My Deep Why

My Deep Why

Last week I sent you a beautiful, inspiring, 10-minute exercise to discover your “deep why,” what you are here on earth for, what you’re all about.

This process is a way to tap your deep heart-knowing of what lights you up, inspires and moves you, what matters deeply to your heart and soul.

One student asked me: Why bother asking these questions? Why bother doing these exercises?

Because this is your guidestar to creating a deeply fulfilling, soulful life. A life that matters to you and makes a difference to others. A life of joy.

Practices like this one tune you into listening to your deep heart wisdom, your heartsong, so you can steer your life by that song. To me, nothing could be more important.

If you missed that post, you can read it here and try the exercise yourself. It’s fun and easy. It takes only 10 minutes. And it just may astound you!

Last week I promised to share with you what I got when I did the practice myself. Here it is, off the cuff, unedited:  My deep why, what I’m here for.

I, Maxima, Am Here To. . .

I am here to write, to be creative, to celebrate and honor life, to care, to live from heart, to give and share.

I am here to have joy and spread joy, to love, to be playful and silly, to heal, to grow, to play, to be in wonder, to touch and be touched, to dwell in grace.

I am here to be an artist, to make beauty and magic, to dance, create, sing and make music, to imagine.

I am here to praise God, Goddess, Divine, One, and embody that, dance with that.

I am here to tend to the beauty of the world, to care for growing things, to walk the path of Heart, to walk in the footsteps of the Divine, to honor the Sacred in others and in all things and call it forth, to conduct ritual, ceremony, to be a leader, a healer, a magician, a teacher, a lover, a mystic, a muse.

I am here to give thanks for the creation and work to mend the tears and injustices. I am here to gather the divine sparks.

I am here with my love, my vulnerability, my heart, my spirit and spark and light and fire. I am here to not be ashamed, to love and be loved, to stand in the light and the darkness, to love it all.

I am here to listen to the wind and the ocean, the rocks, trees, birds, streams, animals, plants, to sing their songs.

I am here to elevate, to inspire, to make music, magic, art, song, to be one with the One, to come home, to belong, to help others belong. To believe, dream and reach for the stars.


It’s empowering to know your Deep Why, to stand in it, to proclaim it and live it.

Share some of your Deep Why in the comments below. And/or share what comes up for you as you read this. Let’s inspire one another!

Why the Heck Am I Here?

Why the Heck Am I Here?

In this post, I share a fun and inspiring practice to help you discover your “life purpose” by tapping into your own deep wisdom and intuitive knowing.

That way, you can live in alignment with that which brings you deepest meaning, joy and fulfillment in your life. Sound good?

Let’s begin.

I Am Here To

  1. Get a pen and paper. (Many studies have shown, writing long-hand is way more beneficial and powerful than typing on a computer. Writing by hand connects you to your heart and body wisdom in a way that typing on a keyboard cannot. If you are physically able to do so, I strongly recommend you do this practice by hand.)
  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  3. Start with the words “I am here to.”
  4. Write everything and anything that comes to your mind in response to those words. Keep returning again and again to “I am here to” to begin many of your sentences.Some ways you may interpret the question include (but are not limited to):
    • What are you here on earth for? Why did you come?
    • What is your life purpose, your passion?
    • What are your gifts?
    • What do you love?
    • What matters to you? What do you stand for?
    • What can you give with joy? What do you already give?
    • What do you want your life to be about?
  5. Keep your pen moving as you write in response to the words. Don’t pause to think, plan, question or edit. Don’t worry whether what you are writing is accurate, true or complete. Don’t worry if it’s nonsense. Don’t worry if it’s terrible writing or great writing or whether you’ve wandered too far afield. Just write. Let it all flow out.

Write From Your Heart

Young child with airplaneGive yourself permission to be grandiose, to dream, imagine, play on the page. To say what you think you’re not allowed to say. To speak with authority and wisdom, humor and grace and heart. Resist the urge to belittle yourself, to say “I don’t know.” What if you did know?

If you have more to say than 10 minutes, keep going. If you think you have said everything before 10 minutes is up, keep going until the timer sounds, even if you have to repeat yourself. Let yourself be surprised by what else comes when you think you’ve said it all.

If there’s something you write that you find helpful or inspiring, you might want to post it where you can read it from time to time and remember why you are here.

I’d love to hear your responses to this practice. Post in the comments here.

Next week I’ll share some of what I wrote when I did this exercise.

To your shining being,


To read more on the topic of “life purpose” and finding your unique brilliance, start here.

Hey, if what you read here inspires, helps or moves you, consider sharing it with others using the share buttons here.

On Devotion to Creativity: A Life, A Path

On Devotion to Creativity: A Life, A Path

I Am Devoted to Beauty and Creation

Some days all i can truly do is write. It’s all i can do truly, with a whole heart, with devotion. This is what’s given to me, and it’s a lot.

What jewels have been laid in my hands—I am awestruck, fascinated, dutiful, grateful. How could i possibly organize my life any differently than around these jewels?

Writing is my listening, how i tune my ear to the worlds, all of them—or whichever chooses to haunt me now.

Beauty is incredibly important to me. To actually capture beauty in the hand for a moment, more than once, more than just a lucky break, that takes deep work, to devote your life to something.

I’m interested in devotion, that profound movement of the heart—offering, sacrifice, surrender. How much it takes and how much it gives us in return. You can’t force it or fake it. It has to arise organically in the heart. But you can commit yourself to it consciously, once you feel it start.

Devotion is like a small, worthy boat that holds and carries us across waters now stormy, now calm, so that we can see astonishing lands, become salt-worn, washed whole, a part of sea and sky.

Creativity Is Not a Chore

by Averie Woodard

Creativity is not something i make myself do. It’s something i open myself to do.

I tend the garden, create the right conditions, the proper soil, show up lovingly, and work with my hands in the dirt, grateful for rain when it comes, grateful for sun, for blossoms and ripe fruit. I’m happy to tend to the slow care of picking caterpillars off the stems, cutting away the dead heads and stalks, mulching with the unused portions, watering daily. I know the seeds will flower in time.

Why would i complain about the work of creating? I’m honored to be given these seeds, this plot of ground, this longing. And entranced by the miracle of growth, new life—every time. Entranced by the process of growth and the care it takes to create art. Entranced to be in my garden of creativity, feet muddy, knees in the soil, dirt under my nails.

This is the place i feel most home, most right, at peace, one with all, belonging—even in the struggles. Outside my garden of creation there are precious few places i feel as well. Ritual is one of them, any kind of communion with the All, being in nature, around a fire, and often when i am teaching.

But, that garden of creation and communion is my first home, my path of devotion, my sacred work, my divine play.

Explore Devotion, That Magic Power

What are you truly devoted to in your life? What do you give your whole heart to, sacrifice time, money or other opportunities to follow?

What are the rewards of that devotion?

What do you care about or want more of in your life that you could be more devoted to? How would you express that devotion?

You may wish to journal about these questions, to dive deeply into them and see what arises for you. Remember, devotion is a movement of the heart. It’s not another “should.”

Please share your responses in the comments below, so we can continue the conversation.

And if you liked what you read here, share this post with a friend using the share buttons below. Help me spread the love.

To your devoted life,



The Power of Creative Routines, Part II

The Power of Creative Routines, Part II

This is Part 2 in a series on The Power of Creative Routines. If you missed Part 1, click here.

Supportive Structures

Accessing the power of routines is about creating supportive structures in our lives that have us putting what we most cherish and desire first and foremost in our days.

Routines then allow those healthy habits to become automatic, so that we do them without a ton of resistance, without needing to decide each time whether or not we’re going to do it.

This, in turn, frees up precious energy and time that would have been spent resisting, deciding, dithering, frittering, aimless. Instead we have energy and passion to be creative, to devote to our dreams.

This is what any good coach, mentor or course will do for us. They create supportive structures in our lives that help us focus around what matters most to us, so we don’t lose track. They also give us practical, do-able steps and guidance to move forward towards what we desire.

Any good course, whether it is a group program or one-on-one, can help with this, because it is so much easier to form new habits with the support of others, with encouragement and accountability and regular structure.

So, one way to begin getting healthy routines in your life is to sign up for a course or get yourself a coach or mentor.

Which Routines Do I Need?

Which routines will create supportive structures for your life around that which you most value? Because that is what you want to support, cultivate, put front and center in your life.

If you value your health, it makes sense to have regular exercise become a routine—and, I would add, it’s best if that is exercise you enjoy, that brings pleasure to body and soul.

If you value creativity, it makes sense to create structures that support creativity, such as a space that is conducive to creating, times set aside for making art each week, habits and rituals to help you begin that promote an inspired creative state in you. 

Make a list of things you most value, love or enjoy, that you desire in your life. Mine includes creativity, love and spirituality.

Write down: What routines or habits do you already have that support what you love and value?

What habits are not supporting something you value or are robbing you of time and energy for what you love?

Create a Routine 

Now, get creative, curious, experimental. What one new routine or practice could you try on that would foster something you love or value, that would support you having more of that in your life?

Choose a new routine and commit to it for the next 3 weeks. Keep a log of each time you do it. A star on your calendar will work for this.

If you miss a day, simply re-commit and do it the next time. Don’t beat yourself up or try to make up for missed days. This will only sabotage you.

At the end of the 3 weeks, evaluate. I recommend you do this in writing. How did it work for me? Do I need adjust the routine in some way or try something different? What support might I need to keep going?

Have Accountability and Constancy

One of the most powerfully helpful practices I know for accomplishing your heart’s desires is to have an accountability buddy or a group, a mentor or coach, that you check in with regularly. That way, you have a place to report on how it’s going, get support when you feel lost or are struggling, and celebrate when you have a breakthrough.

The Best Creative Practice

The most supportive creative habit I know is to schedule creative time (what I call “studio time”) into your calendar every week, preferably on the same day(s) and at the same time(s) each week.

Photo by Ben White on

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. And don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll get to it sometime in the week. Show up at the same time week after week, and the muse will start showing up too. You’ll also learn how to be creative without needing that lighting bolt that comes and goes.

It doesn’t matter if you start with 3 ten-minute periods of time or one 5-hour block. Choose whatever works best for you, your creativity and your current life. Whatever helps you overcome resistance. What matters is actually showing up at the time you set and doing what you set out to do.

Start small and then build on your successes. I can’t emphasize this point enough. Start with whatever feels do-able and inviting. You can always add more later.

This may take some trial and error to find what actually is most supportive of you and your flourishing creativity. It also requires devotion, a willingness to keep playing with it. And to notice what gets in the way if you don’t show up at the time you planned. What changes do you need to make?

There are many helpful routines for establishing a life you love. The key is to find the ones that align with you, and then to make them a habit through repetition and constancy.

Especially early on in establishing a new routine, it’s important not to skip days and make lots of excuses. This will slow you way down in developing a true creative habit.

If you’re still stuck, you may have some limiting beliefs and old patterns that keep sabotaging your creativity. That’s where a really good creativity coach or mentor can be invaluable.

Let me know how it goes for you. I’d love to hear your stories, insights and questions. If you post your comments here, I’ll respond.

And if you got value from what you read here, please use the links below to share this with your friends.

To your prolific creativity,




P.S. If you’d like help creating a life centered around what you love, I offer one-on-one Coaching and Mentoring. If you’re curious about how this could support you in your life dreams, email me to sign up for a free Discovery Session. We’ll explore various options and see if we are a good match for creating your big life dreams.



Oh, the pleasures of reading and writing

Oh, the pleasures of reading and writing

In today’s issue of Creative Sparks I thought I’d share with you several of the books I’ve been reading lately, spanning the realms from shamanism to fiction to poetry (my personal favorite).

May these inspire you to your own fertile explorations into the wide pleasures of reading (and writing! and living!).

If writing has been calling to you and/or you’re feeling stuck in your writing, I’m offering a day-long creative writing workshop, called Romancing the Muse, in Sacramento in May. This is a super fun, inspiring day that will get you fired up to write. Early registration is now open and encouraged. Click here to find out more:

I’m delighted to share the news that my poetic essay “Falling and Flying: Rediscovering Language” was published recently in The Citron Review. Click here to read it.

Read on, dear ones!

To your dreaming and being,

The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise
                                       by Martin Prechtel

RainDustPrechtelThis is a gorgeous, wise, inspired, little book on grief and praise and how we have forgotten how to do either of them well in contemporary, Western cultures. Written in Martin’s one-of-a-kind poetic style and steeped in his perspective as a shaman who lived among the indigenous Mayan people, Martin beautifully describes the gifts of grief and praise and the inseparable bond between the two, and he explains the woes and ailments that beset people and whole societies when we fail to do a good job with our grieving and praising. Highly recommended.


Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe

WolfeTimeRiverAt over 900 pages, this classic novel is a commitment. I read itbecause I watched Genius, which is a great, engaging film about the relationship between the author Thomas Wolfe and his editor Max Perkins. Hypnotic, exuberant, excessive, stunning prose that goes on too long and ultimately fails to have enough of a satisfying plot line, this is nonetheless a pretty remarkable novel of one young man’s journey to become a writer. It is really an epic window into America in the 1920s and/or 30s, which is marred by occasional bouts of racist descriptions. I found it rapturous until about page 500, and then it became increasingly a slog. It reminded me of the best that literature can reach for and attain, and it refreshingly breaks so many conventions of fiction. I’m both glad I read it and glad it’s over.


Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads 43 of the World’s Best Poems 

PagliaBreakBurnGiven her high standing and radical reputation as a scholar and cultural critic, I was surprised by how unexciting and unsurprising her readings of these poems are, by and large. I’m about half-way through and not all that drawn in. I loved her introduction, which was the best part of the book, and I’m enjoying the poems she chose and learning some historical tidbits and references about them. If you’re a relative novice to poetry, you would probably enjoy it more and get more out of it. I disagree with some of her interpretations, and she insists on reading sex into everything in ways that often seem absurd and totally forced (no pun intended). Nonetheless, I intend to finish it, as the selection of poems is good, and her readings of them worthwhile overall.


The Shadow of Sirius poems by W.S. Merwin


Now in his late 80s, Merwin won the Pulitzer Prize for this collection of his poems from 2008, his second Pulitzer. Merwin is one of America’s major poets and a unique voice. Although the first section in the collection didn’t speak to me as strongly, pretty soon I was taken in by these beautifully-crafted, spare poems, which impressed and touched me with their concision, craft, humanity, vision and elegance, a true master at work.

How To Discover Your Unique Brilliance – Part 4

Unique Brilliance sun shiningToday I share with you the final key of the 8 keys to discovering your Unique Brilliance, those gifts that you have come into this world to share through your being and action in this world, those gifts that point the way to your most rewarding, engaging, vibrant life, those gifts that show the unique shining of you. This key is so crucial that I have saved it for last. Lacking this key many people get lost on their road to finding meaningful work or engagement in the world.

If you’ve missed my other posts on How To Discover Your Unique Brilliance, start here.

  1. You feel most alive and authentic, most like yourself, when embodying your Unique Brilliance.

Photo by Christopher Campbell

There may be things you are good at that you don’t particularly enjoy, that don’t make you shine or feel alive, joyful, and happy to be you. These are gifts you may have learned along the way, or they may even be innate; they may even help you live your Unique Brilliance by providing useful support for it in some way, but they aren’t part of your brilliance. Why? Because they don’t make you feel alive, radiant, inspired. They don’t light you up when you use them.

For me, the best example is that I’m a really good manager and organizer of things, but I don’t enjoy it. I can be hyper-organized, efficient, even bossy, but I don’t like myself or my life much when I’m using these gifts. These gifts help me achieve my goals and keep my life running smoothly, so they offer potential support to my Brilliance, when I don’t let them get out of hand. But, when the manager in me is running the show, my life becomes all practical drudgery and concerns, and it kills off my creativity, imagination, playfulness, joy.

The challenge is that other people love these gifts in me because they need someone organized, reliable, efficient, self-starting, who will handle all the difficult, boring or complex tasks. So I get a lot of encouragement to be this way, rather than to be creative, fluid, sensitive, expressive, intuitive.

However, related to the managerial part of me is a gift that is part of my Brilliance: I’m a natural leader. When I’m in a leadership role, I shine and the best in me comes out. When I’m in a manager role, I become petty, bored, frustrated with the leadership or constraints around me, and weighed down by my life. There’s a big difference.

The leader part of me has been with me since I was a child, is innate, has no off switch. Even when I try to step back and blend in to the backdrop, I wind up speaking up, rocking the boat, taking the lead, standing out. Even on the playground I would lead troupes of my friends in various imaginative games, activities and adventures.


photo by Digital Marketing Collaboration

What activities, environments, situations bring out the best in you? When do you feel most alive, most like yourself, most inspired, lit up? And, when have you felt most proud of yourself? Look back over your life—it’s helpful to do this by decades—and write down which environments, activities, people made you feel alive? Which ones kill off that aliveness? And what achievements are you most proud of? And when I say “achievements,” I’m not just talking about the kind that the world validates. You might be most proud of a time that you stopped and really talked to a homeless person.

Together these 8 keys to your Unique Brilliance will help you discover who you are and what you are here to give, how you contribute even when you may not realize you are contributing. I hope they help you to see and appreciate your gifts, your uniqueness, and to craft a life centered around this that is fulfilling, deeply rewarding, joyful, fun, inspiring.

If you need help with that, I would love to work with you through my Mentoring program. You can check it out here.

How To Discover Your Unique Brilliance – Part 3


by “icetray” c. 123rf

Today I share with you three more keys to finding your Unique Brilliance, those gifts that are your signposts to a life that is fulfilling, joyful, passionate and inspiring.

The first two keys you may remember from my post on “The Trouble with Finding Your Life Purpose.” These are vital distinctions that will help you see what your Brilliance is and not get lost looking for it. The third key may surprise and challenge you, but it illuminates your own Hero’s Journey in this life.

If you missed my earlier posts on Unique Brilliance, in which I cover the first 4 keys to finding yours, you can find them by clicking here Part 1 and here Part 2.

  1. Your Unique Brilliance is not a job description.

I wrote about this aspect of Unique Brilliance quite a bit in my post on “The Trouble with Finding Your Life Purpose,” so I’ll be brief here. But this is a key point about Unique Brilliance.

For instance, your unique brilliance is not being a “veterinarian” per se, but rather perhaps you are a lover of animals, good with animals, fascinated by science/biology/the inner workings of the body, gifted at healing.

Stop looking for a job or career that your Unique Brilliance adds up to and you’ll be much more likely to see it. Later, you can discover what kinds of work use this Brilliance in satisfying ways.

  1. writing in journal

    by miller mountain man c 123rf

    Your Unique Brilliance is not singular.

You came with a number of important gifts to share, gifts that you express in a unique way that are needed and wanted at this time. If one or more of your gifts doesn’t match with a job description or isn’t valued highly by our society, it may be harder to see it, but it doesn’t make that gift any less important or essential to who you are. And it is the unique way your gifts combine that adds up to your unique brilliance.

I like to give the example of my friend Molly. Molly has many gifts I could name, but I’ll focus on three for now. She’s a gifted poet and writer.

She’s also a truth-teller. She tells the truth even when it’s uncomfortable. She speaks what others are afraid to talk about, what’s difficult or considered shameful, awkward, but also of beautiful and funny things. This is a real gift and service to humanity, and it comes through her writing, her speaking, her way of being in the world. Her truth-telling sets others free, encourages them to be brave and truthful and to be kinder to themselves and others.

She also has a gift, and proclivity, for matching people up who need each other. I don’t mean romantically. If someone needs their garden tended, she knows a gardener looking for work. If someone needs jars for canning, she knows someone who is de-cluttering and is getting rid of jars. I include this gift of hers for two reasons. It’s not part of her career, it doesn’t make her any money, yet it’s wildly helpful and important for the community. So, don’t overlook these gifts in yourself.

My father had a brilliant, incisive mind, a rapacious intellectual curiosity, a willingness to contradict and revise earlier points of view he had held, a love of philosophy and the life of the mind, but he also had great personal warmth and charm, was a devoted teacher, and a really good cook who loved to entertain guests. All of these added up together to complete the unique brilliance that he possessed.


  1. Your challenges, weaknesses and wounds also are a part of it. Your biggest challenge and your biggest gift are bound up together in some way.

photo by Braden Collum

This can be a tough one to accept, but I have seen over and over that our biggest wounds, challenges and weaknesses in life are intimately tied up in our biggest gifts, in what we are here to give. For example, I just watched the movie Race about the Olympic gold medal runner Jesse Owens.

As his wife points out to him at a pivotal moment in the film, Jesse Owens was born to run. He had an incredible gift as a runner. He was considered the fastest man on earth in his time, and he loved to run. Note that he still had to train hard and sacrifice to develop that gift.

But he had another important gift that was tied to his biggest challenge. He was a black man living in a time of intense racism and segregation in America and also during the time of the Olympics being held in Nazi Germany. His gift was to win gold medals in those Olympics and show the world that color and race do not determine ability, that there isn’t one race that is better than others, and that the pervasive racism he suffered couldn’t keep him down.

What have been the most painful, difficult, challenging experiences of your life? What have you struggled with? What has felt like a weakness or burden? How might these have shaped the gifts you have come to share? What capacities have you developed because of these challenges?

In my next post, I’ll share the final key to help you discover your Unique Brilliance. It is such a crucial one that I have saved it for last.

I would love to hear your comments and questions. What opened up for you in reading this post? Any ahas? If you write in, I’ll respond.

To your shining,


If you would like help uncovering and making the most of your Unique Brilliance to create a passionate, fulfilling life centered around what you most love, check out my one-on-one Mentoring Program. It could be life-changing for you.

How To Discover Your Unique Brilliance – Part 1

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader

In my last post, I discussed some of the common pitfalls and misconceptions in looking for your “life purpose,” ways we can go astray on that quest and torture ourselves. Click here to read that post.

In this post I’ll introduce you to the concept of Unique Brilliance and help you uncover yours, so you can create a passionate, deeply fulfilling and joyful life.

tulipsEach of us, like a flower or tree, is encoded with who we are, what we are here to give, our unique beauty and brilliance. Each of us comes with unique gifts that are needed on earth, in our communities and our world, at this time. These are things we are innately good at and also love to embody, do or share (even if we also feel conflicted about them). Our unique gifts collectively make up our Unique Brilliance; they form a one-of-a-kind crystal made up of the facets of our many gifts. It’s this combination and how it expresses through you that is so unique to you. This crystal illuminates what you are here to do and be, how you contribute to our world, and where your heart path leads.

Your Unique Brilliance is the shining through you of the prism of your gifts, who you innately are.

9189847 - middle aged woman in white in the sun.When you are able to identify these gifts in yourself, you can begin centering your life around the use of them. When you do this, you will find yourself more lit up, inspired, engaged with life and feeling good about yourself and your life than you thought possible.

Here are 8 keys I have identified to help you discover your Unique Brilliance.

For those of you interested in exploring this, I recommend you get out a pen and paper and write what comes up in response to each of these keys and the questions I pose with them. Give yourself time and a conducive space to do this. Let it be fun, not work. Come back to it over a period of time. You’ll begin to notice more aspects of your brilliance as you move through your life and allow these keys to be your guide.

I’m going to divide these keys into several posts, so you can ponder and take them in slowly.

  1. The number one key to your Unique Brilliance is in what you most love, enjoy, are passionate about, fascinated by and drawn to again and again.

Joseph Campbell was onto this when he advised, “Follow your bliss.”

What have been your persistent loves, passions, fascinations, obsessions, pastimes in your life? What do you most enjoy? What do you keep coming back to? What do you choose to do in your down time that comes purely from your own desire or curiosity and not in response to some feeling of “should” or “have to”?

For instance, I read the dictionary and translate poems from other languages into English for fun.

Keep your focus broad as you look for the answers to these questions. Note down what activities you loved as a child, teen, adult, and what you currently do in your spare time. Do you read a lot? What kinds of books? Do you love to dance? Do you love camping, being in nature? Are you passionate about health and nutrition? Are you happiest when alone or with others? Doing what?

forestIf you narrow your focus too much, looking for one specific thing, you may miss the forest for the trees. In my life I have been drawn over and over to the arts, but not just one specific art form. As a child, I sang in a chorus, took ballet lessons and violin lessons, liked to draw, play with clay, and create elaborate scenarios with my dolls and doll houses, as well as inventing and performing plays with my friend Julia, and writing little stories and poems. In high school I studied photography, creative writing, drawing, modern dance, and acting. There wasn’t one singular art form I was drawn to, but rather the whole act of creating. And this confused me for a long time, as I kept trying to get myself to choose just one, but part of my brilliance lies in the multiplicity and intersection of all this creativity and in my fascination with the creative process itself.

Let yourself savor, explore and write your responses to the questions with this key. And as you move through your day, notice what you are drawn to, how you respond to things, what’s important to you, what lights you up. Everything can offer you keys to your brilliance. I recently read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I noticed that I was impatient with all the philosophy (though it was interesting and resonant at times) and totally uninterested in the motorcycle maintenance details, but I kept wanting the author to get back to the relationship between the father and son. That’s what really mattered to me. This is a clue to my unique brilliance, the way I’m wired. Relationships and the inner workings of the human fascinate me endlessly far more than theories or mechanics. You might read the same book and have a very different response.

In my next post, I’ll share three more keys to help you discover your Unique Brilliance. Until then…

I would love to hear your comments and questions on what opened up for you in reading this post.


If you would like help uncovering and making the most of your Unique Brilliance to create a passionate, fulfilling, thriving life, check out my one-on-one Mentoring Program.


The Trouble With Finding Your Life Purpose

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
—Gospel of Thomas

15845542 - doors opening to a heavenly sight of fluffy cloudsOne of the ways that people get tied up in knots is over the quest to find their life purpose. There are thousands of books, videos, courses, etc., devoted to helping you find your life purpose, and there is a good reason for this. A sense of purpose in life is extremely important. In fact, next to close, loving relationships, it is one of the most important factors determining our overall happiness in our lives, or really something deeper than happiness, namely joy.

We are wired to want to contribute meaningfully to our communities and our world—thank goodness! Fulfillment in life turns out to be much more important than, say, kicking back in a lawn chair and sipping a mai tai. So, even though in the moment, the mai tai may look more appealing than whatever it is you feel called to do (say, write, paint, act, sculpt, grow vegetables, heal the sick, fly airplanes), in the long run you can only be happy by sharing your gifts in full, heartfelt ways. You know that in your heart. In fact, that knowing gnaws at us to the extent that we aren’t doing what we feel most alive doing.

So, what’s the trouble with life purpose?

NewLifeExit_123rfAlthough I use the word “purpose” in describing what we’re up to at Brilliant Playground (“passion, purpose, play”), I’m deeply wary of the word. Purpose is one of those words that can lead us into a great deal of confusion and suffering. (“Soulmate” is another of those words.) This is because a lot of erroneous ideas get attached to the concept, and it becomes a seemingly unattainable, yet vitally necessary, holy grail, without which you are condemned to a life of misery. Not a good place to start from when looking for your life purpose! It’s as if you are waiting for a big neon sign from the heavens to tell you what to do in one simple, clear sentence. In my experience, what we call purpose doesn’t work like that.

Here are some of the pitfalls people run into when looking for their life purpose:

1. The first problem with “purpose” is we think it’s singular, as if there is one thing and one thing only you are good at and are here to do.

2. Second, purpose gets equated with career and money. Most people approach finding their life purpose as a quest to find a job description that can be their career and provide them with gobs of money or at least a decent living. Your life purpose might not do that for you and is certainly larger than any job description.

Just look at the life of Vincent Van Gogh. He never sold a painting in his lifetime, lived in poverty, supported by handouts from his brother. Yet he was doing what he loved, living his “purpose,” sharing his gifts, and he is now one of the most beloved painters (and the highest-selling) of all time.

Looking for meaningful work that will provide you with a decent living is a noble, reasonable desire and basic human need. That work, when you find it, will make use of your unique gifts in some way, but your “life purpose” isn’t a job.

photo by Benjamin Combs

photo by Benjamin Combs

3. And finally our focus on “purpose” can make us myopic at best and anguished at worst. We get so focused on finding or living our purpose that we forget to maintain and enjoy all the other vital, rich and wonderful aspects of our lives, such as our physical health, our relationships, our play time, or just savoring a cup of tea right now. We can forget to enjoy the present moment as we are chasing some distant goal.

I have heard some wise teachers say that your purpose is whatever you are doing in this moment. That is true on one level, because you can’t help being you and therefore you are living what you came here to be in that sense. If this understanding helps you stop agonizing about needing to find your purpose, that’s good! You’ll find it more easily from a relaxed stance, and most easily, by simply following what you feel drawn to do, what you enjoy, and being curious and open about the path it leads you on. Your purpose is bound up in your path through life.

But saying that your purpose is whatever you are doing in the moment can also be a cop-out. You’ll know whether it’s a cop-out or the truth for you in the moment by whether you have that nagging feeling that your life lacks deeper meaning or that you aren’t giving all that you truly want to give.

So, how do you discover your life purpose without driving yourself crazy? Stay tuned for my next post in which I’ll share my concept of Unique Brilliance (instead of life purpose) and how you can recognize yours by some key characteristics that are as near to you as your own face.

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If you are feeling lost, stuck, frustrated or unfulfilled in your life,

if you are longing for deeper meaning and contribution,

or more inspiration and creativity,

consider giving yourself the gift and uplift of one-on-one mentoring with me through my Passion Purpose Play Mentoring Program. I think you’ll be very glad you did.


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

We are soul-crafting here. Join us!

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