Today’s episode is special! Welcome Miriam Schulman. She’s a podcaster, and full time artist. She brings great energy for us as we begin the new year.
Find out what art journaling is and why it helps bring clarity. You don’t have to be good at drawing to benefit from this practice. Miriam and Patty discuss why it can be for everyone. Hint: It’s personal and private and it’s something that’s just for you!
Why does art journaling work? Miriam explains several benefits and it’s not what you think. It’s brain-science related!
There are no rules around this practice which is great news! You can’t do it wrong. You don’t need special supplies. You can start with whatever you have on hand. It’s something that everyone can do!
Welcome to the wealth and purpose podcast where people who are led by their hearts come to learn the secrets to creating wealth in a way that feels really good and live their purpose fully in the process. I’m your host, Patty Lennon. I’m an ex type-a corporate banker, turned intuitive business coach. I’m also a wife, a mom to two pre-teens, a professor, girl scout leader, and well, Hey, you get it. Like you, I wear a lot of hats, whether you’re looking for inspiration to get started or strategies to get growing. I am here to help you create abundance in every area of your life in business. Welcome.
Hey everyone. I am so excited today to bring you a guest that I adore. Her name is Miriam Schulman, and I met her through a mastermind that we are part of together, but ever since she joined, I have felt like she is my soul sister from another life. We just felt connected, and probably one of the things from her background that that sort of links us is she had a very traditional finance background. She worked for a hedge fund, 9/11, broke her heart, and she left it to pursue her art full time. And I just admire her so much for that. At this point, her work is dedicated towards helping people move out of that starving artists mentality. And so you may be wondering, so why are we featuring her at the very start of the year when I don’t talk about art a lot.
And here is why. She has a very unique process to get the year going. And that’s what I wanted to talk to her about today. She is the host of the inspiration place podcast, which amazingly is in the top listed art podcast. Beyond that, she’s just a brilliant mind, and she sees things very differently for me. So I’m so excited to talk to her today about how she starts the year, what goal setting looks like for her, and hopefully, introduce you to something that maybe is inspiring for you right now as we launch into this new year. Welcome Miriam.
Oh, thank you Patty. Thanks for the intro and for having me on. I’m so thrilled to be.
I am so happy to be here with you, everyone, as I’m recording the podcast with Miriam. This is literally like my first day back to work after the holiday is, and I could not be in the company of a more perfect person. I have watched Miriam, and the content she’s been putting out has totally been inspiring me. And so my first question to you, Miriam is how are you hitting the ground running this early in the year? Cause I’m just not feeling it yet.
Well first of all, Patty, I don’t celebrate Christmas cause I’m Jewish. So that’s like I don’t have that same interrupt you do. But I did, I was sick for two weeks, and my body forced me to be on the couch during that time. So I did kind of have a forced vacation that my body made me take away from everything. So that did help.
Oh interesting. So you think it’s the Christmas holidays that actually does it and not just like the whole, it’s coming to the end of the year. Wrap up, let’s party, whatever.
Well, I see this and I bet you see this too a lot with your audience and your clients and just the people around you. There’s definitely an energy shift around winter solstice, which is why we have these holidays, why our ancestors created these winter time holidays because there’s that tendency to want to hibernate and it’s dark and that’s why being sick was part was actually really good for me because it forced me to do that kind of slowing down and relaxing. But the problem with the holidays that people have is that an end Jewish people have this too. I mean, we all have our wintertime holidays is that now we have this pressure to instead of just recharge and relax, we’re gearing up because now we’re entertaining family we’re shopping for the perfect present and we’re doing all of the things to try to create this holiday experience for everybody. So it kind of, it unfortunately, interferes a little bit with that need to hibernate and relax. Don’t you agree with that?
Yes. Yes. And I guess because I have kids at the age that are at home with me and then they come home like even if I wasn’t celebrating anything, they’re there.
Yeah, well my kids aren’t. My kids are here too. And by the way, my kids are older kids. They’re 22 and 19 but they’ve been here as well. So it’s been a lot of family time. Yeah.
And I just feel like once they get back to school, like all I want to do is just enjoy the enjoy the silence. Is that depression malts on? I think it is. Yeah.
Well, I don’t know. Susan, my son left the house, all my, all. So my sons, the youngest and we became an empty nester when he left and my husband and I just skip around the house saying it’s ours and it’s clean and nobody’s messing it up. If people keep asking us, when are you moving to the city? It was like, no, no, because it’s finally the house is finally our own. So yeah,
I love that. I love the honesty. Okay, so you have a process that you teach art journaling that I think is really unique way to sort of jumpstart visioning and goal setting and all of that. So can you tell me and tell us what art journaling actually is?
Yeah, it’s a great question because actually even in my own, people want to know what’s the difference between art journaling and journaling, or is it really art? And the truth is an art journaling can look very different for other other artists or other people who are, who are working in a journal. To me, it’s any time you are elevating a regular journal process with some sort of art form that could be as simple as highlight or Mark or hers or colored pens or just adding washi tape or something just to give it a creative touch. And some artists take it to basically the full nine yards where there are terminal really is a sketchbook. So if you think about someplace, an arsenal live somewhere in the realm between the traditional journal where it’s just words and a sketchbook practice where it’s all art. My art general practice happens to be a very word-based practice where I am using artful lettering to work out my intentions and like you said, my goal-setting process for the year [inaudible]
I love watching when other people show me like really well-designed, lettered images and all of that stuff. But I often doubt that I can personally do it. You know, I’ve talked to you about this, like I just don’t see myself as that like visual artists. So am I like able to do an art journal D thing?
Yeah, that’s a really great question. And one thing that I always tell both my students and anyone who’s just interested in trying it out is that this is not the type of lettering necessarily that you’re going to put on a hallmark card that people are going to pay, you know, professional lettering, calligraphy. This is a personal process and the whole point of an art journal, which is why it’s also helps artists and not just artists, but anyone unlock greater creativity. It’s a private practice. It’s something that you do for yourself, and you do not have to share it with anybody. So yes, this is something that anyone can do, and anyone can tap into, and that’s why it’s going to look very different for different people.
Interesting. So what I’m feeling right now as I S I alluded to is I just don’t feel like doing any of this. Great. Now in this moment, maybe by the time this podcast drops, I’ll be in a different Headspace, but right now, I don’t feel like doing all this stuff that I see all the rah-rah out there for like, I don’t feel like setting goals. I don’t feel like picking a word. Would this actually help me get started?
Well, I like to start with choosing a word. Have you ever done that in the past? Choosing a word
I have, but quite honestly, I have not had a year where that word that I chose was still inspiring to me by let’s say June or July.
Oh, well, that’s totally normal. Like I feel like the whole point of choosing a word, it’s kind of like the spark of a match. You know when you when you light a match, it’s not about going back to that spark over and over again, but like you said, the point of the word and it people get a little bit caught up in that perfect word. Really any positive word that you choose as a springboard is going to serve you, so it doesn’t need to last the whole year. It’s just kind of to give you a springboard. Like I said, a spark to get started, to put you into the frame of mind of something that is going to be positive.
Interesting. So you think in order to do like an art journaling process around this, you do need to start with that word, or do you feel like that’s just how you guide people?
That’s how I do it. My, so when I do my art journal process, my first step is always with that word. Before you get into goals, before you get into intention, before you get into habit change, all those things to me is going to start with a word, and it’s because you really want to start with the word, with a feeling, feeling words are always going to be more powerful for people like so your, your word for the year is not going to be diet, you know? Right. So you got to start with something that resonates with you. And one of the things that I do have my students do is part of the process in your, and you can do this in an art journal, but you can also do this just in a regular journal, or even a scrap of paper is just to start brain dumping any kind of word that touches your soul and just make a full list. And like I said, it doesn’t really matter which word you pick. The very first time I did this process, I, I call it, uh, I let the word choose me. So it just happened. I don’t even remember the story now behind it, but somehow I decided, okay, harmony is going to be my word. I forget how that came up, but it wasn’t like I went through a full soul searching process to find the perfect word. I just knew that any, like I said, any positive word is going to serve you.
Hmm. Interesting. So, so I did like pick a word mostly because my daughter is 12 and spends time on Instagram, and she wanted to understand why I did not have this word. She kept seeing all of them. I was like, all right, let’s think through this. And I S, and I explained to her, I don’t do it because for the reason I explained to you, but I said, fine, we’ll pick a word in. The word I picked was light.
Oh, that’s great. I use that for one one year. It was a beautiful word. Yeah, that’s actually the word that is inside my painting with words. Course. That was the; I think it was, I forget what all, what year it is. I think it was 2016. My year was light.
Oh, okay, good. I was going to ask you, does that like make sense? So, okay. Alright, well it’s, you said something that actually resonated with me or made me think of why I resist visual art, and you said like some people do this process of picking a word and they make it a big process and that this is just something to sort of inspire you and for it to be personal. And I think that’s very freeing and I’m not sure all of the, all the information that’s out there about picking a word or goal setting or any of this is it leaves a lot of room for just do the best you can, and this is for you. And I think that that ties a lot to why people resist making art.
Yeah. Let me explain to you, let me back up and answer question. You’re not even asking. I want to explain why working in an Archer funnel works for me and other people who have these very creative monkey minds, that this is a way that we are able to meditate because we’re so, a lot of creatives are very add, which is a wonderful thing because it’s how you get your best ideas. It’s so difficult for us to sit still and not do anything with our hands. So when you’re able to, to create a piece of art or to make it, or simply a word that you color in, it becomes a form of meditation, which is why there’s coloring books are so popular. So what I’m doing with my word art journaling is really creating a personal coloring book for myself so that I can meditate. Does that make sense to you now?
Do you hear from your audience ever? People want to meditate, and they’re having trouble doing it?
Yes. And also that they, they think meditation is sitting in Lotus with zero thoughts in your mind for many, many, many minutes.
Yeah. So let me tell you like my word for the year is evolve. So the first thing I did was I do my bubble letter for evolve, and I’m coloring it in, and it takes a lot of time, and it looks from the outside like I’m just wasting my time. My husband’s like, okay, you’re playing in your coloring book again. But when I’m sitting there with my word with evolve, and I chose that word, I want to evolve as a, as a human being during 2020 and I’m studying the word, and then I’m noticing how the letters L O V E are part of the word evolve. So then I realized, Oh, isn’t that interesting? You can’t evolve without love. So do you see how like sometimes these words, they allow us to make these connections in our mind that you wouldn’t necessarily have made. Just say without doing something physical to, and what I call it with my artwork, it’s like you’re occupying that, I’m going to say this wrong if I say it’s the prefrontal cortex or whatever, but you’re basically occupying your conscious mind with the task of coloring in to allow your unconscious mind to go to work. Does that make sense? Yeah.
I love that brain science stuff because I think that makes it feel more reasonable for someone who’s struggling with why to do this.
Yes. And then, okay, so then I would say the next thing I do, so you had said it’s sometimes you have trouble setting goals and that’s why I said I don’t even start necessarily with the goal in mind when I’m picking the word. It’s more like how I want to feel for the year some. If people are struggling with that, I’ll say, well, what do you, you could make a list of things you want more of in your life. Things you want less of in your life and a word will come to you during that process of journaling. But the first thing, the next thing I do after choosing the word is I actually look them up in the dictionary. So, Patty, your word is light. And if you go to the dictionary and look up the word and star writing down the definitions of it, that’s going to help your brain make more connections of how you want to create new habits or how you want to live in a different, with different intention during the year is what I’m saying. Still, making sense to you?
Oh, 100% yes. I love it.
And by the way, what is your daughter’s, where did she pick a word?
She hasn’t picked one yet. She was like, I need to think about this mom. I’m like, sure you made me pick a word, but you’re now going to throw on the plate. But she will actually, she’ll spend time, and she will think about it and um, she’ll enjoy that process. So, um, I will ask her, and I’ll tell you offline when I do get it.
Okay. All right. That’s perfect. You know, my kids actually, they and my husband too, we’ve all been choosing our own words for the last few years since I started this process. They’ve been doing it along with me, and it’s been a lot of fun. But exactly what you said. Yeah. By September, the word is gone, and you’re already thinking about the next year, so there’s, there’s no need for it to last the whole year.
Well that’s really helpful cause that’s kind of why I abandoned pigging a word. But you touched on something which I think is a questions I get from people from time to time, which is how do I bring my children, my young children. I know your kids are older at this point, but how do I bring my young children into my business, into my spiritual, into my practices? And what you just said made me realize that this is a really nice place for you to do that. To start, whether it’s, you’re an entrepreneur, or this is just you wanting to introduce an understanding of like a bigger sense of the world to your children.
Yes. 100% I’m glad you brought that up. So when I started my own art journal practice, which was about seven years ago, taught my daughter Tanya at the time, she was 15, so she did it with me, and it was actually because we were both doing it together. That kept me regular with it throughout the whole year whenever she was, I think she was a junior in junior high school then. Does that make sense?
Yeah. Junior, well, sophomore, unless she’s super bright
well, she’s young for her grade. She’s right, but she’s young for her grade, so that really helped her relax whenever she was feeling stressed out by the SATs or by the college application or auditions or whatever it is for the over the those two years that we were journaling when she was in high school, she found it as a great way to unwind, and she still continues her art journal practice now in college. Her practice, by the way, it looks a lot different than mine does, so she’s, she doesn’t consider herself an artist, and she doesn’t create art in her journal, but she still works with words she works with putting in inspiring quotes. She just likes decorating pages with washy tape. So she still has an art journal practice. And then our mutual friend Jen Lehner of the front row CEO, she is doing the painting with words course with her daughter who I want to say she’s 11 or 12 Jen’s daughter. Yeah. So they’re doing it together as well. A lot of people will do the art journal with a child or a grandchild because it’s fun.
Oh, I love that. That’s so cool. So, um, now people are listening, and they’re probably thinking, okay, so how do I get started? Do I buy a journal with no, like a particular type of journal, and make sure it has no lines? Is there a, like what do, what would you say is the steps people need to be thinking or what to get started? What can you give them to get started with?
Sure. So first of all, I do have a freebie of about that. If you want to link in the show notes, showman, art.com forward slash, journal. It’s just the art journal supplies. But also the video series that I’m doing in the month of January will also help people get started. But I will share with you for the notebook if you’re just getting started, the easiest thing to get is a composition book that has graph paper in it. Okay. Especially people who want to learn how to improve their lettering. That will help you. So that’s one direction you can go. The other direction you can go is, my daughter uses her day planner as her journal. That’s what she’s been doing the last seven years. She basically doodles internals in the pages that have all ready gone past. So, for example, in February, she’ll be covering up pages in January with anything that’s written down that she wants to cover up. She’ll cover that up with a piece of washi tape and any space that’s left over, she will either continue to make patterns with the washy tape or she will fill that in with an inspirational quote or a word. So that is her practice, what it looks like for her. So for me, it’s a little more art based because that’s what I do. And for Tanya, because she’s a student, that is the easiest way for her to journal because that day planner is always with her.
So what I’m hearing is like what, you know, if you need to know exactly what to do, go get that composition notebook with the graph paper. But otherwise, just feel into what works for you. There’s really no rules.
There are, I suggest, things that work for me, and I always welcome my students here. This is what I do. You can try this. But I always encourage people to use what they have. There’s no need to go out and buy a certain kind of marker or a certain kind of pad. It’s just like, Oh wait, you, you like this as special effect I created. Here’s the pen I use to get there, but there’s no need to do that. Like I said, Tanya, her favorite supplies are her watermelon. She calls her watermelon, highlighter pens that she uses to create her bubble letters. Yeah.
Are they watermelon scented? Is that why she calls them that
you know, I don’t, I don’t know that they are, but it’s like a package of neon colors, and she calls them her watermelon markers.
Okay, got it. Well, I like you as much as I resist like visual art, and I’m not now. I’m with you. I’m going to start doing this. I do love buying things like colorful things to write with. So I’ve got lots of those going on. I’ve got those in a Big Ben. So you’ve got a video series coming out though, and we have a link for that. I’ll give you guys the link in a second, but tell them what they can get from the video series. This is a free video series you do at the beginning of the year, right?
Yes. So I had been doing it like in December, and I did, now I’ve shifted it to January, but yeah, I do this, I’ve been doing this every year, and uh, hundreds of people have taken this class and I guess thousands have gone through the free series. People love it. First of all, I tell them what the benefits are for our journalists. So we’ve, we’ve touched upon a few of them right now. For some people, it’s kind of like a good jumpstart for setting your goals and your attention. And that’s really what I’m teaching in the process. And in the course for a lot of people, it’s a form of meditation. It helps them relax like we said it. That’s how it helped my daughter, and for others, it’s also just a form of getting creative in a very low-pressure way. So, people who want to introduce some creativity in their life, this is a great way to get started. People who are artists and they want to become better artists. It’s always great to have a private practice because that way you don’t have to worry about failing when you’re experimenting. So that’s who it’s for. So it’s for whether you just want to get creative, you want to get better at your art, or you want to really have a different way, a creative way of setting your goals for 2020 that’s what this video series promises to help you with.
Awesome. So if you guys want to sign off for that, you can go to pattylennon.com/artjournal, and you’ll get that link, and we’ll put that in the show notes. What Miriam would you say is the biggest benefit to doing this?
I would say stress release. And the second benefit I would say is that we spend so much time on our phones and this gives us an alternative to that. So you don’t have to have an art studio to art journal. You just need something that’s small. That’s why I liked the composition book or my daughter’s day planner. Those make perfect art journals. You want something that’s going to fit in your bag that is low key with a couple of pens. It’s not about making the time to do, to add something to your list. It’s about when time finds you to do something that’s going to be meaningful to you during that time. So whether that’s your, uh, the doctor’s office, uh, I spent a lot of time art journaling when I was at my son’s wrestling game. Wrestling matches. He would kill me if he heard me say games.
That wrestling, it’s not a game. The wrestling tournaments, it’s like hours in the gym waiting for that three minutes for him to wrestle. And uh, so I spent a lot of time art journaling there. It’s kind of like making use of that time, but it’s also really important for self-discovery. So I don’t know how many of your, well I do know how many, but I’m inside Patty’s class receiving school, and I wanted to tell you that I use a lot of the exercises that she suggest in my art journal. So to me, it’s been a way to kind of explore that deeper side of myself and get in touch with my intuition and use the end with my spiritual guides as you would say, Patty, to take take inspired action that I want to give one more reason why it’s good.
So the other thing is I’ve been looking back on my journals, pretty much all the big goals that I set that I put into an art journal page I made come true. So I’m looking back at my old art journals, and it was like I’m launching a podcast. There’s something really powerful about putting something into writing and declaring it that way. That creates a commitment. I know there’s science behind it. Are you familiar with the science behind putting things in writing? Patty? I’m not quizzing you. I know I’ve heard something.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I know Pearson’s theory or Pearson’s law is that which is recorded, grows, and that which is recorded and tracked grows exponentially. So there was that. But I’m sure there’s other stuff.
Yeah, I remember hearing it from James Clear in his Atomic Habits book also that writing things down makes it more likely that you’re going to do it. And when you’re doing an art journal page where you’re actually spending time meditating on it by either creating fancy lettering or coloring it in, or putting doodles around it, whatever it is that you happen to do with it, it brings it to the next level where you’re actually meditating on that thing, and it lets your brain in the back of your mind go to work to help you manifest it. So it’s kind of like the art and the science of manifesting. So a lot of my students will say to me, Oh, I made this. Listen, it came true, and it came true, but it’s not so much like a magic behind it. It’s, there’s a science behind it as well,
you know, I love that. You know, I love the art plus science that makes my heart glow. So, you know, every time I have a guest on here, I asked them, what do you believe your purpose is? And there’s so much juiciness in the answers you just gave. I’m curious, do they line up with what you believe your purpose is?
Yeah. So when we were at our mastermind retreat together, our coach had asked us like, what is our verb? Which is different than the word for the year, but what is our verb? So my verb is I inspire; therefore I am. So if I inspired one person today, Patty, by coming onto your podcast, I’m fulfilling my life purpose.
Oh, I love that. That makes me so happy. I’d love to hear answers that are so full of life. This podcast is wealth and purpose. And the second question I like to know is, what do you consider wealth?
Yes. I’m going to share an answer, but I just want to preface it by saying, first of all, I just want to let people know, I don’t think there’s any shame in wealth building in terms of monetary, but the story that I want to share in terms of what I really feel true wealth is, one of my cousins, so she’s like one of those cousins you have that are actually, an older person. How do you put that, you know, one of these second cousins twice a generation, another generation. So she lived a long life and she and her sister never married, never had children. And my mother inherited some jewelry from her, and she passed down a lot of wealth to which she donated to colleges cause she didn’t have anyone to pass it down to. And when my sister and I were at our funeral, we both looked at each other and said that is not what wealth is.
What wealth is, is what we have with our families. So I just feel so fortunate and so lucky to have the wealth of my family around me and my children. To me, that’s, that is what true wealth is for. I know that there’s some people who, you know, they can’t have children and I do see you and you are also, I still feel that somebody can be building wealth without having children. But at her funeral there were just so few people there. It was like what was left besides the money was the question. And that’s what I was questioning is that really wealth when there’s no one left afterwards, but those things.
Yeah, and to your point, you know, for you it’s, your children, but for someone else it might be, it’s whoever your family is, whoever you make your family, whether it’s blood or through love,
whatever your legacy is. So the legacy does not have to be children. It could be something else that you’re leaving behind as well. But that’s what I see as true wealth is what is your, your legacy that you are leaving behind and not, not just the material things.
I was so curious what your answer would be and I purposely didn’t want Miriam to tell me ahead of time because I wanted to see what popped up. Because what I find with you, Miriam, is you have such a rich outlook on life. And I don’t mean rich by money, although that factors in, you know, that’s, I think it’s a natural occurrence that money will flow in when you have this very rich experience of life. But for you, if you’re listening and you find yourself drawn into Miriam’s energy, definitely go check out her video series. Again, it was pattylennon.com/art journal and definitely check out her podcast. She is so inspiring and it’s not surprising that her podcast is called the Inspiration Place. If you want to hear the guest appearance I made on her podcast, you can go to schulmanart.com/60 or just search for, our names in whatever app you’re using to listen to podcasts, look for us, um, or her podcast, the inspiration place episode 60. So Miriam, is there any last, um, wisdom advice, something you want to leave the listeners with about either goal-setting or building wealth with purpose or anything else that’s alive for you?
Yeah, I should have prepared an answer for this cause I asked, I asked my guests the same exact question and it’s a great question. So what I want to say is that when you’re setting goals, since we’re, this podcast is coming out in January, is the beginning of the year when you’re setting your goals for the year, that it really needs to be multi-dimensional. It, you need to think about your goals, these which is the end result, your habits, your intentions, and your purpose. So you can’t really make a one if you’re only thinking about the end result. It’s a very one dimensional goal. If you’re only thinking about your habit, again, that’s very one dimensional. So to keep your, anything you were thinking about for the, your vision for the year, to keep it multidimensional and think like, as Patty says, about your purpose when you’re creating that.
Mmm. So good. I love it. Miriam, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Oh, thanks so much for having me, Patty. It’s been a lot of fun.
Oh, I just love being around your energy and everyone makes sure you go check out Miriam’s video series and her podcasts, both amazing resources. Thank you. Hey, thanks for listening. And if you know someone who needs to hear this message, please share this podcast with them. And if you’re feeling really generous, I love for you to leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. It helps us reach many more people and it fills my heart with so much joy when I hear what you had to say about what you heard, I am cheering for your success have been amazing day.