It has taken me three years, start to finish, to make Space of Brightness.  What started as a cool idea and a creative endeavor turned into a hellish adventure.  I didn’t know the demons that awaited me as I said yes to this project.  Spirit wars are real.  When you decide to go deep into nations that are living in such tumultuous, traumatic, and havoc-wreaked times, you get a little bit bruised.   As I look back on it, I was a little naive to think I could explore such a subject without being seriously affected.  But I made it out.  And I think Jesus is proud of me.  But during the writing, thinking, planning, creating of these songs that echo the hearts of imprisoned ones across the earth, I didn’t think I’d ever make it out.  I guess I had to go there in order to write accurately.  Actually, I chose to go there.  I chose for their voice to be my voice and their experience to be my experience.  I never thought it would be so painful.  But their journey became my journey, and I now have hundreds of great friends who feel like family.  I will probably never meet them.  They will remain in my heart forever.

It’s hard to explain such a personal journey, so I’ll stop trying.  What I really wanted to say is that there are a thousand voices out there, telling us what success looks like, giving us propaganda about how to feel, which tastes to have, which songs to write, which music is “cool”.  If we listen to those voices, we lose our own.   The only way I was able to start and complete what I wanted to do is by throwing away the rule book.   Maybe it’s a perceived rule book, and maybe I didn’t end up creating something that different.  But I couldn’t even begin the whole process of thinking and writing for this album until I let go of all popular standards and expectations and opinions.  There are so many boxes, metaphorically speaking, and I find them to be extremely suffocating and destructive to good creativity.  You and I have poetry and sounds in us that will never ever fit those boxes.  We need to make space for it!  Some people like the rules, but I find that I can dream a little more without them.  So I started this project simply by letting go of the urge to fit in with a crowd.

I couldn’t be me unless I made a decision to not be “them”.  I couldn’t be authentic unless I let go of every desire to fit in, and I couldn’t be truly creative unless I waved goodbye to fulfilling everyone’s desires to fit a mold.  My voice is important.  Your voice is important.  This world will water you down and drown you out by making you think you have to be like everyone else in order to do something successful.  Do it their way, and you may end up making millions and having a fan club.  You will also be boring and on the verge of becoming a part of something that looks like The Borg.  Do it in a way that’s authentic to you, and you may never receive a single accolade.  You will be misunderstood and possibly rejected.  But you will find your own voice, you will love it, and you will make a difference in ways that you may never see with your eyes.  Authenticity always leads to the best creativity.

I am so proud of Space of Brightness.  It makes me so happy.  We have been on an unforgettable journey that no one will ever be able to understand, and I’m ok with that.  In a very real way it feels like my baby and now I’m sending her off on her own.  She’s leaving the nest and she’s got her own wings to take her to wherever she’s supposed to go.  I’m a very proud mama to this project, content with whatever the outcome may be.  She taught me that even though I’m no expert musician, recording artist, or writer, I have a voice, and it’s important.

And you know what?  So do you.