How Befriending Your Fear Fuels Your Creative Process with Meera Lee Patel
We’re all familiar with the struggle of pursuing something uncertain. It could be a simple task or a job that can completely change your life. Fear can make us feel small and stuck, holding us back from our full potential.
In this episode, Meera Lee Patel shares how she makes art and writing a means to help herself and her audience process anxiety. Find out how she harnesses creative energy from unfulfilling times. She also provides tips on how to soothe your negative thoughts during the pandemic.
Whether your career revolves around art or not, Meera’s experiences can inspire you to sit with your fear to tap the creative soul in you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Discover how you can spark and sustain creativity every day.
- Find out how to cope with the negativity surrounding the pandemic.
- How does Meera Lee Patel feel radically loved? Find out toward the end of the episode.
Meera’s Creative Inspiration
- Meera's work is a direct reflection of her thoughts and experiences. When she shares herself, she can manage her anxiety and heal.
- She strives to release art and writing that people can resonate and connect with.
- Meera was raised by immigrant parents who instilled the importance of a stable career.
- After graduating from college with a degree in journalism, she took a job at a technical publishing company. She felt very unfulfilled over the routine of sitting in the office and doing the same thing every day.
- Her dissatisfaction sparked her journey in painting and writing. She spent several years doing these on the side.
- While writing My Friend Fear, she realized she cannot make a genuine piece of writing about dealing with fear if she is hiding behind hers.
- She was taught to keep her head down and avoid attention. But living like that made her feel small and invisible. When she couldn’t stand it anymore, she went off-course.
For the Struggling Person
- Now is the greatest opportunity to start what you’ve been waiting to do. However, do not put all your eggs in one basket.
- Before becoming a full-time artist, Meera stayed in her job for seven years to build something self-supporting. She wanted to remain independent and responsible for herself.
- Creativity will be suffocated if you have anxiety over economic fears. Feel safe first, but accept that you may not be as comfortable as you felt before.
- Find a way to earn income, even if it is only half of what you earn before. Do it as long as it helps you pay the bills and makes you feel safer.
- Channel as much energy as you can in turning your dreams into reality. Take online classes to sharpen your skills and learn more about the industry you want to move toward.
On Minimizing Distractions
- Set boundaries. Allot time to find quiet and solitude but acknowledge that this could be difficult during the pandemic.
- Meera needs a transition period where she goes from being a person of the world into an artist who harnesses creativity from within herself.
- Leave your phone and other gadgets in another room. Distance yourself first from the people and pets you live with.
Coping Mechanisms During the Pandemic
- Nobody is going through the pandemic at peak productivity every day. It’s hard for all of us in different ways.
- If you find yourself in a circle of self-criticism, give yourself a break. Be content with whatever you’ve achieved.
- Take care of yourself and be a little softer.
How to Live a Creative Life
- Creativity is everywhere. Apply it to every aspect of your life, including conversations and cooking. It's all about changing the dynamic of the usual activities you do.
- Try a different creative channel to clear up your energy. When you do another activity, it can spark inspiration for the task you were feeling stuck about.
- You have to move and create something to change your emotions accordingly. Action affects attitude.
5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode
[06:20] “We make the work that we need to see.”
[12:40] “When I decided to stop living a small life governed by my fear and open myself up to the possibility of more, I got a lot more.”
[14:32] “I think a lot of the values that we are taught are so important—and I'm so grateful for most of them—but a lot of them will also ask us to become invisible.”
[17:53] “Creativity—it will be suffocated if you have anxiety over economical fears.”
[33:13] “Action changes attitude—I try to remember that. If I want to change the way I feel, I have to move; I have to do something. And then my emotions will change accordingly.”
Meera Lee Patel is a self-taught artist and writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the author of My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown, a beautiful meditation on fear and how it can help us become who we are if we let it.
Meera is also the author of two journals: Made Out of Stars, a journal encouraging the belief that you are already whole, and Start Where You Are, a journal helping you understand that the answers you are seeking are contained within yourself.
She is currently a columnist at Spirituality & Health, where she writes and draws about mental health.
Connect with Meera through her website or Instagram.
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