#PressRelease: Sticks and Stones Full Story Edition Available Everywhere 2.22.22

For Immediate Release

January 6, 2022

Chelsea DeVries, Publicist

chelseadevries@thesmartcookiephiles.com

Sticks and Stones Turns Pain Into Poetry

They tell you about the dangers of riptide but no one warns you that you could be swept down into the riptide of who someone else is.

-Drowning In An Ocean of No Tomorrows

In Sticks and Stones, DeVries uses poetry to paint a poetic picture of her experience working in a toxic workplace, toxicity and bullying she faced in her youth, her struggles with anxiety and depression due to undiagnosed Asperger’s, and turning the pain of love and heartbreak into poetry to help any reader find the strength to overcome whatever is pulling them under. The book is available in hardcover and ebook wherever books are sold but in the US at Amazon, Etsy, Barnes and Noble, Walmart.com, and Target.com.

About the Book: In Sticks and Stones, DeVries paints a poetic picture of rising above toxicity, love found and love lost, and delves into what it means to find strength in the human spirit. Through poetry, the reader finds a voice of strength and the rebuilding of one’s heart a home with all the sticks and stones thrown upon it. Newly expanded with more full color photos, 41 new poems, and a rewrite of Drowning in An Ocean of No Tomorrows, DeVries shows a full poetic picture of turning pain into poetry in order so you can rise above whatever is pulling you under.About the Author: Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication. She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of three dogs.You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @onegirlrevolution26_, and her squad at @dasquad26. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

Viewing Tampa Pro Through The Eyes of a Spectator

If you are looking for greatness, where would you picture you would find it?

Most people picture greatness as Olympic athletes and during Sunday night football but I’ve been visiting a place that’s full of greatness all year long.

William Shakespeare is famously known for the quote from his play The 12th Night, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” 

Greatness is easy to see and spot at the Skatepark of Tampa specifically during the annual Tampa Pro contest.

Each year for the past 27 years, the Skatepark of Tampa has hosted the Tampa Pro skateboard contest. The prize has greatly increased since the first one, and both the sport and the venue have evolved with the constant progression of the times but you can expect to go to the local skatepark on the West Coast of Florida and be inspired, be handed a free beer, and a chance to tell your favorite skater how much that backside smith grind down the hubba they did in their last run, stoked you from head to toe.

Here is what a weekend at the Skatepark of Tampa looks like during Tampa Pro weekend. Welcome To Town parties start Thursday evening followed by trivia usually at the Bricks in Ybor City. Yes, that means you can share a pitcher of beer with Mark Appleyard or Mike Valleley, it’s a free country and you can do it.

As an avid 17 year fan of street skateboarding who doesn’t actually skate, people ask me all the time what I love about skateboarding or about the Tampa Pro.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUVGIqQtK7k/

For me, this year I was insanely moved by Felipe Nunes. Seeing out there on the course killing it made me feel that this is a place and an event where anyone can come and feel like they are a part of something greater than what they are currently facing in their day to day life. Sure, books, music, and movies are a great escape but hands down, I’d rather be at the skatepark during Tampa Pro weekend.

Two young guns smile from ear to ear because they are stoked to be here!
a super fan asking for a pro’s autograph.

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been here 10 times, Tampa Pro is an event that’s high vibrational, continuously gets better every year, and even allows women skateboarders to compete. One thing is for sure, it certainly will have you coming back again next year because everyone who’s anyone can come and just hang loose.

Thanks Paul and all who put on such a fun time down in hot and sunny Tampa, FL. I can’t wait for next year’s event in April.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVEDBpysQRm/

Watch my entire weekend from start to finish.

#SmartCookiePR: My first time attending the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention…. — One Girl Revolution

It happened. The dreaded moment in an author’s book launch when social media was no longer pushing sales.. so i took a page out of the book I always use for my clients as their publicist and said: you need to be out in the open and meet people in real life. So I found […]

My first time attending the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention…. — One Girl Revolution

#MentalHealthMonth Playing With Enlightenment

Playing with Enlightenment

-Excerpt from “Life As Play!” by Mark Johnson

It is difficult to discuss enlightenment in general because enlightenment means something different to everyone and because it is paradoxical. Most people think enlightenment is a peaceful, blissful, formless realm beyond the manifest world and outside of space and time. This is only partially correct because it is a paradox.

It is paradoxical because enlightenment includes duality and is simultaneously beyond it.

A lot of people who study Eastern religions are busily quieting their minds and emotions and are waiting for “enlightening” to strike. This is what the Buddha and Shankara taught and what I meditated on for almost 20 years. I have friends who are professional meditators. They can sit without a single thought appearing in their minds for hours at a time. However, I have rocks in my backyard that can do the same thing. Is this the apex of life on this planet? The Oneness as Emptiness is only part of the story. The manifest realm is also an expression of the great Oneness. Our task now is to figure out how best to manifest that ground of being in the evolving, material world. We must merge the transcendent with the immanent.

The analogy of the Ocean with its waves is the best way I know to describe the paradox of being both at the same time. Waves provide a good analogy for people because each wave has a discernible, separate existence. Each has a unique size, direction, speed, and shape – and they make a lot of noise, just as I do! There is also no real separation between them and the totality of the Ocean.

So, imagine yourself as an average wave rolling along, minding your own business, and some guru wave tells you, “You are the entirety of the ocean, and you can experience yourself as such.” All you have to do is meditate your ass off, become a vegetarian, and take up Tai Ji, or, if you are the trusting, devotional type, you can surrender to Yahweh, Jesus, or Allah.

So now they become a seeker with a mission! A wave in search of wetness! Nothing like a little meaning in life to actually get a person to do something other than consume stuff to compensate for that endless dark pit of need in the middle of one’s chest. The fanatic edge that sometimes comes with a little meaning in one’s life can drive a seeker for several thousand lifetimes; in spite of a few setbacks such as exhaustion, depression, and the sneaky feeling you are wasting a lot of time.

Some people start wave hopping to find the wetness, and others start perfecting their own wave to get wetter than the other waves. What keeps that cycle going is the fact that every time someone gets weary, another spiritual teacher comes along with the perfect technique for experiencing wetness, and off they go again until they finally drop. And then, “POW,” a moment of unity consciousness.

If you stop striving for wetness in order to succeed in experiencing it, it will not work. You have to stop everything, which includes stopping everything. That is why not too many people actually do it. It is scary to surrender everything you think you are and allow the great Oneness to continue running the show.

Some of the best “strivers” I have ever met are the Zen folks. They tirelessly scale that “enlightenment” mountain going straight up the slopes, while most people meander around the well-worn paths, smelling the flowers and eating the strawberries at every turn.

You would expect the Buddhist religion to turn out a lot of enlightened individuals every year, wouldn’t you? I didn’t find that to be the case. So, what is wrong with this picture? The more a wave pursues its own wetness as a goal, the further away the wave gets from being its wetness.

As I mentioned before, the tendency to take up spirituality as a cure for your psychological problems is called “spiritual bypassing.” You try to bypass all your problems with the magic bullet of meditation. It sounds good and looks good and actually works to some degree, but without doing the foundational psychological work along the way, nothing much is going to change, in my opinion.

Too many people and meditation teachers in particular, honestly think every problem can be solved with meditation. If you are out of work and depressed, and your guru tells you to meditate more, it is probably time to get another teacher and to find a job.

On the other hand (there is always another “on the other hand” when dealing with paradox), I often see people busying themselves by digging into their childhood traumas in self-help workshops or with their psychiatrist or therapist. Those “archeological digs” can sometimes lead to greater insight into why we do what we do, but far too often, it is simply another expression of narcissism.

I had a client who washed her hands a hundred times a day and knew exactly why she did it, but she still could not stop. I sometimes think some folks would be a lot better off if they spent their day helping people in a homeless shelter instead of incessantly talking about their problems.

The most common expression of narcissistic behavior I see is the incessant striving for enlightenment. The deep reason you don’t make much progress even after decades of meditation and self-help workshops is that you are doing it for yourself. When people take the focus off themselves for even a short time, they find their personal problems miraculously dissolving. That’s due to their no longer giving little obsessions the energy needed to perpetuate. Try it. Don’t think about yourself for an entire day and see what happens.

Let’s say that while indulging in narcissistic pursuits, a person accidentally experiences a spiritual awakening. After all, even a blind squirrel will find an acorn occasionally. It is like a wave briefly glimpsing itself as the entirety of the Ocean. You think you have arrived! But then, the memory fades, and you are back identifying with your old familiar ego/wave again – warts and all.

What good is a spiritual awakening if the wave that experienced it is distorted after experiencing itself as the Ocean? This is often what happens. This means the person must continue to work hard on psychological evolution in order to sustain the awakening. Your personal evolution will continue smoothly if you allow it to happen naturally and don’t force anything with your obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

This means:

It is more important to be integrated and authentic at whatever stage you find yourself than to hotly pursue enlightenment with a distorted and desperate psyche.

Few Westerners have training in the multitude of Chinese disciplines that Mark Johnson has. In addition to Tai Chi instruction, Mark specializes in Qigong (which is self-healing through moving high frequency energies throughout the body.) He also taught three styles of Feng Shui (which is the study of the energies of an area) and he was also involved in writing one of the most popular versions of the E Jing (which is China’s ancient classic on how things change). He also teaches Chinese calligraphy to his students on his many trips to China. Mark has integrated these disciplines in creative ways for over fifty years. He has also founded Integral Tao Centers in Taos New Mexico, Tulsa Oklahoma, New York, and California where he now resides. 

Mark Johnson’s decades-long global spiritual journey culminated with his book, “Life As Play”

Live Compassionately, Intuitively, Spontaneously, and Miracles Will Happen!,“ an initiation into a life of Play. Mark encourages you to take the plunge into the unknown and mystery of your own life where every action becomes an effortless, appropriate response to whatever life brings you.

Life As Play” is available for purchase at Amazon. Audiobook coming soon to Audible.

You can find out about Mark Johnson by finding him on Facebook (@lifeatplaybook).

This post was shared to bring awareness to the prevalence of mental health and it’s importance to any person’s overall health. It was also shared to help end the stigma on Mental Health in collaboration with Farrow Communications @FARROWCOMMS.