What’s Working Well?

novel-in-progress_maiakumarigilman
What’s working well?
This has been coming up a lot lately.
I just answered a similar question on the Facebook page of the lovely Kate Northrup and found it helpful to think about, so I am sharing my answer here, too. Partly to shine a light on her good work and also to hold myself accountable. Here is my answer:
“I came up with 4 things for 4 areas of my life, where 20% (or less, really) result in 80% of results:
1. Work: give clients 3 graphic options to choose from (I’m an architect by profession);
2. Creative (I’m a writer too): lay out my morning writing project material the night before;
3. Household/Kids: plan the night before…!;
4. Personal: stick with my sacred 15 min meditation + 30 min sun salutations every morning before anyone else in the household is awake.
Super payoffs!”
What’s working well in your world?
Maia
p.s. The image above is from organizational work on my about-to-be published novel, with thanks to Stuart Horwitz and his amazing book-plotting method called Book Architecture.
p.p.s. Posting this from sheer appreciation and nothing else.

What I want…for the world

kayaking_maiakumarigilman_crop

I want a happy society where goods, services & processes work well and people are cared for;

where individuals thrive both in terms of health and creativity;

where there is enough wealth (food, fuel, money, resources) for anyone who wants or needs;

where people understand their power to create, and they appreciate the harmony that holds it all together.

I want a world with clean water and air, thriving ecosystems and exciting vistas.

I want a world with diversity of crops, species and planted gardens around our homes;

with wild flora and fauna comfortably adjacent to and in around our built spaces;

with connections to each other, both physically and digitally, spiritually and consciously, and ease in our separation when we choose that.

I want a world in which individuals think for themselves and the group consciousness tends toward wellness.

-Maia

www.maiakumarigilman.com

Dear Julia

Dear Julia,

We met many years ago at the New York Open Center. I wonder if you remember me. I remember you. We spoke no words; we made eye contact with each other every week in a bright and silent corridor.

I sat near your classroom while I waited for my own class to begin. My classmates and teachers had not yet arrived and I sat on a bench in the hallway upstairs, adjacent to your teaching space. Your class was scheduled to begin before mine. I was early every week. And every week, I sat on the bench and contemplated the surroundings, watched the students, thought about the day, thought about the class I was registered to take, and thought about nothing. It became an empty, happy space, my mind, and the corridor around me. Sometimes I would get up to use the bathroom. Sometimes I would go into the meditation room. Usually, I sat on the bench.

And then you arrived. Stairs? Elevator? I don’t remember, even though I sat near both. You breezed in with  an energy density that was radiant and serene and pulsing. Sometimes you seemed more tired than I expected. Expected why? Because the person who wrote The Artist’s Way shouldn’t be tired? I let go of that conception.

I looked forward to our visits. Every time, we made a long, slow eye contact, and we smiled. Every week. It was what I came for. I gained more from those encounters than I did within my class. I left my own class early every night to catch the train back to New Jersey, and I was still tired the next day. Late nights don’t suit me. Perhaps they didn’t suit you, either.

What did I gain, and what did we share? What did you feel? What did I feel? There was an acknowledgement of commonality, a connectedness of spirit. Always, there was that. Did you feel that? That I felt it is what matters to me.

A knowing smile. You had that, in the corridor, every week, and I felt it too. A pursed lip, contended mouth, curled up at the corners: an “I see you” smile. One  that transmits out through the eyes. That’s your smile, to me. It didn’t matter what you taught in the class, not to me, not those nights. We met in the corridor and never spoke a word. Every week. Week after week. A knowing smile, a connectedness, a something intangible, shared. A weekly recognition of the light within, the artist’s way.

They were moments of grace in the hallway, and I’m happy to have known you in that way, back then.

With love,

Maia

What we do: a daily rituals list for preteens

I wrote this for my own family as we get ready to go back to school this fall, and thought I’d share. Might be helpful to one of you out there!

Morning
Smile! It’s going to be a great day.
Stretch when you wake up.
Think of a happy word for the day.
Take long, slow deep breaths.
Pull up your bed covers as you get out of bed.
Did you have any dreams you would like to share?
Eat breakfast together, sitting down.
Dressing rituals: deodorant, shoe powder, teeth.
Give everyone a hug before you go.
Look at the sky! Feel the ground beneath your feet.
Have a great day!
Afternoon
How was today?
Share a happy thought from the day.
Help each other to find solutions.
What homework do you have?
Empty your backpack entirely, put things where they go.
Rec time: relax, run, bike, read, build. Computer time on weekends.
Find your homework spot and line yourself up with what you need to do.
Find something fun within the homework or your approach to it.
Take trampoline or jumping jack breaks.
Collect tomorrow’s books and papers.
Any forms to be signed by a parent?
Evening
What are we having for dinner?
Be a sous-chef and make some fun choices with the food.
Get creative with food flavors and combinations.
Did you like the food?
What would you do differently next time?
Help to clean up: it’s faster and more time for fun together.
Make what you want for lunch tomorrow and put in fridge.
Toss any laundry in the machine. Bedsheets on weekends.
Play an after dinner game at the table:

a word or card game if we’re having a busy night.

Before Bed
Think about what you enjoyed today.
Think about how you want tomorrow to be!
Give everyone a hug before you sleep.
Take a glass of water with you.
Cleaning rituals: teeth, shower.
Set out tomorrow’s clothes.
Quiet your mind from the day’s chatter.
Take some long, slow deep breaths.
Think of 5 happy thoughts.
Have a great sleep!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Feel free to share and modify to suit your family!

-Maia

Transformational Destination Retreats!

I’m too excited to not-share.

I signed up for a 12 week online/phone coaching class in Transformational Destination Retreat planning. This course is led by Sheri Rosenthal who has studied and worked for many years with teacher don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.

Yes! I’ve taught one day workshops and led one day retreats in the past, with a focus on creating sacred space. This is my move to up the game into something more grand, more broad, more yummy. Yummy for me, yummy for you.

Stay tuned!

🙂

-Maia

p.s. The photo above was taken at Storm King in New York State, where I led a one day retreat for a women’s group called Momentum.

Seven (Groups of) Questions for JK Rowling

JKRowlingTweet

I’ve been on a binge of watching any and all interviews with author JK – Jo – Rowling on YouTube. Why? Hard to say. Of all the writing projects I have in the works* it is the children’s story that engages my interest most at this time. Perhaps that’s why. I watched these interviews with JK Rowling and then I couldn’t stop – like eating popcorn. Or chocolate. A lovely milk chocolate, maybe the kind with crispy rice bits inside. Or dried raspberry. Yes, with dried raspberry.

It began on her birthday, celebrated in the media, and picked up on my me. I wrote to her on Twitter to wish her a happy birthday and to say a big thank you for keeping my kids distracted while I write. I ought also thank authors Rick Riordan and Dan Gutman while at it. I owe these authors a great deal of appreciation and if I ever meet them in person, I will thank them for the many hours of entertainment they’ve given my family.

Authors are amazing in their responsiveness. I like writing to and with authors, and find they often take the time to write back. Given her volume of mail and being the focus of world-wide attention, I would be unsurprised if JK Rowling were not to respond. I’m not dissuaded. I have my questions lined up and ready. As a writer, my questions are specific and targeted to my own interests, rather than for a general audience.

If I was given the chance to ask JK Rowling anything, this is what I would and will ask:

  1. I’ve heard your novels require very little editing. Is that true, and if so, what processes do you take in writing that lead to that? Would you say you self-edit? What does that look and feel like?
  2. What influence has being a teacher had on your work? What is your favorite anecdote from your teaching years?
  3. Are there some things that simply cannot be written – or that cannot be written well? That defy words or our own language? Would you try, and have you?
  4. Have you had any of your translated novels written back into English, to see the effect of translation? What do you think of the translation process? Are your translations true to your original work? Do authors have to let that go, much like with movie adaptations?
  5. To what degree do you daydream, and is it a daily preoccupation?What about night-dreams? Do you analyze dreams? Do you nap?
  6. Do you believe in archetypes? Collective consciousness, or unconscious connectedness? These elements seem to come through in your work. Where does that come from in your own work and process – do you map it out, or does it flow without preplanning?
  7. You articulate the rush of writing – the deliciousness of being 2/3 of the way through writing a novel, with a clear path ahead and a full day to write – as being the best feeling. Thank you for that. Do you think most writers or creatives feel that way? Are we wired to love that, to look for that feeling, or can it be learned?

Is the search for this feeling the essential passion that drives a writer, even more so than having a story to tell?

These are my questions. If you, readers, could ask JK Rowling any questions, what would you ask?

-Maia

www.maiakumarigilman.com

* That is to say, I have one novel being edited, one in research, and a children’s story loosely forming on a notepad. All touch on themes of environmentalism and how we live, how we interact with our surroundings, and what fires us up creatively. Although she does not present herself as an “environmental author,” I think JK Rowling is that. Atmospheric, to be sure.

Growing in Good Company

ThankYou_MaiaKumariGilman

I’m giving a shout-out to two wonderful women’s business and networking organizations – BIG (Believe, Inspire, Grow) and In Good Company.

I am a member of both, and while my connections to them are primarily online, when I do connect in person, it’s a delightful experience.

We – my husband and two kids and I – are moving house. We are moving from a cozy nest in one corner of New Jersey, to another expansive opportunity in a town nearby. As such, it’s been a while since I last wrote or blogged or regularly tweeted or – you get the idea. It’s within this busy stretch that I found connections, twice, through my women’s networking groups.

The circle drew closed when I dropped in at In Good Company in Manhattan a few weeks ago, and ran into a dear friend from home. Seeing a friend within a business context is magical – and even though it was not the reason I dropped in, seeing her that day reinforced the strength of the dot-to-dot matrix that is my life. The dots connected.

The circle expanded today when I visited a new pod of the Believe, Inspire, Grow group. In group-speak, I went “pod-hopping.” This new pod is in my family’s new town. Instant friends. Instant connections. A sense of grace came with it all, as well as appreciation for the organization that stands behind us in our entrepreneurship.

Support those organizations that support you – that’s my takeaway from these busy weeks.

When you’re too busy to come up for air, the organizations are there to support you when you do.

More soon – before, during and after the move! I have an interesting architecture project in the works with a creative client, as well as another book in the research and jotting stage. Lots cooking, more to share.

-Maia

http://www.maiakumarigilman.com
http://ingoodcompany.com/
http://www.believeinspiregrow.com/