How to Harvest Your Year

How to Harvest Your Year

We have come to the end of this crazy year 2020. At last. It’s time to take stock, to gather the harvest of the year.

It’s time to acknowledge, celebrate, mourn, forgive, release. The hard and awful, the joyful and blessed, the crazy, stressful, beautiful, boring, all of it. In that way, you clean the slate, let go any baggage that would weigh you down, and make space for new vision, new inspiration. By making a good ending, you pave the way for a good beginning and for a soulful, heart-aligned new year, no matter what happens.

What you do with this time of the gap matters. This is a time of going within and slowing down in the Northern Hemisphere, a time for replenishing, recharging, renewing and taking stock. This time of the turning of the seasons and the start of a new year is an important time.

I invite you to nourish yourself deeply and take time to deeply reflect on 2020 before you start making plans, inviting visions, setting intentions or goals for 2021.

Every month I give my patrons on Patreon a theme and creative suggestions to play with for the month, a way to keep their creativity nourished, inspired and expanding in new directions. (If you’d like to get those, come join me on Patreon here!) Today, I’m sharing with you here the December Creativity Theme and Suggestions—Taking Stock.

Goodbye 2020!

2020 feels, to me, like some awful haunted house ride with spooks and horrors leaping out at you as you reel along around twists and turns and over huge bumps and down slippery inclines, getting splashed and shocked and never able to get your bearings. 

But there were blessings and gifts in it too. There were good things that happened and good things we did. And there were tremendous losses.

It is time to take stock honestly, to honor and celebrate and give thanks for what you did and the blessings that came your way, to release what was awful, disappointing, hard, and to clean the slate to make way for the new.

Gather Your Tools

I invite you this month—and it’s fine if it spills over into the start of next month too—to take stock of your creative life this past year. I invite you take stock of your whole life, but to particularly grant some generous time to your creative life, or to whatever matters most to you, brings you the deepest fulfillment, joy, meaning, grace. Things grow and blossom when we give them loving attention, so even if you think 2020 was an abysmal year creatively and you feel foggy, tired and uninspired right now (as I do!), I invite you to do this.

If you keep a journal, get that out. If you write things in a calendar or log book, get that out. Whatever records your keep, whatever helps you remember, gather those.

Make a quiet time when you have an hour or two to stretch out. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Fix a cup of tea. Get some colored pens and paper. Make a fire in the fireplace or woodstove, if you can, or light a candle. Get cozy.

Reflect, Celebrate, Release

Reflect on this past year in your life.

Make a list—or even better, some kind of beautiful, fanciful, creative chart or drawing or collage—of what you did, what you accomplished, what blessings, steps forward, gains came in your creative life.

Did you get a new guitar? Start out the year writing a lot, even if it fell away at some point? Declutter a space in which you can be creative? Did you take a class online? How did you support, nourish, further your creativity? What did you learn? What blessings came your way?

Celebrate and acknowledge anything and everything you can. Every little step. Every photo-taking walk, every poem written, every ten minutes spent noodling on the piano, every spontaneous dance in the woods. Do something to give thanks for and celebrate all of this—a little happy dance, a prayer, a love letter to yourself and/or the Universe, whatever feels right to you.

Now, on another piece of paper, write down everything you need to release about this year in terms of your creative life. (Again, this is great to do for your life as a whole, as well.)

What was a bummer? What didn’t go as planned? Were there goals, projects, dreams that went off the rails? What was difficult? Perhaps someone criticized something you made. Or you planned to write your memoir but only got to chapter one. Perhaps you were half-way through planning a wonderful concert tour when Covid hit. Get it out of you and on the page.

Now, create a simple ceremony to release it. Really let all this go—just intend to do so fully—so you can start clear in the new year. You don’t want to carry the baggage of disappointments, hurts, frustrations, grief, or self-judgment into the new year.

Maybe, you’ll want to write a song or a rant or make a collage of photographs or other images or create a short dance piece about 2020. But it’s also fine to just empty yourself right now of these things.

Rest in the Gap

And finally, let yourself rest in the gap for a while. Be empty and open. Give yourself down time. Take baths, take walks. Read inspiring literature, listen to great music. Replenish by getting away from screens and doing things that nourish your inner artist and recharge your body, mind, heart and spirit.

Invite the New

Then, start to invite yourself to dream what you would like to create in the new year.

How would you like your creative life to look, feel, be in 2021? What dreams or goals would you love to set in motion or see realized in the coming year?

But do this gently. Allow vision in without reaching or forcing it. Make notes when you get inspired by something and keep those notes where you can find them. This is not carved in stone. You’re playing, welcoming the new, opening to new expression, allowing.

If you really want to jumpstart and nourish your creativity in 2021, consider taking the Artist’s Way with me—an amazing gift to yourself and your life!

I Invite You To Share

If you are willing to share one or more things that you are celebrating in your creative life or your life in general from 2020 in the comments, please do! You can also share one or two things that were hard that you are releasing now. I’d love to hear about your year.

For example, I am celebrating that my book, Fierce Aria, was published this year!!! Whoo! That’s so huge. And I’m releasing that I did not finish a draft, nor a book proposal, for my creativity book (though I did make substantial progress on it)

There’s tons more I can celebrate and plenty more to release. I’ll probably do a year-end post about all that.

For now, tell me about your year.

2019 My Year In Review

2019 My Year In Review

This is my 2019 Year in Review. I encourage you to do your own.

This is a good time of year to pause and reflect. When we take time to harvest the outgoing year, we help pave the way for a heart-centered, soul-aligned year to come.

Make note of the highlights of the year, the major events and key themes, the blessings, growth, and accomplishments, and the challenges and learning. Make note of what you need to release to be clear for the year ahead.

Two Huge Things Happened in the Same Month

Me with my Mom on my birthday

2019 was a big year for me. My mother died, the most unimaginable, wrenching anguish and lingering grief, even though, for her sake, I had wanted her to go for years.

In the same month, my book of poems, Fierce Aria,was finally accepted for publication, the culmination of a nearly 10-year journey. Fierce Aria will be available for pre-sale next week! It seems astonishing to me. I’ll send you a link then, so you can get your own copy of what I hope is a little gem of inspiration, beauty, wonder and solace.

Stabilizing Brilliant Playground

Brilliant Playground grew in beautiful ways. I had so much joy in teaching this year—the Artist’s Way, Living Your Dreams, Freedom to Write, Romancing the Muse, Riding the Dragon Poetry Workshop and Convocation of Poets. And I wrote 22 new blog posts.

For the first time in 15 years, I began to find a rhythm of offerings and coaching that feels more sustainable and sustaining. Hallelujah! I look to strengthen this new foundation, so that I can offer programs I have been dreaming for years, to create a deeper sense of community and shared exploration here in the year to come.

Welcoming New People to Patreon

Over at Patreon, where I share my hot-off-the-press creative work, my working methods, and my intimate creative journey, as well as creative tips for my patrons to try, my number of patrons grew from 29 to 49.

This is a vital for me, because like all artists I need tangible support and an audience, in order to keep creating. Patreon gives me both of these. I shared things there once a week, with occasional bonus things.

Otherwise readers have to wait years to see my new creative work or never see it, since the publication process is so slow. For those who would like to see what I am creating now and how I go about creating it, join me on Patreon. You get exclusive benefits there.

Learning a New Medium

I dove into learning about how to use Medium to share my essays and reach new readers this year, and that effort paid off. I shared 15 brand-new essays on Medium. Seven of those were curated (featured) by Medium and eight were chosen by popular publications within Medium, such as The Startup, The Ascent and The Writing Collective. I was also named a Top Writer in Art!

I plan to start including a weekly digest of my Medium posts in my Creative Sparks newsletter for Brilliant Playground, so that you can easily find the topics that interest you.

Changing the Inner Game

I did a lot of deep inner work, and that work brought me greater freedom, peace and joy. One of the most profound things I did was Hiro Boga’s course, Become Your Own Business Advisor.

I have followed and loved Hiro’s work for years, but this was life-changing for me, finally starting to shift old, entrenched patterns around work and money and helping me to form a loving, co-creative partnership with the Soul of My Work.

Her work is extraordinary and like nothing else out there. I recommend it highly.

Creatively On Fire

In addition to all the essays/posts on Brilliant Playground, Patreon and Medium, I wrote and created a great deal:

  • I wrote 52 new poems,
  • Sent poems and essays to 44 literary journals and got 9 published.
  • Shadow Cabinet, my dance-music group, created new work and performed twice.
  • I revitalized my regular practice of Contact Improvisation, which brings me so much joy and playfulness.
  • I also helped to organize the 3rd Sierra Poetry Festival, an amazing day and full month of poetry events. Now we’re working on the 4th annual Festival, and I can’t wait to tell you who the featured poets are!

Called to Rise

A review of the year would not be complete without mentioning how stressful and challenging our world was this past year—widespread divisiveness and racism, corporate greed and economic inequity, lack of integrity and morality in leadership, gun violence, climate crisis, and a massive humanitarian crisis being committed at the U.S. borders.

These situations call on each of us to rise to what is best in us, to our compassion, our responsibility to act, to share our gifts and our service to our world. It is part of my work here at Brilliant Playground to support you in finding that in ways that bring you joy and aliveness and keep you creating and living in wonder.

It is only by coming together in community that we can co-create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Making art is a powerful part of how we do this. Let’s do this together in 2020!


Brilliant Playground is a space of inclusion and honoring for people of all colors, races, paths, genders and sexual preferences. You are welcome here!

Creative Sparks provides tools, guidance and soul inspiration about once a week to:

  • Ignite and sustain your creativity
  • Identify and realize your heart’s true dreams
  • Live a life of passion, purpose and deep play

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