How it feels in the lion's den

Graphic chronicles / Series 01

In the original story, it’s faith and practice that entices Daniel to be trapped in the lion’s den, challenging his faith and expectations.

How does this apply to my graphic chronicles and which key lessons can be gifted through it?

© Keva Epale

Being in my transitioning phase (after quitting my 5-year position at a comfortable job), it resulted in some intense challenges. I have been questioning my profession, my choices, thinking and aside of that having “lions” roaming around me, enhanced the process.

The den can be brought upon us because of our own decisions or also by external activators. The Den is a sum of emotions, battles, revelations, expectations triggered and more. Lions don’t need faces, they are all those places where you are confronted with yourself. From beginning to end, it doesn’t feel good, it tears down beliefs we have about our profession, self and calling. The den exhaled the question of meaning for me. It ends up being the way or place of discovering which kind of designer “you” are and want to be. The testing phase to see and experience what is in you.

What I have learned from the Den so as Daniel, is to try to stand still or rather “Be” still in it. Keep growing even if it doesn’t feel like it. The most challenging thing was to face my limits and go beyond them: That was my hitting point.

In the Den, I was trying too hard to do it my way, trying to run after the market. Early on I realized it was not what aligned to my core purpose in design. I came back to my most dear reminder as a designer and “why I like to design”: I wrote a new manifesto, a more honest and fair to myself at the level I am today. I crushed beliefs and delusions I had, like the need to work for an agency to be valued as a worthy designer… in the midst of these emotional and mindful shifting, I changed my approach to researching a new job into making my new job/adventure.

© Keva Epale

So literally in the den, you keep doing what you love even if the lions are roaming around you. If you stick to your own sur-mesure routine, you’ll go through it till the next den. I literally spent and spend time thinking, asking myself questions, envisioning possible plans, dreaming for sure but with the joy of a to be a purpose. Added to daily actions that help me getting closer to my purpose. Journaling, sketching, trying new techniques, and more have been my routine and it’s upgrading daily.

I still have to defeat procrastination daily but I am learning. There are black and white days, but acknowledging the need for purpose is the most revealing sweetness of the den.

© Keva Epale

Beyond thinking and envisioning, I have found that action is the thrill, the only valuable pill to take daily, small but key. So I take the Den as a playground for the real thing, training in your mind. Envisioning the change before it hits my reality. It could be uncomfortable, uneasy but it could also be the stepping stone of your “voice”. Each den reveals things to change, face and conquer but also why you do things and why you do things you love. Love and joy in the den are the treasure and they come as silent as a happy moment. If joy is the GPS, the den is the radar.

© Keva Epale

Designers won’t talk much about where inspiration comes from, where creativity rises! within them or outside of them?. I have recently opened up with myself about the “release” of creativity. I understood and accepted that it’s a creative genius in me, whispering hints and clues to me.

A creative intelligence in me that is key to whatever I put my mind into. The den demands you to let go, to stop being adamant on your forces, doing it all by your means till exhaustion.

You mus be aware of the creative block or fatigue, the rise of questions and condemnations over our creativity. Example, when you are on a project and it’s not feeling right or the inspiration is “out of town” it all results in: you are out of place. what do you do then? What are your resources?…

Generally, the more I decide to let go, the faster and more efficiently that creative intelligence can work its magic and give me the answers. It’s relieving to understand it’s not you, but indeed you are used as a vessel. It gives even more power to what you design. It ends up being a co-creation with you and the creative «you». The den revealed to me this great insight, and it does change my approach to designing.

With this connection with new abilities and understandings, the lion’s den is peaceful when fixed on the alignment goal suddenly the lions seem so sweet early in the morning. They were roaming, making angry threatening faces but in the morning they were calm and sweet…

We all go through in our personal and design life a set of lion’s dens, it’s the process of real growth. It takes the den to realize who we are more and what our priorities should be. A wake-up call that leads you to the next «you».

So in this “Shiva” designer world Lion’s are key friends, wise teachers and revealers. What about you? How do you expand and conquer within your dens.

© Jj Mendez on Unsplash

Next article/ There is always a whale or a big fish.

I like storytelling and capturing stories. I use graphic design, illustration & co in order to do it! www.kevaepale.com