Hope – I Need This Today

I wrote this in a blog post many months back…It’s going to be part of my upcoming book (!). I felt like I really needed to hear it today and thought, maybe you do too…

We are Seeds by Micah Bazant

We are Seeds by Micah Bazant

Hope is essential.

In jobs rooted in purpose; in the day-to-day grind; hell, in life in general – hope is vital.

We need hope to keep us anchored and focused. Hope to keep us coming back week after week. Hope to sustain our faith that our work matters, that our service has an impact, that change is indeed possible.

These days, hope seems ever harder to muster. We are constantly bombarded by news of political upheaval, social injustice, violence, and trauma. We are collectively overworked and under-slept. Our organizations are simultaneously underfunded and overextended. Transformation is occurring on a global scale and the growing pains are devastating.

Yet.
Yet.

We still must nurture hope. To be creatively resilient is to uphold hope even in the darkest of times. And to cultivate faith amidst the ease as well. For ourselves, our organizations, and our communities, to rally around hope as a true potential.

What keeps that flicker of hope alive for you and in your work? How do you nurture hope even when you feel hopeless?

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MaryBeth Bonfiglio – Creative Resiliency Interview

MB1

Anya:: What work do you do?

MaryBeth:: I am a writer, mentor, activist, ritualist, dancer, teacher, mother, earth keeper, midwife.  I kind of do it all because as a writer, or artist in general, we do it all because all of it becomes compost for our creations; we are so many things within the word “artist.” Most of my work is here:: marybethbonfiglio.com

Anya:: Why are you passionate about it? (Why is your work important to you?)

MaryBeth:: I am a passionate communicator. I am passionate about this world, its beauty and heartache.  I am passionate about sharing the stories I see around me.  I am passionate about voice and how we all must learn to use our deepest, most truthful voices in full expression- this is how I mentor folks- and it makes me so happy to do that work, to see people open up and say what they must; create unleashed.  I am passionate about ancestry work, tapping into the lines of the humans who have come before us {within memory and way, way way back} and learning to not only ask them to guide us but to talk to them, help them, heal them, so we don’t carry their karma or trauma, so they can become true ancestors to us and not heavy with spirit.  I am passionate about sitting down, every day, and writing something, anything, creating something, anything.   I am passionate about walking in the woods alone regularly. I am passionate about food and wine and loving those around the table. I am passionate about throwing paint around and letting color tell a story.  I am passionate about giving people permission to carve their own unique path in this world.

MB2

Anya:: What is the biggest burnout factor you experience in your work?

MaryBeth:: When I forget to say no to things that are most definitely not a yes.  When I begin to feel like there is not enough time or space or energy to carry on creatively.  When I begin to look at “marketing” as marketing… instead of just another form of truth telling and vulnerability and art.  I tend to stress about the part that comes after the creation, the delivery, the “how will people see this” part and then I get all tense when I realize it’s all on me.  I don’t like selling, I like giving.   And then there is the opposite burnout… when I spend too much time putting myself out there and leave no time for unapologetic, raw creation. Being plugged in when it’s obvious I need to unplug. When I don’t give myself solitude, to just allow for what wants to arise to rise up. When I feel those moments of desperation or griping too hard to get something “done”.

Anya:: What successful strategies have you used to counter burnout? Why have they worked?

MaryBeth:: Taking long periods of time to myself no matter what.  Reinvention- waking up and saying to myself, “wait a minute, you can do it differently today” and then do it as I need it.  Yoga and Chanting.  Ritualistic water drinking.  Committing to be in nature for a certain amount of time per week.  Decent amounts of sleep.  Time away from the screen.  Less connection and communing with others and more internal, quiet time.  Or sometimes it’s just the opposite- more connection and less work.  It really depends on the situation and it’s more about my intuitive feelings in the moment.  It all depends on why I am burnt out.  But the answer is always, no matter what, about the cultivation of self love which leads to an act of self care.  And often it’s just about listening to myself to see what I really need in that moment.  This works for me because it’s not about forcing certain routines {which often can led me to feel like I have failed when I don’t follow through with them} but about allowing for my internal wisdom to unfold daily.  Learning to listen to myself, as a creative, as a giver, as a mentor, is the only way I will feel good and nourished and also will be worth something to others.  When I don’t listen and honor myself I cannot do that for anyone else.  I often talk about showing up like The Empress– she shows up as she is, despite plans, obligation, expectations etc… she just shows up even when she doesn’t show up, she shows up to say, I cannot be present. or. I will be present but you are going to get me as I am, and not who you want me to be exactly.  It’s being able to be really honest with the self and others about where you are at and being okay with all of it.  That has been the most healing realization for me in my creative work.  I can be accountable and reliable but also wildly honest about my emotional state.  We are often taught to be one person, but really we are many.  Honoring all of myself, as the endless fountain of feelings the feminine is, has worked really well for me.

MB4

Anya::What is still your biggest stumbling block towards feeling resilient and restored on a regular basis?

MaryBeth:: Not listening to myself!

Anya:: What does creative resiliency look like in your life and work?

MaryBeth:: Devotion, ritual, love, process, honesty, vulnerability, asking for help, not giving a fuck about a lot of things or what people think and just doing what I am called to do.

Anya:: If you could offer guidance to your young self as you began your career, what tools would you offer and what advice would you share?

MaryBeth:: A daily, spiritual practice and a plane ticket. I would tell myself that because I am talented beyond belief I should stop thinking I “don’t have enough” experience and say yes to all that I wanted to do. I would tell myself how good, and whole and worthy and passionate I was, that I was not broken, or wrong or needing fixing.  That I was my hero.  I would give myself a huge hug and kiss and pour myself another drink and go run with myself into the ocean under the full moon, naked.

MB3

Anya::What one thing (a particular song, food, book, practice, type of exercise, chat with someone) is guaranteed to make you feel better when things are challenging?

MaryBeth:: DANCE.

Anya:: Which resiliency tip (from Anya’s #creativeresiliencytips) would you most like to incorporate into your life? Why?

MaryBeth:: Move Your Body!
Because anytime I am stuck, sluggish, sad, blocked, angry, triggered, all the feelings that make me *not* want to show up as I am… when I move, when I dance to amazing bass and drum based music, it’s like a healing takes place.  Everything gets moved around and shaken up and I can start again, sweating, smiling, open and free.

Anya:: Question you have for our readers?

MaryBeth:: What is it that you are creating? Why?
Name your heartbeat.  And then tell me its story.


The Creative Resiliency Interviews profile real people talking about their strategies, struggles, and successes for staying resilient and countering burnout in their purpose-driven work. Do you know someone we should profile for this series? Let us know!

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