Having a rough week? These uplifting comics are your chicken soup.

Leah Pearlman finds inspiration for her comics through friends, teachers, and her own heart.

She is the artist behind the popular Dharma Comics, which explore love, life, and our connection with the world.

Her comics are simply drawn, but that’s only on the outside.

They are a refreshing reminder of the struggles we all deal with every day. Each panel holds a mirror up to our imperfections and reminds us that it's OK.


Excerpted from "Drawn Together: Uplifting Comics on the Curious Journey Through Life and Love" by Leah Pearlman. Reprinted by arrangement with TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. © 2016 by Leah Pearlman.

Leah has always been compelled to draw. Her journey to Dharma Comics started in 2010 when her father's cancer went into remission. She drew a simple cartoon with the text: “Thank you, Cancer!” and shared that drawing on Facebook. It had an immediate response online, and Dharma Comics took off from there.

"My experience is that through my art, I am healing."

"But I didn’t get here by pushing any pain away," Pearlman wrote in an email. "I got here by moving toward it. By admitting it, by exploring it, by sharing it, and by allowing myself to be helped."

The comics are full of depth, meaning, and complexity about the human experience. They reach out through the lines and grab the reader by the heartstrings.

“The essence, whether it’s anger, or loneliness, or adoration, is something everyone can relate to. And often, because we do get so tangled in the daily dramas of our circumstance we can all have trouble finding the essence. I think when people see my comics, sometimes they’ll [breathe] a sigh of relief and say ‘YES. That’s exactly how that feels,’” she wrote.

Get inspired by these 10 drawings from her recent book, “Drawn Together: Uplifting Comics on the Curious Journey Through Life and Love.”

Don't these comics make you feel great?

They're having a huge impact online and the book is finding a new, unexpected audience: children.

"I never drew these for kids, except perhaps my own inner child," she wrote, "and I’d love to connect more with [them] around the topics of self-love of welcoming emotions and whatever else they’re finding in the pages that move them."

These comics are an inspiring reminder that there is joy in everything. And that's worth celebrating.  

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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