First Blog Post of 2017

Well its here... 2017. A LOT happened in 2016. In my life and all around me. It was an awesome year for the most part. There were some WTF moments though. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this sentiment. 

I figured out how important it is to go back and reflect on the year and jot some of the high moments and low moments that happened. I have my friend Ben Messner to thank for helping me get to paper what I needed in order to 'move on' to 2017 with a clean slate so to speak. 

Ben had me do an exercise that supposedly is about a 3-5 hour exercise and I am not ashamed to admit its taken me weeks to complete. Mostly cause I couldn't get past the first month of 2016. I think it set the tone for the rest of the year for me. 

An album I was seriously playing on repeat in the early part of 2016 was Justin B new album 'Purpose'. And in a sense last year was a year where I believe I was searching for some kind of a purpose. Some sort of a reason to keep going. Other than the obvious. For me it needed to be a little bit more cause things were really hard. January was a sucky month and it was also an awesome month. Thats kind of how I felt about the first 5 months of 2016. Sucky BUT Awesome!

After getting through the first 3 months in my debriefing of the year, I was able to cruise on by the rest of the year. And looking back I can say I have no regrets.

I really wanted to do the things that perhaps I've neglected to do or ignored and in return of that neglect I started to feel stale. Dead. 

I had just picked up photography and started to travel to different places. I think there was a little rebellion involved, but in all honesty I really wanted to do what I could to find God. Find purpose. Find reason. Find truth. Find hope. Find peace. I went to the wilderness. I even walked in the desert. I went to the ocean side, I went anywhere I thought I could find it. And the year became a "RoundAbout". 

I read books that confronted some of the things that was keeping me from really being "all in" on some things that I knew I should be doing. The first book I read was Scary Close by Donald Miller. You want to really know what it takes to have a healthy relationship with those around you, with God, read that book. Here's a quotes from the book..... 

The one regret those that are dying have: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.
— Donald Miller "Scary Close"

Quite the statement.... Being true to thyself! Wow. Where in my life had I hid from my true identity? And thats the question I started asking myself. 

Today I am no longer working "full-time" but in a place of pursuing that which has been agitating me for quite some time now. And it all has to do with living a creative life. What is that you may be asking... Well... The other book I read in 2016 that is now spilling over to 2017 cause its that good I can't read it and not take notes and really ponder on some of the ideas in the book, is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. 

One of her quotes that pretty much sums up my 2016 and perhaps my 2017 goes something like this.... 

“Often what keeps you from [creative] living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).

Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself. It begins when you declare your intent. Stand up tall and say it aloud, whatever it is:

I’m a singer.
I’m a writer.
I’m a photographer.
I don’t yet know exactly what I am, but I’m curious enough to go find out!

Making this declaration, your soul will mobilize accordingly. It will mobilize ecstatically, in fact, because this is what your soul was born for. (Trust me, your soul has been waiting for you to wake up to your own existence for years.)

”Who the hell do you think you are?”, your darkest interior voices will demand.

”It’s funny you should ask,” you can reply. “I’ll tell you who I am: I am a child of God, just like anyone else. I am a constituent of this universe. I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me, and who labor along side me. The fact that I am here at all is evidence that I have the right to be here. I have a right to my own voices and a right to my own vision. I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of Creation. I’m on a mission of artistic liberation, so let the girl go.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear"

Dang girl! Why don't you just tell it like it really is! And she did! This book is quickly becoming one of my favorites. There's no religious talk its just straight up truth. Books that make me take action those are the ones that I for some odd reason picked up and read in 2016. Another book "Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes. Made me really MOVE, Made me say YES to some things that are straight up fearful. Stuff that stops me in my tracks. Those are the things that I've been saying YES to. 

So things are looking up for 2017. Music is on the brain. Wrote a few songs in 2016 and continuing the momentum into 2017. Will be traveling of course. And photography is NOT a hobby. It seriously is a deep deep love of mine. I sold my first print 6 months after I picked up my camera. For $600. Thats crazy. Been selling more and more. I had some of the most amazing photo shoots with families from all sorts of backgrounds, musicians, skaters, business owners, new moms, new borns. Its been sheer joy! I plan on continuing to create all throughout the new year. In fact thats my WORD for 2017...

C R E A T E

Whats your word for 2017? Let me know by leaving me a comment. I read them and respond. Would love to hear what your word is. 

2017 will bring self-published photo books in several Volumes of photographs that I've taken In fact, I am currently accepting pre-orders here! Volume 1 is complete and printing. 

2017 will also bring new music.... Can't wait to share a new song next weekend in Orlando Florida for Dani Johnson's First Steps To Success. If you will be there, I hope the new song blesses you. Still tweaking it, internalizing it, and can't wait to reveal it! 

So thats all for now. Here's to a wonderful 2017!

love well,

isa agape