Drawing for Personal Growth: 5 Exercises for Self-Discovery | Meera Lee Patel | Skillshare

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Drawing for Personal Growth: 5 Exercises for Self-Discovery

teacher avatar Meera Lee Patel, Artist & Writer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why Draw for Self-Care


    • 3.

      Exercise 1: What Makes You Unique


    • 4.

      Exercise 2: Explore Your Fears


    • 5.

      Exercise 3: Your Life Color Palette


    • 6.

      Exercise 4: Nurture Your Creativity


    • 7.

      Exercise 5: Cultivate Gratitude


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


    • 9.

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About This Class

Calling all creatives—discover the power of drawing and writing to foster personal discovery and lead to a life you love!

Whether you’re an illustrator, writer, photographer, or new to the world of creativity altogether, drawing can be a powerful tool to cultivate self-reflection and foster inspiration. Join illustrator and writer Meera Lee Patel for five simple exercises that invite you to center your thoughts, get to know yourself, and envision a future you can’t wait to create.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Establish a daily drawing or writing practice
  • Use a variety of drawing techniques for self-reflection
  • Cultivate confidence in yourself and your dreams
  • Set tangible goals to foster a sustainable self-reflection practice

When you’re finished, you’ll have a set of tools and frameworks to return to day after day as you continue to find your way on your personal creative path.

The creative life means something different to each of us—no matter your focus, this class will help guide meaningful self-reflection that leads to self-compassion, confidence, and a self-discovery practice that lasts.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Meera Lee Patel

Artist & Writer


Meera Lee Patel is a best-selling author and self-taught writer and artist. Her latest book is CREATE YOUR OWN CALM: A Journal for Quieting Anxiety.

She is also the author of MY FRIEND FEAR: Finding Magic in the Unknown and two guided journals: MADE OUT OF STARS: A Journal for Self-Realization and START WHERE YOU ARE: A Journal for Self-Exploration.

Meera creates work that inspires others to connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them. She lives and works in Nashville, TN. Visit her online at www.meeralee.com or @meeraleepatel. 


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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: When you choose to look inside yourself and think about how you could possibly treat yourself with more life, you can change the course of your entire life. Hi everyone, I'm Meera Lee Patel, illustrator and writer currently working and living in Nashville, Tennessee. I make works that try to explore who we are, and I try to make work that helps you connect yourself to the people around you and the world that you live in. I struggle with my own creativity a lot. When I feel stuck or in the rush, or I don't feel that I have the confidence or ability to make something beautiful, I often turn to self-reflection as a way to create art. In this class, we'll be working through five exercises to explore fears. Get to know ourselves a little bit more with introspection and even find moments of gravity. I designed the class to help you identify the obstacles that could holding you back, and also the greatest strengths you have at your disposal. I really believe that a drawing practice is for everybody. Anybody has the ability to get to know themselves better and to make art through self-reflection. I'm so happy you're here. Let's get started. 2. Why Draw for Self-Care: I hope that you will approach these exercises with an open mind. Be honest even when it feels uncomfortable, especially when it feels uncomfortable, and be patient with yourself. There is no end goal. There's only the ability to know yourself more compassionately and more clearly than you did before. The most important part about building a creative practice is being consistent. I recommend choosing a time of the day when you are the most creative and clear minded but also the least distracted. For me, that generally means waking up a little bit earlier while the world is still asleep and choosing to practice my mind full creativity during that time. If you have the most energy in the morning you can wake up 15 minutes earlier like me, or you can find a quiet place at work during your lunch break, or maybe it's right before bathing. The time of day does not matter, only that you don't have any distractions and that you're able to devote any amount of time, 5-20 minutes just to yourself. Although the exercises in this class can be done in any order, I really encourage you to do them one at a time one per day. This will give you the time needed to meditate on the exercise you completed that day and really take away what you've learned from it. In this class, I'm going to be using a lot of different things for these exercises. I have guash which is an opaque peak watercolor and I like layering it over watercolor to get different effects. I've got colored pencils for drawing and writing. I've got a palette that I mix paint'on, and I have watercolors. I also have a few different brushes I can use, and an eraser, and a pencil. You can find that complete list of all of my favorite art supplies in the resources section of this class. What I really like about this class is that the end of the class, at the end of the five days where you've done each exercise once a day, you'll have a complete book all about you. It'll be filled with writing, and illustration and paintings, your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas. It will contain your dreams and the steps necessary to make them come true. Now that we've gone over everything let's begin the first exercise. 3. Exercise 1: What Makes You Unique: We're ready to begin exercise one and in this first exercise we're going to explore what makes you one of a kind. I think it's so often that we pick ourselves apart. We choose all the things that we wish were different about ourselves and more like somebody else. But I think it is very important to find out what makes you different from somebody else and why that's important, why is that beautiful, why are you lucky to be one of a kind and why are you lucky that you're not somebody else? You're just you and that's the luckiest thing of all. While you're doing these exercises, you may experience some fears and some insecurities. I know that when I sit down to think about what is unique about me, sometimes I can't come up with anything at all. I think about how I have ability as in dreams, but so does somebody else, and so how are they unique? But nobody lives inside my body and nobody has experienced the things that I've experienced. So even though somebody else may have a dream, it's not my dream and somebody else might have thoughts or lessons they've learned, but they're not my thoughts and my lessons. Everything I experience and see and do and also think and feel is contingent on me. So we're going to begin the exercise one now and I'm going to make a list of things that make me one of a kind. So the first thing that I think makes me unique are my thoughts, because nobody else can have them. The second thing that I think makes me unique and separates me from somebody else is the story that I have to tell. The collection of experiences and the journey I've been on that nobody else could possibly have seen. The third thing is my feelings. The fourth is going to be my cells, the fifth item are my fingerprints. You can see I'm writing in a slant, which is okay because it's just a list. The sixth is going to be my vision and my perspective. So my list may look a lot like your list. You have cells too, you have a story, you have thoughts of your own. What separates them is going to come later when we draw, we can add color, we can add movement with our pencil strokes and you can really begin to illustrate how your thoughts look and how they would look different from mine. I'm going to flip this paper over now and begin sketching out all of the things that make me one of a kind. I encourage you to do the same. The first item that I had that separates me from anybody else are my thoughts. I drew a circle because my thoughts tend to be cyclical. I can think of something and dwell on it and let it build up in my head over and over. Usually, this goes from a light place to a much darker place quickly. So I'm going to go ahead and take my brush and add a little water, and I'm adding a little bit of light blue. So I'm starting with a light blue and I'm doing the outer edge of my circle to kind of just remind myself that it starts lightly. It's often a thought that doesn't have to be something that can haunt me or torment me. It usually comes from a peaceful and calm place. I'm going to mix a little bit of a darker blue with the lighter working in my palette. I've got a palette with some different blues on it. I'm doing another circle to show that when the first thought continues, it usually becomes a little more complex, a little bit darker, and the circle continues. And then I'm doing the third ring. These drawings, these are self-expression for me, I'm not doing a piece for a client, I'm doing a piece for me. So I don't mind if the colors blend together, bleed a little bit, but if you do, all you have to do is wait for the first two dry and then add the second or the third. Now, I'm filling in the rest of this circle because my thoughts tend to start to spiral and then I can't even identify them. So I'm filling this in and I'm using a dark color because I think it accurately reflects the heaviness I feel when my thoughts get here. If you also wrote down thoughts and your thoughts are light, you might use a yellow or a beige or a color that feels light to you. Blue can feel light to you, there are no restrictions here. The second item I have is a story to share. I drew a little heart on the book because I think that this is one of the most intimate things I have that separates me from somebody else. I'm going to go ahead and paint the book yellow because that's a color that feels hopeful to me. I think a story that you can share with somebody else who's also hopeful. The next one I'm going to do are my fingerprints. To be honest, no color comes to mind when I think about my fingerprints. It's a kind of a sterile thing that separates me from somebody else. My fingerprints are on my hands and what I can make with my hands is different and very unique and special. So I'm going to actually use pencils since the lines are so little to add some color to these. I'm going to make them bright because I think what everyone can make with their two hands is really bright and special. The other thing I had on my list was my feelings and I drew a couple of different things here. First, I drew some lines because sometimes may feelings are very black and white and I feel strongly about one thing and I may not be able to explain why, but that's how I feel. So I drew a straight line, very unwavering and I'm going to use a cool green for that because those feelings always feel very rational to me. These are logic based feelings. Then I have some stars which I think are exciting because some feelings are like bright bursts and they take over your whole body and they light up your mind, so I drew some stars to express those. I have two more different kinds of feelings here. One is winding, it ends in a spark. So these are feelings that start somewhere and go somewhere else and usually end up taking me to a better place. I'm using a red for the actual feeling, and I'm going to use turquoise for the sparks for when that feeling stops winding and settles down into a good place. I really like these exercises because they look nothing like my professional work. They really capture the raw intensity of the emotions I feel when I'm making them. I think that is really special and far more important than having a perfect piece of work. That's also why children's art is so emotional and has so much character because they're drawing and painting truly from their hearts. I do have one more feeling here that a put which I'm going to use a darker blue for. It's a feeling that is a bit fragmented that maybe I haven't worked through it enough. I don't know why it's here or why I'm feeling it and not something I feel pretty often too. The next thing I have are my cells. I'm painting that inside of this first one in a calm green, you can't see it yet, but I've got a bit of a sparkle thing I drew inside it. The outside I think is going to be a deep purple. The last one is a little kidney shaped cell that's got a flower in it, which to me just symbolizes growth. The last item on my list is my vision, what I see you, or what I choose to see and my perspective. That's the last thing I decided at least for this list, that makes me unique. So these are the six things that I think make me truly unique. I can't wait to see what you've painted for yours. 4. Exercise 2: Explore Your Fears: In exercise 2, we're going to explore our fears. We are going to be painting what they look and feel like to us. We tend to run away from our fears, because we don't like how they feel. We don't like the anxiety that accompanies fear. We don't like feeling cold, or clammy, or panicked. But when you identify your fear, when you draw it a little bit closer, then you begin to understand why it's something that accompanies you. You'll find that you're able to make more confident decisions. You won't be making decisions from a place of fear, but rather a place of confidence, and power. You'll find that as you begin to draw and paint your fears, you're releasing your mind from them. They won't be clouding your brain, and instead you can focus on creative endeavors. We're going to begin this exercise by staring at ourselves in the mirror for a full minute. I know that that sounds terrifying, and that's because for most of us, it is we don't like looking at ourselves unless there's a real purpose. Are we brushing our teeth?, doing our hair?, scrutinizing our skin? But when you're able to look at yourself unflinchingly, you'll notice that so many thoughts begin to arise. It can be a little bit scary and uncomfortable. But take notice of the fears that are coming up. Do you notice yourself avoiding eye contact with yourself? Do you notice that you're beginning to have self-critical thoughts? As these thoughts begin to arise, consider; what do they look like? How do they feel? If you were to imbue them with a color, what would it be? Sometimes the fear of not being able to have a positive relationship with yourself feels like a void, like nothingness, and no image will come to mind. Sometimes painful memories, and incidents that we try really hard to shut out, feel sharp and they look sharp. They could be pieces of glass or a broken window. I think it's important to remember the symbols that come up for you, and we'll draw on those in this exercise. Now, I'm going to begin this exercise. The first thing I'm going to do is go look in the mirror for a full minute. It can feel uncomfortable, like I said, but please try to stick with that, and I'm going to do my best to do the same. When I come back, I'm going to make a list of the fears that arose in my mind, and start to sketch them out. Then we'll meet back, and we'll add color and shape together. I finished sketching out, the fears that came out for me during this process, while I was looking at myself. I came up with six different things. Now, I'm going to begin adding color, and giving everything a little bit more of the shape. One of the first things, I felt looking on myself was just a heaviness. It's a heaviness I feel often when I feel impatient, and ready for things to change, but so worried and afraid that they never will. I just drew a blob, because for me being able to translate this feeling, and this fear is really going to be about the color. I don't feel like this has a definitive shape for me. I just drew an outline a blob shape, and now I'm going to fill it. Also for me, heaviness feels very dark. It feels weighty like a cloak. I'm actually going to take one of my larger brushes, and I'm going to use a black. This emotion is something that I find it pretty difficult to climb out of, and I have to use a lot of will and a lot of acceptance, that it's a way that I'm going to feel, and I need to be okay with that, be okay with this emotion, and figure out what actions are going to take me away from feeling like things won't change, and how can I take actions myself? Because when you take action, it changes attitude. If you ever feel stuck in a particular emotion, I always find it helpful to make a list of things you can actually do to change that feeling. I added the black ink, and I painted it in, and I actually I feel it's pretty representative of how that fear feels. I'm just going to write it in here. This feeling is one that I felt a lot, and that I know I will continue to feel a lot. But it took me time to be able to identify it. At first, I noticed that I always felt sad, I felt weighted down, and I didn't know why. As I ask myself questions, when do I feel this emotion the most? When do I feel it coming to me? How long does it last? I began to understand that it comes in moments of feeling stuck. When I don't feel like I'm making progress, whether that's in a relationship, or in my work, or in my own self-growth, or when I feel trapped in a situation, or in a certain aspect of my life. When I was really unhappy at my job, and I didn't feel I'd ever be able to leave. Over time, I've been able to identify that this heaviness is associated with feeling stuck for me. If you feel a fear, and you don't know what it might be related to, that's okay. The important part is that you're paying attention to it. I would recommend doing what I did here, which is drawing an abstract shape, however it might feel to you in your body, and putting the color that you associate with that feeling onto the shape. Over time as you make this a practice, as you continue asking questions, and working through these fears, you will be able to identify where they are rooted, and what are the actions you can take to overcome them. The second item that is a symbol here for me, are painful memories. I don't like to dwell on painful memories, because it can be aspiral for me. Because of that, I tend to avoid them. As we'll learn with all of our fears, when you avoid or run away from your fear, it only grows larger. Writing down painful memories reminds me that there are some that I still need to work through, so that I can accept that what happened has happened, why I should take certain lessons with me, but why I should not take the fear of it happening again. For example, if it's a memory that has to do with somebody, why I shouldn't carry the fear of being close to somebody. Because that is preventing me from constructing what I really love, which is a meaningful relationship. The next thing I wrote down was that, when I feel afraid, it feels like static, or confusion. I can't really always understand why I feel afraid of something. I just know that I do, and I know that I have a lot of anxiety that can bubble up in me, and it doesn't have a shape, or a voice or a reason until I drew honestly a scribble, because that's what it feels like. Because it feels so muddy to me, and a bit unidentifiable. When I feel anxiety and confusion, it's constantly changing. That can be one of the hard parts about trying to control up. Along with the heaviness, my fear just feels really really dark. It feels encasing sometimes. I'm going to use a dark purple for that. I'm mixing of a few different purples, and I also layer to get the true shape that I need. Again, this one is about the color and not the shape. It's really about capturing the feelings that came up for you, when you did the exercise, and putting them on paper, so we can work through them. While I was also looking in the mirror, a specific fear came to me, which was, living in the same place forever. So I drew a house, and I'm going to paint that one in. I also think while you're working through, while you're drawing this and painting them, then you can also begin to ask yourself, if you feel comfortable, why I'm I you afraid of some of these things? Living in the same place forever. While I draw this house, I find myself almost contemplating. Why is this the fear of mine? What would it mean, if I stayed in one place forever? Why is that commitment scary to me? If you have the answer, sometimes I'll flip the page over, and write them on the back. Sometimes I'll write them right here next to the image, because this exercise is for me, and for me to learn, and grow, and choose which fears I think are important to hold onto, and which ones are better for me to leave behind. Feel free to do that, add your notes, add any additional feelings that may come up as you work through these exercises. I think that one of the reasons I'm afraid of this is, because I'm worried about stagnancy, and I'm worried about losing my curiosity, and I think that I'm going to come back to this one, and try to figure out whether I can continue to grow, and stay curious in the same place. Does the place dictate whether I can learn and grow, and remain curious? Or is that within my control and something that I can do from anywhere? The last fear that came up while I was doing the mirror exercise is failure. The fear of failure. It feels fast, and it feels again, unidentifiable. A lot of these will be. I drew a swipe, and I'm just going to paint that on here. It just feels like that. It feels quick, and a little jarring, and a little muddy, and dark. Here are all of my fears that came up for me during the mirror exercise. You will notice that I worked through one or two of them while painting them. I hope you are able to do the same. The only way to overcome any fear is by being able to be aware that you feel fear, and then by identifying those fears. You're off to a really good start. 5. Exercise 3: Your Life Color Palette: In this third exercise, we're going to create two color pallets. They're both representative of your life. In the first one, we're going to draw your ideal life color palette. These are the colors that would make up your perfect world. In the second pallet, we're going to make your current life palette. These are the colors that currently exist in your world. The reason I like to do this exercise is to help facilitate actual change, to help get you where you want to go. If you don't know what your dream world looks like, you can't make changes in your current life to help you get there. The other thing that you're going to learn is how to associate color with feeling, and how to appreciate each feeling and emotion that your body experiences, regardless of whether it is traditionally painted as positive or negative. What we're actually going to do in this exercise is draw five circles on the page. The first palette is for your ideal world. I want you to come up with a list of five things that you would definitely have or that would definitely exist in your dream world. After that, we're going to meditate on each one. I'm going to ask you to close your eyes, think about each item, and visually see what color comes to your mind when you think about that. Now we're going to begin, and I'm going to start with the color palette for my ideal world. I'm going to go ahead and draw five circles on the page. They might be a little faint right now, but you'll definitely see them when we add color. I'm going to go ahead and label the first one with loved ones. The second component for my dream world I know is travel. I'm going to go ahead and label the second one with travel. The third one for my ideal world would be good health. The next one, I think would be creative growth, which is something I often feel that I'm lacking and I'm realizing as I identify it, that it's not something I feel I have right now. The last thing that I would always want in my dream world is to have curiosity, to always be wanting to learn more and see more and experience more. Now that I have the five components of my ideal world, we're going to talk about how to choose the proper color for each one. The reason the color is such an important part of this exercise is because I want you to start disassociating the colors with certain elements that you've been taught to associate them with. For example, loved ones because it has the word love in it, I'm so tempted to paint it pink or red or coral, because for so long those have been the colors that have been associated with love. But that very well may not be the color that it feels like for me. For each of these, I want you to meditate on each of the items that you wrote down. Close your eyes for a couple of seconds and then paint the color that comes to you. I'm going to go ahead and do this first one. I have loved ones as one of my major elements in my dream world. I'm going to close my eyes and think about people that I hold really dear. I see a very, very deep fiery pink. That's going to be what I paint now. I'm taking my brush and I've got this awesome magenta. I'm going to go ahead and lay that down. It's bright, which is perfect because that's exactly what it feels like for me. The next item on my list is travel. Again, I'm going to go ahead and just think about travel and how do I feel when I'm traveling? When I have a trip coming up and it is a deep golden yellow, almost an ocher. I have that color right here. Of course, you might not have a pallet with all of the colors you're seeing, and that's even better because you get to make them. I'm actually going to go ahead and label these before I get much further along. The third one that I have is good health. It looks like strangely a rust color. I don't know what that means but I'm going to go with that. So we are looking for a rust and a copper, and I don't have that so I'm going to take a little brown and mix up with the red I have. The next one I have is creative growth. That looks actually very desaturated. It's almost a pale brown, dirt color. I can guess because I've done this a bunch of times. I'm going to guess that that's because it's not something I feel I have a lot of. I feel I have a lack of creative growth right now. That could be why it's such a pale color. I'm just mixing a little gray with the brown to get that pale. Almost nothing. The last one I have is curiosity. That is very white for me. I'm going to go ahead because I want to put a paint down and I don't have a white with me, this is actually ivory white, so it's an off-white, and I have a little bit of purple in it. It's got to a tiny little tench, which is okay. It's pretty representative of what I saw. You won't always see a consistent color. If you see flashes of different colors or if you see something really muddy, or if your mind is blank and you don't see a color at all, that's okay. I would paint that. You can leave the circle empty if you don't feel like you saw a color. If you saw a lot of different colors, I would include all of them. The point of this exercise is to capture where you are right now for the things that are important in your dream world right now, and how they feel to you right now. You can do this palette exercise over and over again as I have done, and take note of how these things have changed, and you'll be able to better identify how you yourself are changing. Now that we've finished the first palette, we're going to move on to the second one, which is going to be your current world. I'm putting this one off to the side and I have my current world. What does my world look like right now? I'm going to go ahead and draw five circles, and I'm going to label them with the five things that I think are filling up my life right now. The first one I think is tiredness. I feel a bit tired. The second thing that I think my life right now is filled with is email. I'm going to write that here. I do feel that I have a lot of loved ones in my life, so I'm going to include them here too. I feel that I'm lucky to be able to travel often and my life feels like it's full of it. Maybe associated to the travel, I feel a lot of financial anxiety. These are the five items that are composing my current world, the life I'm living right now. Now I'm going to go ahead and add color to this palette. I'm finished painting my current world and the colors in it. I did notice that for both the tiredness I feel and the financial anxiety I feel, they are both a little bit darker because I think they are things that are weighing on me a lot. The tired ended up being a deeper Burgundy and the financial was a dark green, of course. Also loved ones and travel are pink and ocher, the same as from my ideal world. Because I happen to have those things that I want in my ideal world already, which was really exciting. One of the great things I love about this exercise is that it gives you the ability to really compare what is missing from your life right now that you wish you had and also, what have you already achieved? What have you cultivated in your life already? I feel extremely happy that I've nurtured and grown relationships with my loved ones. So something from my dream world already exists. The same for travel as I've built a life and a career that enables me to do what I love. Some of the other things that I noticed is that in my ideal world I would have good health, but in the current world, I'm not making an effort to do that. There isn't regular exercise or consistent meditation or things that would give me the good health that I want. This is a reminder that I need to make some changes in my current world so that I can have this. Another thing I noticed is that I have a lot of financial anxiety and a lot of email in my current world. Neither of those are things that I have in my ideal world, and I know right away that they're are things that I wish I could lessen. It's another reminder to me to set up maybe a schedule where most of my time every day is not spent on email. Maybe to reduce financial anxiety, can I make a budget? Can I talk to somebody that I trust about my financial issues and see if I can have help somewhere? It's a reminder in your current world, if it's filled with things that you don't want or that you feel are prohibiting you from building your ideal world, what actions can you take now to change them? 6. Exercise 4: Nurture Your Creativity: In our fourth exercise, we're going to explore how we can nurture our creativity. I chose this because when your mind, your body, and your spirit are all on harmony, your creativity flows. I think it would be helpful to identify how are we nurturing our creativity now and what steps can we take to nurture it in the future? Just like we did when we compared our current life to our dream life. Figuring out what you're doing right now to ensure you're on health, what you can continue doing. What are the positive steps you've already implemented, is just as important as seeing where you can try a little harder. What can we strive for? Is there a step you can take today and build on every day after, so that next year when you do this exercise again, it'll be part of how you're currently nourishing your creativity. During this exercise, no matter what your current nourishment schedule looks like, I hope that you'll feel really excited when you start listing out all the possibilities you have from more growth. There are so many things that we can do differently each day to ensure our creativity is flowing, and I hope you'll be able to see them. In this exercise, we're making up our own versions of the Venn diagram. They're going to have three circles with all of them intersecting in the middle and in the middle is where we'll show our current creative growth and what we hope to do in the future to ensure creative growth. I'm going to go ahead and draw both of the charts and start filling out the ways I'm nourishing my creativity right now. I'm going to have to make three circles that are intersecting. There's one, two, and three, so this middle part where they all intersected I'm going to color in because that's what's happening. That's where these three elements are coming together to show you that these are the ways you're nurturing your creativity right now. I'm going to go ahead and begin to identify three things I'm doing to nurture my creativity right now. The first thing that I do to nurture my creativity right now is go to bed on time. That's really important to me because in the morning is when I am the most creative and this ensures that I'll wake up with energy and hopefully some good ideas and the ability to execute them. The second thing I do to nurture my creativity right now is to make sure I'm getting a lot of input. I really like to read books that expand and grow my curiosity. The last thing that I've started doing, which has been really helpful, is setting a whole hour aside every day to paint. Uninterrupted time where there's nothing I can work on other than painting. Now we'll go ahead and make our second diagram, which is going to be ways we can better and nurture our creativity in the future. Again, I'm going to make three circles, ensuring that they all intersect in the middle. The first way I think is something I've touched on before is exercising regularly, so I have more energy. The second thing that I think I can do and should do to nurture my creativity is, while I've become studying an hour a day to paint, I don't have a regular writing practice and I do wish that I was doing more creative writing. I'm going to say develop a writing practice. I think this one is especially important because as you'll see from my creativity diagram now and how I want it to look in the future. It's so easy for us to fall into the routine of, I wish I had time for this and creativity sometimes for those of us who long for it and don't feel that we have it. It's difficult to make time for things that are difficult for us or traits we think we don't piss us. That if you make time, if you are deliberate about carving out time for something that helps that creativity flow and it becomes easier to do that exercise. I think I may need more time for my writing. Maybe I would like my writing more and maybe I'd become a better writer. The last thing I think I can do to nurture my creativity in the future is seeking a mentor, somebody I can learn from, talk to about some struggles I'm having, and maybe that could give me advice and I can learn from their experience. I'm just going to go ahead and label my diagram's now so that when I'm feeling stuck, I can remind myself of the things I'm already doing and how they're paying off and also focus on some of the things that I need to begin doing so that I can see the fruits of them a year from now. 7. Exercise 5: Cultivate Gratitude: In this last exercise, we're going to create gratitude for the path we're already on, for the life that we're already living. I think this is extremely important because it's hard to create any change or do any reflective work if you feel you're drawing from an empty well. I find this exercise really useful because it helps you remember what parts of your life are already gratifying. When you're seeking to change, whether it's yourself or how you're approaching certain things in your life or a person or a relationship you have, you remember that you have this support, you have the strength and you have the ability to make change because you've already done it so many times. I wanted this exercise to be the one that you end your week of reflection life so that you walk away feeling inspired, invigorated, and ready to create more change. In this exercise, I'm going to ask you to answer the following question. What are three gratifying parts of your life that you tend to overlook? You can write them down, you can draw them, or you can do both. [inaudible] for a few minutes on three things in my life that are really wholesome and that really, make my life the beautiful life that it is and then I'm going to draw and write them and then I'll come back and we'll add color together. I drew the three things that I find really gratifying in my life today and I hope you did too. Now, I'm going to go over them and add some color. The first thing I drew was a bouquet because I wrote, "I have a bouquet of amazing friendships that I have nurtured and helped to grow." The important part for me was the way I phrased it. Because while I'm really thankful for the friendships I have in my life, and I'm sure you are too, I wanted to acknowledge that I've put a lot of energy and effort into making them really healthy relationships. I'm really proud of the ones in my life and they are definitely something that makes my life better. I'm going to go ahead and paint them. Minnie is really a bright color because this is something that feels really bright and beautiful in my life. Sometimes I do switch between colors while I wait for one to dry, again, so they don't bleed. I'm going to move onto another flower while I wait for that. I'm going to go ahead and write in that I am grateful for a bouquet of amazing friendships that I have nurtured and helped to grow. The second thing that I felt a lot of gratitude was the ability to wake up every day and to try again, anything, to be a good friend, to be a good sister, to be a better writer, to listen well. Just every day I have the chance to wake up and try to do those things again. For that, I do with sun to symbolize a new day, and I am actually going to paint that with a few different colors. I'm going to go ahead and write this one in too. Again, that's the ability to wake up to another day and try again. This is a regular ability I feel grateful for, especially when I'm feeling stuck, is to know that if it didn't work out today, if it ain't get to where I wanted to be, I can always pick up tomorrow and try again. I find that to be one of the most encouraging things to remember. For the last gratifying thing I wanted to remember was, I wrote, "How far I've already come." This is, I think a common loss in perspective that most of us have. Is that, we're always looking to how we can improve, how we can do better, how much further we want to go. But really quite frequently it's important to step back and to acknowledge and to remember how far you've already come. All of the amazing things you've already done and gotten to see the best parts of yourself you've gotten to be. For that, I drew a rainbow because it stretches really far and there's no end. I'm going to write this one in as well just how far I've already come. These are three of the things that I'm grateful for every day that I already have. 8. Final Thoughts: Now we've finished a whole week of the self-reflective exercises and you can see that you have a whole stack of paintings that reflects you. This can feel a little bit overwhelming sometimes to know that this whole book, this stack of paintings, is filled with your inspirations, a lot of your fears and insecurities, dreams that you have, frustrations you have but it's also extremely special. When I look through them, I feel really proud of myself for being able to express, if only to myself, some of the most deepest inner workings of my heart and the brain and the thoughts that's it with me every day. From here, I really hope you'll keep going and keep trying and keep writing and keep creating. I hope you feel about you of the tools necessary to create your own reflective practice. The important things are asking yourself questions, not shying away from emotions that you feel, even if there are complex or confusing or uncomfortable and being consistent. If she can set aside just a few minutes every day to ask yourself what you're feeling, why you may be feeling it, on what that feeling to be rooted in and you apply that to either writing, drawing, you're both whatever you feel comfortable with, before you know it every day you are creating from a place of self-reflection and not say anything. If you've created something and you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to see it. Please upload it to the project gallery on this class and I would love to see and comment and share your work with the community and I think that one of the best things about drawing from deep inside ourselves and sharing it with other people are the connections that we can find in. I feel connected to so many of you, but I haven't met because we've shared this together. I can't wait to see what you've made. 9. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: