still and palms facing up. Notice any tension stored in the shoulders and neck. Roll your head from side to side for maximum flexibility.
  3. Torso-Is my stomach in a knot? Am I sitting upright using my best posture, and is my stomach pulled in?
  4. Pelvis-Am I seated as comfortably as possible?
  5. Legs-Are they intertwined or in alignment with my upright spine?
  6. Arms and hands-Are my arms resting comfortably and are my fingers still?
  7. Feet-Are my feet planted firmly on the floor, grounding me to the earth? If sitting in the lotus position, are my feet free from tension and strain?
  8. THOU SHALT BE PATIENT.

It’s easy to think you’re doing it wrong, or think someone else is doing it wrong, or the opposite-that their practice is superior to yours. Instead of criticizing yourself or someone else, be reminded that there is no magic way to meditate. Whatever works for you is the right way. If what you’re doing isn’t working be willing to adjust your approach, benefiting from someone else’s experience. This isn’t a race-you’re not competing with anybody. If you or a friend is making headway, have faith that in time you’ll become meditating superstars.

  1. THOU SHALT LEARN TO BREATH.

Breath work is the core foundation of meditation. Begin each session focused on breathing exercises. Place your full attention and awareness on your breath, shifting from the exterior world to your interior world where meditation really comes alive. Meditation is an exercise in re-focusing, and breath work is the fastest, most time-tested method of getting you to your goal of deep connectedness.

  1. THOU SHALT HAVE A GOOD TIME.

I saved the best commandment for the last. If you’re not having fun then something is wrong because meditation should not be stress-inducing or anxiety provoking. The goal is to alleviate stress-not add to it! If you go easy on yourself, applying patience and allowing yourself to be happy with the small gains, meditation should be a treat you’ll look forward to. Make your practice uniquely yours. Own it, and you’re more likely to stick with it. If you’re having a good time, odds are you are doing it right.

 

Messages From Metatron:
A Course in Self-Transformation
by Devi Nina Bingham
Genre: Non-Fiction
If you liked, “A Course In Miracles” you will love, “Messages From Metatron: A Course In Self-Transformation.” Readers are calling it “captivating” and “astounding.” This channeled masterpiece offers 30 messages from the highest Archangel, Metatron. It includes a Study Guide with questions and exercises for individuals or groups. Devi Nina Bingham has compiled an extraordinary program for self-transformation, assisting men and women in discovering their purpose, or “Life Chart.” In a series of irresistible dialogues, “Messages From Metatron” stretches the limits of what is known about the cosmos to the breaking point. An absorbing read that will convince you of the reality of angels!
AN INTRODUCTION TO MESSAGES FROM METATRON:
Messages From Metatron is a curriculum for those seeking to achieve spiritual transformation. The underlying themes are that humanity is one, and you are an indispensable part of the Cosmic design. It consists of a text and a workbook for students and is created for individual or group use. It is a three-book curriculum teaching a non-denominational and universal spirituality. The language of the course is Christian in nature, yet includes channeled information on such fascinating and thought-provoking metaphysical subjects as:
*A Mother God
*Spirit Guides and Angels
*Enlightenment
*Transgender and Same-Sex
*Soulmates
*Karma
*Intuition & ESP
*The Multiverse, Parallel Universes and Holographic you
* The Oversoul
* The Akashic Record
* The Future.
The Workbook for Students includes 30 lessons that allow you to apply the messages to your life. Study a lesson per day to work through the Course in 1 month’s time! Or, absorb a lesson anytime you need to be reminded of the uplifting messages of love and peace.
This Course in Self-Transformation was channeled by Devi Nina Bingham, MS who describes the Course as “a method to change the world by changing yourself.” Nina earned an AA in Psychology, a BA in Applied Psychology, and completed her MS in Mental Health Counseling program. She is also a master-level Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Certified Sound Therapist using Tuning Fork Acupuncture.

Message 16-Soulmates

“Have you ever felt a strong attraction for someone, even when it was against your better judgement? Have you ever felt comfortable with someone instantaneously, as if you’ve known them forever? These are signs of a karmic tie. You can be tied, or strongly connected to another Soul, energetically; even many Souls in a single lifetime. It is what makes parting with these people extra painful. One part of you will always feel that it’s wrong to part, for your heart has already recorded your history together. The imprint of a Soulmate can cause a strong attraction that defies reason. You will not have just one or two Soulmates; you will have a multitude of Soulmates. And, the more the better, because they will help you learn lessons expediently and allow karma to be reduced quickly. While it may be a daunting proposition to meet more than one Soulmate in a single lifetime, you are blessed to meet them. Nothing works you through quite like a Soulmate.

The characteristics of a Soulmate are simple: you can recognize them because either they will be your teacher, or they will be your student. Lessons can be painful, or lessons can heal you, but Soulmates will reveal your true nature. They will be mirrors that force you to see who you really are. Soulmate relationships are often difficult, turbulent and intense. When they walk away or die, you are left holding the lesson they delivered; many times, they are transient relationships. You will be done assisting them when one of you moves on, whether through a relational breakup, divorce, or death. However it happens, it was supposed to happen as it did; there is freedom in knowing that. Don’t try and force a Soulmate to stay, for perhaps the other has given all their Soul agreed to give. Walk through life with an open hand. Be willing to let go, and in so doing, you set another free. Every exchange, including every tear and joy that your Soulmate caused was a gift to you. If you see relationships as a tool for your development, you’ll be grateful for the sunshine but also for the rain. Try not to be bitter. Remember-they have fulfilled their sacred contract with you, and you must honor that which is sacred between you. Soulmates come in the form of family, friends, or lovers. It’s easiest to sense a Soulmate in a lover because of the undeniable, magnetic pull you feel towards them. Your family members are Soulmates, especially parents and children. You may be asking: why did I pick people so challenging? When constructing your Life Chart, you contract with other Souls to “play a part” in each other’s lives. You even agree on the severity of the test or lesson. You may pick the most troublesome Soulmates as family members for the express purpose of expediting your Soul’s growth. For this reason, you may have a different temperament than family members and a different agenda.

Ah, the agenda…let’s discuss this crucial aspect of the Soulmate connection, because the agenda plays a pivotal role in karmic ties. Each of you has a set of characteristics that defines you called a personality. You also have a temperament, either outgoing or easy going. Your personality, or the way you express yourself in the world, can vary greatly from life to life. In one incarnation you may be an introverted female while in the next you are an extroverted male. The agenda I referred to are the events, or the fixed script that the Soul must follow during a lifetime. This script is written by your Soul for your Soul, with the cooperation of Soulmates, and is authorized and orchestrated by your Oversoul.

Once your agenda is approved on the Other Side, you carry this plan into your next incarnation, but the details of these relationships are up to you. Most day-to-day decisions aren’t written in the script, so you find yourself ad-libbing a lot. This is probably why you feel confused or frustrated, because nobody said figuring it out was going to be easy! This is where the Soulmate attraction becomes helpful. Because you have a karmic tie with a Soulmate, your Soul feels an instant recognition-you have discovered a special person. There’s that magic moment of: “There you are!”. You’ll experience feelings of immediate comfort, familiarity or attraction. This magnetic pull is the glue that will bond you until you complete your contract. Parting may seem wrong, unfair, or like you have unfinished business, because you do. One of you may feel the karma stronger than the other; one Soul may unconsciously “remember” past-life bonds, insisting that it shouldn’t end. Indeed, for them, the work between you feels urgently incomplete, unfinished. But you will see that Soul in another incarnation in a different form. It’s helpful to remember that Soulmates are a blessing, whether they have been pleasurable or painful, because they helped you learn something. Never think that a Soulmate was a waste of time, nothing could be farther from the truth. Together, you’ve ingeniously engineered it so that eventually, over many lifetimes, you will both come to terms with the ultimate lesson, for: “As above, so below” (Matthew 6: 9). At present, you may be suffering many unfinished situations, but no matter, for one fine day all will be well between you. Until then, remember to make your words tender (for in another lifetime you may have to eat them).

It can be difficult to give thanks for the most painful experiences you’ve had. Yet, the advanced Soul sees beyond the pain to the lesson learned. Give thanks, for every lesson taught you something valuable. When you look back, ask yourself: “What did I learn from this Soulmate, and, what did I teach this Soulmate?” There’s something to be learned from every person. Maybe you learned what not to do, or maybe you learned about the nature of evil. Maybe you learned how it feels to be a victim. Maybe you learned how to forgive. Maybe this Soulmate taught you to be what you said you’d never become. All of it-even the destruction will be used, collected like pieces of a puzzle, gathered back together on The Other Side for your betterment. You can’t possibly tell which Soulmate will be the most important. You might be surprised to find that the most horrific of them caused you to grow the most. The ones who taught you not to trust caused you to have to trust again, and the ones that caused you to close the door are the same ones who, in time, caused you to be strong enough to open that door. All Soulmates will come into your life when you need them, leaving you with a tremendous gift, sometimes painful, sometimes pleasant-but always essential for your Soul’s perfecting.”

LESSON 16-Learning From Soulmates

The characteristics of a Soulmate are simple: you can recognize them because they will either be your teacher, or they will be your student.”

It is said that in relationships we are either the teacher or the student. If you look closely at the significant relationships in your life, you’ll be able to see what role you played, though most people don’t assess and examine their relationships that closely. For example, it’s only when a couple enters counseling do they become aware of their patterns, the unconscious “intimacy dance” they do. Even friendships have long-standing dynamics and patterns. Usually, one person tends to be the leader and the other the follower. It’s important to become aware of the role you play, and if you don’t like that role, work to change the dynamics.

Soulmates will cause you to see your true nature. They will be a mirror which forces you to see who you really are.”

Soulmates can bring out the best in us, but they can also bring out the worst in us. We feel free to be ourselves around Soulmates, for they love and accept us as we are. But as the adage says: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Often, we hurt those who love us most because we trust that they will never leave us. Soulmates draw to the surface that which needs to be improved within us. Like a mirror, we can look at how we treat them to judge how far we’ve come. Like Ram Dass said: “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

It can be difficult to give thanks for the most painful relationships you’ve had. And yet, the advanced Soul sees beyond the pain to the lesson learned.”

Life lessons are learned over time; maturity is a lifelong endeavor. We learn several ways: by getting enough information or education, but often we learn the hard way-when it hurts bad enough that we are forced to change. When life is painful, we must endeavor to find the lesson hidden within the circumstance. When something hurts, there’s something yet to be learned.

EXERCISE 16-Learning Life’s Lessons

List the significant people in your life, and beside each name, write whether you feel you are predominantly the teacher or the student. Write what you think you are teaching them, and/or what lessons they’ve been teaching you. Write down why you are grateful for them, or grateful for the lesson you learned.

Study Questions: Metatron says all Soulmates are important, even the painful ones, because they help us work through our karma quickly. What life lessons do you suspect you are working on? Discuss a life lesson you had to learn the hard way.

 

(Devi) Nina Bingham is an award-winning Author, Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Sound Therapist and life voyager. She strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue. Nina earned an AA in Psychology, a BA in Applied Psychology, and completed her MS in Mental Health Counseling program. Nina lives with her dog and can be found paddling her kayak on Arizona lakes where he serves as the fearless captain.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Book Release – Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno

Greetings, one and all!

If you’ve been following along this past week and a half you probably already know that this is the day that everything has been leading to.

During day one we introduced you to the ingredient of Purpose. Adonis Mann brought up, “Express-Oh”.

Day two we took a look at Commitment via Carol Cassada’s contribution, “Not Always Like This”.

On day three it was all about Consequences; we delved deep into this ingredient via Harmony Kent’s story, “The Fireman”.

Day four examined Love with Beem Weeks’ tale, “The Complications of Fire”.

Day five was overtaken by the ingredient of Reinvention as told by C. Desert Rose’s story, “Calliope’s Inferno”.

Day six told us that Tenacity was an important ingredient no matter what the circumstance through Y. Correa’s, “Moxy”.

Day seven touched on how the ingredient of Risk can be as scolding as any through Synful Desire’s, “Antipode”.

Day eight cleverly showed how Conviction was as good ingredient as any to keep the fire roaring. Da’Kharta Rising showed us how in “The Chronicles of Aidan”.

And last but never-ever least, Queen of Spades indubitably demonstrated how Empathy is the most powerful of ingredients when maintaining our soul’s fire burning in, “The Calefaction of Insight”.

Now that the picture has become clear and Inferno’s stew is bubbling, come serve yourself us a bowl. Come get your copy of, “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”.

 

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

Ingredient 9 of Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno! EMPATHY by Queen of Spades

Day 9 of the Concordant Vibrancy Blog Tour.  The final is author Queen of Spades.
The Kindling
The creation of my submission for Inferno stemmed from an unusual place. Unusual in that I was working on a different story for this project. While working on the original story, an event occurred that I concluded only took place in the thick of my poetry writing—I lost the frequency that the story coasted on.
In order to better understand this, I must give a glimpse between what my approach to writing poetry is like versus essays and story writing.
When I write poetry, it’s an unplanned thing. It’s uncaring of the time of day or what else I have going on. When the inspiration strikes, I have to get the words down right at the moment. Flow, meaning, and rhythm can get lost if I don’t complete the process right then and there.
Typically, with essays and story writing, I have an outline and set rhythm in my head. One that I can return to whenever I get ready. All I have to do is sit down and get the words down. I never had to worry about the algorithm going awry … until recently.
It’s comparable to a GPS malfunctioning when one is halfway at the destination. No matter how many times one re-calibrates the machine or how many time it recalculates, you’re stuck with nowhere to go.
On top of that, the area lacks WiFi and one’s cell phone has just two bars.
For the first time in my short story writing career, I declared the original story a no-go but didn’t have a backup on hand to take its place.
This was around mid-April. Mid May arrived. Still no spark to guide me to an answer to the theme question:
What are the ingredients to a sustainable blaze?
In late May, I went on a personal sabbatical to Ocean City, Maryland. Solo vacations serve to be inspirational as well as invigorating. I read a lot of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. I did some personal journaling, awaiting the arrival of the short story muse.
He (I only call the short story muse He when I’m annoyed) was being ornery.
One June day—Juneteenth to be exact—an image formed in my mind. It was of a person sleeping on his back. The ceiling had a water spot. Condensation was forming.
I opened my word processing application and typed. It came out in present tense, one I had never dabbled in but felt right for what was developing.
Not too long after, a name. Keller.
Up until I finished the story, the working title was Keller. Another staple for me is to already have the title either near the beginning or in the middle.
Nothing about this was my signature.
After doing a preliminary read—immersing in the words as a reader not an author—I thought, “This is a pretty insightful work. Keller experienced varying degrees in his perception of himself and other people.”
Insight … Insight … Insight. That could work as part of the title. Keller’s Insight? It was better than Keller but I still believed there was something missing. I wasn’t accounting for the temperature of his thoughts nor the heat of them.
Hence The Calefaction of Insight.
The Accelerants
 
 
The Calefaction of Insight is told in present tense by the main character Keller with bits of independent narration interwoven. Keller is a man who struggles with his weight. He is part of a group whose goal is to encourage him to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
An initial accelerant is “Mr. Jack Off”. A disagreement between Keller and “Mr. Jack Off” is where Keller’s tale begins.
What starts off as an activity challenge blossoms into much more when Keller encounters a woman at the park he refers to as “Goddess”. His interactions with her bring forth positive changes that are noticeable to everyone.
These positive vibes are met with negative accelerants. Some are external forces while others are of his own manufacturing.
The Fuel Which Binds
 
 
Overall, The Calefaction of Insight is a mirror on modern day issues (fat acceptance vs. fat shaming, illness and the surrounding stigma, perception of self vs. perception of others) and an ongoing battle of the mind, heart, and spirit.
No matter where one is in life, the presence of empathy is the differential between keeping one’s flame going and having one’s fire dissolve into embers.

Ingredient 8 of Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno! CONVICTION by Da’Kharta Rising

Day 8 of the Concordant Vibrancy Blog Tour.  Next up is author Da’Kharta Rising.
What’s good? The SASS here. I normally don’t get out of my cave but when I do it’s for a good reason. Also, when my publisher dictates I have to make an appearance.
However, I do like to talk about myself. Simply because I write pretty kick-ass stuff. Yes, it’s for a specific audience but it doesn’t make it any less killer.
Out of all the Concordant Vibrancy themes, this one spoke to me the loudest. Not because the title is “Inferno” but because it deals with fire. Fire is my favorite element, which you didn’t even know about me.
When it came to my response to the question, I originally concocted a literal perspective, dealing with a dragon and phoenix. Well, it wasn’t any dragon and phoenix. They were very entertaining characters, and the story was a mix of drama and humor, which would have been a big out-of-the-box leap for yours truly.
However, my main characters were getting off track and trying to steal my thunder. Therefore, a quarter of the way through, I abandoned those noisy, wayward animals. Not to say they won’t get their own independent spotlight a bit later, but they did not suit the succinctness I was going for.
You know me by now. I’m the type of writer that is like a strong drink. Little to no ice and no extra stuff to cut through the potency of the main integrant. Or for those who don’t drink alcohol, like a piece of lean meat. Little to no fat, although I think fat is yummy.
If you don’t like meat … um, then I’m all out of comparisons.
Let’s move this along, shall we?
Axing the idea so close to the deadly was a risky move but I was convinced that it would pay off.
See what I did there?
That is the thing about conviction. It is a powerful ingredient in the human existence. It acts as pliable clay, possessing the ability to warp perception and reality. The foundation and steadfastness of conviction marks humanity’s temperature. In my analysis, it is why there’s ease in starting an inferno but challenge in dousing the flames.
My contribution to the anthology, “The Chronicles of Aidan”, begins when Aidan starts speaking on the sad condition of the world to anyone who hears. Fearing that his opinions are signs of a mental break, Aidan is placed in a facility that’s supposed to tackle his ailment.
Dissatisfied with the bleakness of his surroundings, Aidan receives permission to decorate the walls by convincing the facility’s board and psychiatrist Dr. Deitrich that it aids in his therapy.
Through Aidan’s day to day, several events happen which makes one question the power of a mind’s conviction.
Find out more by reading “The Chronicles of Aidan”.

DR