Year of creativity

This past year, with the help of some money from my father, who passed away in 2016, I gave myself a huge gift.

I cut back my teaching hours by half and poured myself into my writing life. I taught only two short workshops and mainly worked with people one-on-one through my Creative Life Coaching program.

Fostering my writing life

With the precious gift of time, I wrote 59 new poems and numerous essays and blog posts. Wow.

I sent my writings to 78 literary journals. Sent my poetry manuscript to 55 poetry presses—still waiting to hear back from 29 of those. (If you want to hear more about the journey to publication, follow me on Patreon–more about that below.)

I studied blogging and poetry, started writing on Medium, worked with editors to hone my skills, read and revised a lot!

Shadow Cabinet

To pour out the knowledge, wisdom, inspiration I have gathered over so many years about how to foster a creative life into a book I can one day share with you is thrilling.

With Shadow Cabinet, the radical dance-music troupe I am a part of, we created three performances and filmed a dance video in a wild, luminous outdoor setting.

I also started writing a book on creativity—super exciting! So far I have over 35,000 new words written and another 20,000 words compiled from past blog posts.

The hardest and most beautiful thing I did

One of the most significant, scary and wonderful things I did was launch a page on Patreon. I felt like vomiting from vulnerability while doing it, then cried as my first patrons started coming in.

Patreon is a beautiful, visionary model of a gift economy for artists and art-enthusiasts. I love it!

Bird feeding from hand

Through it, I am able to share my poetry and other creations in an immediate way, as well as revealing my creative process and creative journey much more intimately. I didn’t know how much I was needing this.

That has been a moving and amazing experience. I welcomed 30 patrons in 2018. Thank you to those who joined me there!

For Patreon to be a viable venue for me to share my creativity and creative process, I need at least 100 patrons. So that’s my goal for 2019. I hunger to be able to touch the lives of more people with this work of my heart.

Will you be one of them?

I’d love for you to join me there and see what I’m talking about:

Challenges with time, money and ego

Every time I’ve had the gift of significant time for creativity, I have loved it, been on fire creatively. . . and craved even more time. That was definitely true this year.

I felt busier and had a harder time managing my time than I have in years. Total surprise. I couldn’t believe how much time everything took! I had so many irons in the fire, yet couldn’t sacrifice any of them. Now I’m wondering how to keep them going this year in the midst of returning to a regular teaching schedule.

Though it was a huge blessing and dream come true to have this time for my art, it wasn’t an easy year.

I had hoped that all the time I devoted to learning more about blogging, writing more blog posts and guest posting on other blogs would lead to huge growth at Brilliant Playground, and that it would somehow magically translate into income. It didn’t. Yet. Which is kind of scary.

Sending out so much work meant receiving rejections weekly, with the good news and acceptances being much fewer. I often got lost in ambition, desire and longing for validation. Painful.

I am recommitting to kindling the joy and service in all I do—teaching, writing, living. That’s what it has to be about.

I commit to fostering my own awakening and that of others, to bring even more heart, soul and Spirit into my work and our world. We need it!

A world in tumult

No review of 2018 would be complete without talking about what a fiercely hard year it was politically, ecologically, energetically.

I was called, like so many of us, to revisit old painful, internal patterns. I did a lot of inner work, relied heavily on the practices and tools I teach. They helped. And there’s more to do.

It has been unbelievably stressful and painful to navigate the horrifying injustices, greed, corruption, lies, cruelty and racism that are rampant right now. To watch as we continue to destroy our precious Mother Earth and dishonor one another.

I come home to art and spirit

All this deepens my commitment to create art—to bring beauty and wisdom, connection, imagination, wonder, playfulness, soul, openness, kindness to a world desperately in need of more of these.

To bring poetry to a world full of lies, misuse of language and soul-deadening media. 

It kindles a fire for awakening to the truth of who we are, who we can be—magnificent co-creative beings, who live from our Divine natures, honoring and caring for all of life, knowing our Oneness with all of life. Each one sharing his or her unique gifts, contributing to the whole.

It kindles a fire for action, to speak truth, to stand up for what I believe in, to foster that with a heart full of Love.

New year of offerings and mystery

It’s time to be teaching again. I’ve been missing my classes.

I miss leading groups through the miraculous waters of creativity and finding and following our heart paths. I miss the miracles that happen when a group of creative dreamers come together with a common intention. I’m ready for that magic, beauty and grace and to share my gifts in that way.

That’s why I’m starting the year off with offering The Artist’s Way, one of the most remarkable journeys I know.

And I plan to offer many different kinds of opportunities for you, large and small, in the coming year. But I don’t know what all that will look like. The mystery continues to unfold. I listen to my heart and how Life is showing up.

My word of the year

My word of the year is Awakening.

I dive into the precious, beautiful, fathomless Mystery of awakening. I bring my whole self to it. And I devote myself to sharing that with you.

May we live from the Love, Truth, Freedom and Joy that we are and bless all beings with our gifts. May we co-create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

What about you?

Do you have a word or theme for the year? What are you committing or recommitting to in 2019? What is calling to your heart and soul?

Perhaps it hasn’t come to you yet. Perhaps it’s just the smallest inklings, feelings, images. That’s OK.

I take all of January to complete my visioning process for the new year, letting the dreaming come, and taking time to look at many different areas of my life. Asking myself generative questions, engaging in ritual and contemplation. I’ll share more with you as it unfolds.

Be gentle with yourself. Listen to your heart and soul, not your busy, anxious mind, as you do this. Let the answers come in their own time and own way.

If there is anything you are particularly longing for me to offer or write more about, let me know. I’m here to serve you.

With love, Maxima