Here is the first of five poetic videos for mayryanna’s upcoming performance art set, Wanderlust. This is called Silent Movie Number One:

Stay tuned to Optimal Mastery and mayryanna’s social media for the release of Silent Movie Number Two, next Tuesday, October 8th.

Get your tickets to come watch the conclusion to Wanderlust at the RAW Natural Born Artists showcase, STELLAR, here in Denver at the Church Nightclub, October 24th from 7-11pm!


“What do you want to paint?” My friend asked before we entered her studio.

A huge mixed-media canvas with music-sheet Aspen trunks and brightly textured orange, yellow and gold leaves greats us as we go in. “You could help me with this,” she says, gesturing to the masterpiece.

I don’t say no but I feel a distinct pull away from contributing to her own work.

“Darkness.” I say, finally, after some awkwardly exchanged glances of uncertainty. “Well, not darkness… Like void, or a tunnel…”

“Some type of retreating vortex!” I finally exclaim after tripping over my thoughts for a moment. My friend gives me an amused, “oh really?” kind of glance.

“Yea, I mean, I don’t know what I want to paint, but that’s what it feels like…”

She doesn’t argue or try to clarify anymore before pulling out some fresh canvas for me. I suppose in a couple decades she’s had the opportunity to meet my oddities time and time again already, why should this lack of descriptive inspiration be any different?

She also advises oil paints so my medium remains malleable while I attempt to pull my art from my essence and plaster it over the crisp-white blankness of my fresh canvas.

I mix burnt umber and cobalt blue to make black, smashing the paint right into the middle of the waiting space. Swirling my brush around, I let the movements and strokes take me into a trance-like state of patient non-judgement and curiosity. Soon my brush is twirling and spinning on the pallet and then again on the canvas. Back and forth, around and around, my brush twisting dramatically to leave globs of texture and color behind.

The painting begins to emerge from within the paint: a dark rose…

Return to the Void; Oil on Canvas

It’s been a weird weekend.

The universe has a way of not-so-subtly getting my attention sometimes, and this is one of those times

It began with my lay-in with the kitties on Saturday and a subsequent surge of creative energy keeping me up that night, which then resulted in my sleeping in on Sunday morning, missing my mastermind group call that I’ve been looking forward to (literally day dreaming about all week) and feeling all sorts of confusing feelings.

My weekend culminated with more creativity, painting at a friend’s house on Sunday afternoon, and consequently I didn’t get anything I had planned on done this weekend.

Yet, it was still profoundly productive in the creative sense.

It was also filled to the brim with tid-bits of information, peaking my interest and confronting my questioning mind with even more questions.

One of which was an article on a poem by Mary Oliver, discussing the unique responsibility artists have to their creative self that other more practically minded individuals simply don’t have.

I found it facinating and all to relatable.

Definitely know now that I should NEVER be a pilot.

My “third self” creativity is always cranked full blast and I even have trouble distinguishing between whether I’m fully present or still at least partially daydreaming, quite often.

I didn’t even stop to think that maybe those people who are really task oriented and productive don’t have these continually distracting creative urges and whims ALL THE TIME.

So, here I was on Saturday, having just written about redefining success for myself, confronted with this idea that I have been assessing my capabilities and skillset from a flawed perspective and consequently have also been unfairly setting expectations for myself that stifle my curiosity.

This kinda set me off a bit (and also reminded me of another article I read a while back about how intelligent people are more apt to engage in novel and taboo behaviors like sleeping in and being messy).

I had a great fucking day on Saturday

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

I got in an online personal development webinar and did some much needed back end updates for this blog, but was most excited by the renewal (or perhaps merely the acknowledgement) of my creative energy.

I stayed up late, listening to music and writing poetry, and felt more like myself than I have in a while.

Flash forward again to Sunday morning when I wake up late and miss my mastermind group: I’m all but demolished with personal frustration.

Yet, there is still a lingering curiosity…

What the hell happened to me on Saturday and why does everything falling apart feel like everything’s coming together?

I never did get caught up on my weekend to-dos

I had forgotten about the painting party at a friend’s house, so upon being reminded I just resigned myself to a creative rather than productive weekend.

Psychedelic aspens have musical bark

Part of me wants to feel disappointed.

The other part of me already feels really happy.

I have friends, mentors and my coach all telling me to slow down, relax, go with the flow, etc ALL THE TIME – yet, with regard to this, I’ll routinely dismiss them (and these are people I highly respect and do not simply dismiss).

I keep thinking that if I just crack the code, if I just figure out the perfect morning routine or daily habits, or if I somehow become flexible enough to just do it all no matter what else comes my way THEN I’ll achieve flow.

But… What if flow has nothing to do with “buying mustard” like Mary Oliver was saying in her poem about the creative third self?

What if, unlike a savvy business man, my flow looks more like staying up late and writing moody poetry before sleeping in and going to paint psychedelic aspen trees? (Picture to come soon – just needs to be sealed)

And why is that prospect so damn uncomfortable for me?

Realizing the source of my discontentment

I’ve been allowing these musings to tumble about in my mind playfully, trying not to fully invest in one understanding or another, hoping to digest a bit more before fully adopting or rejecting these new ideas.

And continuing to read, ’cause it’s like my favorite.

So I came upon another fascinating article this morning, discussing the idea of millennial burnout.

Again, I could relate to it ALL TOO WELL.

I mean for crying out loud, my blog is literally called “optimal mastery” and here’s an article discussing my generation’s well-groomed addiction to optimizing themselves and how that’s led us to living lives of perpetual burnout.


It’s overarching theme of social disillusionment also reminded me of another article I read earlier this week about climate grief.

And you know, I think I’m beginning to realize something…

I’m not here to get it all right. I’m here to have a marvelously wonderful time messing up, being creative and exploring my experiences. I’m here to remind people what it truly means to be human.

Giving up on getting it “right”

I will never be the most productive, organized or on time (which is actually awesome according to this article), and that’s okay.

Actually, for me, a less-than-productive lifestyle is optimal!

Expecting myself to be able to disengage my own personality and quirks in order to become something idealized? That is the opposite of personal mastery, it’s dillusional and destructive.

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.


Where does that leave me?

Well, I’m not sure to be honest.

I think it’s somewhere between remaining committed to this blog and becoming more flexible about my ideas of optimal mastery.

I think it looks like more exploring.

I think it looks like more creativity and less rigidity in my daily life.

I think it looks more like living and less like striving.

I think it means continuing to discover what optimal mastery means to me even if that looks like the exact opposite of what the world thinks it should.

I’m up for the challenge.

Especially if that means I get to confront this burnout and the perpetual hopelessness of my generation.

My new proclamation of personal purpose and power

If we need a hero who will show us all how to fall back in love with being alive, appreciate our existance and protect our primal natures against the enslavement of capitalism and patriarchy, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.

I will gladly go where no millennial has gone before.


My psychedelic aspens

I will paint psychedelic aspen trees over all the billions of screens that are blaring advertisements to tell us about what we need and how we are lacking.

I will stay up late into the night, staring fearlessly into my own darkness and laugh at every one who tells me I am anything less than divine.

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

I will cry, no, I will sob over the massive extinctions and rising temperatures on our planetary home but I will also carry around my reusable straws and bags, appreciating every bit of this beautiful earth and hoping against hope that even if I can’t save it I can make active proclamations of care and concern to show others that hope-against-hope I will still try.

Little kids deserve to see me trying, they deserve hope, even if it’s just in the fact that some care enough to at the very least try for a chance at a better future for them.

I will dare to play again.

Little kids deserve to see adults enjoying their lives, having fun and continuing to play!

I will risk it all, every accolade and title, every award and acknowledgement, my own claim to this world’s current idea of “sainity” – for a chance to reinspire each and every one of us.

We are worth more than paychecks.

Our knowledge extends far beyond our degrees.

Our humanity is worth saving.

Our creativity is worth defending – even and especially against our own ideals.