Mindful Bedtime Routine: Patterns & Affirmations for Better Sleep | Neha Modi | Skillshare
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Mindful Bedtime Routine: Patterns & Affirmations for Better Sleep

teacher avatar Neha Modi, Mindful Artist & Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      Introduction

      2:29

    • 2.

      Class Overview & Project

      3:28

    • 3.

      Gather Your Materials

      2:52

    • 4.

      Pattern 1: It's Going To Be Okay

      11:29

    • 5.

      Pattern 2: I Am Calm

      12:21

    • 6.

      Pattern 3: I Am Doing My Best

      15:44

    • 7.

      Pattern 4: I Am Grateful

      10:34

    • 8.

      Pattern 5: I Am In Control

      14:35

    • 9.

      Pattern 6: I Can Sleep Easily

      9:27

    • 10.

      Pattern 7: I Deserve Rest

      12:34

    • 11.

      Pattern 8: I Am Not My Thoughts

      12:26

    • 12.

      Final Thoughts

      2:06

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About This Class

Once we learn to dig deep within ourselves for answers and trust our inner wisdom, it gets easier to navigate through this crazy, magical journey called Life!

In this class, I will share with you the way I turned inwards for answers and developed a framework that helped me overcome sleep obstructive thoughts and unravel restlessness before hitting the bed. Each lesson in this class is packed with steps to reflect, ways to meditate through the patterns, ideas to adapt and accept the affirmations along with some stories and some examples. 

In this class you’ll learn to :

  • Get into the flow state and leave the day in the day
  • Use affirmations to change the way you view your agency in a given situation
  • Silence your inner critic through self compassion 
  • Change the way you view sleep and rest
  • Build a sustainable and calming pre-sleep routine

So, whether you toss and turn all night worrying about all things you haven’t done and replaying negative memories or whether you just want to do an activity before sleeping, that doesn’t involve any type of screen, then this is class for you. At its core this class is about meditation, intention setting, healing, breaking old conditioning, relaxation and that’s something anyone and everyone can benefit from right ? 

With each mindful movement, we will make a choice to move away from fear and worry and move towards the present moment, where we can quieten the inner chaos and make way for affirmative thoughts to sleep better. And to that we just need some coloured pens and paper! So grab those basic supplies and join me in the class :) 

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Neha Modi

Mindful Artist & Educator

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: [MUSIC] You know how it goes. You're lying in the bed, exhausted, and trying to sleep, but it seems your brain has other ideas. Instead of slowing down, it decides to play a compilation of everything that went wrong in the day to regretful memories from years back on shuffle. Before you know it, it's 2:00 AM and you're wondering how many hours left until your alarm goes off. How do we quiet the mind before sleeping? It's a question I used to ask myself daily. Hi. I'm Neha Modi, artist, illustrator, and a top teacher here at Skillshare. I have been practicing mindfulness through art since the last few years and it has made me realize that the answers to many of our problems can be found within ourselves. When none of the other sleep routines would help me switch off the multiple thought tabs running in my mind, I turned inwards and discovered that art and affirmations can be used together as a sleep routine. In this class, we will be exploring a wide range of affirmations that you can use depending on the kind of day you had. By each affirmation prompt in the class, we'll focus on the framing a sleep obstructive thought. The accompanying pattern will help in strengthening the particular affirmation. For example, if you are feeling disappointed about the unchecked items on your to-do list, the affirmation, I am doing my best, can be used to mindfully replace the pursuit of perfection, the consideration and compassion. If you want to leave your day in the day and not take it with you when you go to bed, then you should take this class. By no means it is an ideal bedtime routine, but it is a easy-to-do wellbeing practice that can be done by anyone and everyone. Even if you're not into affirmations, you can make these meditative patterns to end your day with an activity that is relaxing and does not involve any type of screen. All you need is a paper and a pen to unload your thoughts and feelings and then a little faith to fill up that space in mind with affirmations so that you can get into a restful zone. Let's get started. 2. Class Overview & Project: Welcome to the class. I'm so happy that you are here to know more about this creative and mindful bedtime routine. We spend our day being so busy, running around from one task to another and consuming different sorts of information. These are so filled that we don't have the gaps to process our thoughts throughout the day. When we go to sleep, it is natural for the restless mind to go over everything that happened during the day, that is why we need an outlet to let go of the day and end it with a coming node before we hit the bed. One of those outlets is this creative combination of art and affirmations that we are going to explore in this class. Instead of just sitting and repeating affirmations out loud, we will make them along with repetitive patterns. Every line that we make on the page will serve as a reminder to bring all our awareness to the present moment, to the affirmation that we have decided to focus on for that particular night. These affirmations are not magic spells that can take away all our problems, but what they can do is to help us to change the focus of our thinking, decrease the feeling of powerlessness, and give us some sort over whatever is troubling our mind so that we can sleep better. Your class project is to follow each affirmation prompts, and share them in the project gallery. You can share all the patterns or just the ones that you're comfortable sharing. You can follow the sequence shown in the class, or you can pick and choose the affirmations that feel relevant to you based on the day you had. I recommend setting aside at least 30 minutes before bedtime for this practice. You know that one hour before bed where you shouldn't use any type of screen is perfect for this activity. But I understand we all have our different schedules and demands, so see the time slot that works best for you, try to be consistent each day as reviving established thought patterns takes a lot of time. It's a daily practice that needs patience and conviction. Just like one can't expect to see physical changes by going to a gym one time, you can't expect your brain to change its conditioning by just repeating an affirmation once. The more you repeat the affirmation to yourself, the more you will manifest it into a reality. You can repeat the affirmation out loud while making the pattern, or you can recite it silently. What matters is your level of concentration, and the fit you have on the words that you are speaking. One more thing that before starting each pattern, I'm going to first write the affirmation on the top. Think of it as a title for that particular pattern. But if you are not comfortable, then you can just leave that part and only make the pattern. This is the class for you to explore a new type of bedtime routine and feel relaxed. There's no pressure, no conditions. Now, let's move on to the next video where I'll share the materials required for the class. 3. Gather Your Materials: [MUSIC] The materials you need for this course are pretty basic. Paper, some colored pens, a pencil, and an eraser. That's it. The pens that I'm using are from Staedtler. I'll be using a combination of two sizes. These are the one MM felt-tip pens and these other 0.3 MM fine liners. I really like their range of colors and these pens are comfortable to hold, and last long too. They do bleed a little on the paper, but other than that, they're amazing and my favorite. Here are some other brands of markers that I've tried and found them good. These are just some options that if you want to buy, you can check out. But let me tell you that you can use anything that you have for this class. Even the kids create sketch pens absolutely work. I will be using a wide range of colors depending on my mood, and we'll mix and match the sizes. But even if you have 12 colors or six colors of any one particular size, it is more than enough. Feel free to experiment with the types of pens and markers that you have. You can also use other types of materials like pencil colors or crayons. Honestly the outcome of this type of mindful art activity is independent on the material. Is the intent with which you approach the art that is going to make a difference, so don't hold back just because you don't have the exact material. I will also use a black pen to write the affirmations. Now, with paper too the same thing applies. From printer paper to a sketchbook, anything and everything works. To showcase the patterns in the class, I will use these watercolor paper, but for my daily practice, I mostly use this A6 size sketchbook. The paper in it is 120 GSM, so just a regular sketchbook is more than enough. What's important is that you finish the pattern in each sitting, so depending on the time you have, select the size of your paper. Now some extras that can separate it from any other drawing activity and make it more like a ritual is a quiet corner, phone on silent mode, some nice [inaudible] and soft instrumental music in the background. A calm atmosphere can make the whole process more engaging and change the vibe right from the beginning. These exercises, this whole class is just about being open and trying out something simple and meditative, so pick your favorite materials, see what extras you would like to add to this whole process, and I will see you in the first lesson. [MUSIC] 4. Pattern 1: It's Going To Be Okay: [MUSIC] When our world is turned upside down, it is so easy to get stuck into the fixing mode. Our minds want to find a solution to a problem yesterday, but sometimes there isn't an immediate solution. We need to have faith and patience that things will turn out to be okay. We need to create some space for hope. Our first affirmation that everything is going to be okay will help us in creating that space. It's not being in denial, nor it is always looking at the world with rose colored glasses. It is just about taking a night's break from all the worries so that you can sleep well, and when you wake up you're relaxed, recharged, and ready to face the problem. Let's start with the first step, which is to write the affirmation. By doing so, not only do I set the intent for the activity, but also get over the blank page syndrome. Alphabets are after all marks too. Even though I have written it's going to be okay, you don't have to use these exact words. You can use alternatives like, I'm fine, all is well, this too shall pass, I'm stronger than I realize, things are uncertain but I can handle it. Now with the affirmation done, let me tell you a little bit more about the colors. I will be using these five bright colors, and they are all 0.3mm pens. These are the thinner tip liners. You can use as many colors as you want, just take your time to select them. With everything in place, let's begin the battle. The first thing we're going to do is think about the worry that is keeping us awake at night. Rather than thinking about the worry in the middle of the night, let's do it now. Take as much time as you want, this is your worry vendor. Once you know what it is, draw that worry out on the paper, nothing complex, just move your pencil on the paper, and go with the flow. It doesn't matter how your abstract worry looks, if you can relate to it, then it works. Now with the problem out there on the paper, it's time to fill it up step by step with hope and assurance. To do that, we will take the help of rainbows. After all, they are the signs of hope, and promise of better times to come. Now, this whole drawing part is very simple, just pick up any one column in your worry line, and outline it with the color of your choice. As you can see, I'm not drawing over the pencil mark, I'm making a colored outline around it. By doing so, I'm making a segment within the pencil mark. I'm not drawing over the pencil line as I want to give some gap between each of the segments. Once the outline is done, you can start filling the segment with rainbows. I will be making a single-colored rainbow in each of these columns. The reason behind this approach is, that we don't always get the perfect solutions to all our problems. A full rainbow doesn't appear every time after a storm in real life. Sometimes only some aspects get okay, sometimes things never get back to being the same, but with time, we start to heal. If you stop looking and waiting for all the seven colors to come together at the same time, you might start seeing the single colors much sooner. I'm not going to worry about the size and placement of the tiny rainbows, there is already enough to worry. Just do what you feel like doing. The only rule that I will follow each time, is to make sure that I mix seven arcs every time, unless and until there is no space to draw. Now you can opt for five, or nine, or any number of arcs for your rainbow. But then try and stick by it, because by setting a condition like this, you will become much more aware of your hand movement, and that will eventually help you in being mindful. See, I believe in the power of affirmations, but at the same time, I understand that it takes a lot more than just believing and seeing affirmation for things to be okay. In no way I would undermine any of your or my struggles, and try to offer an instant magical solution to it. All you're doing here is a meditative activity, that will help us find some hope at the end of the day, so that we can sleep well, and are fresh enough in the morning to deal with the problem. Think of these columns as your small pockets of optimism. We don't have to tackle the worry at one go. We will just do one column, one color, and just one affirmative thought at a time. [MUSIC] With the first column done, it's time to repeat the same process. This time I'm going with the orange color. As you draw, you will notice that in the beginning your attention might drift, and that's okay. Every time that happens, just gently bring your focus back to the movement of your hand, the texture of the paper, the brightness of the colors you're adding, or the words that you've written on the top. Both the affirmation and your pen movement are like your anchor points. They will keep you guided throughout the process, and make this activity into a wholesome, relaxing, and mindful experience. By deciding this affirmation, remind yourself to allow things to be as they are for now. Remind yourself that regardless of what happens in the future, you will be able to handle it, you will be okay. You don't need to figure everything out, not all at once, and not tonight. Tomorrow is a new day, and it will bring new possibilities. Tomorrow won't have all the answers, but then that's okay too. For now, just do the best you can with what you've got, and end the day as it is. Most of the time, we are in doing mode, and that's why an affirmation like this is important to give us a space from that constant doing, and being mode. Just because we are adults, doesn't mean they have solution to all the problems, all the time. It may be unsettling in the beginning, but give yourself that grace, that few hours in the night, that you would do to sleep without the worry by your side. The soothing words and the reminder that it's going to be okay will bring some distance between you and the problem, and will give you a chance to sleep well, so that when you wake up with a fresh mindset, the solutions you need will just be a whole lot easier to find. As you go around filling the blocks, depending on the number of colors you have shortlisted, place your colors accordingly. As you can see, this has been quite a fun and easy pattern. The goal of each of these, as well as every other pattern in this class, is to make it simple enough for you to think or to repeat the affirmation, and then get into the flow state. I totally understand that maintaining hope isn't always easy. Most of us have had those phases, that how much ever we tried, we could not find our footing, and dig a way out of the darkness. I knew that during such times, it takes a lot of effort to not scream at someone who tells you that, everything will be okay. I get it, I really do because I too have been through it. But then, when I changed the way I viewed okay, I could find some small reassurances to sustain myself. When I accepted that everything might not be all right, and will not ever be the same, strangely enough, I could find some hope. When I don't invert the answers, I realized that there is strength in my vulnerability, and I'm resilient enough to handle what comes. One more important thing is that being resilient doesn't mean that we don't ask for help. Sometimes it is good to take support in whichever form you need to move forward. It may take months or even longer, but then we got to be patient and hold onto hope as we recover and heal. As you can see, what started as a page filled with worry, has turned out to be quite a colorful and a bit better. It isn't perfect, it isn't complex, but yet, slowly and steadily, it changed the way the page looked at the beginning. With each mindful movement, we made the choice to move away from the fear, and move towards the positive thought. When we're mindful of our struggles and respond to ourselves with compassion, kindness, and support in times of difficulty, things start to change. We can learn to embrace ourselves and our lives, despite the inner and outer imperfections, and provide ourselves with the strength needed to thrive. Do you remember that affirmation is not an activity, but a way to change our mindset, we always have to put in the actions. It is just that with affirmations, we can do the same process with some inner peace and good sleep. [MUSIC] Just like that, we too have come to the end of our pattern. I really like the way it has come out. I like that instead of eliminating the worry completely, we just filled it up with something else. Instead of resisting our circumstances, we went with the flow and put ourselves in alignment with what it is. Here are other examples. In each of these, I let my worry out on the paper, and then filled it up with shapes and marks. I hope you like the pattern, and would use the affirmation whenever you need a little reassurance before going to bed. Repeat it, believe in it, even if it is just for a little while, so that when you wake up, the solutions you want may be a little easier to find. Now, let's move on to the next pattern and affirmation, which focuses on one of the biggest ingredient needed for a good sleep. [MUSIC] 5. Pattern 2: I Am Calm: [MUSIC] One of the main aims of meditation is to calm the restlessness of the mind. This pattern and affirmation is one of the ways to do that. Now, making mindful art in itself is a very calming process. But when you do it along with an affirmation, it just intensifies and doubles up the effect. When we approach any activity or situation, not just art, with an intent to be calm, it sends a signal to our mind to be restful, to relax, even if it is running at 100 miles per hour. Without further ado, let me show you the pattern and my way of approaching this affirmation. In this exercise, we will be making a lot of lines to help us get into a calm zone. But before we do that, let's first write the affirmation. I'm writing a generalized I'm calm statement, but you can reframe it and write the one that speaks to you on that particular day. Here are some other examples : my mind and body are quiet, I'm at peace with myself, I feel light and calm, I'm more than my anxiety, my tension is melting away, I'm letting go of my worries. The colors that I'm using for this particular pattern are all these other tones. These colors remind me of nature, which along with art, is my go-to place to relax. I'm going to start the pattern with this dark green color. The first step here is to make a line in any one of the corners. I'm going to start in this corner here, but you can pick any corner. The first line acts as a small segment and all I have to do now is to fill it up with straight lines. On the days when we are stressed, none of us want to do something complicated, and that is why the line, which is the most basic mark, works well for this pattern. You can make the lines as fast or as slow as you want. The only thing we have to pay attention is to try and keep equal distance between the lines. Now, this little condition is not to make the pattern look perfect, but to have a built-in feedback loop. Feedback loop in mindful drawing is the variation in your drawing which showcases the change in your attention level. For example, in this pattern, whenever the lines are too close or too apart, I will know that my attention has drifted. This little feedback will prompt me to get back into the drawing and bring complete awareness to what I'm doing, and thus will help me stay in the present. This ability to stay in the present is the core of being mindful, the aim of any mindful exercise. This first column is done and now I will use this red color to make another column on the opposite side. This one looks like an elongated triangle. You can try and make all the segments of the same size and same style, but I wanted to play more with the shapes, and that is why I'm going to try and do little variations as I make each of the segment. I'm repeating the same process here too, just moving slowly from bigger to smaller lines. [MUSIC] I will use the shade of yellow for the next column. Because I like this color a lot, I think I'll make a bigger line here so that I can fill up more space with this warm, happy color. Cultivating calm isn't about avoiding every stressful emotion. Mindfulness just doesn't take the chaos away. In fact, when we make time to breathe slow down, negative thoughts may get louder. But then that's when any type of mindful practice, be it mindful walking or this combination of mindfulness and affirmation, comes into play. While repeating the affirmation helps in interrupting the barrage of negative thoughts going on in the mind, the physical act of making lines on the paper gives us something else to focus on. This harmony between mind and body helps us connect to the present moment. The present moment where we are not fixated on the past or future concerns. The present moment where we can give our mind a break from stressful thoughts and affirm to ourselves that I'm calm, even if we don't necessarily feel that way at that time. When you are stressed, thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow at work or replaying the mistake you did last week, mindfulness practice will stop you from dwelling over these thoughts, at least for some time. That little window without the worry can bring in some relaxation, some perspective, and hopefully lead to a good sleep. There isn't any right or wrong way of making lines, and thus you will be able to reduce the pressure of making the pattern a certain way. Even if you don't believe in or like using an affirmation, just the simple act of repeatedly making straight lines with utmost attention will make you forget about everything else. For the duration of the pattern, all that will matter is the pen and the lines on the paper. Your mind will slowly be at ease, and it's a beautiful place to be. Do you have those days when you are very tired but still can't sleep? That used to happen a lot with me. It was even if I don't have the phone or the computer, my mind kept on running and didn't let me sleep. For days like that, a mindful practice like this, in the evening or sometime before sleeping, can help you release whatever thoughts may be circling on and on in your mind. This affirmation will help in reducing the restlessness. It can act like a bedtime prayer that can be set to evoke a healing and relaxing night of sleep. If you are comfortable, then try and say it out loud, or at least make it your dominant thought every time you make a line. Now, if you decide to repeat the affirmations as I do, then for best results, recite your affirmation slowly and try to put a lot of belief and feeling behind your words as you say them. If you take your time and allow yourself to really feel and believe what you're saying, then the affirmation will have a stronger impact. Meditation is the act of centering the mind and body and going inward. That is what we did in this pattern too. We started from the outer corners and kept moving inwards. With each column, with each line, we kept tapping inwards for calm and peace, and eventually distanced ourselves from stress. With every segment, I kept moving inwards, the size changes, the color changes, but the flow of the movement and my dominant thought, which is that I'm calm, remains the same. It is really calming to watch the lines appear across the beach. I think of each of these colored columns as little spaces that evoke a feeling of relaxation and peace. These little columns and different sized lines remind me that it takes time to make a shift from stress to calm. One big line or one time of thinking or saying "I'm calm" can't bring peace. It is the small line movements, it is the slow journey from outwards to inwards, it is the belief in what you are saying that can bring the change. Practicing mindfulness may not be an easy task, especially when you're only getting started. You might find yourself distracted. You might feel restless about doing the same repeat movement. You might find yourself trying to make the lines perfect. Well, all of this is normal. I've gone through all of these phases and the only solution to this is patience and self-compassion. Try and pull yourself back to the pattern every time you get distracted. Think of each line as the act of inhaling calm and then exhaling stress. Just the way you wouldn't judge or compare your breathing ability with your past self or someone else, similarly you shouldn't judge your lines too. You're making this pattern for yourself and it's not the quality of lines that will define the end result, but your state of mind. So make that the priority, make that your goal. You are not doing this exercise to evaluate or even practice your drawing skills. You're simply doing this to experience a flow state and make a stronger connection with the words, the affirmation you are saying. When your intention changes, your way of approaching this whole exercise would change too. If you look closely from a regular pattern drawing perspective, I too have done quite a few mistakes in this pattern, but yet I shared it with you all here for two reasons. The first is that I don't believe in the concept of mistakes when it comes to mindful drawing. The second reason is that drawing mindfully is a meditative process. No matter how much ever calm or sorted I might be feeling before starting the drawing, the minute I start the pattern and get into the flow state. Sometimes the chaos in my mind gets louder, or if not the chaos, I get into that reflective and thinking zone, and it takes quite a few attempts to quieten it and bring complete ease. Be open to the whole process and you might find some amazing insights of your own. [MUSIC] This is how the pattern looks in the end. When you go to bed today, remember the affirmation, the feeling you got while making the pattern. Tell yourself that I'm calm, I'm grounded. Focus on your breath. As you inhale, imagine calm coming into every cell of your body. As you exhale, visualize the stress you've got being drawn out of your body. Repeat as many times as you like. But know that even one of these breaths done with intention can create a noticeable change. As lines are very versatile, you can use them in various ways to transfer yourself into a calm zone. Here are some other ways of incorporating them with this affirmation. Finding peace in this busy world is not about denying or avoiding certain realities. It is simply about making time to breathe, to connect with ourselves, and learning to respond thoughtfully rather than reacting impulsively. This mindset, this affirmation, has helped me navigate through some of the stressful ways of life. I hope when you do it, you find it helpful too. Now, let's move on to the next affirmation. [MUSIC] 6. Pattern 3: I Am Doing My Best: [MUSIC] We live in a world that constantly urges us to do more, be more and to excel in everything that we do. In order to match up to these unrealistic standards, we cramp up our schedules. When we don't finish everything from our to-do list, we end the day with a feeling of disappointment. We think about all the things we haven't done today, and all the things we need to do tomorrow. That disappointment not only keeps us awake during the night, but also affects our self-confidence in the long run. The affirmation I am doing my best is like an antidote to that disappointment. It is not being complacent, nor it is an excuse. It is just looking at the things that you did during the day, your current circumstances, your limitations with self-compassion. Let me show you the affirmation which helps in strengthening the belief that we need to strive for progress instead of perfection. As before, I'm going to start the activity by first writing down the affirmation. Again, the words here are very basic and you can frame it in other ways like, I am enough. I am on the right path. I'm happy with what I'm doing. I have faith in myself. There are many variations for this affirmation. Write and say the statement that resonates the most with you. For this particular pattern, before you select the colors, think about the various things you do during the day or the week. Just the regular recurring ones. The ones that are part of your to-do list, but also the ones that aren't. You can categorize them into general groups like work, home, side hustle or time-based categories like urgent, not so urgent, etc. Based on the categories you have, select the number of colors you want to use for each of the category. For example, I have shortlisted these four colors. Each of them represents a different group, pink is for personal as well as for professional. Green is for parenting. Orange is household and other daily chores, and purple is everything else, like socializing, shopping, etc. Nothing very complex, just a basic categorization. Once you have shortlisted the colors, look at the page in front of you and imagine it as a typical day or a typical week in your life. Once you do that, you can start making dots of all the different colors that you have selected on the paper. These colorful dots represent the different things you plan to do all over the week or the day. Don't overthink while making the dots. Just a little resemblance of the various, and a number of things you have to do is good enough. For example, if you have a toddler and you are the primary caregiver, then you know that childcare or parenting takes away most of your time. If possible, put more of the parenting category of colored dots. It is very subjective and it keeps changing every time you make the pattern. What matters is that you acknowledge even the regular things that take your time while making the pattern. For the ones who don't feel like making all these associations, then you can just make the dots randomly all across the page. Whichever way you opt to approach the pattern, the repetitive movement and the low pressure marks will meet it into a meditative and relaxing process. Just keep the expectations low and the awareness high. Rest the pattern and the calm vibes will automatically come into the picture. This is how my page looks. Just an abstract representation of a wide multi-category to-do list that I would make on a Sunday night. Now it's time to transform this to-do list into I did list where each and every big little action of yours gets acknowledged, and helps you look at your week through self-compassion. Go ahead and pick up the category that you want to address first. Now the pattern part is quite simple. We just have to make lines stemming out from the dot of that particular color, like a flower kind of thing. Where each of these lines are like a petal. Now you can place them close to each other for a type or you can keep more distance for a spaced out floral thing. Now I'm trying to mimic a circle shape for these lines. I'm slowly making the lines in such a way that they look balanced and together it ends up looking like a circular shaped flower. I'm starting with pink here, as it is the personal and work category. The reason I'm doing this first is not because work is always high in the priority list, but because I get very critical about my work and no matter the hours I put in, I always feel it is less. It is an area where I need to bring in more self-compassion. It is an area which shapes up my attitude towards how the week was. That is why I'm starting the pattern with it. You would be wondering that if you wanted a circle look, we could have made circles as guidelines before starting the pattern, and then filled it up with lines. It would have made the process easier and the final results similar to what we had envisioned. But wouldn't that be aiming for perfection? Wouldn't that be trying to confine our actions in a certain predefined parameter, and not having any scope for errors? Isn't this strive for perfection one of the biggest obstacles that stops us from realizing that we are indeed doing our best. Enjoy life. We set ourselves to these really high standards, they might be invisible like the circle here, but the pressure to match up to it is way too high. We keep trying hard and work towards matching up to that standard, which is great. But then what is not great is the way we criticize ourselves, deem ourselves as failures, when we don't match up to that set standards. In this pattern we are trying to make way for a fluctuating, dynamic and imperfect circle. We will move slowly, try our best to make the lines and make them into a floral resembling shape. But when that doesn't happen, we are not going to criticize ourselves. We're not going to start the drawing again if a mistake happens. We are just going to keep working our way around the dot and see what we can do next. As we move further in the pattern, you will notice that because of space limitations, some of my lines will not even be closely related to the floral shape we are doing now. But then that's okay. To reach the stage where I can actually believe that I am doing my best, I need to break some of the moles of expectations productivity, and standards set around me. We don't need to justify and worry over each and every action of us. Just the way we don't have to worry about each and every line that we make on the paper. Just be aware of what you're doing, why you're doing, and be in sync with the process. Why lose our sleep by doubting and under selling everything we do. Always remember our growth, our efforts, our actions cannot be measured by a set standard. Once you free yourself with the expectations of the outcome, you will start enjoying the process, in life as well as in this pattern. Try for the circle. But if it doesn't happen, move on to the next dot. Now when you make the lines, make sure to leave space around them for other colored flowers to come. Just like even if you want, you cannot spend all day doing one task. Other responsibilities, other commitments do need your time. Similarly, other colored dots too would need space to flourish. Be mindful of the length of your lines. I'm done with my first set of task. Now, I will move on to the next one. Now because there are already some flowers on the paper, instead of trying for a perfect circle, anytime that we find space to stretch, we will extend the lines to that particular point. As you can see, instead of making similar size lines with green, I extended them till the nearest pink color line. I'm not touching the endpoints, just making sure that I don't waste any space. The places where there is no adequate red line. I try to keep the lines of the same length. We're doing this to mindfully reflect on how we make V for different tasks. How we managed to fill in every minute of our day with something or the other. Yet at the end without ourselves and we feel that we didn't do our best. Like in this case for me, green symbolizes parenting related task. This compilation of long green lines is the perfect representation of what happens in daily life too. I try my best, sometimes I'm able to stretch and put in more, and sometimes I can't. But just because all my actions aren't perfect, doesn't mean they don't bring value. It doesn't mean that I'm not good enough. Especially for the parents out there, the next time it's time to sleep and you start counting the V's you fell short of parenting. Then ask yourself, which circle, which standard are you trying to figure out actions in? Is it the one set by you or someone around you or from the background that you come from or a combination of all of them, which is the case most of the time. Once you start questioning the parameters, you will be able to focus on what really matters. Yet again, I have another set of imperfect green lines. But because I know the intention behind making them like this, I like them just the way they are. Now, instead of making lines around all the green dots, from now on, I will keep switching between the colors and doing this so that other colors, other task, which take away my time, also get featured on this paper. With every color, I'm following the sequence of taking the lines closer to the other colored line near it and for the rest, listing them as for the available space. As you move further in the pattern, there might be points that you might struggle with making the lines. But then rather than struggling with that feeling take it as an opportunity to dismiss ideas about perfection. We cannot change all our conditioning in one day, but we can start small. Learning to enjoy an art process, even when you know the final result would not be similar to what you had thought in the beginning, is one of those ways. Every line here on this paper, including the ones that have gone out of the way and broken the balance, is a reminder of the efforts that we put in. Be it work, studies or side hustle, remember that it's okay to struggle. It's okay to second-guess. The amazing thing is that you are showing up. You're striving for better. You're breaking the norms and you are making your own parameters. Let this affirmation remind you that instead of beating yourself for not measuring up to the Pinterest and Instagram body parameters, you should be proud of yourself for going through things at your own pace and your own style. [MUSIC] As I do the orange color, the daily chores category, I wonder how the whole definition of keeping a clean home has changed. Now along with being clean, it should be static in every possible way. It should be color coordinated, it should be organized with everything liberal, the color that keeps changing as per season. If I start comparing my place with images that I see, then I would feel that I'm a failure. But that doesn't mean that I'm not doing the things that I'm supposed to when it comes to home management. It is indeed different from someone else, but it works for me and my family, and that is what should matter in the end. Perfection is such an absolute, it is unattainable and it means so many different things to different people. Instead of perfection, meet that move towards self-compassion. Being self-compassionate doesn't mean that you stop working towards your bigger goals. Go for it. Do whatever you want to, strike off the things from your bucket list. But on the days when you can't do everything you had planned to do, then don't lose your sleep over it. Give yourself grace that things can get done later too. Tomorrow is a new day and it holds opportunity to start fresh. I'm sure for almost all of us, a lot of things didn't go as for the plan since the start of the pandemic. But that does not mean that we are not trying our best. The constantly changing rules, lockdowns feel loneliness and anxiety. We can't judge the quality of our parent actions with that of pre-COVID times. When we start considering everything that affects our capacity to show up as we would like to be, then we realize how narrow minded a negative self-talk can be. Do let these imperfect lines, this affirmation, remind you of the resilience you have built, the weaknesses that you have overcome, your perseverance and your self-compassionate acceptance towards yourself. Here's the final result of I am doing my best affirmation. The next time when you question yourself as to what did you get done today? Answer that question only after mindfully looking at all the bigger and little things that you did during the day, answer that question with patience, acceptance and understanding. Here are some other ways I use the approach we did today. In this one I reflected on just one day and use only one color to do that. This one, I changed the different categories, but brought variation to the pattern more than thinking about making a new pattern every time, think of it like a practice, and how you can get better at adopting the affirmation every time you make it. As we end this exercise, I just want to re-emphasize that the best and I'm doing the best, keeps changing a life. Some days it could be finishing all your office as well as household work. Some days it could be just about stepping out of the bed and managing maybe a single meal. Instead of saying to yourself, I didn't get anything done today, be kind to yourself and understand the phase of life you are in. You can always, without being over critical, look at the things that you haven't done today and plan it for the next day or the next week. Now let's move on to the next pattern. [MUSIC] 7. Pattern 4: I Am Grateful : [MUSIC] One of the big problem is that when it comes to the negative, we think about it for hours. We dissect it and then we waste our sleep over it. But when it comes to the good, we don't pay the similar level of attention. Our mood gets affected if the trainers is late, if a friend doesn't reply back to a message, or a service is bad in a cafe. Then at the end of the day, we think that it was a bad day. But then the same day might have a hug from a loved one, a warm cup of coffee, a good conversation, or even just clean laundry. Do not forget the good little things and to end the day with a smile instead of a frown. I like to use the affirmation; I'm grateful for today. Let me show you how that works. For this pattern I am writing, I am grateful for today. But you can write other similar options like; today was a good day, or I'm content, I feel good. Anything on the lines of joy, happiness, or contentment. Write the affirmation that you can relate with the most. Let's start the pattern by reflecting on the big moments, the milestones that have happened in recent times in your life. Think of it like counting all the big things and then putting each one of them down on the paper in the form of a shape. It's like making a list only that it's abstract and only you would know what it means. Before you make a count of the big things, decide on the timeline too. Think about whether you want to take an account of the last month, or the last six months, or the last year. I would suggest not going beyond a year. Once you've decided on the timeline and made a count of all the milestones that stood out for you, you can then go ahead and divide those milestones in different categories. After you have categorized them, you can associate one color to each of these categories, just like the way we did in the I am doing my best exercise. I'm using these three colors. Pink is for all things personal, green represents family related milestones moments, and purple is for professional goals and achievements. One last thing, you can also decide a shape that you want to showcase all of this with. I understand that this may seem a lot. But trust me, these little associations, be it in this activity or any other part in the class, will help in elevating the whole mindful drawing practice. At the end of the exercise, you will not judge the final drawing because it will be something more than just art for you. Every mark will have some meaning behind it. It will be a meditative practice which cannot be put on a scale of good to bad. Coming back to the pattern, the shape I'm going to make is a petal slash leaf thing. Based on the count I did of the big milestones, I'm going to draw them all across the speech. [MUSIC] As you can see, I'm making a different size group of petals and each of the colors all across the page. These petals reflect my big moments. As you highlight your big moments, remember that based on the stage of life you are in, the definition of big moments will be different for you compared to someone else. Don't think about your highlights in terms of what the society around you is going for or is promoting. For someone getting married could be a big highlight, while for someone else, establishing boundaries can be a big one. Your family highlight can be a big vacation or it can also be establishing a new holiday ritual. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself while doing a count. Here are some of my big moments from the last six months. I didn't want to make them as perfect flowers, but rather like individual leaves which belong in the same group. That is why I have placed them like this. Now, this page looks quite empty. Even though I've broadened my attitude towards the big things, I still could not fill my whole pitch with them. Well, not every day for that matter. Not every weekend I have a big highlight. But what each day can have, what each day of my last six months had was, I think you already know the answer. Yes. It's the little things. It's time to fill in the gaps with the little things. It's time to acknowledge and be grateful of the little things. To do that, I will start filling the empty space on the page with little leaves, which are nothing but the smaller version of the big shape. I'm not going to follow a particular structure here. You can start with whichever color or whichever corner you feel like. Now just like the big things, you decide what little things you want to think of while making this pattern. Anything that makes you feel good gives you that sense of safety and security. Anything that makes your everyday life easy. Anything that makes you see the beauty in the world can become a part of your pattern. Let the access to basic necessities, smiling faces of your kids, good health, good weather, movies that moved you, hobbies that changed you, little things that you learned, mistakes that you made, compliments that you give, connections that you've made, time spent with favorite people, time spent alone, let them all come here. These little things may not be something that features on your goal list or bucket list, but then they make all the difference in the world because they constitute a much bigger part of our lives than the big things. Just like in this pattern, I had so many little things to fill up in the personal category. Now I'm really excited to start using another color and fill up the space with all the things that have brought us joy and contentment as a family. Even if you haven't done the categorization, let each mark, let each shape stem from the feeling of gratitude. [MUSIC] Mindful drawing isn't just about repeating a shape. It is about the intent with which you repeat the shape. We breath all time. But when we breath during meditation, it is different. There is a purpose behind it. Similarly, when you attach purpose to every movement while drawing, associate meaning to every shape that you make, all while being non-judgmental and open, you will find a little more than a page filled with patterns at the end of the session. If after a certain point you find it difficult to fill the page with the little things, then take a moment right now to pause and put your attention on all the simple things that you can appreciate at this moment. Look around yourself, go within yourself, and scan your life right now. Focus on what you appreciate. You can then make a count of these things and put them down in the form of the shape on the paper. Because of the fast pace of modern life and the distraction that it comes with, there's hardly any room to pause, reflect, and ponder upon all the little gifts we receive everyday. That is why a gratitude practice, combined with a movement activity like this, helps in slowing down and noticing the good stuff around us. When we are deep into the mindful state, there is no longing for a future event or the resentment about the lack of things in the past. When we are aware of where we are, instead of where we were or where we want to be, we can experience contentment. Now being grateful doesn't mean you have to appreciate every moment and that there won't be any disappointments. Life isn't always good. But when you have the habit of being grateful, it gets, if not more, but slightly easier to handle the blow. Think of gratitude as one of the things that can really come in handy on bad days. But then for it to be effective, you have to work on it every day too. I still value the big things in life as they give a direction to my life. They lay the foundation just the way these big petals have done here. But then I've stopped putting the pressure on the big things. I have some big dreams and I'm working towards them. But that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the journey. I don't have to wait for the completion of the big things to be content and to be happy. It can all exist together. At the end of the day, I have the choice to place importance on whatever I like. When we cease to determine our level of contentment based on a small to big scale in life, we can realize that our life can be quite full. It will be a mix of varied colors and sizes, something like this final result here. But that's what makes it interesting. That's what makes it real. Now a few examples of this versatile pattern. Just like gratitude, which is easy to adapt, it has been very easy and fun to do all these versions. You too can make it in various ways. All you need is the appreciation for the little things. It's a cliche, but then truly it is our attitude towards the little things that sets a life stone. When we learn to pause and reflect upon all the gifts that we receive every single day, we can find something to smile about, even when life gets busy or messy. [MUSIC] 8. Pattern 5: I Am In Control: One of the greatest restrictions we find in life is that most of the things that we pursue are out-of-control. The promotions we want, the way people behave, the decision that government makes, the most volatile pandemic, they are all not in our control and under the control of somebody else and sometimes not even that. What do we do? Do we over-prepare? Do we vary or do we take the mindful approach? With mindful approach, I mean, working on our reactions to the chaos and the way we choose to carry ourselves through it. Let's explore this affirmation photo and mindfully look at the things that we can control and the ones that we can't. The first step as before is to write the affirmation on the top of the beach. Before we start making the pattern, we will take an inventory of all the areas that overwhelm us. Just make a count of all the things that you feel are currently out of your control. It could be from today, from the week that was, or just something that keeps reoccurring from. From social media, got a thumbs to financial worries, the big and small, anything that has been troubling you can come here. If you want, you can write it down on a rough paper or you can write it on the backside of the beach you are drawing on. Once you have decided on the number of things that are out of your control zone and now affecting you right now, go ahead and pick up the colors you want to represent each of those things with. Don't think much, just pick up whatever you feel like. Currently there are motor list, five out-of-control things that sometimes make me feel helpless and gives me a weak and that is why I will be using these five colors. Yellow is for the freelance artists life, from clients who want you to vote for exposure to people coping your art world that are so many aspects that are out-of-control. The dark blue is for Dutch weather, even after so many years I get all worked up with the rain and cold. I don't really need to make peace with what I can control and what I can't. Next is this orange color. We recently moved to a new city or the Netherlands, and we are still in the adjusting, sometimes out-of-control stage. Now the next thing on my list is about traveling to India and meeting my family after years, and at this moment, we don't know how it's going to ship out, so light-blue is to showcase that. The last red is for relationships, people and gender, the eternal out-of-control team for me, for you, and for everyone. Now, we're going to make some blobs and to do that, I'm going to use two types of pen. I will use the thick pen for the first part of the pattern and the tin, the fine liner one for the next part. I will use the same color for both the sizes. You can use any one nip size to just go over the false blob shape again for the ticker look. With the reflection and color selection over, it's time for the little twist. We're going to draw the base shape, the blobs with our non-dominant hand. We are doing this because even if the blobs, no matter how much we try, the end result will always be different than what we have in mind leaving not have control over it. Just like so many things in life. Before I start, I will think about the placements of the blob. I will meet the first blob here in the center, and then accordingly I can place the rest. You can plan it depending on the number of blobs you have to make. You can make some rough pencil marks if you want, but try to keep it as organic as possible. We want it to be something out-of-control, so please do avoid the temptation to sketch and blend. This is what my first blob looks like. Quite simple. As you make the blobs go slow and just pay close attention to your pen movement. Try to meet the shapes close to each other. As you're working with your non-dominant time, when you make the shapes close to each other, it might get a little challenging and uncomfortable. That's actually grid because we want to start with that out-of-control feeling. It is important to get acquainted with discomfort, to acknowledge the things we can't control so that we can in the end, differentiate between what we can control and what we can't. As you meet the blobs, just tell yourself that this discomfort is nothing compared to the one that we face when things go out-of-control in our lives. This is just a small attempt to create some nonjudgmental space for all things beyond our control. We don't need to have a complex relationship with uncertainty. Because how much ever we dwell, we plan. Some things are beyond our control and it's better to engage mindfully with it rather than just be an audience or resist it completely. [MUSIC] Now enough about what we can't manage, let's move on to our affirmation to the things that we can control. I have taken the thin tip fine liner, similar to the outer block, and now I will start filling it up from outside to inside. This time I'm using the dominant tan. The reason behind this is that even though the mean situation is out-of-control, there are a lot of smaller actions, reactions that can be managed. With each line that you make, think about the smaller things that you can do for that particular problem. Then repeat to yourself loudly or in your mind that I am in control. It is really important to look inward instead of outward to find the things you have control over. To establish that notion, even in the pattern, we're moving inwards from outputs. Now moving to the also unpredictable freelancer life, I'm guessing quite a few of you can relate to this one. Even if you're not a freelancer, anybody who works has been through the out-of-control fees in their career or business. When it comes to work, there are too many elements that are in play, and it's hard to predict the outcome. Yet, we can keep aiming for the smaller manageable things. For example, even if I face rejection, I keep sending my work out there. For you, it could be that extra interview prep or some certification to get that dream job. Keep repeating the lines in each of the blobs. Take your time to think about the ways you have controlled in that situation. Even if it is something smaller, like getting up early in the day or restricting our sugar intake in matters of health, you have control. Focus your energy on what you can do. In this week, you will be able to regain control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. As you make the lines, keep repeating the affirmation, remind yourself that you can control how you feel, how you honor yourself, the words you speak, the things you listened to, the way you contribute, your attitude, your habits, your behavior. On their own they only seem small and not very effective. But when they come together, like the way all these affirmation lines in this blob, it is something powerful, something you will always have control over. For example, in my case, orange represented the house move and the CD change and it's true that I could not predict how it would go for us, especially for my kid at the new school. But what I can control is the extra support we gave him during the early phases. I can invite his classmates for play date so that he gets more time to know them and will him for his favorite after-school activities. Even some dance class with something similar for myself so that I can meet some new people. I can write the neighbors for tea, find some good tea, coffee place, and coffee shops to establish a sense of familiarity that a lot of small things that can be done. If in your keys you feel there are very few things that you can do, then always remember that you are in control of your actions and reactions. I mean, or at least I hope for all of us that there will always be at least one thing that is under our control. This little last colored blob is the reminder of that one small thing. Small, but nevertheless an empowering thing. Now moving on to the next blob, I'm using the swim approach here. Just thinking about the little things that I can manage and repeating to myself that I am in control. If at any point while making this pattern your mind drifts to some other topic, or you find yourself being critical of the little steps you plan to do for that particular topic, gently bring your attention back to the present. You can do that by repeating the affirmation or paying close attention to your line, or you can do both the things. Once you feel your back in the present, start again with a small action steps that you can think of. This is how my India family visit blob looks like. Finding things to control was quite difficult here and most of the times I found myself just saying that I'm in control, even though the thought of this plan not working out makes me extremely sad. But then with every line I make, I'm trying to think of the ways I can respond and react in the situation. Instead of everyday checking about travel rules, news about variants and other what is, I can make other alternate plans, even [inaudible] or just engage myself in other activities. Focusing my thinking in this way has really helped me manage stress. Being more positive, stay focused on what is important. I've been able to understand my agency in any given situation, and then move forward instead of feeling overwhelmed or stuck in an uncontrollable situation. A lot of us struggle with our expectations with people. We cannot control how they behave with us or what they think about us. Yet, many sleepless nights have gone over decoding what he or she said and why did they did that. I don't think we have concrete answers for any of this overthinking. But what we can definitely control is the words we speak, the way we treat them, whether we hold onto the grudges or let them go, and the power we give them to affect us. The distance we keep from them, and the effort or the lack of effort we put in the relationship. For a very long time I either found faults in myself or got angry at what others did. But now, depending on my relationship with that particular person, I decided my action and reaction. Sometimes it can be taking a stand for myself, and sometime it can be readjusting my expectations. Either way, it has been a long learning curve for me and I hope you'll find some insights too when you do this exercise. This relationship blob here even if it started with the thing that is very difficult to control. Rather, we shouldn't even try to, which is people ended up giving me quite a few options that I can still control. The minute we shift the attention from others to ourselves, quite a few options can come up. Don't you think? As I fill up this last weather blob and think about the attitude I can adapt to meet the cold season bearable, here is one question that I like to ask myself, who do I want to be in this situation? The Caribbean and mostly staying in hibernation mode person or the one who has accepted the situation finally, and maybe has added one more layer of warm clothing to the existing layers. No matter what your situation is, asking this type of question also helps in figuring out the course of your action. Do give it a try when making this pattern. This is how the pattern for "I am in control" affirmation looks like in the end. Here are some other examples. In each of these I made the initial shapes with my non-dominant hand and then reflected on the situation by making marks through my dominant hand. We tend to ask questions and generate what is as an attempt to introduce some certainty when we are faced with the unknown. But a more mindful approach to do this is to build our tolerance for uncertainty. That way, we can slowly identify which of our worries are useful, and which are the ones that are making us unnecessarily miserable. You can then choose to let go of the latter and find strategic solutions for the former. Once you start focusing on what you can control, you won't worry as much as about what you can't. I really hope you like this affirmation and I'll see you in the next one. 9. Pattern 6: I Can Sleep Easily: [MUSIC] You know there are some people who can sleep like a baby anytime anywhere, well, I am not one of those people. For a very long time my first thought whenever I had to go to sleep, or when ever there was a discussion about sleep was that I cannot sleep, so for someone like me, who finds sleeping really difficult, this simple affirmation does the trick. By repeating this affirmation, you can reprogram the belief that, sleeping is difficult for you in general or on a particular difficult night. After all what we believe about ourselves generally becomes our truth, and yes, this is not the ultimate cure for insomnia, for that there are professionals, but this is more like a mindful supplement that can help you approach sleep from a more positive and an open mindset. For this pattern, I have selected these three colors, this time instead of using the fine liner, I'm going to use the 1 mm thicker nip pen. I'm making the switch to a thicker nib size here, because I want to finish the pattern in one sitting, and spend around 30, 40 minutes max on it. With a thinner nib pen, it will take much longer to finish this style of pattern, but based on your convenience, you can take a call, go with what works for you. The first step here is to fill the page with the shape that we aren't comfortable making, this shape will represent our complex relationship with sleep, so in my case, that shape is the spiral. I don't enjoy making it, and whenever I make it, I get stuck in making it perfect, and always end up redoing it again and again. Go ahead and make the shape that you don't enjoy making. Just make sure to draw it in a way that there is some space in it, so that you can fill it up with another shape. You can also do what I am doing, play around with the size and the positioning, because this drawing is for relaxation and meditative purpose, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the composition, I prefer going with the flow. But if you like to plan it, then take your time to fill the page. It's your pattern, it's your affirmation, so make it as personal as possible. So the base is done, and now it's time to simplify it and change the way we look at this shape, and eventually with the help of affirmation and meditation, change the way we look at sleep. I'm going to simplify these spirals, by filling them up with ovals, which as for me is one of the easiest shapes to draw. They don't have the pressure to be perfect like circles. They're easy to make and even when they vary in shape or size, you are not critical about them, just the way sleep should be, or at least at one point it was for me. I started from the inner side, and I'm just making ovals next to each other, as I keep moving. I'm not bothered about the varying size of the ovals, because the base was already set in the past. All I have to do, is be in the present moment, and keep filling it up. When my mind is not bothered about perfection, and when it is in the here and now, it is much easier to bring all my attention to the affirmation and make that affirmative thought a part of my mental framework. Every oval that I make, in the spiral, is an attempt to bring ease into the whole idea of sleeping. It is an attempt to replace a negative sleep thought, with a positive one. Let's move on to another color and another spiral. Once you get comfortable with the shape and the movement, you can start repeating the affirmation, as you repeat the affirmation, think about what does sleeping easily mean to you. How does it feel and why do you want it. Think about the last time you woke up rested and full of energy. Imagine how amazing it would be to get good sleep without tossing and turning all night. Affirmation along with visualization is quite powerful. It can not only bring peace to the hectic mind, but can also help us tap into our innate inner wisdom. As you practice more, as you attach more meaning to the simple affirmation, you will feel encouraged to start trusting your body and let go of the resistance. But yes, all these things take time and the more patient you are with the process, the sooner sleep will come. It is very normal for us to be very critical about the way we cannot sleep easily, I can't even remember of times I have directly or indirectly criticized myself for not being able to sleep easily, the way others could, but then those thoughts only increase the frustration, and made the bedtime routine more stressful. Instead of the negative thought, which never helped, how about giving the positive ones, the affirmative statement a try, there's nothing to lose right? The language we choose to describe our problem can change the way we view our agency in any given situation. One of the first steps to change the way we approach a stressful situation, is to change the way we talk about it. [MUSIC] Okay, so from a drawing point of view, almost all the spirals are done, and it is okay, but you know what, when I look at it through the lens of mindfulness, I realized that I just spent some time rewriting the complex sleep story I have been telling myself. I just spent some time thinking about the affirmation only, and bringing a shift in the way I look at sleep. I'm not saying that through this activity you will never find it difficult to sleep, this is not the end, this is just the start of your journey. It may take quite a few pages filled with affirmations, along with other healthy sleep habits and external support if needed, to reach where you want to go. But if it makes you feel less stressed about sleeping, even if only on the night you are doing the practice, then it's still a progress, right? I could have made one big spiral and filled it up with ovals, but the reason I have broken it down in small spirals, is because realistically speaking, any old conditioning has to be broken down in small actionable steps, and it takes time to change. It is a process which involves small regular actions, and every action that you take will not look the same, just the way these differently sized spirals and ovals here. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't any progress, once we let go of the quest for the perfect solution, and look at our actions, irrespective of what happened in the past, or will it work in the future or not, we might find small signs of progress all over the place, like in this case all over the page. [MUSIC] This is how the finished piece looks, I like how a simple oval has made its way among the complex spirals. Similar to how this affirmation has made a way in my mind. Here are some other examples of this very versatile pattern. Hitting the bed at the end of the day, should be something we should look forward to, yet for many of us the idea of sleeping is full of stress and anxiety, so do try this very basic affirmation, to ease your mind into sleeping. There's power in the words we choose, especially when our mind is involved, so instead of the forever favorite, I can't sleep, which actually tells your mind what you don't want, tell yourself that I can sleep easily. Learning to talk to yourself mindfully, can actually help you get more and better rest. Now let's move on to the next pattern, where we will talk about how we all deserve rest, irrespective of our productivity levels. [MUSIC] 10. Pattern 7: I Deserve Rest : [MUSIC] I'm guessing most of us have those phases when sleeping isn't a priority. The phases when we look at the things that we haven't done and we feel guilty for taking rest. After spending countless nights to finish work, I have realized that it isn't always about deadlines. It's just being hard on ourselves and looking at sleep as a waste of time. To change that conditioning, I like to use the affirmation, I deserved rest. For this animation, we are going to make a flowy blob-style floral pattern, which will gradually increase in size as it moves from inside to outside. I wanted to do a little gradient effect, and from the colors that I have these are the ones that I shortlisted, but you don't have to do a gradient look, just use the colors that you feel like using. Now through this pattern, I want to showcase the varying phases and seasons of our lives. To do that, I'm going to make a slightly wonky, imperfect flower shape as the base for this pattern. To begin let's make a circle in the center. I didn't find the exact center, just did an approximate mark. After the circle is done, you can make a flower around it. Nothing perfect, just a wonky rough flower. Once the first layer is done, you can build up the pattern by adding more layers. Instead of making a perfect shape, we are making this imperfect shape because it represents the different phases of our life. Every phase has its own irregularities because of challenges, setbacks, ups, and downs. With an intention to keep it as real as possible, I have made this imperfect looking flower pattern as the base. If I don't include the circle I have four different segments here. Your final count will depend on the size of your page and the distance you have kept between each layer. But do try and have at least two to three layers. Now, if you want to take the association of the different phases of life one step further, then you can also label each of these layers. You can label them based on what happened last year or the last six months, or it can be a representation of a phase of your life like early years of motherhood, new jobs, student life, or this work from home life. Spend a few minutes thinking over it. If nothing comes in mind right away, then just label the whole page as a particular phase or a year or a month, and then next time when you make this pattern then you can label each single layer. For example, for me, this whole flower pattern reflects the different phases, the different seasons I went through in the year of 2021. Here's how I have labeled them. Sometimes I label each and every phase like the way I have done here. Sometimes I just looked at the pattern as a whole single phase, it all depends on my mood. So I hope after looking at this, you too will get some ideas to build associations to each of your list, though, it's absolutely optional. Now with all the planning and intention setting done, from this point onwards, it's super simple. All we have to do is fill each of these blobs with lines, that's it. I'm starting with the light pink color and the first blob, I'm just making lines from one end to the other end. The goal is to slowly fill up this whole space with lines. I like the detailed and tight look, and that is why I have placed the lines very close to each other, but you draw them the way you like. Just try and keep the distance between them consistent. Once you start drawing the lines, you will see that the length keeps fluctuating, not just because of your ability to draw but because of the limitations set by the base shape. Similarly, our actions, our performance, our productivity level also depends a lot on the phase of life we are in. Just like every line here on this page has its own place and value irrespective of its size or its quality. At the end of the day, no matter how much we performed we too deserve rest. I'm not trying to encourage or cover up laziness of procrastination here. I'm just trying to showcase the compassionate approach, the one where we don't judge ourself our worth just on the basis of how we are doing in life. The one where we treat rest as equal to work, and something that we deserve irrespective of how we show up. I think all of us know the physical and mental benefits of rest. Yet we get so lost in doing more, being more all the time that we forget about it. That is why it is important to look at rest as a way to restore, recover energy, and process the day's activity. Once we look at rest as something more than just dozing off, we can start feeling less guilty for taking it. My first blob is done, and because I have been working on my attitude towards rest even though I didn't work throughout this whole holiday period, I could rest and sleep without any guilt. I knew that it was a different phase and the way I show up would be different compared to another phase. Now, with this done, I will change the color and move on to the next layer. Every line that I make in this layer takes me back to the period of house and city change. It was a phase which was filled with uncertainty and unexpected work. It was a phase where I had to understand how my priorities are different and how I cannot perform the same way I would have done before the shift. As you work your way through the pattern, think about all the things that were affecting your performance and how it had nothing to do with your abilities. Once you realize that it's not always your abilities, but other factors that affect the way you show up, you would be able to take rest without guilt. The reason I'm so passionate about this topic is because this is the one that I've struggled with the most. I remember when my son was two and we had moved to Barcelona from India. During our first year there, I didn't do any type of professional work. Because I was so used to measuring my worth based on my professional growth, I started feeling unworthy and started feeling very guilty of taking rest. At the end of the day, my only thought used to be that I didn't do anything today, and with that feeling, I just could not sleep because I was so critical, I could not see what does the season I was in. I was managing a toddler in a new country without any support from friends or family, and yet I felt I was doing nothing. Because of that feeling of doing nothing, I felt that I didn't deserve rest. If you are in the season of life where you recently faced a breakup or all you do today was getting out of the bed, you deserve to rest. If you are in the season of life for all you could manage was to take care of a little one, you should take all the rest you can. If you are in the season of life where there a lot of exciting projects and things that you want to finish, you deserve rest. If you are in the season where you are reaping the benefits of your hard work, then two, you deserve rest. No matter the phase please understand that rest is not optional, it is not being lazy, it is the key to heal, restore our energies. You and your body deserve to rest so you can be healthy emotionally and physically. That every line that you make on the page tell yourself that I deserve rest. Emphasize to your mind that you are worthy of rest and some downtime, even if the thoughts in your head make you feel otherwise. Now, even though the purple blob that I'm filling up now was more of a regular phase, it's still had its shares of ups and downs. Just because some things are visible like illness or city change doesn't mean that everyday invisible ones don't impact us. Our lives are filled with uncertainty, joys, struggles, surprises, disappointments, and rewards. It doesn't always make sense, but if you learn to dig in deeper within us, listen, and trust our inner wisdom, it will get slightly easier to navigate through this crazy magical journey. Irrespective of what life throws at us, we are allowed to feel joy, heal, and rest everyday. For most of us, it is very difficult to direct kindness towards ourselves, but then it isn't impossible. You need to take that first step, go slow but start. Use art or any other medium that you like to practice mindfulness so that you can start letting go of that nagging over critical inner voice. Our self-worth cannot, should not fluctuate for the varying seasons of life. The lemons that life throws at us are not in our control, but then the attitude with which we make the lemonade and the compassion to which we drink it can change the way it is. As you make the lines and reflect on the phase that you were in or you are in right now. I hope you realize that it's not selfish to think about what you deserve. If you have been overwhelmed by your to-dos under pressure to get more done then I hope you look at the season you are in and give yourself that much required, much-deserved break. [MUSIC] With this, we have reached the end of this pattern. I love the fact that because it was so simple, I could actually think, reflect, and question old conditioning and use the affirmation to change it. Now, this is not the only way you can approach this pattern. You can change your base shape and do other variations of this affirmation. Just make different-sized imperfect layers and let the lines help you reflect, and eventually, rest. I think somewhere on the way to achieve our goals, we start viewing sleep as a luxury and not a necessity, but with burnout and stress on the rise, it is important to go back to the basics and understand what sleep really is. It's the way to relax, heal, and replenish our depleted energies. The most important game-changer for me while doing this affirmation was to realize that I need rest. I deserve rest irrespective of the day I had. My sleep is not connected to my productivity. I'm really keen to know your views about this topic, so do share it along with the pattern. Now, let's move on to the last affirmation which focuses on one of the core elements of being mindful. [MUSIC] 11. Pattern 8: I Am Not My Thoughts: [MUSIC] One of the most amazing things that I've learned from my daily mindfulness practice is the ability to distance myself from my thoughts. Instead of engaging with them, categorizing them, and dissecting them, I have learned to step back and watch them as they are. If I'm curious about a particular thought, I dwell on it. Otherwise, I just let it be, and then eventually that thought passes by. Let me show you my way of thought-watching, so this is a really fun pattern. I'm so excited to share this pattern and the importance of this affirmation. Let's write the affirmation down and get the ball rolling. Now, most of the time, even if you'd realize it or not, our mind is buzzing with multiple thoughts. That's why whenever we sit quietly without any distractions or try to sleep, all those thoughts come onto the surface. Within no time, the thought that started with, I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, ends up at what happened in the new year's party two years back or something similar. We all have been there. That is why through this pattern, we are going to observe the thoughts for what they are and then try to distance ourselves from them. Now, we're going to acknowledge this line of thoughts through a line, but not just any other line. This line would be a continuous line. You can make it straight, curvy, or wonky however you like, but it should be a continuous line. Another important and fun element of this line is that every time you find yourself shifting from one thought to another, you need to change the color. For example, if you start the pattern with red color and the first thought that pops in your mind is, let's give this a try, you can keep making the line. But then after some time, if you find yourself thinking about what to make for dinner today, then switch to another color to showcase that new thought. As we are going to change the colors every time a new thought pops, it's better to have a wide range of colors to showcase that. I have these seven colors for now, but if required, I will add more colors later on. In case you have limited colored pens, then that's also okay. Just keep alternating between them. Bring out some of your favorite colors and let's get ready for some thought-watching and drawing. I'm starting my line of thoughts, with this dark green color. As you can see, I'm making a wonky, crooked continuous line, just moving around the pen and trying to bring little variations through these wonky movements. I felt like making this line but as I said before, you can make your line the way you want, whatever feels comfortable to you. Here you are seeing me drawing and talking simultaneously. But when I meet the pattern, I did it in complete silence. It's only because of that, I could hear clearly what was going on in my mind. I would suggest that you do this pattern when no one is around for it to be effective. The quieter it is outside, the louder you can hear what is going on inside. Whenever you start the pattern, just start with the first thought that comes to your mind, something that has your focus, and then follow it with the next thought and then the one after that. In the beginning, it might take some time to find the rhythm. But if you keep the doubts aside and really hear what is going on in your mind and put it on the paper as it comes, it will become quite an insightful process. Think of this pattern as the act of putting down all the contents of your mind onto the paper one by one as one might dump the contents of a bag onto a table. Spill out the various reminders, irritating thoughts, random thoughts, anything, and everything. Don't hold back or ignore it all just because it might feel unpleasant or silly. Simply open up a valve in your mind and let all those thoughts flow onto the paper. Don't try to make sense of the thoughts or figure out a solution or anything of that nature. Just put it down for now. I remember when I was filming this pattern in the beginning, my only thought was to make it properly. After all, it was the first time I was sharing it with anyone. So in the beginning of the pattern, the dominant thought was excitement, but after some time, it was replaced by doubt and apprehension. The second I recognized that change, I switched the colors and I started using yellow to showcase the new thought. I kept making the critical thought with the same speed the way I made the previous one. My job here is to be just a witness, not to change the speed or change the way what shows up. It's like watching clouds drift across the sky of our awareness. Our aim is to see them with a sense of indifference or distance without analysis or judgment. I know that it is easier said than done. Sometimes you will get caught up in the train of thoughts. You might find yourself questioning or have strong feelings against certain types of thoughts, and that's okay. The only thing you should try when that distraction happens is to quickly bring your attention back to the page, to that pen movement. It's for moments like these, that this condition of making a continuous line and the affirmation on the top helps. The minute there is a mistake in the line, you would know and you will be back to the present. Once your attention is back and you're aware of what you're meant to do, you will notice that the thoughts or the feelings will pass on. They always pass on. Our thoughts are, after all, a combination of experience, exposure, chance, and so many other factors, some of which we cannot even control. Yet, we end up falling into the trap of identifying ourselves by what we think and feel. When something is not right in our head, we tend to believe that something is not right with us. This couldn't be further from the truth. There are so many more dimensions to who we are, so there's no point in beating yourself up about the thoughts you didn't create. Always remember that you are not your thoughts and feelings. You don't need to try so hard to control them. You just need to give them space to come and go without judgment. If you find yourself continuously shifting from one thought to another, just like the way it happened with me, then please don't judge or criticize yourself. There is nothing wrong with the thoughts coming to visit you. Just don't engage, respond, judge, or change them. They thrive on your attention, and once they don't get it, they will be bored and we'll leave your mind space. Just to highlight another side of thought-watching. If I'm doing this exercise, you come across a thought that you would like to dissect something that is insightful, then just make a note of it on the back of the page or in your diary, and then go back to the pattern. Once you are done with the exercise, you can go back to that thought and work on it. The aim of any mindful or meditative practice is to not make the mind blank, is just not possible. But to give ourselves a break from the overflowing flow of thoughts and see ourselves without the stories we have been telling. Regular practice of mindfulness takes away the power from thoughts, especially the unhelpful ones. It helps us see ourselves, our situation without the fog. Now the views will not always be beautiful because we all have ups and downs. But then without the fog of thoughts, it will be clearer and thus will equip you better to plan your next move. Do acknowledge each thought and keep changing from one color to another color as many times as you want. The more you are aware of your thoughts, the more effectively you can dismiss those that have nothing to do with you or who you want to be. Once you're comfortable with this practice and can detach yourself from your thoughts, then you should ask yourself, that if you are not your thoughts, then how can someone else's thought define you? We spend our lives overcoming and dealing with these external stressors, the opinions, and judgments passed by others, which at the end is nothing but their thoughts. If we view other people's thoughts too as their own conditioning and perspective, then what they say or think about us shouldn't matter so much. Just the way we have the authority to dwell on the thoughts that we want to, we have the same authority over other people's opinions about us too. You have the power to allow how much other people's words can affect you. They too are floating clouds and you don't have to pay attention to each one of them. Once you realize that thoughts are just thoughts, and then they can pass if you don't hold on to them, you will unlock one of the secrets to inner peace. It is extremely liberating to see yourself without the extra layers of conditioning, drama and overthinking. This pattern has helped me overcome a lot of mental blocks, and that is why it is one of my favorites. Even though this pattern is about detaching ourselves from our thoughts, at the heart of it, it is about becoming aware of the present. Without the thoughts, that drag us into the past and the future. One of the reason that our mind races at night, is because it thinks that the chain of thoughts is important. From things to do to COVID-related anxiety, social media posts to parenting or work problems, the brain thinks that each of them are important and doesn't want us to forget them. When we make time to listen to these thoughts and put them down on paper through art or through words, our mind relaxes and then we can sleep peacefully. This is what my final line of thought looks like. I like that the thoughts which seem so big and hard in my mind can also look so colorful and wonky. The best part is that once we stop taking our thoughts seriously, see them in a different light, we can have an overall relaxed perspective in all areas of life, not just for sleep. Here are some other patterns. I followed the same approach here, just change the line style. After a long and a busy day, 1,000 thoughts might be running through your mind. You might be questioning the things that happened during the day or you might just be frustrated. Whatever is the case, you shouldn't sleep with a mindset like that. It's neither healthy nor it will give you any rest. That is why I feel the affirmation, I am not my thoughts, is so important and relevant. It helps you realize that you are the I that watches the thoughts. The thoughts are not inherently you or even necessarily true. The next time you feel too overwhelmed with the chaos in your mind, then grab your favorite pens and settle in for this abstract and fun pattern. It doesn't take long to make, but it can go a long way in settling your mind and helping you relax. [MUSIC] 12. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the class. It was quite a journey, right? We used affirmations to make space for hope amid skills, get into a calm state of mind. We used the mindful approach to compassionately get over the unchecked to-do-list, focus on the little things to sleep with the feeling of gratitude, and accept the things that are in control and the ones that aren't. We used fun patterns to reframe our attitude about sleep, about deserving rest, and to separate ourselves from our thoughts. Sleep is a critical component of our well-being, and getting a good night sleep starts with the way we spend our time leading up to the bedtime. I really hope you guys took away something from this class, whether it's tapping into the power of affirmations, to reframe sleep obstructive thoughts, or just trying out some meditative patterns to end your day on a relaxing note. At the end of the day, this type of practice is very personal and subjective in nature, and it's only after trying it for few days or weeks, you can decide that how you want to take it further, and how you want to modify it. I'm really curious to know about your views, your feedback about this practice, and if you're comfortable then along with your patterns, please do share about your experience too in the project gallery. It is always a pleasure to see the amazing work that you create. If you have any questions, then feel free to reach out to me through the discussion board. You can follow me here on Skillshare to stay posted on class related updates, as well as on Instagram to regularly see a wide variety of mindful patterns, and to know more about my process. Thank you so much for watching the class, it has been a pleasure. Take care, sleep well, and I'll see you next time. [MUSIC]