“Creativity is a process, and each time you create, you uncover a little bit more of yourself,” Meera Lee Patel, a self-taught artist, told me in our interview. I couldn’t agree more. You might be composing a poem, stringing together a sentence, doodling a silly monster, journaling or making a connection between two seemingly disparate things. Whatever you’re creating, you discover something new, interesting, surprising, important about yourself.
It might be that drawing brings you calm. It might be that you haven’t processed a painful situation. It might be a revelation about something you like or don’t like. It might be a realization that your fears aren’t as frightening as you once thought.
That’s how powerful creativity is.
Patel has created a beautiful self-reflective journal, called Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration, which helps us uncover a little bit more of ourselves with every page. It’s filled with thought-provoking quotes and prompts, all of which are illustrated by Patel. (The above image is from the book.)
Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite words and prompts from the book. Use these prompts to help you explore who you are and better understand what’s important to you. Use the quotes as reminders or guiding lights or even journal prompts.
- If you could own only four possessions for the rest of your life, what would they be? Draw them.
- List your sources of the following: happiness; love; courage; friendship; strength; and laughter.
- “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ~ Nelson Mandela
- Create a chart listing your desires on one side and the action you’ll take toward each desire on the opposite side. Then ask yourself: Do these actions reflect hope or fear?
- Draw a portrait of yourself using colors and patterns that reflect who you are. (Love this!)
- “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~ Arthur Ashe
- You’ve created so many things out of nothing. Write about one of these things. It can be anything — from a friendship to a piece of music to a new perspective.
- List three aspects of the human condition you’re grateful for.
- “Fears are paper tigers.” ~ Amelia Earhart
- Think about a serious problem you’re struggling with. Then think about how you can handle it with truth and courage.
- “The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Close your eyes, and think about what makes you feel most alive. Write it down. Then use your thoughts and actions to move closer to this all the time.
Self-exploration means regularly asking ourselves questions. It means pausing and pondering what’s in front of us and what’s within our hearts. It means being honest with ourselves.
Give yourself the permission and opportunity to keep this conversation going. Because that’s where you find meaning, joy, fulfillment, wonder, and of course, yourself.
P.S., I’m giving away one copy of Patel’s journal. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is share what inspires you on Tuesday’s post. You have until next Tuesday, the 17th, at 11:59 p.m. EST to leave your comment. (Also, it’s only open to U.S. readers.)