Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel

Source: Penguin Random House
Paperback, 128 pgs.
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Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel is an interactive book that will require its readers to use the pages, fill them in. From what 10 places you wish to visit to what things make you happy, Patel is asking us to look deeply into our dreams and desires. But this journal does not stop there. Readers also will have to delve into losses and failures to learn the lessons they teach. These are the lessons that guide us through life, keeping us aware of what we truly want out of life and what things we’ve tried that are not right for us.

“The hardest questions are the ones that open doors.  Every spread in this book features a universal life lesson paired with an exercise.  These exercises, often taking the form of a chart, list, or written prompt, are designed to help you apply the sentiments behind each lesson to your life.” (pg. 1)

Patel pairs famous quotes with a variety of activities for readers to dig deep into themselves.  Two of my favorites from the book: “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken” from Oscar Wilde and “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known” from Carl Sagan.  If the activities do not inspire readers, the quotes surely will.  Readers will want to take a few moments to think about each activity, especially ones that require determine which four possessions they would be unable to do without.  Others may not require as much contemplation.

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel is a book that will require readers to interact with it and to engage in deeper thinking than when the next appointment in the day is or what they’re having for dinner.  In this modern world, it is often hard to look beyond the daily schedule of activities to think about one’s life without becoming distracted.

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Meera Lee Patel is a self-taught artist raised by the New Jersey shore, where she swam the bright waters and climbed cherry blossom trees until she grew old enough to draw them. Her illustrations are inspired by the magical mysteries of nature, the quiet stories that lace through everyday life, and the bold colors of her native India. Her first book, DAILY ZEN, was published by Ulysses Press in October 2014. Her second book, START WHERE YOU ARE, will be published in Fall 2015 by Perigee (Penguin USA). Meera lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


  1. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says

    This sounds worth checking out!

  2. Suko http://www.sukosnotebook says

    Serena, I have just gotten this wonderful book! Please stay tuned for my take on it. 🙂

  3. Estrella Azul says

    Sounds so great! I just bought “642 things to write about” and look forward to trying it. But “Start where you are” is now on my wishlist! Thanks 🙂