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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bakay

Graphic Recording, a Practice of Presence


How to enter that elusive flow state?



Make no mistake, I’m still on my way to learning how to be in the present moment as often as possible - something I consider to be vital to Live work. I believe that achieving my absolute potential in Live Graphic Recording will go hand in hand with having reached Inner Peace. I’ll have to be in a space of Presence, without any fear, self-doubt, and judgement, no matter what happens.


Living in a Buddhist monastery for the first year of my career probably helped me to discover this parallel. I’m not actually a Buddhist, I just landed there accidentally and took a volunteering role which would allow me to build my business on the side. I grew very fond of my new housemates and noticed how aligned I am with many of their teachings. Looking back, I can see what a blessing this was - one minute I’m up in my room, challenging myself in Live Illustration and getting frustrated because I’m not fast enough or good enough (just a few months into the field, a little patience would have helped...) … and the next thing I know I’m downstairs in a workshop finding my Inner Peace.


Becoming the Graphic Recorder I want to be is not purely a skill-based goal, it’s an important personal and spiritual step I’ve set out to take. It’s much like setting out to become the Dragon Warrior; if it takes a lifetime, it’s still worth it. If it never happens, that’s OK too - it might just be a myth anyway. However, in giving up, I would be voluntarily moving into the cage of perfectionism and self-doubt. For when I zoom out and look at who I am, I feel there’s no other way.


This profession really suits me - I’m bold and spontaneous, and I've always enjoyed finding myself in challenging situations that I need to get out of gracefully. I recently read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a fantastic book by Richard Bach, and found it astonishingly relevant to my journey. It’s about a seagull who realizes life is about much more than what most of the flock thinks, it’s not about fighting for food on the shore… Life is about learning to fly free and reaching one's potential.


“Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect. You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”


The day when I illustrate a Live event in full flow and presence, without any self-criticism or doubt, I will have reached perfect speed - both in my Live work and in Myself.



Seagulls flying in the sky feeling free as a symbol of Graphic Recording

Follow this link to find out more about this creative process and see examples of Graphic Recording.

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