The Thrill of New Beginnings!

by Sheila Stephens

How exciting it is to announce that my fun new writing book, ADVENTURES IN WRITING 101, is now available on amazon.com! I hope it brings everyone years and years of enjoyment as writing dreams come true. I also look forward to the Writer’s Talks and Workshops I’ll give to groups along my writer’s path. You can book them through email at FlowersOfTheSpirit.com. Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way! 

 
IT’S A THRILL TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!

IT’S A THRILL TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!

 

 Under this popular master teacher’s guidance your writing will take off and shine! Step by step, Sheila Stephens helps you dive in, break the often confusing writing code and quickly write with surety, purpose and passion. From tips for getting started in your jaunty Writer’s Tree House, to learning the Jazzy Art of Brainstorming, to finding the Story’s Circle, to creating Metaphors as powerful as Meteors, and even Endings as memorable as a Good Night Kiss - and much more - Stephens teaches you how to put the Zing, Compassion and the Power of stellar Insights into stories, books, articles, speeches, newsletters and blogs that you’ll be proud to call your own.

 
I WANT TO THANK ALL MY WRITING STUDENTS.

I WANT TO THANK ALL MY WRITING STUDENTS.

 

Considered “The Story Whisperer,” Stephens speaks to us of writing and of life: “Imagine what it would be like to actually place a star in the sky. A star that would shine brightly, would guide travelers in their journeys, and would take its place in the firmament to inspire yourself and others. In my my 3 decades of teaching beginning and advanced writers alike, I’ve seen many stars brighten the night sky, so I love sitting at that campfire. With these easy how-to concepts and fun examples and exercises, you’ll soon be sharing the unique ideas that whisper to you and don’t let you go.”

Published in the Mountain Times newspaper, Sheila Stephens’ column, “Adventures in Writing 101,” entertained and informed her students and the public before she adapted it into book form. Nominated for the prestigious Nina Mae Kellogg Writing Award, Stephens became an international award-winning poet, a writing teacher to all ages, an owner of an advertising/communications agency and also a writing columnist for the Sherwood Gazette. Widely published in books & magazines, her own books include The Mystery School of Grief, and The Art of Prayer & Tea & Thee. She felt grateful to grow up in the Mt. Hood National Forest area and now lives in the Pacific Northwest near her sons.


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The Gift Box of New Beginnings

by Sheila A. Stephens

(If you haven’t heard from me for a while, it’s because I’ve been writing a new book, but I plan to share these fun “Bloomin’ Stuff” thoughts about everyday creativity more regularly now. Enjoy!)

One of the secrets of life is to practice finding joy within our everyday projects. From planning a sun-filled getaway, to relishing our next fishing trip, to pulling off a good birthday party, or building something with wood, or glass, or taking a senior for a drive - whatever Dreams call to us and ask us “to pull it off,” the essentials remain. In most everyday kinds of projects, there is an inspiring Beginning, a mighty Middle and hopefully a celebratory Ending. To ignore these different “seasons” within our project is to miss some valuable essentials that build us from within. As I enjoy working with Communications, my current book project provided seasons of Transformative Insights not to be missed, so it’s helpful to think about these Creativity Tips as we take on any kind of project, big or small.

 
Sheila’s prologue for  Adventures in Writing 101

Sheila’s prologue for Adventures in Writing 101

 

The Inspiring Beginning. The Dream comes first of course, but we need to allow the Dream in, so I’ve been in the quiet interludes where Dreams can come to you and express themselves. This is a place I hold lightly in my hands. In the first chapter of my upcoming book, Adventures in Writing 101; Fun & Inspiring Ways to Master the Craft of Creative Writing, I call this space my creative writer’s “Tree House.” This is a place apart from others, their opinions, and the daily routines of the day. This is YOUR place, where you can take an in-breath and Receive. Whether your projects are big or small, there exists a spirit that wants to breathe life into your projects, so it meets you there - and Ah Ha Moments ensue!

Dream Check: Are you welcoming your Dream/Project and responding to its call?

The Mighty Middle. The Middle “season” is often the place that “gets to us” and we lose our steam, so it pays to remember “small steps, filled with Love.” Very often, slowing down to the Pace of Love helps us de-stress and meet challenges one by one. And yes, I’ve capitalized Love because I mean that higher kind of Love. Really, if we want to become a better person, it pays dividends to: 1) stay in the Present; and 2) do what the Present calls us to do. Then we can put our Craftsman’s Hands patiently into each task. Remember, “task” is not a dirty word, but instead it is an opportunity to fill something with Love. Working our way through a difficult task may be hard, but it pays dividends in untold ways.

Years ago in my advertising/communications agency I had to make phone calls to reach out to potential new clients. It was a challenge. As I thought about it, I felt inspired to: 1) fill each phone call with Love; 2) put Sunshine into my voice; and 3) let Love create a rainbow bridge to each person. A “rainbow bridge” may sound corny, but I liked it. Doing something that felt good relaxed me, and it was highly effective. The practice also brought home a Big Deal, high-powered eternal message: each Act changes us when we fill it with Love. So the Mighty Middle gives us the opportunity to put a little loving muscle into our Dream. When we do this, the Mighty Middle also further opens up the Ah Ha Insights we so generously Receive - one sacred step at a time. This season of ups and downs is actually Prime Time, if we but use the heroic energy that can powerfully break through our blocks and birth our Dreams. And Love is at the heart of it all. It is the Big Daddy of energy and healing momentum!

Dream Check:  One of the reasons Dreams exist, is so we can learn about the many facets of Love - in action. Are you turning fears into a deeper kind of energy that lets Love fill each life-giving step toward your Dream/Project?

The Celebratory Ending, the New Beginning . . . For a writer, each time we pick up our pen or laptop, this walk is a lifetime journey of invaluable learning, one writing project at a time. For my own gift of a book, it came to me over 30 years - yep, 30 years! - of teaching writing to all ages, from elementary students, to wonderful men and women and busy moms, to lively seniors. But “the Walk” through bringing this book together held its own new forms of magic as pages coalesced and flowed like a symphony that taught me even as I wrote. That is the “Pow!” of the celebratory Ending season. It feels magnificent to have followed the Taps on Our Shoulder - “Do this, or do that” and to have given honor to our Purpose. Whether our Purpose is to help our child with his or her first day at school (I’ve done that), or to write a poem or story about that experience, we learn about something more than the act itself. We learn what it’s like to fill the act with Love. And in the process, we become filled with Love. Therefore, we become a conveyor of LoveThat’s one reason I enjoy teaching people to write their Life Stories. First, they need to catch them. Then honor their life experiences by writing them, and then hopefully share them in any way that pleases them. The cool thing is that we are the first to Receive these Insights. We are at the head of the line, the first to get the learnings and more fully understand the wisdoms gained. And each time we “get it” in any project, we understand the Creative Force that does its work within our spirit as it lovingly expands us. Ever expands us, and makes us take a new deep breath. For WE are the New Beginnings.

Dream Check:  Are you taking time to say your Gratitudes for the Insights and Wisdoms that have expanded your spirit along these 3 seasons of your Dream Path? . . . And are you keeping your ear to the ground for the next Gift Box as New Beginnings softly call your Name, waiting to have fine new Adventures with you?

I’m happy to announce my new book, Adventures in Writing 101, will be published VERY soon, and will be available on Amazon, etc. I hope it will bring many New Beginnings to your own writing projects as you capture the not-to-be-missed Ah Ha Moments - the “Bloomin’ Stuff” - in your rich everyday life.


Feel free to share the creativity blog, “Bloomin Stuff,”
with friends & family.
Sign up to receive “Bloomin’ Stuff” and find other free stuff
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A poem that shows the courage of people who are healing from grief:

"Shaman's Flight"

       by Sheila Stephens

"And what do you say
of Fear?" I asked.
And the river answered
"Look out upon my ripples . . . "

A bird then circled in
downstream and dove
into a flight path
all its own.

Inches off the river's
white-water it flew
as if on a mission
unparalleled.

Still, a common bird
I thought it to be
until it rocketed
past me -
a flash of emerald
green,
a shaman's flight.

Its Mallard wings
whispering
showing me all things -
even courage of my own -
that I would miss
if I gave Fear
my heart, my soul.

© 2016, Sheila A. Stephens

An excerpt from Sheila Stephens', THE MYSTERY SCHOOL OF GRIEF.

Available at Amazon.com

Find out more at FlowersOfTheSpirit.com

Capture Spring’s Energy - by Just Movin’ Things Around!

As I sit at my dining room table this morning, I not only SEE but FEEL Spring’s new sun streaming in the big bay windows.  As it does, it seems to awaken me, and I ask myself, “From what?”  Maybe from Winter’s deep slumber, when we all seek to “go deep” and learn quiet wisdom messages that now exist in us, like seeds ready for the warm soil.  So now, as I feel the sun seeping into my spirit, I feel a quickening of my pulse.  And like a seed that’s ready to grow into fruition, or a race horse that’s ready to burst out of the gate, my heart says a surprising but jubilant, “Let’s go!”

So how does this want to be expressed?  In my life, there are big things that need doing, and I’m busy doing them, but there is something else in the air.  Something small and exquisite.  As I look at some flowers in a small silver vase, I enjoy them all over again.  Then I decide to move them - first, so my cat, Bella, doesn’t knock them over!  But in the process, I think about where I could put them.  I try out different places, and in this seemingly modest creative process, the “ah-ha” comes as I realize how enormously good I feel by “the movement.”  It immediately releases some new kind of energy within me.  So I move something else to a new place, and the thrill I feel repeats itself.

I realize the joy I feel in these movements is bigger than the movements themselves.  The movement can be small, and the effect can be big.  It is like Drumming with my Native drum:  the action of drumming actually creates a bigger thing as it releases the old energy and moves in the new energy.  An energy that is vibrant - and healing!  Simple as that.  So we can use the Art of Movement to create new transformative energy and new direction in our lives.

Drumming is an energy that brings in the light.  Anybody can do it!

Drumming is an energy that brings in the light.  Anybody can do it!

Another secret is to use Symbolic Actions.  You can begin clearing past blocks and open up to future desires by choosing an object that “holds that thought” for you, and put that object in a new place.  For example, you can move a bouquet of daffodils or tulips into the center of your table to call in fun new social events (or whatever you decide it represents).  Every time you walk by, it will serve to remind you of the positive thoughts you’ve attached to it.  You can put feathers in a place that lets go of the past and calls in a new relationship.  Or, like myself, you can put a favorite photo in a place you pass by everyday.  In a hallway, I put a photo I’d taken of a baby Osprey boldly peeking its head out of its nest, high on top of a log pylon in the Willamette River.  The young Osprey looks like a teenager with a crazy new haircut, so it reminds me to stay curious - and to show up and have fun with life.  This endearing Osprey also makes me laugh.  It helps me break through my fears and not take myself so seriously.

In my new book, “The Mystery School of Grief,” I list the Secrets of healing from grief that I learned after my late husband, Allen, passed over.  #22 was:  Practice Symbolic Actions.  “I started small.  I bought a dragonfly necklace that symbolized Allen’s spirit being with me.  But (11) years later I was happy when the boys gave me another dragonfly necklace.  One gift grew into another.  My thoughts of staying connected with Allen in this diaphanous way were shared by others in my family - and that helped me once again.  The Wheel of Healing was turning, in all of us.”

Whether we shift into the power of Spring’s creative energy by simply but knowingly moving small things in our home, or we take the more conscious step of using Symbolic Actions, the movement can feel exquisite and can boost us into the power of further action.  Whole windows can open up to the new air and fresh ideas of Spring.  As we let this creative energy into this change of the season, we come to realize WE can start the movement and the race-horse-like release of exciting new energy.  We can let it clear us, and shift us into a joyful forward movement that feels incredibly exquisite.  And it is then we know, we are a vital part of Spring, and we can move - or Drum - whole new things into existence.

Tell me what Symbolic Actions you decide to use in your life.  I’d love to hear from you!

“If we take time to notice,
ah-ha moments are everywhere.”

From the "Ah-Ha Moments" blog by Sheila Stephens

Sheila Stephens is the author of:

“The Mystery School of Grief; Healing Messages of Love & Light”

“The Art of Prayer & Tea & Thee; A New Way to Pray in the Midst of Our Busy Days”
Editor of her late husband, Allen Stephens’ New Western fiction, “Gone to Glory”
Newsletter:  “Bloomin’ Stuff”
Website:  FlowersOfTheSpirit.com
Books available on:  amazon.com

© 2016, Sheila Stephens

Flowers of the Spirit LLC
email:  joy.writers@gmail.com