2022 My Year in Review

2022 My Year in Review

What a year 2022 was, hard and strange, and way too fast.

And yet, many beautiful blessings happened too. Significant movement toward long-held dreams.

The only reason I can make progress toward my dreams in such a crazy world is because, every year, I engage in a beautiful process of vision-mapping my year.

Big Dreams Launched, Big Milestones Reached

I launched my Brilliant Playmates creative community in 2022. Hooray! I’ve wanted to create an online community for artists to come together and share their art and their process, get deep support, accountability, and feedback, and experience the power of cross-pollination for years. Finally, I did it.

The results have been beautiful, rewarding, and fun. What a remarkable group of artists has come together with synchronistic threads of mutual interest, particularly in the realms of social justice and collective healing.

I completed an edited draft of my book on how to live a passionate, thriving creative life. And wrote a 50-page book proposal to seek a publisher for the book. A huge milestone for me. I will start sending it out soon and look forward to letting you know about a book deal in the works! (If you want to follow that process more closely and learn the things I learn along the way, join me on Patreon.)

The monthly sacred fire circles I hold for my local community were amazing, rich, and deep. I feel very blessed by the ongoing gifts of fire and by the folks who join me around the fire.

I was able to return to my beloved dance form, Contact Improvisation, in 2022. As always, this proved to be profoundly good for my body and heart and so fun! But my dance-music troupe, Shadow Cabinet, did not meet except to perform once outside. I miss those amazing artists and our work and play together and hope to rekindle that in 2023.

My classes and coaching were consistently wondrous and full of amazing people. I feel so blessed by the folks who are drawn to my work. Thank you!

Challenges, Losses, and Learning

In 2022 I think we collectively hoped we were out of the woods with the madness of the pandemic. And then, we were disappointed to experience lingering effects in social isolation, loss of connections and activities from pre-pandemic days. In weird and disturbing illnesses of many kinds cropping up and cropping up again. In a lack of reliable information. And in ongoing stress around it all.

My husband and I focused quite a bit of energy and resources on getting better prepared for more upheaval in the coming times, living more sustainably, and fostering community. Resilience.org is a good resource for that.

I experienced some profound losses and shifts in 2022. My beloved spiritual mentor, Eliot Cowan, died. And I left my spiritual community. Both of these had been mainstays of my life for 22 years. I felt unmoored and in deep grief. I’m also beginning to harvest blessings of those changes as I step more fully into my gifts as a firekeeper and continue connections with others from that spiritual family.

My dear friend Curt also died. I miss his humor and insight, his caring and his unconventional, questing spirit.

We found out we had to move last Spring because our landlords were selling the house. That was horrible, exhausting, and threw a monkey wrench into some plans for the year. But we recovered and enjoyed an abundant harvest from our garden now that we have more sun.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

2022 was a year in which I focused on creating a stronger foundation for Brilliant Playground to thrive. This required a lot of nitty-gritty work that was not in my wheelhouse. And some painful reckoning with what was not working.

But I’m also getting a new logo and website that I’m so excited to share with you soon. The best part is making things run more smoothly, being able to serve all of you even better, and being ready to reach more people with my sacred work.

Reading, Writing, and More

I also shared 60 delicious posts with my patrons on Patreon. These include my works-in-progress, finished creations, stories about my process, creative life, and what I learned along the way. Also, my regular What’s Inspiring Me posts.

If you’re not a patron, and you’re curious, come check it out. Your support helps keep a roof over my head and you get a ridiculous ton of benefits for a few dollars a month.

Because of working so hard on my book on creativity, writing poems, getting published, and giving readings took a back seat. Nonetheless, I was surprised to discover that I typed up 44 new poem drafts and still managed to get 5 things published last year, including my very first book reviews.

2022 was a good year for reading. I read 49 books plus parts of 6 more and read aloud from 8 more with my sweetie. I’ll work on a post about my favorite books of 2022.

Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. That’s the nature of life. But, when you have clearly-defined, soul-centered dreams and goals, plus a good map to reach them, you experience more fulfillment, joy, and grace. And you can weather the storms better because you have a way to stay aligned with your heart path.

If you’d like support with that, check out our upcoming Vision-Mapping Your Inspired Year retreat or my one-on-one coaching.

To your beautiful new year,


“The crucial question is whether or not a path has heart, because if it does, you are on the right track. If it doesn’t, it is of no use. One path makes you happy and strong, while the other weakens you.”

Arnold Mindell
2021 My Year in Review

2021 My Year in Review

Here’s my review of 2021 in my life in the hopes it may help, encourage, inspire you. This was a super-tough year in many ways. For me, the worst of it was continued social isolation and being cut off from so much of what I love to do. On top of that, being infuriated and deeply pained by the ongoing corruption, greed, lies, and desecration of our planet from the powers-that-be.

But what I want to focus on here is the other stuff. The (mostly) good stuff. What I did, what I learned, what I loved.

Upleveling my Environment

We got a hot tub in March. Wow, was that a good purchase.

I also got a comfy, ergonomic recliner for my studio. No more sitting on the floor on a foam pad, doing my writing. And Don, my hubby, found two huge bookcases for $40 at a yard sale for me.

This has utterly transformed my studio. Since I pretty much live in my studio during the weekdays during the pandemic, this was a particularly great and needed upgrade. As you can see, my cat Obi-Wan has taken over the recliner.

My Artistic Life

I finished the first draft of 50-page book proposal for the book I am writing on how to live a flourishing creative life. And polished 100 pages of sample chapters from the book to include with the proposal.

I continued to write, hone, and shape the book all year. I’m so proud of myself for this. I took an amazingly helpful book proposal course and an intensive online book retreat, and took the month of August mostly off from teaching, to do this. I couldn’t have done it without all that support of the course and retreat.

I attended a virtual poetry workshop and met my awesome poetry buddy, Sandra. We have been meeting monthly ever since to help each other polish our poems and to discuss our writing lives. So wonderful and helpful.

I read 40 books last year, and parts of some others, including 17 books of poetry and 4 books on the craft of writing. I’m hoping to do a separate post on my favorite books of the year. Stay tuned.

The Sierra Poetry Festival was a huge highlight. Two days of incredible poets reading their work and leading workshops and having thrilling conversations. I felt so inspired by it.

Investing in Self, Investing in Help

That’s one of the big things I learned in 2021. Investing in myself in terms of taking courses, hiring healers, and working with coaches pays off in spades. (If you choose well.) It’s necessary and makes a huge difference. And it’s a dance to do that on my income.

I learned the hard way that I should have probably hired help sooner with a redesign of my website. I spent all year researching, thinking about it, mapping it, trying to find a designer I could afford. Then, trying to do it myself and getting lost in an endless rabbit hole that was not a good use of my time. In the end I had to hire someone anyway to help me with the difficult technical aspects. And the new site is just barely under construction now. Sheesh!

My Teaching Biz

My classes and coaching and the amazing people in them continue to be a highlight a salvation in these hard times. I feel very blessed and honored to do the work I do.

It was not a good year for my business in terms of income or growth of subscribers. It was also not a good year for me getting poems published in literary journals—I only had two. I just couldn’t keep everything going. But I did give 12 readings and/or radio interviews in 2021, all online, meeting wonderful poets and poetry lovers. You can watch a favorite one here.

I was overwhelmed with so many irons in the fire. Teaching and running my business, trying to keep up with my blog and Patreon. Writing my book (as well as poems) and writing a book proposal for the first time. Helping put on Sierra Poetry Festival. And doing a lot of deep inner work.

Inner Play

The inner work (or play) was a highlight too. With Taya Shere I began a process of Jewish Ancestral Healing, meeting some of my ancestors. I also binge-watched as much of Thomas Hubl’s Collective Trauma Summit as I could. I feel deeply inspired by this work. To my surprise, I already use some of the tools in my teaching! I feel this is a vital piece of where the next evolution of my work is taking me—using the arts and play (and ritual and depth work) to help humanity heal from collective trauma.

So, that’s it in a bit more than a nutshell. I hope this inspires you to look back on your year and harvest what was good, what you learned, what you loved. And to dream what’s possible for you in the year ahead. I’m wishing you an inspiring, fulfilling year.

Love, Maxima

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!


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