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If you have started reading this blog post because of the tittle, it means that you suspects that you might be going through an existential crisis or, at least, you’re having a lot of doubts about your own creative work. If that’s the case, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone and that everything is ok.
IMPORTANTE NOTE! This post is going to be very different from what you could expect from me as an illustrator, as I would usually share things about illustration, graphics, etc. But my inner journey is being such a positive experience in terms of personal growth and it is being months and months that I’ve felt a deep call to share what I’m learning and experiencing.
I must admit that I feel terrified. I’m about to open up my heart and let my soul share some vulnerable parts of myself. So I hope you find it interesting, and if not, that’s absolutely fine too. You don’t need to keep reading if you don’t connect or relate with my message.
Oh, one more thing! I have created a podcast version and a YouTube video version of this blog post. I might keep doing these three formats for a while so you can choose the one that you prefer.
Play the video or keep reading:
Choose your favourite podcast platform or keep reading:
An existential crisis is a period of time in which we asked ourselves some deep questions that can put everything upside down in some areas of our lives.
- What’s the point of living?
- Am I doing what I really want to do in this lifetime?
- Who am I?
If, additionally, you are a creative, you might also ask yourself some other questions. These would sound more something like this:
- What is the “why” behind my artwork or creations?
- Do I even have a “why”?
- Do I want my artwork or creations to be more significant?
- Am I really using all my natural talents in my creations?
- Do my creations have a message these days?
These are just a few of those questions that can be uncomfortable for many people for several reasons. You might even feel a bit uneasy by just listening to them. Sorry for that!
I could talk A LOT about this topic, but I don’t want to make this blog post too long. So today, I’ll just talk about what were the signs of my existential crisis and how my own inner journey got started.
And in future articles I might try to be more focus on those questions, specially the second list.
In this process it’s very common to have very negative thoughts because it’s a moment in which there is a big disconnection between the conversation that is happening in your mind and what you really are.
In more severe cases, some people might be dealing with depression at the same time, and if you suspect that that’s your case and you don’t feel like you can go through that by yourself, please, talk to your love ones and ask for professional help.
The help and empathy that you need really exists.
I want to clarify that I’m not a therapist. I’m just an illustrator with a creative soul that has gone through this kind of crisis.
However, it’s been a very important and life-changing experience for me and I’d like to share many things that I’ve learnt and I’m still learning from that.
This kind of crisis taste bitter, it makes life to look kind of grey and it feels lonely but these are actually very subtle signs that need your full attention.
I truly believe that this process is actually a beautiful chance to connect again with yourself and to get aligned with what you really are.
It’s a good time to get to know yourself in a deeper level, to allow yourself to be YOU and stop living too much in your mind, which is usually very far from the reality.
Mine has being a long one already, but luckily I’ve had many moments of clarity thanks to all the inner work that I’ve done during the last year and a half.
I remember one day, going to the bathroom and seeing my face in the mirror and having no idea who I was looking at. I also felt very upset with the person that I was seeing reflected in the mirror.
I looked at myself and wondered… “What I was doing with my life to feel this way?”
I think that was the beginning of my inner journey and the acknowledgement that I was going through an existential crisis.
I also think that it was triggered by this short question that popped up after months of doubts about my artwork and my career: WHO AM I?
Stress, muscle contractures, fear, insecurity, a hopeless feeling, lack of direction, apathy, negative thoughts…
There was so much of this that I ended up feeling a tremendous detachment towards myself. It may sound like a bad thing, but it was actually the mood that I needed to stop everything that I was doing and look at myself.
I was lucky to have really bad neck and shoulders pain at that time. Yes, I was lucky! That pain lead me to a physiotherapist for the first time and he recommended me to try yoga classes to relieve my stress and strengthen my back.
I never thought about practicing yoga and I had no idea what was about.I used to believe that it was something like pilates or some physical exercises to have a healthy back with a little touch of “hippy vibes”.
How wrong I was…
It just took me a month of yoga classes to start feeling much better in general, but also I was very surprised by the positive effect of meditation at the end of the class.
The mental silence, just breathing peacefully after the class, feeling my physical body breathing and beating… I was alive! My mind was silent and I deeply felt that everything was actually fine no matter what was happening out there.
I was also lucky to find a good yoga teacher who taught me not only about breathing and asanas (the body postures of yoga practice), but also to be humble, listen to my body and be present.
I don’t want to sound like I want you to take yoga classes, but I’m just sharing the first way that I found to ease my noisy mind, release muscle tension and connect with the present.
(And when I say present, I mean this very current moment, the second that is happening right now).
It was like awakening from a repetitive, boring and hopeless dream that only would happen in my mind.
I learnt that the main reason of my general discomfort was that I used to live too much in my mind, and it was very difficult for me to stop my mental voice which would only talk about three things:
- Past events
- Wrong interpretations of reality based on past experiences
- Fear about the future.
I also learnt that the meditation practice it was very healing for me.
Months later, as part of my inner journey and in a very different state (feeling much more relaxed) I would research and try some other ways to connect with myself and the present, and I learned that there are as many ways as people in this world to do it.
I think it’s about exploring and finding the one that works well for you.
I recommend trusting your intuition and try what you find intriguing and healthy. It can be very… mentally healthy for you to allow yourself to be open and curious.
The truth is that you could connect with yourself by just taking a walk while listening to the birds, looking at the branches of the trees move in a windy day or feeling the breeze in your skin.
I know it sounds very simple and basic. It almost sounds like a perfume ad but it’s there where the connection with yourself and the present can happen.
And by practicing what it works for you, you’ll get the hints and the answers that you personally need.
One of the guys that I used to listen quite often on YouTube during the first months of my inner journey was Borja Vilaseca.
He’s a Spanish communicator who talks a lot about self-knowledge and in one of his talks he would suddenly ask the crowd: “Who was in the shower with you this morning?”
I know, it’s a weird question but let me explain.
A common thing is that instead of enjoying a pleasant shower, feeling gratitude for the luxury of having warm water or enjoying the nice smell of the shampoo, many of us are taking a shower while thinking about a client, stuff about family, something hurtful that happened a year ago, worries about the future and your finances, and the list can go on and on…
Sounds mentally exhausting, right?
So, yap. I just had toooo much of that, and then, one day I looked at myself in the mirror without recognizing who was that person.
I was so disconnected from myself and the present moment that I couldn’t tell who was that young woman and what should she be doing with her life.
I felt kind of mad at her and how many things in her life seemed to be so out of control.
However, today I have to say a BIG thank you for that saturation of discomfort.
That was my chance to wake up and get to know myself for real, light and darkness included.
And yes, sometimes it’s scary and confusing, but at the same time it’s a fascinating journey.
The “who am I” question can be a really big and hard one for some people and an easy approach to answer it can be done by asking smaller questions such us:
- What does make me happy?
- What are my current values?
- What are my strengths?
These are just a few but they are soooo many questions that can help you to get started.
I still work on them as the answers can be very flexible, especially at the beginning, and it’s important to allow yourself to change them throughout the time.
These kind of questions might seem very basic but sitting down to write and explore them in a daily basis can be very powerful and clarifying.
I highly recommend journaling in a daily basis.
I’ve also practiced myself some more graphic and visual ways to keep my own answers and new intentions alive and that’s one of the core things that I’d like to share with you in future blog posts because it has helped me a lot.
So my creative soul friend, if you feel like you might be going through something like this, I just want to tell that you’re not alone, everything is ok and I’m here to keep you company.
I know that sometimes it feels lonely and it also takes a lot of courage, but this might be actually an amazing invitation from the Universe, the atoms, the energy, God or whatever you feel that is holding you to start getting to know yourself better and enjoy your precious present, which is the only true thing that we really have.
If you are interested in these topics but you don’t think you’re not having an existential crisis that’s great too. That means a less stressful life experience for you and that you are probably in the right path!
However you can still make this kind of journey to get to know yourself better, get some extra inner peace for the sake of your well-being and find some clarity about the meaning of your creative work.
This kind of content is very challenging and a little bit scary for me to create but I truly think that it can be the beginning of something, so it would help me a lot to know if you are really interested by leaving a comment or just giving me thumbs up.
It would also be great if you share this blog post with a friend that might be going through something like this as well because, guys, sometimes this process feels a bit rough.
I have many ideas, tools and insights in mind that I’d like to share while I keep creating illustrations because I truly think that they can help creative souls like me.
That’s it for today.
Thank you so much for your time, your attention and staying with me until the end. I’m super grateful for that because I know very well that your time is gold.
I hope to talk to you very soon.