Each artist, each creator- whether they “officially” aka publicly call themselves a writer, designer, singer, musician, painter, crafter and whatsoever- when they dare to do so- is mostly struggling. Struggling between staying true to themselves, their own demons and their truth, wanting to create something personal, something that they see as significant and purposeful and with pleasing the crowds, conforming so that their art will eventually sell, because they need to eat and most times they need to feed.
Finding the perfect balance isn’t that easy or comfortable. Do you stay true to you, your muse or to what your publicist wants? Why would you ever consider these questions? Why would you ever be a people-pleaser? Why would you even think that?- your art is worth it. You don’t really care about what others think of your art, do you? And if you do care, can you handle the criticism, so kindly called as “feedback” these days…?
All are legitimate questions. There is a way of finding the balance between what you think is meaningful work and what is “trending” nowadays. And yes, you can be a people-pleaser and you can be an ego-pleaser. “Meaningful work”, mamma mia, just the term comes with a certain weight. It feels like we are Atlas holding the weight of the earth on our shoulders. This can be paralysing. The emotional and physical pain you would go through as Atlas while holding the Earth even for a nanosecond! Exactly with this metaphor, we need to understand that we are only humans. We are not gods or any other superheroes. We are in a constant battle with thoughts and emotions that do not necessarily serve us or our art for the better. Gino Severini put it beautifully: “Art is nothing but humanized science.” Therefore, it’s important that we be kind and compassionate to ourselves when it comes to exploring our existential intelligence.
“Existential what? Wooow, Sabrina… Big words!” Yes, gigantic in fact-just like Atlas 🙂 But don’t let them scare you, don’t let them intimidate you. Embrace the vast possibilities and infinities they come with. Understand that the “meaningful work” doesn’t have to wear you down, make you tired or sad unless this is the intention of you and the work you’d like to express… It can easily be light as a feather and easy to make as lemon juice.
What is existential intelligence anyways? This beautiful Infographic (#sabsadores) is based on the well-known work of Howard Gardner and his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He suggested existential intelligence, also known as cosmic or spiritual intelligence, as an addition to his work in 2009.
Existential intelligence “reflects an individual’s capacity for considering ‘big questions’ about life, death, love, and being. Individuals with high levels of this hypothesized intelligence might be likely to be found in philosophy departments, religious seminaries, or the ateliers of artists.”, he mentioned in one of his works. Basically, you are “life and death smart”. You are willing to ask the “bigger” questions of life, like “Why am I/ are we here?” “What is my life’s purpose?”, “What’s love?”, “What’s belonging?” “What happens after death?”, “Ghosts and spirits? Metaphysical phenomenae?”, “What’s beyond?”
This is exactly what artists deal with consciously or unconsciously; day in, day out. Your work’s angle will change, your works meaning might change, meaning comes and goes and you will find new things that inspire and ignite you yet again. But think… Do you want to make meaningful work at the moment? Are you? When was the last time you felt you were creating meaningful work? How did it feel like? What was it about? If you’re stuck and crave more meaning, how can you access that again? It is key to understand where your drive is coming from, as an artist it’s crucial that you know. This is what helps you bother to get up in the morning or stay up at night and create. This is what helps you stay focused and not drift away in the labyrinths of the world you want to serve. This is what allows you to be unique yet soon realise that you do belong and are loved. This proves to you eventually that you are enough and validates your significance, you are here for a reason. Stay engaged!
On another, loving and compassionate note <3 , please remember that creating meaning doesn’t necessarily happen only through your work. After all creating meaningful work can be damn exhausting! It’s important to make other meaningful investments: your relationships, your self-care, your home, your finances, your mental and physical health. Savour life’s moments and be able to enjoy them for as long as they last. Allow other things to occur and other things to have meaning in your life so that you find your kind of balance and lead your own fulfilling life. With that said, don’t be taken aback when I, as your creativity coach, go through other areas of your life just to check in 🙂
With that said, name 2 things you can do this week to create meaningful investments in your life!
PS: Learn your art and let it take you somewhere meaningful.