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My man just came home from prison, and it’s been really fucking hard

My boyfriend just finished up a nine month stint in federal prison and I went down to get him a couple of Fridays ago.

I didn’t even believe he was really coming home until I saw him walking towards me in the lobby, accompanied by a guard.

When we started driving down the highway together, holding hands, and breezing along at 70 miles an hour (that’s the speed limit there, people, I wasn’t speeding after retrieving my guy from prison!) it felt like total freedom.

I kept saying, “Wow! How much fun are we having??”

It felt amazing.

But as we wended our way through the next few days, truck shopping for him, getting up super early to go check in an hour away with his probation officer, who it turned out wasn’t in the office, and trying to set up our new life together, it got really hard.

I mean, we’d dated for two months before he went away, and now we were suddenly living together. In a house he was going to be renovating, so “living” is a glamorous description of the camping out with a hotplate we were actually doing.

By Tuesday morning I was ready to break up with him.

So much of my old relationship shit was coming up and it’s hard to say who started it (I’m sure it was his fault!), or, more objectively I could say that it’s hard to say where it began, but my shit triggered his, and back and forth we went.

Until we took a stand to do things differently.

And that process – of things breaking down, both of us acting out like crazy, and then taking a stand to do things differently – has led to some excitingly cool reveals.

1. Fierce truth-telling is always the way to go.

Tuesday morning sounded like this:

Me: (walking into kitchen where he was sitting with his coffee, while I feeling absolutely pissed off and done with everything) This isn’t working. I want to move back home and maybe date you.

Him: (startled)

Me: (holy shit I can’t believe I just up and said that)

Then a totally open conversation about where we were getting tripped up.
How it really feels to come home from prison.
What it really feels like to receive a man home from prison.
What kind of relationship we want to have – and what it’s going to take for us to actually make it happen.

“Honesty” it turns out is like being “nice”. It’s not real, it’s a social construct and it leads to falseness, hurt, and a lot of excessive holding forth and speaking bullshit.

But truth-telling? It is absolutely fucking liberating.

Me walking into the kitchen on Tuesday morning and saying what I did opened up a conversation that we’re still having, and that keeps getting more interesting and creating more connection.

Plus it’s fun.

Wait, what?!

Hell, yeah!

Speaking your the truth in an atmosphere where truth-telling is a turn-on for both people is absolutely fucking amazing!

Because then you get to discover the heart of what’s really operating beneath the surface, to stop living superficially, and live from a place of depth and soul, instead – and it’s absolutely riveting.

If you’re not telling the truth in your life (at least to yourself!) start today. It will open up feelings of fulfillment and self-knowing and connection that you’ll realize is why you’re even here in this lifetime in the first place.

And that is an awesome reveal.

You’ll find your place and your purpose in the world. 

And then you don’t have to worry that you’re missing the point of life, or that life is passing you by.

And don’t you desire exactly that?

2. Our family shit is really strong and will keep coming back to haunt us until we really and truly take it on. 

I noticed my old “what’s the point of it all” defeatist energy coming up as we slogged through our first weeks back together. And my man had his own family patterns becoming more and more obvious, which was highlighted when everyone came home for a barbecue to welcome him back.

As we delved into what the spiritual messages were for us, untangling our family patterns was one piece that came to the fore.

Because I’ve done a crazy amount of work exploring my family stuff, it wasn’t a matter of finding out what it was, but more taking a stand as to whether or not I would be continuing to live as if it’s true – or to live differently. Not easy to do when you’re in the thick of it and it feels entirely real.

But what if all the negative feelings you habitually feel, and all your bad habits, and terrible, catastrophic & mean thinking that you do … isn’t the real you?? 

What if you could unburden yourself of all that old baggage, and free up your soul to express itself? 

And maybe even free up your family at the same time?? 

What would be possible for you?

3. Our spiritual beliefs are strong and completely run the show.

We are all standing on an inner bedrock of beliefs about the way life works, and how things are.

But if we’re not aware of what we believe – or if what we believe is disenfranchising, our lives will feel awful.

We’ll feel like victims, totally helpless, and wonder why we keep hitting the same walls. Why our lives seem to be made up of the same scenario (and not a good one) on repeat.

I’ve done a relentless amount of work on uncovering my old, stale rules – and replacing the limiting beliefs I lived from the first 40 years of my life with beliefs that actually buoy me up, support and encourage me, and get new things happening.

These past few weeks have highlighted how hugely necessary it is to do that work.

Even in the midst of the upheaval and confusion, I could always find my way back to an inner safe haven where I felt calm, grounded, joyful. That wouldnever have happened a few years ago.

When the shit hits the fan, if you don’t have the right foundation, you’ll feel like you’re drowning. Lost. Confused. Bitter. Stuck.

If this is you right now, consider that you might be getting run by some old rules and beliefs – and that you can change them so you feel super empowered again. No matter what is happening in your life or in the world.

When I was able to remind myself of what I know to be true (that I am a creative, resourceful spiritual being who is led by my soul desires, which will always lead me to my fullest & best life) I felt just fine – regardless of how tough things simultaneously felt in my relationship.

Where are you believing something that’s actually fucking you up?

Can you articulate the belief that is dictating how you feel?

How can you change it? What would changing it do for you?

Life is a wild ride. Sometimes it’s easy to look around and think everyone has it easier or is doing a better job of it. Or to dismiss your desire for something richer, smoother (I’m drinking Bulletproof coffee as I write this, so I may be getting influenced by this fabulous mouth feel!).

But you know what I mean, right? You crave a life that is fully you, but sometimes you dismiss this desire as “too much” or “impossible”.

But what if that very desire is a sign post, pointing you in the direction of your right life?

Discovering the Secrets We Hide From Ourselves (Or, I’m Turning 45 and It’s Freaking Me Out!)

This is part of an on-going series about secrets, truth-telling, and my boyfriend being in prison. The essays that follow are a raw, open, deliberate look at life lived and liberated. And occasionally just a touch uncensored.

A guy I dated a few years ago took prescription meds to help him sleep and I thought that was a very bad idea. Why? Because by day he was frustrated with his work life, and he would constantly say that he wasn’t “living the dream”.

I told him that knocking himself out with a sleeping pill would forever stop him from figuring out what his dream even is, not to mention getting uncomfortable enough with the status quo to ever go after it.

But guess who was – just a few short weeks ago – sleepless, angst-ridden, and downing over-the-counter sleep aids?

Um, yeah. (Me.)

What the hell was going on?? I asked myself once I remembered what I’d told him.

What’s the message here? What’s the truth of why I’m feeling this way?

All the answers I came up with – the weather, living with my sister in a house that needs a lot of repairs, my man being in prison, having the soul of an artist, but needing to work – seemed to make a basic sort of sense, but not answer the question completely.

That’s the tricky part of dissecting your inner landscape to uncover the truth. Your mind will interrupt your search with all sorts of fancy, reasonable-seeming ideas.

Oh, it’s just been cloudy for a long time. Of course you’re feeling this way, it’s hard to live with other people. All artists struggle with everyday life, this is actually a badge of honor that you feel this way! Your boyfriend’s in prison (gasp!) of course you’re feeling wobbly.

But one strange truth I found out many months ago is that I secretly sometimes like him being in prison. He’s away, but he’s here, if you get what I mean. Being alone, but with someone is a very different feeling than all those years of wondering if true love was ever going to come my way.

So, privately, a part of me has been relishing my alone time, sleeping with the shades up so I can see the stars, with no one snoring beside me.

Not having to pay attention to anyone but myself.

And what about those sunny days when I’m cranky and miserable?

Yeah, exactly.

There was another message under all the obvious ones. In fact, there is always a deeper voice trying to come through, but it’s almost always going to clash with your ideas about things.

So I kept seeking, uncovering new layers – like, Oh, I really need to be asleep by 10 p.m. to feel rested in the morning! And following my soul desires to sit in the woods or read novels in bed in the morning.

Which is what led me to realize, as I opened the third book in week where the main female character was wrestling with her dawning middle age, that, Wait a damn second, there’s something here for me.

Because I chose those books at the library. I don’t remember choosing books with the theme of middle age, not consciously at any rate. But there it was, last night, staring me straight in the face.

I’m turning 45 this summer. And it’s freaking me out a little bit.

I feel terrific, my life is interesting, I’m involved in work that’s of my own design. And nobody even thinks I’m the age that I am, including me. So it wasn’t that obvious.

But it’s something that my subconscious has been dealing with, unbeknownst to my thinking mind.

It was like being struck by lightening, when this realization hit me where I sat propped up in bed, under a yellow striped comforter, with the lamp lit and dogs barking in the distant countryside.

I woke up to this truth very all of a sudden.

It made me think about a play I saw in the East Village years ago, where there was a voiceover that played throughout, saying, Wake up. Wake up.

I suddenly woke up to the truth of what is really going on with me.

Turning 45 means dreaming new dreams. It means saying good-bye to old dreams. Or turning and grabbing on hard to those near-dying dreams and trying to bring them back to life.

Am I wanting a baby? Could I even have a baby at this point? I’ve been pregnant twice, do I really not regret those abortions? What about those dreams of speaking foreign languages? Should I have done more with that? What about those manuscripts I’ve been carting around for decades, but never published?

Is it too late? Do I even care?

All the crossroads of my life kept swimming into view, as I imagined taking a different path, choosing something different.

And I realized that doing this work – this heart-pounding, doubt-inducing, emotional, ambivalent, unsettling inner seeking – is the hallmark of change. It’s how the bell is rung, signaling the advent of a new chapter.

It’s not pleasant, and it’s not pretty and it’s definitely not clear … but somehow knowing what the truth is of what I’m dealing with is galvanizing. It’s relieving to understand what the hell is actually going on here.

And with that knowledge came a lifting of my grubby mood, because it had done its work and gotten my attention.

In fact, just now, as I walked down the stairs to make myself a late morning cup of coffee I heard my mind say, “Life is good!”

So where in your life are you uncomfortable? Angry? Sad? Mournful? Hungry for more?

Sink into it. Excavate the layers for the deepest, most hidden meaning.

We tend to be scared of the truth before we let ourselves see it. But once you allow yourself access to what you don’t even know that you know, it’s pure freedom. And that always feels really, really good.

*                        *                       *

Want more freedom from your dark secrets & access to your juicy hidden depths?

The courage to get bold with yourself and others in truth-telling?

Join me for my upcoming masterclass!

Juicy Secrets, Dark Secrets & the Sweet Freedom of Fierce Truth-Telling (Even When You’re Scared As Hell!)

Wednesday, June 21st

8pm ET/5pm PT

Get the call-in details when you subscribe to my mailing list (and also receive my free 5-Day Live Your Fullest Life Anti-Formula!). Or come find me on Facebook. I’d love to see you there!

When You Feel Like Screaming, But You’re Not Alone

This is an on-going series about secrets, truth-telling, and my boyfriend being in prison. The essays that follow are a raw, open, deliberate look at life lived and liberated. And just a touch uncensored.

When I moved out of New York City a few years ago I shared a house with two women. The slightly depressed homeowner did business via speaker phone from the couch with the television on, which was also where she tended to fall asleep — but she also socialized a fair amount, so she was out and about daily. Not great, but workable.

The other housemate was a transgender gamer who spent all her time in her room. She put black plastic over the windows and kept her own hours. She also OD’d and collapsed on the landing outside my room, foaming at the mouth, and I got to call 911 and handle the paramedics and calling her parents.

She never left the house except for a random couple of hours once or twice a week (and, of course, those few days in the hospital, please forgive me for being grateful about my alone time).

Because in those rare times they were both gone, I would start screaming into my pillow, give myself a loud orgasm, and then burst into sobs.

All I wanted was to be able to do that anytime I needed to.

And I needed to a lot.

My dad had just died, and the man I’d thought I was going to be with forever ditched me so he could keep drinking without interruption. I’d just moved to a new town and turned 40. Oh, and I was deciding to give up acting, go back to school, and open up my own coaching practice.

I was unsettled, to say the least. (I was an absolute mess.)

I needed my unfettered screaming, sobbing, writhing around on my bed (or the floor, or shower, wherever the grief and panic hit me) time. At all hours of the day and night.

Can you feel me on this?

Or maybe you’re wondering why you’re walking around, feeling like you’re on the edge of committing acts of violence, hiding in your car to secretly cry in the afternoon before heading home and acting normal. Well, let me be the one to tell you.

We’re not meant to live on company behavior. We’re not meant to act “normal” and “play well with others” at all times.

We’re souls living out a mission here on earth, and that mission means being in touch with the deepest parts of yourself, both human and other-worldly. Because you’re a flesh and bone human being, yes, but you’re also stardust come to life.

That is not an easy ride.

Society will tell you otherwise, sure. You’ll get told you’re “too much” or “sensitive” or “intense” or “different” if you feel strongly. You bet you are.

Because if you’re feeling anything like this – like you’re keeping a piece of your true self at bay because you’re pretty sure it’s not a socially acceptable part – you’re not alone.

In fact, you are called. You are called to access and admit to the existence of that soul part of your being, to bring it out into the light, and to give other people permission to do the same.

Don’t you ever wonder why so many of us binge and purge? Get wasted week after week? Numb out and stay in dead end jobs and listless relationships? Feel like screaming??

(Oh, did you think you were the only one? Haha! No. It’s everyone. Everyone who’s called, that is.)

And it’s because even when our lives look good on the outside, for those of us who are currently being asked to answer this soul call, there’s a yearning for more.

More wildness. More freedom of expression. The permission to dance – fuck that, to live! – like no one is watching. (And judging and ready to condemn us as crazy.)

That’s why living with other people can be so unbelievably awful. We’re programmed to do everything exactly as if we’re being watched all the time. And if you don’t have alone time (or if you haven’t yet granted yourself permission to let it all hang out when you are alone), you can start to get very pent up.

My boyfriend is currently in prison, and every single letter we write gets read by someone. Our phone conversations are listened to, and every couple of minutes a recording comes on that says, “This is a call from a federal prison,” in an unnaturally calm automated female voice.

I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be on the inside, because just my few experiences of visiting and being watched, assessed as a risk, frisked and controlled, have made me want to find a cave in the forest I can live out the rest of my life in.

So, how to be your socially unacceptable, soul-aligned self and still have friends and loved ones? And not have anybody call the cops so you have to live in total lock-down because the world calls you crazy?

You can head to the woods and let loose there.

You can wait for everybody to leave the house.

You can tell the people you live with that you’ll be letting it all hang out in your room, and not to worry, you’ll be fine in a minute. (Wouldn’t that be so liberating?? To be able to live with people who were cool with you sobbing hysterically, then, when you were done, laughing over hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen?)

Other than solitude, I believe that would be the best option. But it’s not for everybody. And I’m not doing it in my current situation, I admit it, but, boy, does it sound better than holding it all in, amirite?

But it would take making sure you were living with the right people. Everyone thinks that truth-telling is about being indiscriminately honest all the time. It’s not. It’s about being discerning. And kind. And honoring yourself. All at the same time.

A friend of mine told me that the first time he watched his new girlfriend do just that – take a moment to honor her need for emotional release and to howl and cry – he felt something inside him lift up and get set free. Just by witnessing her release.

But, what about the neighbors?

Well, there’s my friend who, in the throes of a very hard break-up, started doing what he called “car-tharsis”. He’d drive his car somewhere remote and let himself go.

Because that’s what all this desire to scream, and cry and get it all out is for – catharsis. (Or if you’re only able to find your sacred solitude in your car … you get the picture.)

Catharsis very very good. In fact, if you’re feeling any urge to find release, it become downright necessary. Sure, it looks scary and ugly and unpredictable, but when done right you come out the other side lighter and closer to God. Healed.

And better able to follow through on your soul mission, which is exactly what you’re here for.

When It’s the New Year but You Still Feel Like the Same Old You

My new man and I started seeing each other toward the end of August, and it very quickly became an exclusive, meet-my-family, let’s-do-every-single-thing-together kind of a relationship.

I was exhausted almost immediately. Whenever his truck would pull up, an hour early, just because he wanted to be with me, I would be filled with a mixture of frustration that I wasn’t getting anything done, and the heady thrill of seeing him walk towards me, blue eyes glinting, and those arms of his, ahhh, those biceps.

“What are you doing here??” I would greet him.

“What I keep hearing you say,” he would tell me, “Is that you need more sleep and you need more alone time. Is there any room for me in this relationship at all?”

It was one of those kidding/not kidding kinds of moments. I may not have even responded.

Because for years I’ve been ignoring this rampant desire to be alone in a cabin in the woods, with no one else for miles around.

But I also want an amazing lover in my life.

So I kept trying to bargain with myself.

I’ll spend time with him … at his rural house, where the coyotes howl in the hills at night, and four foot snakes have been known to slither from the ceiling.

I’ll ride in his pick-up truck, and jog the county highway at dusk.

That’ll have to be good enough.

But it wasn’t.

Something inside of me was angry. Every time a friend invited me over for dinner, or my brother and his girlfriend showed up to visit a day early, I would think, “Can’t I just be left the fuck alone already??”

That’s how I entered New Year’s week. Full of a seething bitterness.

But I came out calm.

If you’re in a place of maelstrom in your life, I want you to read this.

Because there is a very tender, very forgiving, very socially unacceptable solution. It’s free and available to you right here and now.

If you don’t take it, you remain in the unhappy, unfulfilled, bitterness brew I was just describing. Life gets more and more stale. Negative thoughts crowd your brain. You start to hate more things, including yourself.

But if you do this thing – this radical, rule-breaking thing I’m going to tell you about  – then everything changes.

That house in the woods, all alone, no visitors, no commitments? This week I finally did it.

I took myself out to a house in the country for the week around New Year’s. Just me, two dogs, a cat, and the wide open, snowy countryside.

I told everyone I was going on a writers retreat but I didn’t actually do any writing.

Because as soon as I got there I got swarmed by all these old emotions – my past came back to haunt me.

I was beset by questions like:

Why the hell would 2017 be any different than any other year? I’m still the old me, I can feel it in my very cells!

How can I possibly have a relationship with the new man in my life that’s free of old lovers and past hopes & dreams, given how drowning in the past I feel around love and sex and all that intimate stuff??

And what about career? I’ve been working on this work-life thing for so long, and I’m tired. I am so tired.

Just the thought of the plans I had for the coming year were enough to paralyze me.

So I said no to every single person who wanted a piece of me.

No, you cannot come hang out at the house in the country with me. No, you can’t use the hot tub. No, I’m not bringing the truck in for a service appointment. No, I won’t be at your New Year’s Eve afternoon tea party.

I felt guilty doing it, which isn’t an emotion I feel often (maybe ‘cause I’m so ready to help other people out?? That came up and was good food for thought …). But I cancelled everything anyway.

I walked to the top of the field with the dogs in full dark.

I listened to baby coyotes yip madly in the distance.

I sat in the hot tub with gin on ice every night before bed, and imagined someone silently approaching from behind to slit my throat. I saw the blood run out of my body and felt at peace.

I skied across fields and crunched up dirt roads, dogs bounding around me, clearing my lungs of the cigarette smoking I’ve been doing “socially” these past few months of transition.

I read trashy romance novels. When I ran out of books to read, I panicked. Books are my drug! I need some historical fiction over here! (That was good food for thought, too.) I did without.

I imagined giving up my life coaching practice. Being a writer hidden away from the whole damn world forevermore.

A few days in, and as dusk approached, I felt a chafing in my heart. A rasping, painful sort of feeling, as if an old engine were starting up after lying dead in an abandoned car in an old wood shed behind a burnt down homestead since the 1930s. A drizzle of motor oil seeped into my cracks.

I was suddenly back there, the last time that part of me was activated. Full of hope. Another man then. Another town. Dreams of babies and of a life of dinner parties.

The past. One of my most relentless hauntings.

Giving it all up seemed even harder suddenly, as I remembered. More impossible. Those memories are scratched indelibly into my being. Aren’t they?

Dusk came. For me that’s the time of poems. A poem began to form inside of me.

My past rests against the/bones of my body/an invisible glass city/its foundations buried in flesh/its turrets tangled in sinew.

 I am a sleeping beauty dreaming/relentlessly old dreams/Awaiting the kiss of/a borrowed exhale.

Writing that, I began to feel better. More at home inside myself.

I woke up on Sunday morning and reworked the poem from bed. A flash of fulfillment.

Then I was up and making breakfast and I felt a little lonesome. A little like I wouldn’t mind some company.

No one called. I took the dogs for another walk. Lay on the floor with them, in front of the fire, covered in their fur, and let them lap at me while I scratched their bellies.

The house felt empty. I felt my aloneness not so much all around me, which was an experience I’d been drinking in for days now, but inside of me, all through me, like a new garment my flesh had absorbed and was making part of itself, a reverse cannibalism.

This is me, all alone. Lonesome me. Solitary me. Alone.

A piece of my soul dropped into my body. I hadn’t realized it was missing. I just knew there was a hole somewhere. But this soul-piece? Ah, yes. Recognition. No more hole.

A sort of unexpected wholeness, like a calm entity possessing my usually chaotic inner realm, came over me.

When the phone rang at 9:30pm, my guy calling, I’ve never been more thankful to talk to another person in my life.

I realized that somehow a room had opened up inside of me for him.

By realizing my aloneness, allowing it to inhabit me so incredibly fully, I suddenly had space for him, too. And for friends. I ran errands with my sister all afternoon on Monday and was unusually cheerful.

“Let’s always run errands together!” I said to her. She laughed at me. I’m always trying to run errands alone.

A friend invited me, last minute, over for dinner, I got excited and said yes.

And as I was sweeping the house for my friends’ return, folding linens warm from the dryer, stoking the stove, and taking a final walk up the hill with the dogs, a revelation occurred. A project idea for my work was suddenly born, uninterrupted, complete. And to think that only days earlier I was ready to give it all up.

When all I needed was to heed the call my soul had been sending me. To be alone, in a house in the woods, for a stretch of time.

All those false attempts, those half-way sacrifices on the lauded altar of compromise?  I found out the hard way that they just won’t do.

When my soul calls, I will now answer. That’s my hallowed vow for this new year.

And I invite it to be yours, as well.

 What are you being asked to do?                                                                                                            Where are you being asked to go?

 Where are you denying the call of your soul?                                                                                

And what is the one thing you can do right now, that will crowd out the back-talk inside your mind & forge a new bond of respect, kinship, friendliness, between you and the very soul of you?

Do it now.

And then tell us all about it in the comments below.

Maia’s End of Year Top 10 *ANTI* Rules to Find Your Freedom in a World Gone Mad!

2016 was a wild year, was she not? In order to not only survive our crazy world, but to thrive thrive thrive, I’ve uncovered the top 10 *anti* rules you need. Read below!

And, just an fyi, I am horribly not tech-savvy, but I wanted to get this beauty out to you stat, so I snapped a picture and uploaded it here. She’s a little rough around the edges, but she gets the message across!

Without further ado, here is my severely low-tech version of this list for you.

Happy New Year!

p.s. You can download the high-tech version below.

Download your personal copy here! 10 Anti Rules