meet MEERA LEE
the artist behInd Winter woodlands
What is a real life mama moment you have had recently?
I am a self-taught artist and the internationally best-selling author of several books on mental and emotional health, including My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown and Start Where You Are, a journal for self-exploration. My latest book, Create Your Own Calm, is a journal for quieting anxiety.
I create work that inspires and encourages others to connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them. My signature watercolor paintings are known for their vibrant, evocative feel and are traditionally paired with thoughtful passages on living a deliberate, more introspective life. When I was 3 months postpartum, I decided to apply to graduate school, I've always challenged myself to become a more honest, truer version of myself, and I wanted to see what worlds would open up for me through traditional learning. I was given a fellowship to pursue my MFA at the Sam Fox School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, so we sold our farm, packed up our things, and moved to a new home we'd never even seen, all within Nadi's first year of being in this world.
I now live with my family in St. Louis, Missouri. You can visit me online at www.meeralee.com or @meeraleepatel. I also write a weekly note chronicling 5 things I'd like to remember from each week over at Dear Somebody.
What is your favorite thing about being a mama?
Watching Nadi be present in each moment. She's so centered, so focused on the task at hand - and the task is usually figuring out how to squeeze as much wonder as possible out of each moment.
My daughter forces me to be freer, more imaginative, and more disciplined in who I am and what I want my life to look like. I have her to thank for being constantly challenged - for forcing me to live up to the same expectations I set for others, and for asking myself to be the person I want her to know and love. She's completely opened me up.
What inspires you?
I'm really curious about the emotions we carry and the shapes they take inside each of us, our relationship with the earth, our relationships with each other and ourselves, and the small moments of longing that weave throughout each day. I am encouraged by the idea of change and that every minute is another opportunity to become more of someone you enjoy being around.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
We have two that I really look forward to. First, I choose a new ornament to add to our collection each year. I like to choose one that represents the year we've had: I have a glass heart for the year we got married, a small wooden house for the year we bought the farm, a little moon for the year Nadi Luna was born.The other tradition I love is that my husband and I gift each other a new record every year. My husband succeeds in surprising me with an album I love but had forgotten about every single year. It's our small way of symbolizing how well we know each other, with a fun element of surprise.
What is your favorite holiday song?
"Blue Christmas" by Elvis, "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey (come on!), and "Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon.