A wilderness journey from heart to home

second day 3


Have you ever wondered what’s happened to the wilderness of the suburbs? Wondered how to reconnect with nature when you’re city-based and not feeling mobile to visit lesser-explored lands? Asked for just a few minutes of wonder and stillness, without having to travel too far to find it?

That’s what I am sharing with you–an encapsulated journey of how one person I know very well, has discovered all of these things.

I’m writing not about my own take on wellness and wilderness, but about that of my husband, Tom, an avid paddler for decades. He recently took an adventure trip overnight, right from almost-our-backyard. Read on to learn more of his local kayaking adventure, exploring the lush wilds of New Jersey.

Turning it over to Tom and his GoPro camera–let yourself live through his words and images for a few minutes of your day. Click on each heading or photo to follow along or go directly to his blog to read directly.

1 – Intro

Passaic mist 2

2 – Putting in

putting in

3 – Herding Herons

tree bridge

4 – The Flats and the Meadows

meadows 1

5 – The Chatham Chop

Stanley 1

Stanley 1.5

Stanley 2

6 – Canoe Brook Water Reservoir to Great Piece Meadows

canoe brook 1

7 – The Great Piece Meadows

8 – Second Day

second day 1

9 – Canoes vs. Kayaks

10 – PI – Poison Ivy

11 – a bit about trees

That’s it! Hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of this Passaic journey. More soon.

All the best,

Maia & Tom






Planetary Protection



I applied for a job called Planetary Protection Officer. I also applied for a job called Director of Digital Warfare. What world am I playing in? And why?

Here is the thing: not only am I not here to protect planets or to blow things up digitally, I am not here to sit idly by while others do. I seek engagement with this world and I have a vision for it. My world is co-creative, contrasting and harmonious. My world has governments that work for their people, and that uplift and support.

My work and words move me in this direction. And so I play with titles and job applications and I dream of what I would do if in those roles. Not what I might be asked to do, but what I, as Archi-Reiki-Maia, would do. What would the artist in me do? What would the mother in me do? What will the visionary in me do?

Maybe I’m collecting information for another book. Maybe I’ll get that job. Maybe I’ll turn the world upside down.

In the meantime, I draw, I write, I paint. I mother, I sister, I wife. I live.




Heading out for the weekend? This Saturday/Sunday only, my books are free!

TheErenwineAgenda_MaiaKumariGilman_Cover reiki

Jump on it!

Described by shaman Janet StraightArrow as

a journey of awakening and finding positive ways of taking action to assist a world in environmental distress

and by architect and AIA Middle East president Raya Ani as

a timely and contemporary novel about love and care for the world—The Erenwine Agenda helps us understand how we might navigate from a place of non-communication to a place of resolution.

You guessed it, I’m running my last free book weekend starting tomorrow, Saturday July 1st, to Sunday July 2nd – after that we go to multi-outlet sales, including Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etcetera.

If you’d like to download two of my books for free, this is your last chance! I’m offering my love story about fracking, The Erenwine Agenda: a novel as well as my Reiki manual, entitled (very creatively!) Reiki: a manual. You can download now and read later.

Thanks everyone and please spread the word! I am hoping for oodles of positive review of both books on Goodreads and Amazon, especially in advance of the print editions which are coming out this fall.

Happy long weekend,



Getting Personal…


I’m working on a new bio, inspired by Dan Blank. It’s taking shape…here it is:

I design, write and paint to reveal deeper connecting rivers of light that flow through our problems and carry us to solutions. I am interested in the weave of words, images and form as they fix our focus on what we think matters in any moment in time. My work is evolving now: as an architect, in a careful, climate-ready approach to renovating existing and historic buildings; as a writer, in crafting my second novel about creative states of consciousness; as an artist, in a series of paintings aimed at targeting the viewer’s attention to that which is eternal, and of upward motion.

I moved to New York on the strength of two months of dreams: every night the same dream. I was painting large, colorful, abstract images and everywhere I went, things worked out through the kindness of strangers. I took jobs in architecture, my “field” of study, and wrote about the environment, published a novel (my first, visionary eco-fiction). The abstract painting began after over a decade of living in the New York area, for me now expanded to New Jersey, after saying out loud over a game of Scrabble, “drawing for me is like breathing,” and realizing I had work to do in shifting from decades of pen sketching realistic spaces, to translating the essence of what I saw and felt of my meditative experience enhanced through my practice of Reiki. And so I began to paint, and the weave became richer, tighter and more compelling to me as a creator.

I knew I’d be a creator from a young age, and so becoming an architect was not a surprise. Limiting myself to architecture was not a possibility, since I see life too spherically to stay within the boundaries of one traditional discipline. My training in architecture (at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada) and practice in historic restoration (in New York City) gave me a strong foundation (pun intended!) for understanding the fundamentals of form and function, and it was from that vantage point that I branched out into the more visionary aspects of translating experience into art. The work is both grounded and expansive.

I’ve always been a writer. First it came as small stories I wrote for myself, and poems, then articles, published, and poems, published. In the same way that my first novel was more globally about ecology and specifically about fracking, so is my second novel more broadly about creative states of consciousness and more specifically about medical marijuana. There is a third novel, in the ethers, which is generally about transportation, and specifically about high speed rail networks. All of these works are as seen through the lens of architecture, which for me is a focusing device using the skills and vantage point that come easily to me.

I’m lit up by talking about light and color and space, and by hearing what inspires others in their work. I adore teaching others, children in particular, about how to tap into that essence and to find an expression of it in built, sculptural, three-dimensional form. This began long before I had my own children, now entering their teenage years, and it has formed a colorful thread in the larger weave of my work. Sharing what I know at every step is part of my learning and my growth as an architect. As a creator. I continue to work the weave, to find new threads, in design, words and paint – and I am always excited to share that unfolding with people whose flow brings us together.



The Erenwine Agenda video is out!

asei arts youtube video erenwine agenda teaser raya ani

This inspired video by Finite Visual captures the essence of my visionary ecofiction novel, The Erenwine Agenda. Click the Youtube link to watch in higher resolution. There is also one on Facebook in a lower resolution.

You can see more about the novel here on Amazon and here on Goodreads.

Please enjoy, share, and let me know what you think!



An open letter to Ivanka Trump (5/5/17)

IMG_6661 (1)

7 May 2017

Dear Ms. Trump,

I am an Architect and once worked on one of your grandfather’s Trump building projects in New York when I was an intern. Forgive me for being forward; this has made me feel a particular connection to your family’s work in the real estate world of New York.

The building site I worked on is at approximately 4.43 feet above sea level, by current map estimates. Although there are ground floor lobby spaces that could accommodate a storm surge or monthly higher tides, there are still mechanical spaces below, and elevator access above, through which the residents of the building need to access basic utilities, services and vertical transportation. Most of the residents are long term, and elderly.

As an Architect, this concerns me. And even though an intern on that particular project, I feel a connection to the site, the building and its residents, even today. Such is the inner world of the Architect: we remain connected, and we care. That does not go away.

I learned a lot about my desires and my limitations on that project. In fact, part of the experience spurred me on to create my own business, and prior to that, was even a step to meeting my now-husband, becoming a new American citizen, and having American babies here, now growing up as young teens. I have your grandfather’s legacy in building to thank, in small part, for this trajectory in my life.

And so I am connected, and as such, I must speak out. Not about the politics of the day (which frankly overwhelm me) but of this one building site that connects us, and that sits at approximately four feet above sea level.

There is an easy path to doing our best to preserve building sites—legacies—like this one. The preservation (or adaptation, as the case may require) will be in response to three things:

1. monthly high tides increasing;

2. storm surges; and

3. general sea level rise.

IMG_6675 (1)

I don’t need to tell you this is a controversial topic today in politics. You know that. What I will affirm, is that there is a mechanism already in place to address and to mitigate the changes I listed above, that involve our waters. And it does not require that the body politic agree on every aspect of this, or that governments follow the same guidelines. It is a flexible mechanism.

It is the Paris Agreement.

By upholding and remaining true to the Paris Agreement, we, as an American nation, are saying that we care about sites like the one I worked on, that we care about the people who inhabit those buildings, and that we will do our best and give it our brightest advancement of thought in extending care to those intertidal edges we find ourselves inhabiting.

I live in New Jersey now. The coastal edges of New York and New Jersey are often impacted by the same storm systems and similar tidal experiences. I see that:

1. NY/NJ are partly coastal and are subject to sea level rise.

2. Sea level rise, like it or not, is occurring. It does not matter whether one believes in climate change being largely human-driven.

3. NY/NJ are subject to hurricanes, and those hurricanes become more frequent as ocean waters warm.

4. Ocean waters are warming, like it or not (see #2).

5. The Paris Agreement deals with the human-controlled impacts on the environment.

6. It does not matter whether one believes…(see #2).

7. The Paris Agreement allows for goals and targets to be set by every country involved, in order to minimize human-controlled impacts on climate, that in turn affect sea level rise and warming oceans.

8. NY/NJ’s coastal and inland river-edge towns that are subject to storm surge, will benefit from reduced damage from storms and flooding. A win for the region.

9. NY/NJ will benefit from reduced insurance premiums if flood zone maps are able to be redrawn as a result of lower sea level/flooding/tidal range that are touched on by the Paris Agreement. Another win for the region.

10. NY/NJ will stand out as state leaders among other states, in a bipartisan act to support livable, manageable and resilient communities.

By staying true to the Paris Agreement, we show global respect for those built edges, where grandfathers and grandmothers worldwide have invested in families, communities and infrastructure. By staying in the Paris Agreement, we show our ability to work beyond politics, and with ecology and love of nature at our back, ever the driver of the healthy world I know we want to leave our children, to leave our grandfathers’ great-grandchildren, and beyond.

I come to this last part, “my ask” as we say in my women’s business networking group: I ask you, with all your power and conviction, to stand strong and with all the care in the world, to speak truth to power, and to help to turn the tide in the White House on this issue.

With certainty,

Maia Kumari Gilman,
Registered Architect, LEED-AP BD+C
Chatham, New Jersey


@IvankaTrump (Twitter)
@IvankaTrump (Instagram)
@IvankaTrump (Facebook)

Salmon gathering


I had a dream in the early hours this morning – an Earth Day dream.

Near my office—we’re somewhere northern—closer to the Arctic Circle.

Salmon gathering,

next to my friend’s office window,

in the river that ran clear past by the office building—

under a train bridge,

parallel to a turning train line.

Stood with my kids while we visited.

All so amazed!

Took out cameras to video the salmon run.

People are in with the salmon.

All so amazed!

Train comes by—whooshes through the salmon.

I’m on the train:

video still rolling,

young folks in bucket seats laughing and chatting and

So amazed!

About the salmon they’ve just trailed through.

The power is in the train,

with the kids;

the power isn’t with the salmon.

The salmon’s power transferred to the young kids on the train.

We’re sitting in the laps of the young kids who are holding the salmon-power.




p.s. This Earth Day, we are celebrating a birthday with a sleepover of young salmon-power-holders. Not marching. Just celebrating.