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.

Creativity Is Your Birthright

Creativity is not something we have to stress and strain after, contort ourselves into shapes over, feel terrible about, measure and fail.

Creativity is our birthright, our blood. It flows through us and all things, giving them life and growth, drawing forth unique expression, blossoming, beauty, gifts.

flower bud

photo by Pascal Chanel

Consider the Flowers

Just look at a flower, bursting from seed through soil, pushing past pebbles that must seem like boulders to the tiny, vulnerable sprout. Courageous, determined, seeking the light, it perseveres through darkness and difficulty, with no guarantee of success, to break through into opened ground.

Gulping in light, drinking water and nutrients through its roots, the flower grows into its unique, implacable form—giving color, beauty, fragrance to all who happen by. Not needing affirmation, assurance. Not comparing itself with other flowers, nor with trees, birds, rocks. Happy to give its gift openly to those who will receive it. Not forcing itself on anyone. Happy to allow them to make of that gift what they will.

The flower doesn’t feel guilty or undeserving of its plot of ground, the water it thirstily drinks, the sunlight it absorbs. It doesn’t worry that it is taking too much. It takes just what it needs and no more. It doesn’t question the value of its blossoms, if they are beautiful enough, if they matter. It gives what it came here to give, what is within its power to give.

The flower doesn’t try to be something else, more or other. It doesn’t strain. It perseveres and grows toward what it loves. It doesn’t hide its beauty, nor hide from the light. It has no need to.

Creativity is Life Force Energy

Creativity is the life force energy flowing through us. It is “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” as Dylan Thomas wrote. [Read the poem here:]

Creativity is unstoppable, unless we put up blocks within, paving over the rich soil in which we are meant to grow. And those blocks to our creativity only have as much power as we choose to give them.

You Have a Choice

We are at choice in our lives, in ourselves.

Do you feed the false beliefs, the perceived limitations and lack, the bad habits, and the wounded self?

Or do you feed the power of the Life that flows abundantly through you and all things?

Do you nourish healthy habits and positive self-belief? Or do you dwell in your past, your fears or seeming failings?

Do you grow like the flower steadily toward your heart’s dreams? Or do you allow every pebble and root to stop you cold?

Do you nurture the Essential Self—radiant, infinite, powerful, knowing—or do you wallow in old wounds and helplessness?

It’s up to you.

You Can Do It


by Skitter Photo on Unsplash

Yes, it takes perseverance, practice, repetition, faith and patience. Yes, it takes courage and support. We are not meant to go it alone.

And you can do it. You can be the unique flower you came here to be. You can let your creativity flow unabated and unabashed. You can blossom and let us see your beauty.

To your blossoming,


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What’s Spirit got to do with it?

What’s Spirit got to do with it?

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
—Kahlil Gibran

What’s Spirit got to do with it?

One of the things that participants in my Artist’s Way courses are the most surprised by, and grateful for, is a deepening relationship with their spirituality and a sense of being partnered in their creativity and their lives. Students experience remarkable synchronicities showing up during, and beyond, the course to support them on their heart path.

“I had no idea the process would entail so many blessings, triggers, synchronicities and revelations,” one student who recently completed the course wrote. Another expressed, “I feel more empowered and more connected with my spirituality than I have in a very long time.”

Although the course does not espouse any particular spiritual tradition, the subtitle of The Artist’s Way is “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” So, what’s Spirit got to do with creativity?

In my experience, the most essential and fundamental perspective that creative people need to understand is that your creativity flows through you and not from you. When we engage with a larger field of Life—call it the Tao, God, Goddess, Buddha nature, Source, Awareness, or simply the Life Force—in our art-making and our lives, we discover an infinite source of inspiration, love and support that guides and sustains us on our path.

Connecting to this field of Life enables an ongoing, healthy and miraculous connection to our gifts and our creative fire. Once connected in this way, we need never feel blocked creatively again.

Conversely, without this life-sustaining connection to a field of life larger than our small, seemingly separate selves, we identify our ego with our art. For a while, this can feel wonderful when our creativity is flowing and we are getting praise for what we do. We enjoy taking all the credit for our art then. But what happens when the inspiration dries up, or people stop approving of our creations, or we want to try something new and uncertain?

This ego-attachment to our creativity is short-sighted and short-lived. It is a recipe for suffering, confusion, creative blocks, big highs and bigger lows. We have all seen many train wrecks of famous artists who related to their creativity in this way.

Through the Artist’s Way course, students find themselves gradually discovering and deepening their individual connection to a spiritual source of creativity, a connection that is loving, joyful and beautiful, rather than being fearful, critical and full of self-doubt.

Some Basic Principles

One of the ways we begin to engage this connection is through the “Basic Principles” of the Artist’s Way course. In the book The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron outlines 10 Basic Principles, foundational tenets for the course. Students are asked not to accept these principles at face value, but rather, through a process of ongoing inquiry and dialogue, to come to their own life-sustaining relationship with their creativity, their heart’s dreams and their unique gifts. The process is like the gradual opening of a flower.

I will share with you here a few of these principles, so you can get a flavor for them. As you read them, notice what thoughts, feelings, objections, questions arise in you. Journal about these. All of these are fertile ground for healing, transforming and blossoming in your creativity.

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life—including ourselves.

To me, these first two principles remind me that creativity is not the province of a specialized few, but rather the natural life force moving through all of us, yearning to express itself in myriad ways.

To make art, or be creative in any way, is neither bizarre nor frivolous. It is the very foundation of Life itself. And my creativity is not a small, individualized aspect of me that seems to come and go capriciously, but rather an in-dwelling force that I can draw on at any time. My art, then, is not solely an expression of me, but of that larger force wanting to come into form.

10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

The final principle of the 10 Basic Principles is one of my favorites. It tells me that the dreams of my heart come from beyond me and were given to me for a reason. They are not ridiculous, impossible nor selfish. They are pointing the way to my coming into the fullness of my Being and sharing my unique brilliance with the world. As I dare to dream and to follow my dreams, I come more fully into my best self.

If these ideas and principles have intrigued you, I invite you to join me for my next Artist’s Way journey or check out my one-on-one Mentoring program. You can find out about both of those here:

To your blossoming in all that you are,

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.

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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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:

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

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