Creative Transformation: 9 Exercises to Draw, Write, and Discover Your Future | Mari Andrew | Skillshare

Creative Transformation: 9 Exercises to Draw, Write, and Discover Your Future

Mari Andrew, Illustrator and Writer

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12 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:00
    • 2. The Power of Personal Visioning

      4:16
    • 3. Warm-Up: Imagine Your Future

      4:11
    • 4. Creativity: Transform a Memory

      6:33
    • 5. Creativity: Draw for Observation

      7:38
    • 6. Career: Write Your "Real" Resume

      7:10
    • 7. Career: Draw Your North Star

      10:05
    • 8. Community: Set Friendship Goals

      8:44
    • 9. Community: Drawing Love Languages

      4:33
    • 10. Healing: Write to Yourself

      7:42
    • 11. Healing: Draw a Custom Prescription

      7:10
    • 12. Final Thoughts

      0:51
89 students are watching this class

About This Class

We all have the power to transform our future. Join writer and artist Mari Andrew to self-reflect, discover your dreams, and take the first step to a creative life you love!

Mari Andrew knows what it is to build a creative life from scratch. In 2017, she embarked on a mission to post one drawing a day to her instagram as a way to help move through a difficult time in her life. Three years later, she’s amassed a following of over a million on Instagram, written the book she always dreamed of, and built a creative, fulfilling life she loves. 

At every stage, Mari made time to pause and self-reflect to ensure she was on the right path. Now, she’s created a one-of-a-kind class to guide you to do the same. Through 9 fun, reflective writing and drawing exercises, Mari will guide you to explore key areas of your life and make actionable plans for your future. 

Ranging from simple creative warm-ups to in-depth self-reflection journaling prompts, these exercises will touch nearly every area of your life, empowering you to get to know yourself and discover your dreams in a whole new way.

Work alongside Mari as you explore:

  • What creativity means to you and simple, everyday ways to use it
  • Career expectations, goals, and ways to use your unique skills
  • The importance of community, and how to build friendships that last
  • Healing and the power of moving forward, without forgetting the past

All are welcome to join Mari in this meditative journey of self-discovery. Designed to be explored in a time of transition (whether the New Year, a birthday, when moving to a new city or starting a new job), these prompts can be used again and again as your life continues to evolve. 

After taking this class, you’ll have a north star to guide you as you continually push your creativity, develop personal goals, and reach for your dreams.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: I think that your goals in life as we must be personal values driven, you need to know what's really important to you in order to think about your future and what you really want. I'm Mari Andrew and I'm a writer and artist. I write and make art from my personal experiences, and both are a way for me to process what's going on with myself and fuel my dreams for the feature. I pretty much began my whole creative career from a personal goal. I was going through a really rough time, I was dealing with grief over the loss of my father, and I decided to do this project of one illustration a day for a year. Now it's turned into four years. So this one thing that I decided to do just to make myself a bit happier actually had a big effect on my entire life and maybe just a lot more motivated as a person. Today we'll be doing a variety of writing and drawing exercises that I use to clarify what I really value so that I can make meaningful steps to direct me forward especially if I'm in a time of transition or change. When I do my little self-reflection time which for me is usually around my birthday and at the start of the year, I go through different life categories: creativity, career, community, and feeling. These are the ones that we're going to focus on today. Personal goal setting is really transformative because it reminds you, you have the ability to get through whatever you're going through. [inaudible] to stick around will really help you think about the immediate future that you want and steps you can take two get there. Even if you're not a very Type A person, I think I'm like a Type W person and I can still do this. So I think that you can too and I'm really happy to get to go on this journey with you. 2. The Power of Personal Visioning: I sort of think about our personal values as like a direction that we want to go in and if you make a little decisions that get you off track, you're going to get so off track eventually that it's really hard to come back to where you want to go. So taking a moment to pause and really think about what's really important to me can even help you make decisions about, do I want to go to that party or not? We make decisions every day that ultimately affect how we feel, what our community looks like, where we live, how we're growing. It's important to take these moments and really think, what is important to me? What am I all about? How do I want people to describe me? Make decisions from that please as opposed to all right, sure, or arbitrary decision-making that doesn't really reflect our personal values. The intention of the self-reflection exercises is getting toward alignment. So this is getting what's really important for you in alignment with your actions. In my job, I have to make every decision by myself, and that is a privilege and it's also a big challenge. I have to get really in tune with what's important to me almost every day in order to make the decisions that reflect a life that I want to live. I have to do a lot of my job on social media and I can get your values a little out of whack. People start admiring you for things that may not be that important to you or may not align with your metrics of success. Being able to stop and think, what do I want my life to feel like? How do I really want people to see me? What do I want to be known for and appreciated for? Getting in tune with that helps you make all these little decisions throughout the day, that guide you toward the life that you really want to live that's important to you. I found that personal visioning not only helps me in my career, but it helps me be a happier person with an apartment that I like and a routine I like. It helps me be a better friend and community member. When I do my little self-reflection time which for me is usually around my birthday and at the start of the year, I go through different life categories, and the ones that come up the most, my top four are creativity, career, community, and healing. The categories might look different for you but these are the ones that we're going to focus on today. For each of these themes, we're going to do one writing and one art exercise. Writing for me is more active and drawing is more meditative but for you, it might be the reverse. So I'd recommend doing this class around a time of transition, either maybe around your birthday, or New Year, new season, or during a time of change like right before a move or starting a new job. I think of these times of life as punctuation, so there's a little pause there. It's like a comma, or a period, or a semi-colon in life. It's a time to just stop and think what just happened and what's about to happen. In this class, we'll be using my favorite kind of watercolor paper. I like a nine by 12, it just gives me plenty of space. I'll be using watercolors. I use pretty cheap ones, nothing special. I use a sharpie marker, but you can use any pen you have lying around or if you prefer colored pencils or no color at all, totally fine, you can do all of these exercises with any writing utensil you have lying around and any kind of paper. So I would love for you to keep your mind as open as possible especially when you're thinking about what's just happened or reflecting on your past experiences, it's easy to get judgmental about ourselves. Even when we're thinking about, what is my life looking like right now? We can sometimes get caught up in dissatisfaction or the ways that it's not going so well, and I really hope that you'll commit to non-judgment of yourself. I also hope you'll commit to non-judgment of your own abilities and talents. You don't have to be a creative person to take this class and we all have different art styles and writing styles, this is really for you. To get us started, I would like to do a little warm up just to get you thinking about where you are right now. 3. Warm-Up: Imagine Your Future: So we'll start off with a little self-reflection meditation that I do from time to time. Just stick at me thinking about what's really important to me big picture. So this is a self portrait. You can also feel free to write this out if you don't feel like drawing, totally fair. This is you thinking about maybe 10, 20 years in the future depending on how old you are. I'd like for you to maybe close your eyes or just give yourself a moment of silence to go through some imagining of your own future and think about yourself in a decade, what you're wearing? What you look like? Where you're living? Think about all of that. Then think about one of a couple scenarios. I like to think, if I were winning an award in 10 years, who would be giving it to me and what would I be winning it for? Who's in the audience? Who am I thinking? What am I wearing? What's my vibe like? What am I saying about this accomplishment? Why do people think it's worth celebrating? Another one that I use is I put on some fun music and I imagine myself at a party and then I imagine the party is for me. I think what are people celebrating and what are they saying about me. So I'm choosing the second option of envisioning myself at a party. I'm going to say five years because I really want this to happen soon. I really want a garden, this is my new dream. I have a tiny apartment right now and I have a little balcony where I have some plants and a bird feeder but it's not a garden, so that's what I want. Also, in this vision, I will be really good at gardening which is something I've never tried before. So we're working with a big imagination here but you can go wild. So I'm going to draw myself at a dance party in my future garden. In the scenario, of course I have the hair of my dreams and I'm dancing in a cool dress. It can be just a quick little sketch. But it's something that you can return to over time and say how close to my. So obviously, I'm going to be amazing at gardening and I'll have all this lush plant life around me. I imagine twinkle lights of course and this is under the stars. Then these are all my friends. Pretty abstract, but they're all so happy to be there. They're all dancing. They're all celebrating this accomplishment after five years. So I think a lot of us if we're on the subway or daydreaming at work, we think about ourselves in the future. We do that a lot, but I think that drawing it out, it makes you happy, it makes it feel like it's more in your control. It's something that while you're doing it, you can feel what it might feel like in the future. When I'm drawing this, I can see the twinkle lights. I can see my garden, I can smell it. I can see all my friends around. I'm thinking who's going to be there. Who am I still going to be friends with in five years? When you're really taking the time to draw or just writing that out, it can help you feel what that might actually be like. I think that makes you more motivated to take those tangible steps to get there. So after you're done setting your intentions for the class and warming up a bit with your imagination, we will be diving into the first lesson which is creativity. 4. Creativity: Transform a Memory: Creativity is pretty nebulous. I don't think anyone's pinpointed it exactly, but it is really personal. Why do you create? Why do you want to create more? What challenges are you going through being a creative person right now? Those are the kinds of questions that I ask myself often and is a really good place to start when you're doing the self-reflecting journey. I think if you're a creative person, you might take your relationship with creativity for granted, but like any relationship, you have to work on it. If you identify as a creative person you're getting blocked, you might have this panic like, what's wrong with me? I'm I ever going to create again? But you wouldn't feel that way about a friend you didn't see for a couple of months. You know you're going to return to that relationship. I think it's really important for creative people to keep assessing, where am I right now creatively? What am I learning? So the way I use creativity in my life especially to process what's going on is half appreciation, noticing, observation, looking around me and seeing what's actually going on in the present and then half of it is transforming experiences into something beautiful or meaningful and ultimately to share with others. I started thinking about alchemy a few months ago when I went on a date that I thought went really well, and the guy texted me the next day and said we don't have any alchemy. I thought, I think you mean chemistry, but it got me thinking, what is alchemy. I think the old school definition is turning any metal into gold. But I think that that's how creativity works. You're taking something very ordinary and transforming it into something meaningful. Sometimes a warm up that I'll do to get my creative juices flowing is to think about just an ordinary object that I like to draw like a tree and thinking about other ways that I could describe this tree. I could call it by its name, like oak tree. I could also think of it as a shelter. I could think of it as a home. I could think of it as a memory. So sometimes I'll just draw something small and think how else can I think about this? That's how I think that creativity has the power to transform things. You might just look at your chair and label it chair. But if you label it my grandfather's favorite chair or the chair that I do my writing in, it becomes something meaningful and beautiful. The first exercise we're going to do is a writing exercise, a journaling activity to get you thinking about something that happened recently or in your deep past that you would like to transform into something meaningful or beautiful. Choosing to see a part of your life from a different perspective than you normally would is a way that you can spark your own creativity. So I'm going to get started with my journal, trustee journal, and I'm going to be writing about a somewhat recent heartbreak that I would like to transform and think about in a different way. So this exercise is about reframing the narrative. We all tell stories about what has happened to us in the past, and often we'll get stuck in a narrative that has a lot of shame around it. This is a chance for you to take something in the past that maybe you don't feel that great about or you would rather not even think about and transform it into a story or maybe even something really beautiful. So I am thinking about a heartbreak of mine from a relationship that I knew was going to end and I have a lot of shame around thinking, well, that was going end. What did I expect? Why am I so sad about this? That's a lot of self-shaming. It's so unproductive, it's not helpful. I would rather honor that relationship by transforming it into something a bit more beautiful. So in journaling about this, I might ask a question like, why did we even try? That's the shaming question that I might ask myself. Then, I start thinking about, well, what other things have I tried knowing that it might not work out? I don't know. I've taken dance classes, I know I'm not going to be a dancer. I've certainly had many house plants that died that I probably knew were going to die. I've invested time into people and things that I knew were going to end. I've gone on trips knowing they were going to end. Why do we do anything that we know is going to ultimately end? That helps me start reframing it in a different way. You can experience something really beautiful and make really meaningful memories even if you know that it's not going to last forever. So as I journaled about this, I realized that what we did was a really brave thing. It wasn't stupid, it wasn't a bad idea, it was actually really courageous. So this is what I ended up making and I combine some art in this as well. It says, "What a brave thing we did to plant an orchid in the desert and halfway expect it to thrive." This helped me reframe a really tough story for me. It helped me claim this experience, and it even helped me journal about it in a new way. This exercise is about parts of our past that we'd like to reframe, but it doesn't have to be about parts of your past that you feel ashamed about. It can be parts of your past or even parts of your day that you didn't feel were that meaningful. For example, if you have a commute that you don't really like or just don't care about, maybe take some time to journal about it and think, how could I make meaning out of this? What's a story I could tell about this? How can I see this in a different way? My journey from home to work, what does that feel like? What does it look like? People write poetry about subway rides. So if you're feeling a bit creatively blocked, you can just take something very ordinary about your day or your past week or your past year and write about it in a new way. Make it a bit more poetic. Turn it into a story, and that's a way that you can transform your own experiences into something creative, into a piece of writing or art. So that was a journaling exercise, but if you want to tap into your visual artistry, I also have a drawing exercise 5. Creativity: Draw for Observation: So I've given you my personal definition of creativity. I also see creativity as a way to just look at what's going on right at the second, and that's appreciation. So I will often draw and write about my experiences living in New York, and I think for a lot of people in New York, it's a rough place to live. But I think taking time to really appreciate it for what it is makes me really love it. By giving something your full attention, a city, an experience, a feeling, a relationship, whatever it is, that will help you really appreciate it for what it is and for what it isn't. This is an exercise to really get you noticing and observing which for me is a really essential part of creativity. I do one once a month for Instagram, but I also do them all the time for other parts of my life transition times. This punctuation times I mentioned. This is my blink heart. So I do these at the beginning of the month. I do it on my birthday. I can do them on a day of the week or about a certain city or vacation. The idea behind this is that I think we hold a lot more than we think we do at any given time in our mind, in our hearts, and I prefer drawing hearts to brains. So that's why it's a heart, but the shape is arbitrary. You can do a pie chart or draw your brain, whatever you want to do. But this is just to show how many emotions and thoughts I can have about a single event or place or a place of life at a certain time. So I'm going to start off by just drawing a big heart. Again, pretty easy to draw. Certainly, don't worry about making it perfect. I'm going to label this one My New York Heart. Again, the idea behind this is showing to ourselves how many thoughts and feelings we can have about one specific place or a place in life. The way that this helps you really tap into your creativity is that you're really going all around your mind and seeing what you've been observing maybe without even thinking about it. For me, a really big part of creativity is having to really get quiet. What am I observing about my place in life right now? What all is happening at once? Contradictions are really interesting in creativity. Thinking about everything that's going on around me at once and really taking the time to zero in on that and write it down. I think a lot of great writers and artists do that and when you share it with other people, you might hear them say, "Wow, I've noticed that too and I'd never even really thought about it." So this is your chance to really think about it. So I will start out with my neighborhood bodega because that's something that I really love. That's the kind of thing that may not show up in the photos that I take, but it's something that may be in a few years I'll think about it and think, "Oh yeah, I loved going into that place, and I loved that the owner would sometimes give me sunflowers and I liked that I could find a specific sort of soap there, whatever." So that for me would be a happy memory, something that I'm observing that I really liked. Maybe another thing is crowded hot subway. This is about honoring both the good and the not-so-good. I'd like to show you one that I've already been working on, and this is about the season of fall, my fall heart. So I've already written a lot of it and I will be painting it now because that's my favorite part. I sometimes use the time to really think about what I've actually written and meditate on it a little bit. So one thing to write it out and it's another thing to actually sit with it. I love this season of fall, but for me, it's a very emotional time. So I wrote about all of these different feelings and thoughts that I have during September, October, and November. I really like Halloween. I especially like seeing kids in dark costumes. When I was making this heart, I thought about that's I think one of the highlights of fall, and then I was thinking a lot about leaves and how beautiful they are, but in the fall, they're also dying. So I have leaves dressing up for their deaths. That's a really melancholy thought, but that's what I'm thinking about. I also put it in this large block that says soft, light, clothes, book pages, and me. I feel very soft and squishy in the fall. I'm very emotional and in touch with my feelings. The light is soft, clothes are softer. I read a lot more in the fall, so I wanted to honor all of that. At the top here, I have in love with anyone who will look at me. I feel very romantic in the fall, cutting season. I had this one at the bottom that says the realization of okay, maybe it will happen next year. I think toward the end of fall, we're thinking about what did we think this year was going to be like? So I wanted to add that as a hopeful thing for myself like all right, it'll happen next year. But also, maybe a more melancholy inventory of oh, I didn't do the thing I wanted to do, but that's okay, a lot of people don't do the things they want to do, that's part of life. Part of making these hearts is visually showing my commitment to a whole life as opposed to just a purely happy life. I could fill this with like lattes and leaves, but that's not the whole of what I'm feeling in the fall. I want to honor the different feelings I'm having and maybe the kind of aches and the things that I want, and that will help me do some more envisioning for the future as well. So I think that a good ritual for creativity moving forward is to commit to drawing one of these hearts, either once a season, once a month, once a week, whatever makes sense for you. Sometimes, when you're in a place in life that seems maybe just really hard and you draw one of these hearts and you see what else is going on, you see different contexts and you see, "Oh wait, this part of my life is going really well or maybe I'm blowing this out of proportion, just a small part of my life, or maybe there's other things that I want to work on that I haven't been really paying attention to." So being intentional about writing and drawing what's really going on without judgment can really help you see the bigger picture and give you a different perspective. That's why I think this is a great exercise to get your creativity going. A lot of times, I think we feel stuck in one part of our mind, or we feel like one part of our life is dominating the rest, or we feel like we only feel one way about something, but if you really start writing it out, you might surprise yourself. To me, that is the ultimate goal of creativity and that's where creativity really works, and that's when we surprise ourselves through our own new perspective on something. 6. Career: Write Your "Real" Resume: So the next category we're going to get into is career. This is a really important one to me, a big part of my life is my career. So I became a professional artist and writer a couple of years ago. Before that, I had so many different types of jobs. I wouldn't say that any of them particularly reflected all of my passions and interests and values. In fact, none of them did. I sometimes felt some shame about that because I feel like there's this message in society especially for creative people that if you're not doing what you love to make money, that something's off. I feel like there is a really big difference between the job you're doing and the work you're doing, big picture. I think jobs are what you get paid to do, they are temporary, they won't last forever even if you're there 20 years. A job has a lot of limitations. You're probably not going to find a job that totally aligns with your passions and values, I think that's very common. So I used to be a barista. I was a barista forever, and I wouldn't say that was my dream job, but I really liked it. I took a lot of pride in learning about what I did and why, and that made me show up to work with a sense of purpose and it just put me in a better mood. I thought about little ways that I could make my job better like choosing the music for the day which I loved, and getting to do chalkboard art, and enjoying the perks of free pastries and free coffee all day, that was great too. I still remember a lot of the relationships that I formed with my customers and my co-workers at that time. I think that society and a lot of people around me would assumed that I love my job so much more now than I did when I was a barista or that I'm way proud of the work I'm doing now than then, but I actually bring the same amount of pride to both to being an artist full-time now and to the many retail and food service jobs, and non-profit jobs and office jobs and random teaching jobs I had before. Even as a professional artist, the jobs I take, the things I get money for don't necessarily reflect what's most important to me in life. There's a way to make money and I bring my full energy to them and I bring my values to them, but at the end of the day, I'm not choosing my job, I'm choosing my work. So the work is the more overarching part of your career. This is why you do what you do, what you bring to it, how you're serving other people, and what's really lighting you up. So these exercises will get you thinking about the jobs you've had and the work you want to do in the future. I'm not proud of every single job I've ever had, but I'm proud of the work that I brought to it, and that's what I really want to tap into today. It's about your work that you take pride in that lights you up and hopefully helps others, and that's something that you can bring to any job you have in the future. The first exercise we're going to do is a journaling activity. For this exercise, we are writing a resume where you don't have to impress anyone. So you're listing the jobs you've had and what you learned from them, the kinds of skills that maybe you wouldn't put on an actual resume but the ones that you've actually gotten something from that actually help you in your real life because that's the point of all this experience anyway. So I'm just going to start by just thinking about some jobs that I've had, I've had so many. I was an ESL teacher, I was a tap dance teacher, barista, brunch waitress, I worked at a non-profit, I did marketing, I was a men's stylist, and I worked in retail at a boutique, and I've had more. But this is a list to get me started. So when you're journaling about this, think about the things that you really got from those jobs that still help you today. So for example, I think a lot about my food service jobs. I not only developed empathy for people who are also waitresses, but I developed empathy for customers and dealing with a lot of people at once. So there's so much to learn from these different jobs that you may not use in your job right now or your dream job but just help you in life. So I've been working on this one which has a couple of examples from different jobs that I've had. So you can do this as peer journaling or you can make a chart like I did. I put title, role description, skills gained, and what I liked about it. What I liked is my favorite part because it ties them all together like what do I really like about the jobs that I've had and that gives you a lot of information moving forward. So I started with barista which I did for six years. In role description, I wrote what I actually did most of the day, memorize dozens of drinks and smile when people complain. The skills gained, observation which I use all the time in my writing, just being hyper observant of people and getting to see a lot of different kinds of people all day long, chalkboard arts, I got really good at which actually helps me in my job considerably now, ability to stand for eight hours. What I liked about it was getting to know people who I normally wouldn't meet. The next one was sad office worker, that wasn't my real title, but that's the way that I think about it. My role description is I reply to emails and apologize for delays in responding to emails. That's what I did most of my day. Skills gained, I made meeting note art, so whenever we had a meeting, I would draw a lot, that's actually how I got to know that I really liked drawing. I'm sneakily looking at the Internet all day, that's a skill for sure, and finding blazers with personality. I had to dress pretty boring at these jobs and that's not really the way I like to dress, so I was able to find stores that had professional clothes with pizzazz. What I liked about it was using creativity to find fun in a really not fun job. So when you look at this category of what I liked, and you can journal about this as well, what were really the common threads between all these jobs you've had. If there's one thing you liked about it, what was that? Maybe that's something that you can use in your work right now or your work going forward. So the things that I liked according to this chart are getting to know people, using creativity to find fun, and sharing something I love to do. I use the things that I liked about all of my jobs to fuel my dreams for the future. What do I want my future career to look like? I hope it would use all of these elements. 7. Career: Draw Your North Star: So the art exercise we're going to do next is actually about the career you want to have in the future. This is a drawing exercise that's going to help you hone in on what your work is. Again, I think there's a huge difference between your work and your jobs. Your work is a reflection of your values and your interests and what you hold really dear and what you really like about yourself. Your jobs may not totally reflect that but you can bring your work to every job you have. I came up with this exercise. So I have a friend who always talks about your north star with regards to your career, and your north star is what is really important to you and that's the direction you want to go in. If you get too off track, it's hard to get back on it. So when I started thinking about what my north star was, I realized one-star is limiting. I don't have just one star, I have a few of them. So I decided to make a guiding constellation instead. I used to live in South America in Chile and I remember they don't have the north star in the southern hemisphere. They had the southern cross. And so I've made the southern cross which is that same sort of guiding lights that we use in the north with the north star, and so we'll be making a southern cross today. The nice thing is, it all intersects in the middle and so I feel like your work is the intersection of all these different parts of this constellation. That'll make more sense when we begin. But I want you to start out by drawing four stars. It's pretty easy. You can even make them circles if you want. No judging your constellation. So the southern cross is made up of four stars. This is just a cross shape but there's also a little bonus star and we'll use that as well. So I'm going to label these four stars; Illumination Delight, Skills and Pain and this little one is Lifestyle. So this is something you can actually journal about as well, and I think it would work really well if you journaled first and then drew it. But this is how I've come to think about work, is the intersection of all of these. So illumination is the idea of what really lights you up, what enchance you. This is something that's a little bit up in the clouds, just a little spiritual but it's something that makes you feel like you're stepping out of time and space. What does that feel? It might be a little hard to pinpoint that if you haven't thought about it before. But for me, that can even be talking with a friend. Like I feel like if I'm with a really good friend, hours can pass and you're not really thinking about the time or even where you are. It's just so magic to talk to them. Maybe you think about something you do in your life that makes you feel like that. Maybe it's travel or maybe it's something creative. For me, it's writing. When I'm writing, I feel like I'm going to another world. In my best writing moments, I feel like it's such a magical experience like energy is just rushing through me. I can't write fast enough. It's a really beautiful experience that I can always go back to and I know it's going to light me up. Of course I struggle like everyone with creative blog or not feeling super inspired but when it's going really well, I feel like I'm lit up from within when I write. The next part is your skills. So think about things you're really good at and that could be a lot of things. But I've found that the things that I didn't think would come in handy in a job actually I used all the time. So things like, are you a particularly good listener or are you really good at memorizing things or are you good at seeing patterns. Sometimes I think of the metaphor of compost with work. Maybe you've had a lot of jobs or skills but you think are just like scraps like they're not really that useful. But if you put them all together and make compost out of them, it's really fertile ground for something new to grow. So when you're thinking about skills, something that I know I'm pretty good at is identifying feeling and I know that's pretty abstract but it's something that I've come to be proud of and something that I use in my work all the time. I think I'm also pretty good with writing with the sharp beam. I was in marketing for a while, so I'm good at social media. Those are just a few skills that I'm bringing to the table here and again feel free to write down any that come to mind. The next one is delight. So this is similar to illumination but it's a little different. I think of delight as child-like joy. So this is the most simple joy you have in your life. It's things like, do you enjoy playing with your dog? Do you enjoy eating? Do you enjoy laughing, watching TV? This is the kind of happiness that may not sound very lofty, but it's the little things that really keep you going. So these are things like when I was working in a law firm, the thing that gave me the most delight was decorating my cubicle, or once a week I would come in and I'd pick a few new albums to listen to and I would listen to them throughout the week. So this is just pure delight. For me, I love painting with watercolors and I know that probably sounds pretty obvious because it's largely what I do for a living. But at the end of the day, I just love the feeling of it. It's as basic as that. I really enjoy it. I also love listening to music. So that's something I've always loved to do since I was a little kid. It taps into kind of a child-like wonder and it makes me really happy. The things that are going to keep you motivated to do the work you do will often fall into the delight category. Then there is pain which connects to the service part of your job. One of my friend talks about how finding your purpose is finding the intersection between what makes you hurts, and what you're really good at. That's how you can be in service to other people. So when I think about what really causes me pain and I am really sensitive, so a lot of things cause me pain. But when I think about the overarching theme of the things that really affect me the most whether it's in the news or things going on with my friends, it's loneliness. So I think a lot about how I can alleviate loneliness in the world in just a small way and what skills I have to be able to do that. Then this little star and if diagonal to the cross itself is lifestyle, and that's thinking about what actually works for you day-to-day. I work really well with a routine. So going freelance is a little challenging for me but it meant that I had to come up with a routine myself. I know that consistent breaks are important for me during the day and in life. I know that I really like to travel. So it's important for me to find work that allows me to do that. I know that it's important for me to work with people. I am a pretty solitary worker right now because I work for myself. But it means that I have to find ways to collaborate or I need to kind of factor conversations into my day. So if you're looking at the intersection between all of these things, you'll have a pretty good framework for what your values are in your work. So is every job that you take going to be the perfect intersection of this absolutely not. In fact it probably won't be. But looking at this as a guide to see the values you want to take into your work, I think can be really helpful for whatever job that you're doing. So you don't feel like you're so trapped by the current job that you have. So ritual for using this constellation is check in with yourself. Maybe every couple of weeks, maybe once a year, whatever makes sense for you. Look at something like this and think, am I feeling illuminated? Am I using skills that I like about myself? Am I finding ways to bring delight to my job? Am I serving people in any way? There were many jobs I've had where I didn't feel like I was serving anyone but I would try to think about how I could be a better coworker, how I could be a better listener, how I could bring a sort of a sense of service to my job even if it wasn't a particularly purposeful one that directly helped others. So that's one way that you can think about pain. I feel stuck on that one. So this is a way just to get back to your own personal values again. It's not about the success metrics of society or even of your friends. It's about your own success metrics, and do I feel successful at my job because I'm bringing my full work to it. When you have pride in your work and you have a sense of purpose no matter what your job is, you're going to feel a lot more satisfied than if you're not really thinking about it at all. So I really encourage you to take time regularly to come back to this and maybe journal a bit and seeing if you're feeling alignment with the values that you've listed here. 8. Community: Set Friendship Goals: So the thing that I'm most proud of in my life is my friendships. I have a really vibrant group of friends, a really good community, and I'm really proud of the ways that we've all shown up for each other. I think that really good relationships take some discipline and that's not the sexiest word to use when it comes to personal relationships, but it's something that you really have to work on. We all want really good friends, but in order to have really good friends, you've got to be a really good friend. I've found that there are so many people I'm always wanting to see but unless I get out on my calendar, it probably won't happen. I think that we should be prioritizing our friendships the same way that we prioritize classes we go to and personal hobbies that we start and goals that we set for other areas of our lives. It's not always easy to remember what all of your friends are going through, or their birthdays, or even to put something on the calendar, you actually have to be really intentional about it, at least that's what I've found. I think that's one of the reasons why people say that making friends as an adult is really hard, because we all have so much going on. We're all busy. We would all love to just spend nights in, we would love not to have to go to every party. That's all okay. I'm an introvert and I don't always want to show up for people either. But I think the key to growing adult friendships is to really show up for them, in the ways that you can and the ways that you've committed to. I think a lot of us when we're lonely have this dream that people will just show up on our doorstep with exactly what we need and be there for us in the ways that we need, but that's not going to happen. So I think instead of focusing so much on what do I need from other people, think about how can I be there for other people, and that will come back to you, I guarantee, or you'll at least build these friendships that over time will become much stronger, then you'll have a community who really knows each other and knows the ways that you're struggling and the ways that you enjoy spending time together. So the journaling exercise I want to do around this is pretty simple. It's taking an inventory of the friends you already have now. So I think of friendship in three different categories. One is the home team. These are the people you really want to make sure you're friends with a year from now, five years from now. These are people who you already spend quite a bit of time with, or if they're long distance, I have a ton of friends long distance, you're at least in regular communication. I will give you an example with my best friend Jumana. So first, I'm going to get some just pretty basic information. I'm going to text her for her address because I think that's a really important thing to know about a friend. You never know when something's going to happen and you're going to want to send a card or flowers. It's better to get it now than to wait when they might be having a really hard time. I would get birthday, for sure. This is sometime in April, but I'll have to text her the exact date and then get that on the calendar. If it's a really good friend, I like to set a reminder two weeks before to make sure I have something to give her, or at least ask her, she's having a party or something like that, that's always nice to be asked. I would also get anniversaries. By that, I'm usually talking about tough anniversaries. I've a lot of friends in my life who have experienced hard things and I know it means a lot to them when I reach out during tough times of the year. So if you have a friend who's lost a family member, you might want to add that anniversary. That's something you can usually get from social media, or my friend Jumana lost her mom, and so Mother's Day I like to send her flowers. So you can write those down as well. I also like to come up with a list of gifts. Jumana loves face products and I know she loves getting flowers, she also loves good food. So I'm thinking about that now. So don't have to think about it right before her birthday. I would also think about things that we can do together, ideas that I have. I am dying to take a trip to New Orleans with her. So I want to make sure I do that in the next two years. Then the more abstract stuff you can write down is what your friends are going through right now, things you know are coming up for them. So if I know that she is looking for a new job, that's something I would want to write down. If I know that she's really excited about a new job, that's something I'd want to write down. Again, we think that if we really care about someone, it will come naturally to ask, how's your new job going, or how's the job search going, but it won't necessarily because we get tied up in our own stuff. So writing these down and remembering to ask about certain things from time to time really means a lot to someone. Even if you have to set a reminder for it, it's not cheating, it means that you're invested in keeping this relationship really strong. If your friends have kids, maybe write down their birthdays or wedding anniversary. Ask about the people who are important to them. I love when my really good friends ask about other friends of mine because it makes me feel like they're invested in my community as well. So the next category is the friend goals. These are people you either don't spend time with or you want to spend more time with. So maybe they're not the people that you've already invested a lot of time in, but they're the ones who can see potential with. So a few months ago, I met my friend Kim, and we're not super good friends yet but I would love to be friends with her. So something that I love doing for the friend goals is incorporating other personal goals into our friendship. So for example, I want to see more jazz and I want to go to more museums, I also want to explore Bushwick. So I would write I know Kim lives in Bushwick that makes it easy. So I will say, I would like to have brunch in Bushwick with Kim, I'd also love to go to a jazz club, and I'd really like to go to the Morgan Library Museum. So I'm going to ask Kim, she can do that. When you're thinking about friend goals, it really helps to set down a few things that you might want to invite them to. Again, I think that when we're having trouble making friends especially when we're really busy, it seems like everyone's busy around us, you can often think, why isn't anyone inviting me to anything? That's the time when you want to get real with yourself and say, how often am I inviting people to things? So think about maybe if you're having an upcoming birthday, maybe inviting someone who you're not super good friends with, that's a really nice way to invite them into your life and into your community. If you're already doing something else with a group of friends, if you're already going to the museum, invite them along. Getting in the habit of invitation will get you in the habit of building your community. The last category is friendships that are changing, and I'm going to leave that to you to journal about, but those are friends who you might not have that much in common with anymore or maybe it's a friendship that isn't feeling so great like it used to. That's totally fine. That happens to everyone, it happens all the time. We don't have a lot of space in our culture, in our society for mourning those friendships but it's every bit as painful as mourning a romantic relationship, and I think it's really worth honoring those friendships. So maybe take some time and think about a friendship that hasn't been serving you so well lately, maybe you're having trouble showing up for this person, and maybe right about some things you really like about this person and ways that you're going to move forward, or if it's a friendship you think is really worth saving maybe come up with some ways that you can really work on that. Maybe you can treat it the same way as you do a friend goals. So maybe inviting this person to more things or checking in on them more often, whatever you think you really need to do to make this relationship stronger. But it's very valid to take a step back from a friendship and it's also very much worth mourning. So if you want to take some time to grieve that through some journaling and processing, I think that is a really good way to spend your friendship intention time. 9. Community: Drawing Love Languages: So now we will go into the drawing exercise. So this drawing exercise it's a play on the love languages. This one is in the same spirit of reaching outward. The five standard love languages are acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and gifts. But I feel like there's a much wider range of languages than that. So I suggest making a visual list like I did here. So these are all things that are very specific to you, don't think about what you should be good at or even what people necessarily want you to be good at, think about what you bring to the table, personal relationship wise. This is about becoming a better friend rather than waiting for your perfect friends to show up. So I have come up with my list. The first one is hyping up my friends selfies. So I drew a like button. I think I'm always ready to leave a lot of fire emojis, I'm always ready to complement my friends whole outfit. I'm pretty good at that, even if they sent me a text of the photo they were going to post and I already known what it looks like. I think that is where I really shine as a friend on social media. A lot of my friends don't live in my city. So I have to think about ways to be a good friend from afar. I like using my handwriting, I like drawing, I like writing beautiful things about my friends who I love so much. So cards are really where I shine as a friend. Another one of my languages is insisting friends go out dancing. Think when friends are really having a rough time, sometimes they just need that friend who's going to pull them out on a Friday night and I think that's what I do. I'm always down for that, always excited to do it, I'm that friend. I think everyone has a need for a friend who will sit at home and then one who will bring them out. I like to think I'm the one who brings them out but I'm also happy to sit at home too. Multiple love languages, complex love languages. I also put on hear making a cheese plate because I'm not a very good cook for other people but I love having people over. So I can bought some cheeses, I can buy sum crackers, it's something I'm actually quite good at. I even have a special cheese plate just for cheese. I can do that. So I would love to be the friend who makes a whole dinner and is able to give someone really nourishing and amazing food but that is not who I am. I can buy cheese. So I also have my friends over after work for a happy hour. Another one is sending very long voice notes. I have a lot of friends who don't live in New York and I in fact have a lot of friends who live overseas. I found that hearing someone's voice is really intimate. It's really nice to get a whole voice note about their day and that is a personal love language. Finally, I'm very good at remembering my friends zodiac signs. I drew a Libra sign here because that's what I am. Even if they don't believe in that stuff, I don't really either, it still feels nice to have someone to remember. So the way to use these love languages is to create a ritual around them. I have a little chart on my refrigerator, it's like a gold star chart. It said send a text today. By that I mean, send a text to a different person everyday, a friend of mine and either just check in or give them a compliment or ask them how something's going. I put a little x by it and then I have my whole chart filled out and that's a personal goal but it also makes my friends feel good. So you can pick one of your love languages. For instance, if you like writing cards like I do, you can say all right, I'm going to send two cards a month or one card month or whatever makes sense to you. It doesn't have to be crazy but disciplining yourself to do one of these things regularly is a really nice ritual that can get you in the spirit of community building from a place of intentionality. 10. Healing: Write to Yourself: So our next category is healing, which I think is probably the most important work that we can do for ourselves self-reflection-wise and intention-setting-wise. As an artist who writes autobiographically, I've come to identify pretty strongly with my pain. There's some difficult things I've been through that I assumed were the only sources of fuel for my empathy and my creativity. As an artist, I used those hard times to connect with other people. So I thought that identifying strongly with my wounds would make me a more authentic artist, I thought it would make me a more empathetic friend, I thought that it would make me a more resilient person. Over the past year, I've realized that a lot of my wounds pop up in ways that I really don't want them to, and I thought that's just the way it was always going to be. I thought that I'd always be triggered by certain things, and I thought that there were thoughts that I'd always have to get through on a daily basis, things that would come up in my relationships for the rest of my life. So one wounds that comes up time and time again for me is that of my relationship with my father. We were estranged for six years before he died, so I didn't really get any closure that helped me through my grief, and I found that the feelings of rejection that I experienced throughout my 20s come up when I'm in relationships with men. It has an effect on my self-worth, and it has an effect on how confident I feel in my relationships. I thought that that's always how it was going to be, and I thought that that wound helped me be a better artist. I fancied myself like a Frida Kahlo character whose art comes from suffering, and I thought I was good with that. I thought I was good to go. I think a lot of artists have a tendency to romanticize the more painful things in their life because it is fuel for creativity, and I believe that. But I also really believe that we can create from a healed place. It's not about forgetting the bad things that happened to you. I'm very aware of all the time that I'm still recovering from a very severe disease, and I will be grieving my father probably forever. But I believe that a healed artist can heal people a lot better than a perpetually wounded artist. I think that's how I was seeing myself. Despite my optimistic outlook, I think that I was really attaching myself to my wounds as part of my identity, even my personality. I thought that these were the things that helped me relate to other people really well. But when I began my healing journey, I found that my art actually became a lot stronger. As I was transforming, so was my art and writing. So when my father died, I was deep in the throes of mourning, and I thought, "What's going two be my story that I tell about this time?" I decided to make it a creative revolution. I started drawing for the first time, I finished the book that I always wanted to write. I could've written a story about someone who spent an entire year in bed, and that would have been totally legit. That's how I felt. But I decided I want my story to be one of empowerment. I want to become more creative because of this, and more compassionate because of this. I want to become a better person because I've suffered this loss. So that's how I'm thinking about my healing right now. When you're on a quest to heal yourself, it is a full-time job. It's a daily discipline to say, "The old rules don't apply. I'm not going to act like I usually do, or like I want to do, I have to act differently." I have to ask myself a lot; what would it look like to act from a healed place? What would it look like to draw from a healed place? How would I think about this if I were fully healed? This is a journey you can't do alone. It's something that you can start by yourself and hold yourself accountable to, but it's really helpful to enlist other people. I've enlisted a therapist, many other kinds of healers, and friends to either mentor me or walk along beside me as I'm doing this work. There are friends that I trust who will checked in on me, and there are friends who I know will listen to me without judgment. So think about the people who might be able to help you and walk along besides you in your healing journey, and please enlist those people. So for our first healing exercise, we are going to write a self-parenting dialogue. So in this journaling exercise, we're actually writing a dialogue with ourselves. This is practice to learn how to self-soothe and self-comfort. It's a tool that you can use throughout your life when you're going through something really painful, or you're trying to heal a past wound. So I began the first part of this exercise, which is getting really honest about how I feel. This is like on a dark night of the soul, writing down exactly how you're feeling, and no one has to read this, unless you want them to, so be as honest as you can. I was thinking about a wound that I'm trying to heal from, and I began by writing, "I'm having a really hard time with this." In this journaling dialogue, I would think, "How would I really want someone to comfort me? How can I mother my own self in this feeling? How would I want someone to parent me during this time?" I think sometimes just hearing "I know" can feel really good when you're going through something really rough. So I'm going to respond to this by saying, "I know. It's so painful, isn't it?" Just having someone acknowledge how much pain I'm in can sometimes really help me feel better, and feel validated, and of course, we would all want that perfect friend or perfect parent to show up, but that might not happen, and you really can practice to be your own best friend in times like these. Next I wrote, "I know it's for the best, but that doesn't make it easier," and I'm going to respond, "Of course. It's a huge loss and disappointment." Obviously, it's important for me to feel really validated in my feelings, and feel affirmed by that. I think sometimes sitting with someone and listening is just saying, "Yes. Of course you feel that way." That's how I would want someone to listen to me when I'm in this really dark place, and so that's how I'm trying to listen to myself. The next sentence is, "I'm being such a bad friend and bad at everything else." I will respond, "It's hard to be great at anything when you're hurting so much, but your friends love you and they'll understand." I think a lot of times, when we're really hurting, we can be really hard on ourselves because it's kind of hard to function in times like that. So I think that it's really essential to learn how to comfort yourself and encourage yourself, and being able to say that as a really loving parent would is a really good practice to get to know yourself and be able to soothe yourself in times like these. So this writing exercise is about acknowledging the really hard stuff we're going through. So this is a lot of bringing things up to the surface. It's probably not going to be a fun thing to do, but it can be really helpful for your healing to acknowledge the pain that you're in, and be really honest about that with yourself. 11. Healing: Draw a Custom Prescription: For the drawing exercise, we are going to come up with a prescription for moving forward with your healing. You are the person who knows how to heal yourself best, and I recommend pulling from all different sources. There's not one book or one therapist or one friend or one song that's going to completely change your life. You have to enlist all of it. If you're really committed to your healing like I had been in the past year, you'll use everything available to you. This part can actually be fun. So I hope you put a lot of heart into this exercise and think about your future as you're writing it. Think about what your healed self looks like, maybe dancing at your party in a garden or getting an award for something and bringing so much love and energy to your next relationship or your next job, really coming at it from a very empowered place. Like I am committing to this healing, I can do this, healing is available for me, and not being really weighted down by how you're feeling right now. So I have started writing myself a prescription. I start with my name. First, schedule things to look forward to, like a concert or a trip. I think having things to look forward to in the future really take you outside of whatever you're going through right now. So for me, it's really essential to my healing to have things on the horizon. Cook good meals for yourself. When I'm really hurting, I think that good food is the first to go. I tend to eat really poorly and I love to cook. So it's a good reminder for me to do the thing that I really like to do. It's very meditative and it feels very self-caring, self-parenting. I put on here a phone date with my friend Ruthie. Sometimes when you're in a tough place, it's not very intuitive to reach out to people. Sometimes you feel very, and you're hurt or you think who would want to hang out with me right now but I've always found it to be so helpful to reach outward and sometimes you have to put that on the calendar. You're not going to do it. Number 4, prioritize sleep. Five, sign up for a volunteer shift. Whenever I am going through heartbreak or rejection of any kind from a job, whatever, I always sign up for a volunteer shift. It really just gets me out of my head and it makes me feel more outward as opposed to feeling really sorry for myself. Number 6, read John O'Donohue poetry. It's a poet that always makes me feel better. So this is my little prescription for myself. These are things I'm going to do in the near future that I know will make me feel better. The thing about a healing journey that I found the most challenging is that you expect immediate results. If you've been doing therapy for six months or you've been putting all this work into healing from past traumas and moving forward, it's really hard to know when you're getting healed. Sometimes it doesn't really feel like you are for a long time, but I can guarantee all of this self-awareness and effort that you put into it is making a difference. There's been so many times this year when I've cried, I thought I was healing, I've spent so much money and time trying to get myself to this field place and these old wounds are still popping up or I'm still really upset about this or I still haven't forgiven this person or I still get really upset when I see this person's photo. That's going to happen because it's a journey, and in a lot of cases it's a lifelong journey. So you do have to be really patient with yourself and you have to known that none of this is wasted. Put my signature and the date. I think what's so nice about making your own prescription is that you do feel like you have a lot more control over this situation than you did. There is so many times that I thought I'm just not going to ever be able to heal from this or I have no resources available to me. I think there's a lot of people who will say the only way you can heal yourself is therapy or the only thing you can do is yoga or meditation. I found that there's not one thing, but there's a ton of things in tandem, and if I set my intention quite specifically and I say I don't want to be hurt by this anymore or I want to feel more empowered in my self worth, and I use all these different things to help, reading and talking to people and getting mental health help and doing yoga and doing meditation and going out dancing and doing fun stuff. All of that can work toward your healing. You can use anything you want. I think sometimes these small things that make you really happy, if you do them consistently, will really contribute to your healing. So nothing is wasted and nothing is too insignificant. The end. So when you get a prescription from a doctor and they spell check in and seen how your healing is going, I suggest that you ask a friend to check in on you or maybe you just set reminders once a month. I think being open with people about your endeavor to heal can really be not only helpful for your own healing, but inspire others. If I didn't have friends who committed to healing their past wounds, it wouldn't have occurred to me that I could. I really thought I had to live with this pain and it was just going to affect me negatively forever, but in writing my own prescription and checking in on myself and asking others to do the same, I have really seen progress. That can also help when you don't really feel like you're progressing, can be so nice to heard from someone else, you really are and I see it in you and I see you getting better and I see you trying harder and making better decisions. Healing is a lifelong process. So if you still feel hurt by the wounds of your past, you are not alone. But it can be really empowering to really look at what's happened to you and resolve to not be a victim from it. So part of this prescription is to think about the story you want to write moving forward. Think about how a healed person would act in this situation and you might have to do a bit of faking it till you make it. But I promised that if you commit to your own healing, you will see the benefits after a while, and you will not be alone. 12. Final Thoughts: So you've now completed the four categories of self-reflection and intention setting for your near future. I hope you've gotten some clarity on your own values and thought about some next steps for your future. I also hope that you incorporate rituals into your life that can help you get to those goals that you set. You can revisit this class anytime you're going through a transition or you're starting a new season of your life. Your answers will probably be different over time. So it might be really interesting to compare your journal exercises and the art you make over the next couple years. I encourage you to share what you feel comfortable with in the project gallery. I would love to see what you make and I'm sure it would be helpful for others as well. Thank you so much for watching and I can't wait to see where you go from here.