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The little girl waived good by believing she had done a good deed.

As he wiggled out of the cocoon and slowly slipped into the light he didn't feel quite right. He was wet so he spread his wings to dry them. Then looking up into the robin-egg blue sky dotted with cotton candy clouds, he took a leap to fly up and meet them. Sadly he fell, with a dull thud to the ground. His fall made the dirt poof up around him, choking him and covering his beautiful blue-gray coloring. He lay there frozen in shock and disbelief.

When he came to his senses he thought, "What happened? I should have gone up not down. This is awful. All that dust has stuck all over me. I can't see my beautiful coloring. I don't know what to do. I must find someone to help me." He spread his wings which were now weighed down with the dust. He took a couple of steps with his tiny feet, fluttered his wings, toppled then stood up and did it again. He kept doing this as he slowly went down the dusty dirt road not sure where he was going.

He came to a pecan tree and saw a gray squirrel twittering to himself.

"Hey!" he said to the squirrel, "My name is Winn, what's your?"

The squirrel looked down from his perch surprised to see a butterfly on the ground. He said, "Hey, my name is Chipper. What are you doing on the ground? You are supposed to be flying on the breeze and landing on flowers, or something like that."

"My wings won't carry me up into the sky. I can't fly! Do you know who can help me get my wings to work? Do you?" Winn said wide-eyed.

"Winn," said the squirrel, shaking his head, "I've never seen a butterfly that can't fly. I don't know how that can be fixed. I'm afraid I can't help you. Maybe you can find someone else along the path." Then Chipper got lost from sight as he scampered into the thick branches of the tree to gather nuts for the winter.

Winn sighed and continued fluttering on the dirt path. In the distance he saw a large animal. As he got closer he heard a low "moooo" and realized it was a cow. She was white with brown spots. A small baby calf that looked just like her stood by her side. They were both eating the soft green grass.

"Hey, my name is Winn. What's yours?"

The cow looked up with a mouth full of grass. "Excuse me just a minute" she said. She finished chewing. "Hey, Winn, my name is Bess and this is my son Tom. Are you a butterfly?"

"Yes, I am, but my wings won't fly. All I can do is kind of flutter and flap and fall down." He flapped his wings as fast as he could to show her what he meant. He made a cloud from the dust that had now dried on his body. As the dust settled you could see some of his beautiful blue-gray markings.

Bess sneezed. Tom sneezed. Winn sneezed.

"My, my," Bess said shaking her head, "You have some beautiful markings under that dust. But I've never seen a butterfly that wasn't able to get off the ground. What do you think happened?"

"When I was in my cocoon I heard this sweet voice say she was helping me. Then, I heard a strange sound and light flooded my cocoon. I came out and dried my wings. When I tried to fly I fell down to the ground. I don't think she helped me by opening my cocoon. I think I needed to do that in order to 'get my wings.' I can't fly. I don't know what to do. Can you help me?"

"Imagine that!" Bess said. "I wish I knew how to help you but I only know about cow things. I don't know anything about butterflies. Maybe someone else on the path will know."

Winn sighed.

"Sorry. And good luck," he heard Bess' voice trail off as he fluttered down the path.

What am I going to do? No one knows how to help me. I don't' know how to help myself. I hate myself! I hate life! I hate everything! After each statement he made Winn felt an energy grow in his body. It made him feel heavier and heavier. He fluttered to the side of the road. His little butterfly legs couldn't carry him any more. He folded up his wings. He lay down in the emerald grass under an apple tree panting from the strain of his own heaviness.

I don't know what to do. It doesn't seem like any one can help me. I must be a bad butterfly for this to happen. Poor me. Poor me.

As he fell into a disturbed sleep he dreamed of big birds chasing him. A big red one swooped down from the sky. His beak was open and --- Winn was jerked awake by his wings flapping wildly. As he opened his eyes he saw a brilliant red cardinal sitting on the apple tree branch right above him. He blended with the red color of the apples. Winn tried to be very still and barely breathed. He wanted to be invisible. But when the bird looked down he saw him. With a twist of his neck he said, "What are you doing down there in the grass, butterfly?"

Winn's heart began to pound and he wanted to fly away, but he couldn't. Then he wished he had a way to fight, but he didn't. He lay heavy and frozen in the grass.

"Hey, butterfly didn't you hear me?" the bird said louder and with a sharper tone, "I asked what are you doing down there?"

Terror grew in Winn. He didn't move. He said nothing.

The red bird opened its beak.

Winn's mind screamed, This isn't a dream, he is going to eat me! He closed his eyes and tightened up his whole body. He was armoring himself to be eaten. But nothing happened. Then he heard a different voice.

"Ralph, what are you looking at?"

"Loeta, hi. I'm looking at one of your kind lying there in the dirt. I've never seen a butterfly do that."

"Oh, I've never seen one like that, either."

Winn opened his eyes and saw a beautiful shimmering pink and orange butterfly perched on the branch next to Ralph, the cardinal.

Winn gathered up all his strength and yelled, "Look out Loeta! He'll eat you! I just dreamed it and now it's coming true!"

Loeta and Ralph looked at each other and started laughing.

Winn yelled at them, "What are you laughing at! Never seen a butterfly without his wings? Someone opened my cocoon before I was ready and now I'm this ugly mess. It's not funny that no one can help me."

Loeta gently hovered above him. She lightly landed next to his trembling body.

"We're not laughing at you. Ralph and I are friends. He wouldn't eat me or you. He eats berries."

Ralph jumped from his perch on the branch and landed gracefully on the other side of Winn.

"I wouldn't eat my friend Loeta, but"---he leaned over Winn, eyeing him up and down-"I might eat a butterfly that can't fly."

He paused, and then said with a grin, "Only kidding."

Loeta swatted at Ralph with a shimmery wing and said, "Ralph I don't think he's in any shape for your sick sense of humor."

She turned back to Winn. "By now you realize that I'm Loeta. My bird- brained friend here is Ralph. What's your name?"

"Winn."

"Nice to meet you, now, what can we do to help?"

"I don't' know. Chipper the squirrel and Bess the cow didn't know how to help me. They told me they'd never seen a butterfly in this kind of shape. I'm beginning to think that I must have done something wrong and I'm being punished. If I knew what it was I'd do my best to make it better. But I don't." Winn stated in a soft whisper as if he had no energy.

Ralph, fluffed his feathers and stated, "Hold on a minute. Your words feel so heavy. Maybe that's what is keeping you grounded." He smirked at the play on words.

Loeta gave him that 'stop it' look.

"Ralph," she said. "You know we don't get negative energy unless something bad has happened. He needs us to understand what has happened and then find a way to help him heal. You don't do that with your smart beak!" Loeta snapped looking at Winn with authority, "Winn what he means by negative energy is that when we are mad, sad or scared our body energy changes. Others can feel it too. It is a very heavy and uncomfortable feeling. It's like you can't move your body because you have no life energy. No one likes to feel that way. No one likes to be around someone who is feeling that way for very long."

"Oh," Winn said as he blinked back some of the dust still in his eyes. "I do feel heavy and dull and lifeless. I don't like it, but I don't know how to get myself out of it." Looking at Ralph, Winn pouted, "And he doesn't help."

"Hurumm!" Ralph cleared his throat. "Sorry, Loeta. Sorry Winn. Sometimes I get too feathered up with myself at other's expense." He paused again. He was thinking! Then he snapped his feathers and stated, "I've got it! We can get him to Nora, the wise old butterfly who lives in the cave at that grass-covered mound, past where the dirt road ends."

"Yes!" Loeta squealed, "Now you are getting brilliant, Ralph."

"Who is this Nora? How can she help me?"

"Winn, Nora is the oldest and wisest of all butterflies. She has probably seen this happen before. She'll know what to do."

"How far is it to the grass covered mound?"

"It is quite a journey. You really need to be able to fly there. I don't think your wings are strong enough to flutter all the way there. Plus you'd have to cross the brook, which means you'd get wet. That wouldn't be good."

Winn looked at her, then at Ralph, "Brilliant, huh? That's just great. You get my hopes up then crash me back into the ground."

Under his breath Ralph said to Loeta, "There he goes again. Makes me want to eat him."

"Shhhh." Loeta said as she waved a wing at him. "I know, Ralph, you can fly him there on your back!"

"W-h-a-t?" stammered Winn. "After all the mean things he has said and done to me?"

"Why should I help him? With his heaviness we might both drop from the sky like a rock."

"Oh, you two! Two negative energies don't make things work better. You're just creating a negative feedback loop. Let's start focusing on a solution to this problem and not create more problems."

"What's a negative feedback loop?" Winn asked.

"A negative feedback loop is when one person is feeling powerless, helpless and hopeless and another person starts reacting in an unhelpful way. Then the other person reacts back because they feel misunderstood. Then the other person reacts to that and the other person reacts to that and... It's like a big circle of negative energy that gets bigger and bigger until someone blows like a volcano!"

"Okay, okay, I get the picture."

Winn and Ralph pouted at each other for a few seconds. Then together said, "Oh, okay."

Winn got on Ralph's back. With Loeta flying next to him they took off. They both argued back and forth.

"Ralph, you're flying too fast."

"No, I'm not."

"Watch out for that hawk."

"That hawk won't hurt us. Besides, I can drop you and take off fast if it comes too close."

"That's a mean thing to say, Ralph."

"Ralph, your flying too high!"

"No I'm not. The wind drafts are better up here. Besides what would you know about flying? You haven't done any."

"Thanks for reminding me."

They flew over the jade green grass, the crystal blue stream and past the dark gray mountains. They flew through pink and yellow tipped clouds. Loeta looked down and breathed in the beauty under her body. She felt lighter, calmer and in control of herself. Every now and then she would shake her head at her two friends. Lost in their negative feedback loop they were missing the beauty and healing power of nature. She said nothing. She remembered one of the lessons Wise Old Nora had taught her:

When you loose your focus and your energy starts getting heavy use you breathe to lighten your load. First you take a breath out. Then, you take a deep breath in while you count to 4. Hold that breath while you count to 7. Then breathe out while you count to 8. Do that 3 times. Then focus back on the task at hand. This time it should be easier. If not then repeat the breathing again. Always do your best first, and then ask for help if it doesn't work. Be patient and loving with yourself. Do the same with others. Learn from mistakes and don't repeat them. Keep your heart full of love and open. Remember fear hides the spirit in a negative feedback loop and only sees a problem. Love creates a positive feedback loop that seeks finding a solution and frees the spirit.

Loeta had been practicing these ideas for over a year. Through this practice she stayed loving, peaceful and patient; most of the time. She appreciated and enjoyed her life. She had a quiet inner connection to the Great Spirit of all things. She knew that, whatever happened, she was all right. She knew the Love of the Great Spirit would always help her find her way. She still got into negative feedback loops but not as often. She liked that.

As Ralph gently landed on the grass-covered mound the sun was beginning to set. The dew had already coated the grass, making it glisten with pinks and reds and oranges reflected from the setting sun.

Winn got off Ralph's back. His eyes were angry as he said sarcastically, "Thanks for all your wonderful negative energy." He threw up his wings and waved them at Ralph, but they were limp and pitiful looking.

"Oh, goodness, will you two stop!" Loeta gasped. "Now let's get going."

The cave was cool and dark. Small lanterns guided them through the twists and turns until they came to a large open chamber.

"Nora," Loeta said in a whisper.

A voice boomed out of the darkness, "Who is calling Nora?"

"It's Loeta. I have brought Ralph and Winn. Winn can't fly. His cocoon was opened before he was ready and his wings won't work."

They felt the rush of a cool breeze then, out of the darkness a gigantic gray-blue butterfly emerged. Her wingspan was at least 10 times that of both Loeta and Winn's. She gracefully and gently floated down, landing in front of them. For once Ralph was beakless. He didn't say anything.

Softly the voice said, "I am Nora, the oldest butterfly, and some say the wisest. Tell me more about what has brought you here?"

Winn cleared his throat which was trying to close off. He thought to himself I'm so scared. She may think it's all my fault and not help me. Oh she might eat me!

"Hurhum. Miss Nora, through no fault of my own I have fallen into a terrible situation. A sweet little girl wanted to help me and opened my cocoon opened before it was time. It must have damaged me. When I came out of my cocoon I could only fall into the dirt. I tried to get help but no one would help me. I don't' know what to do, either."

"If no one would help you, then how did you get here?"

"Uh, oh, well, these two brought me to you. Let me tell you too it was such an ordeal. Ralph kept saying he was going to eat me or let me fall---

Ralph interrupted, "Did not."

Winn replied. "Did too."

Back and forth they went until Nora bellowed, "SILENCE!

Ralph said under his breath but Nora heard, "It's your fault."

Nora moved slowly and powerfully toward Ralph until she was eye to eye with him. She stated, "You own part of the problem between you to keep pointing it out. Telling someone what they are doing wrong only makes them want to defend themselves so they attack back. Then you have to defend yourself so you attack back. You do not help someone heal from a terrible situation by adding to the negative feedback loop."

 

He felt a strong calm presence from her that did not make him feel threatened by what she was saying. She moved away from him giving him more space.

"Ralph, let's you think it is all right to make light and fun of someone who is having difficulty?"

"Winn, keeps you blaming yourself and others for your situation?"

"Neither of you are in your clear thinking."

Ralph snapped, "What about Loeta?"

"Yeah," Winn chimed in.

"Finally something they can agree upon," Loeta said with a smile. Nora smiled too.

"Loeta seems to be the one who stays focused on the task at hand and has her energy balanced. Since her energy is balanced she is seeking solutions, not adding to the problem. She is staying in clear thinking. I'm not sure how she is doing with you two around."

"It's because of what you've taught me, Nora. I don't always stay focused but I'm doing much better. I breathe through my anger with myself or when I blame others for my feelings. I allow my breath to calm my negative energy and focus on the positive things I can do to help myself or others in a situation. If they don't want my help or won't work with me, I breathe into my feelings, honor them and know I've done my best. Then, I go on."

"Yes, and the more you do it, Loeta, the stronger you will become on staying focused and balanced. The more balanced your energy the more you can stay connected to the Great Spirit of All Things. That connection will lead and guide you to what is best for you, which is always Love. When you stay in negative energy you stay in Fear. These are the two main ways we experience life. Since you met Winn you have been coming from Love trying to find a solution for his situation. Ralph has gone back and forth between fear and love: Love because he came up with the idea to bring Winn here. Fear when he says mean things to Winn. My guess is he is afraid you will like Winn more than him. Winn has been terrified not knowing what to do. He is afraid he will never be all right."

Both Winn and Ralph looked at Nora realizing how wise she was. Faced with their own truth they could say nothing.

"Now Winn, you can stay frozen in fear or learn to balance your energy like Loeta. You have the same ability within your self; it just needs to be nurtured. Which do you choose?"

Winn thought about all that had happened. He thought about all he had heard. He remembered how awful he had felt. He didn't like feeling helpless, powerless and hopeless. If he could do something to help himself, he was ready.

"I want to learn to balance my energy like Loeta. I don't like feeling this way. I don't like acting like I've been acting. I want to find my wings. I want to fly!"

Ralph had been quiet. When Winn finished he said, "I don't need to find my wings but I need to learn to balance my energy, too. Can I stay with Winn and learn too?"

Nora looked at Winn and stated, "Winn would that be okay with you?"

Winn looked at Ralph and thought about all they had been through together. A wave of warm energy went through his body. He's just as negative as I am, that's why we fight! Just like Nora said. Suddenly he didn't see Ralph as the enemy but as a fellow traveler on this journey of life.

"I have felt so angry and alone that I haven't been very friendly to you. I'd like to change that. It would be good to have a friend with me."

"Very well! The next two weeks you will learn a new way to live. It will challenge some of the things you have believed. It will require you to give up behaviors that are now habits to you. Like the way Ralph uses humor to hurt and the way Winn uses his problems to whine. Understand this, I can't make you change. You have to make you change. I can't make you learn. I will share with you my wisdom. What you do with it will be up to each of you."

She looked at Loeta, "Come back in two weeks. We will see."

Loeta looked at Ralph and Winn smiling warmly and hopefully. "See you then."

Nora showed them to a classroom with a built in white board and a few chairs. It was large but didn't have much in it. She showed them were to sit.

As they sat they heard a loud noise that made them jump and turn around to where it was coming from. Nora had taken a large metal bat and hit the wall. They looked at each other then back at her.

Ralph spoke up first, "Why did you do that! It scared me so much I almost dropped some feathers"

"Yes, Nora, why did you do that? I shook so hard some of the dust feel off of me." Winn added.

"This is your first lesson." Nora stated as she motioned them to sit back down. "When I did that you both were triggered into a reactive place of fear even though you didn't know why. It happened with out your conscious control. It happened because your body as its own way of thinking."

Still looking puzzled, Ralph stated in his sarcastic tone, "What does this have to do with anything?"

"Yeah!" Winn emphasized taking up with his new friend.

Nora took a deep breath then continued, "The Great Spirit has given us a special part in our brain that protect us and helps us survive. It communicates to the body mind system to keep us safe. When it senses something it does not know or understand it thinks there is danger and mobilizes the body to freeze, fight or run. When things are safe you calm down."

"What if it isn't safe?" Winn questioned

"I made us jump when we heard that noise?" Winn questioned.

"Yes." Nora replied, "We go into a survival place. You noticed first you froze, and then you both looked, not sure yet to run or fight. Once you knew what it was you didn't need to do either. The fight reaction is what you two have been doing with each other since you met. Winn you were scared because you thought that Ralph was going to eat you. So from the beginning you saw him as a threat. Look how long it took before you were calm enough to reach out and be his friend. And Ralph you saw Winn as a threat because you thought Leota would like him more than you. Look how long it took you to want to be his friend. Your fear kept you in a state of stress. When that part is triggered in fear and stress we can't connect to love or relationship.

"But," Winn whined, what does that have to do with why I can't fly?"

Nora flew over to a table. There was a cloth on it. She picked it up and motioned for Winn to come to her. Using the cloth she began to wipe away the dirt from his body. As she did Winn felt a tingling in his whole body? As the cleaning revealed his beautiful blue/black markings his wings felt lighter. He moved them back and forth slowly at first then faster until his feet lifted off the floor.

"Nora! Ralph! I'm flying! He squealed in delight. "How did this happened?"

Nora smiled as she continued, "When you didn't feel right you became afraid. You froze in fear. Then you ran first to the squirrel then the cow. When they couldn't help you gave up and collapsed. When you saw Ralph you believed he was going to eat you, so you started fighting for your life. Loeta was not been a threat to you. You could feel the love in her. She connected to both of you helping your both to come back to a calmer place. That helped you both become more connecting to the good thinking part of your brain enough to see each other in a different light. Winn you have been so focused on the problem as something outside of you, you forgot to look within. I don't think you realized that in time with exercising your wings they would become strong enough to fly. But the more you struggled the more the dirt stuck to you and the heavier and more fearful you became. The solution was within you all along. We just helped guide you toward it. Your calmness allowed you to reach out and connect with us. Until you were in a calmer place you couldn't feel us reaching out to help you.

Two weeks later Loeta returned. She heard the familiar voices of Ralph and Winn going back and forth with each other. She thought oh, no. Suddenly, a red streak whooshed by her.

"Hey, Ralph!" She yelled at him as he shot skyward into the blue sky with cotton candy clouds.

"Wait for me, Ralph!"

Then she saw a bluish blur wiz by.

"Hey, Winn! Way to go!" She yelled as she saw him shoot skyward.

Nora came to the entrance of the cave.

"Nora, Winn has his wings!"

"Yes he and Ralph have learned how to fly together."

They both watched as Ralph and Winn chased each other laughing and teasing each other in a healthy balanced way. Then they looked at each other with sparkling eyes and smiled knowing the power of relationships and connection.

Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a relationship coach, authoress and speaker whose powerful message for women is "It's time to stop waiting for permission to be all that we can be(without being a bitch about it)." Her inspiring message helps women harness their personal power, find peace within and become part of the shift in creating healthier and more loving relationships, beginning with the one with their self. In order to honor someone else's heart you must first honor your own.

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