Creating beauty with vision & skill.


MUSE LIFE: It's Not Over Yet, But Almost

All photos by  Carlos Noble Jr.  

All photos by Carlos Noble Jr. 

How many times have you asked yourself this year, "Is it over yet?" Ok, I may have asked this question repeatedly at work, during the election, through my first spiritual fast, during 15 minute long collect phone calls... I mean the list can go on. But I have decided that this year is not over yet since I am actively pursuing living in the moment. I refuse to keep jumping ahead & I truly do not want to walk into 2017 more angry than I was in 2016. 

Instead I'm just going to share 16 Lessons from 2016. Here we go: 

16 Lessons from 2016

  1. Value Yourself (& Your Work). Your self worth will always reflect into the relationships in which you maintain. I found myself constantly trying to justify my worth to others, the work that I do just to please the people around me. In that, I found myself feeling unheard, undervalued & falling short. This was a reflection of placing value on the things I love & setting certain values aside to please clients & friends over myself. The thing about that is, if you don't place your NEEDS before your WANTS you will always fall short. You will always be begging for help (& in some cases forgiveness) when your VALUES should always come FIRST.

  2. Say No. Its a complete sentence & will preserve your sanity. Over the last year, I learned that GUILT always led me to saying yes to jobs or events I truly had no interest in. Each of these instances led to heartbreak, poorly invested time or planning & constant miscommunications. Instead, preserve your sanity for the bigger picture in God's plan & always allow that to be your guiding light. 
  3. I am NOT for everyone. This one has been ringing in my ear for years. I am a very detail-oriented, quirky individual. This sometimes translates as "snobby" but I know every time I start to invest my time into a creative space, it becomes an obsession. I LOVE what I do. I love being creative, but creativity is always a subjective space. If you are collaborating or servicing a client, it becomes especially crucial to work with those that align with your vision. Therefore, it's perfectly ok to severe ties with clients, collaborators & other relationships that can't respect YOU for being YOU.
  4. Words are POWERFUL. This. Where do I begin. You have heard many cliche comments regarding "watching your mouth", but I have watched my words circle back to me in ways I could never imagine. I found myself being OVERLY expressive this year. In my feelings, in observations & innocent commentary. In some cases, those words came back positively AND negatively. What you speak into existence can often translate differently depending on who is on the receiving end. Be intentional in what you share, how you say things & be very clear about WHO you share with. 
  5. Invest. Invest. Invest. To me investing is like planting mustard seeds of faith. Whether I invest time, money or energy into a place that will grow over time. A lot of people do things fast, without thinking & expect GREAT results. Over the course of the last two years, I have been a full time freelancer which means, money can sometimes be inconsistent. Find ways to invest your time & money, but water them FAITHFULLY. 
  6. Ego IS the ENEMY. I started reading "Ego Is The Enemy" by Ryan Holiday two weeks after the #NKOSOxARIDRIVE event in November & it was so perfectly timed that I can't begin to explain the revelations that stemmed from its teachings. Ego is the #1 human trait that prevents us from proceeding into HUMBLE greatness. I'll be sharing some key points about this in the new year, but the one thing I always refer to this book is a reoccurring theme of HUMILITY & the state of DOING that allows us to be GRATEFUL human beings.  
  7. Be a giver, but not a push over. I love helping people. There isn't much to this lesson than to make sure that when you GIVE from an honest place, be conscious of the place you're giving from. Is it selfish, are you expecting something in return or are you genuinely wanting to see someone be happy? 
  8. Wealth is education & "You gonna learn today!"  This one came from my reflections of the election here
  9. This world needs help (& saving). Syria, Turkey, The "UNITED" STATES OF AMERIKKKA. I spent so much time crying about the amount of deaths, bombings, protests. This was by far the ANGRIEST year of my life. I am usually a calm, silly person or HYPER active person with a tendency to be extremely sensitive to the world around me. All we can do is pray for a better year & getting more involved in our community to prepare ourselves in the Trump presidency. 
  10. We Are One. For every moment that angered me, I found people around reflecting those same feelings. Everything that lives in me has the potential to live in the person next to me shaped by different experiences. This epiphany came full circle in a moment of watching my words come back to me, on another occasion realizing the criticism I was experiencing was a fear of another person & the list goes on. Everything we project into the world is shared with those around us, can affect the people around us & it becomes ever so important to be wise about the thoughts & creations we put out into the world. We share this space together. 
  11. Service. I am a doer. I wish sometimes that meant that I knew how to rest, but as I evolve as a human, I want to develop a strong love language. For me love is in ACTIONS & small acts of service. This means being PRESENT in spaces where people or situations are often forgotten. Being a servant in faith & spirit requires this of me - its a big part of who I am as a person. I am so thankful for the opportunity that nKoso gave me to realize just how rewarding it is spiritually to give to young children in need of education. 
  12. Vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness. A friend told me "You are TOO open." and that I needed to learn how to close myself off more often. Although this would save me a lot of heartache, its something I have always LOVED about myself. I have found its easy to close yourself off in difficult situations. In many instances, vulnerability has exposed me to the greatest life lessons. Vulnerability has always shown me great strength in others by constantly being open in a world that is frequently divisive & close-minded. I have met so many open-minded, welcoming people by being VULNERABLE. This is how we grow TOGETHER in my opinion & I will never stop flexing my vulnerability muscle. 
  13.  Music is the heartbeat of the soul. This is for love. This is for joy. This is for SALVATION of the SOUL. I can openly admit there was a few years where I stopped looking for/discovering new music. Then JAZZ music happened a few months before I got my first studio. Our upstairs neighbors hosted a radio station that would air live shows & play jazz music throughout the day. I LOVED it. It flicked a switch for me, the biggest part of my creative process USED to involve MUSIC. Alas, the MC GUEST LIST with a special thank you to my musical partner in crime, Dexter Gordon. 
  14. Family Matters. Family over everything. This was a big one this year. REALLY BIG. More than I care to elaborate for the sake of crying. But I learned to stop taking the ones I love the most for granted. Life is fleeting & family is EVERLASTING. 
  15. Don't tell people your dreams. Well, remember how I said i did a lot of talking? Well, I started a lot of projects, talked about the process, shared new discoveries, & EXPECTED people to understand me. Yeah, no. Instead it made me appear unfocused, and in the words  of the person "I can't support you because you want to do too many things." That one burned, but it made me realize that you can't tell everyone everything.  When you know WHAT you're doing stick to talking with people who can understand what you're doing & speak SIMPLY to everybody else. 
  16. Honor & trust in your Integrity. If you can honor who you are, what you value, invest in what you believe in & respectfully reject things that do not align with your purpose, you are allowed to move on. 

I truly can't wait for the new year & it's new lessons. We've already got some new projects in the works & are beyond excited to get the year rolling! 

Many blessings to you & yours. xx

Love & Light,