Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blurred Lines

Photo Credit: Lyle Phillips

     Yes. That's my current musical jam as of late ("Blurred Lines") It has been added to my "Honeymoon Jamz" compilation album. That album drops hopefully sometime in 2014...

Song Clip, For the GROWN:

     Which brings me to...

     My mind.

     Rather my mindset.

     I've been in a state of mini-panic since I've moved back to L.A. Thrust into trusting this city again with my dreams and my time. And to make matters even more blurry, I'm trying to not act "Thirstaaaay" as the teenagers would say. "Yo, I'm on a singleness vow for 2013," I keep telling myself. But of course, there's someone who's caught my eye. The appeal of newness is always a strong pull, in any sphere. Plus, we're in the same circle of sorts, but he's given me nothing but ice pops all day long. Wisdom says, to leave this one alone...

     But back to my mindset--

     I've been in a deep study of the Gospel of John for almost 2 years now. I'm finally creeping my way into chapter 13. Things are getting real. Jesus is having his last meal with the disciples, and this is the incredible scene of which Jesus washes the disciples' feet. Peter, one of my favorite disciples ever, simply because he's straight up thug life, objects at first to Jesus taking such a lowly position and washing his feet. I mean, how does a teacher, the Christ wash a student's, a disciple's feet? It's mind boggling. Jesus was known to not simply blur lines, but demolish them all together.

     And now, I feel like Peter--that moment before Jesus schools him on the purpose of Him washing Peter's feet. That moment when Peter is thinking, "You wanna do wha?--That doesn't make sense?"

     Oh, Peter. I know. I feel you, homie.

     So much around me doesn't seem to make sense right now. And I want fast solutions.

     And in the midst, I feel God purposefully slowing me down.

     "But God, I need to make that paper, that bread, that dough! I need to be on my grind--I got bills to pay, Sallie Mae to handle, scripts to write, books to read, rent, people to see--"

     And then, God simply sits me down. And I'm confused.

     Much like Peter is when Jesus is preparing to wash his feet. But Jesus basically tells Peter,  'You need to let Me do this, if you want to have anything to do with me.'

     "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."

      Oh, wait. What.

     And then Peter gets hip real quick. He says, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands, and my head."

     But Jesus calms Peter down and says, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean..."

     So Peter was already clean. Jesus washing Peter's feet was not just a sanitary obligation (And an ancient world hospitality custom), but I see it as an act of love and preparation for the journey ahead for these disciples. Because later, Jesus would tell His disciples after washing all of their feet, to continue in this way of love (Choosing to "get low"--humble)  and service, because this would be a specific recognizable trait of those specifically belonging to disciples of Jesus. Their continued love for one another in tangible ways, for the world to see.

     What is it about our feet?

     Well, on the journey of life, they usually get dusty and dirty first.

     And what's absorbed in our feet, makes its ways into our bloodstream and effects our overall body.

     So many times, I try to simply clean myself up, self-help my way to success. And yes, there is a part to play in our own lives for sure, but we cannot control everything, in fact, we control far less than we'd feel comfortable admitting. But the truth of the matter is, the one who controls everything partners with us in everything. We are never alone. Even if we think we are.

     And this past week, as I read the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet, I would end up weeping. I would just start crying out of nowhere. Well, probably not out of nowhere, but something tender was touched, something relevant in my heart.

     In the past month, I've been confronted with the issue of Forgiveness. It took me years to understand the depths of forgiveness, and how we are forgiven by God for so many things, if we would receive it. And to live a fully alive life, we are meant to look like our Father, loving and forgiving with such sincerity, generosity, and humility. And so last month, I was challenged again with the question of, "How far does my forgiveness go and reach? How active will it be? How established will it stay in my life?" I'm learning more and more that forgiveness is a choice and is definitely not a one time event, which means it can involve the same person in a variety of circumstances. Of which the question becomes, how do I allow someone to stay in my heart with sincere love, but not in my life.

     No one lives life without being burned or burning others, no matter how perfect and right we think we are. And several individuals from my past who caused woundings in my soul, have resurfaced. I've wrestled with wanting to punch them in the face for my own selfish satisfaction, or hugging them boldly. You'll be happy to know I did the latter.

     And then in those moments, back in my room, laying on my bed, reading this story of Jesus, I feel like Jesus is somehow washing my feet in this season. It's weird. It's awkward. But you can't get your feet washed, unless you're sitting down, vulnerable, and on somebody else's timetable.

     But it's becoming more clear, that God is saying to me, "You need to let me wash your need to let Me do this...for many different reasons."

     And as I begin to settle and sit down, my bearings seem to be a little less than stable.  My trajectory lines are all over the place in this season. My ways of measuring my own success are once again getting blurred and perhaps redefined in a better way. But the more I ease into this posture of getting my "feet washed" and prepared for the journey ahead, the easier it all becomes. The more peace I begin to feel.

     It seems that after many years of being in Los Angeles, many people are under the sway of blurred lines, not knowing why it is they came, or why it is they stay, forgetting who they are, and taking on an identity that is neither here nor there, falling prey to a constant divided mind and indecisive mindset about the things they once loved and were once so sure about.

     But with all of that swirling smog and dust in the atmosphere of the city, the invitation (often in the form of whisper) still remains...

     Let me wash your feet.

Wisdom's Knocking:

Sometimes in order to move forward, you need to step back.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Artist Next Door: Keeley "Lockn'Key" Kaukimoce - Part I

     I often don't have to look very far, to find inspiration and motivation. I'm surrounded by a ridiculous amount of dreamers, lovers, artists, teachers, and pioneers.

     For some time now, I've wanted to share these people with you in great detail and splendor. I wanted to honor their struggle, their process, their manifested dreams coming true, and those dreams that they are still contending for. I wanted you to understand how I've been shaped as a person, because of their presence in my life.

     The people that I will feature each month in this on-going series, titled, "The Artist Next Door", will highlight these extraordinary people, and will give you a sneak peak into their world, the behind the scenes of people you may have heard of, or may not have. Often I'll split my interviews with these artists into 2 parts, just for the simple fact that I like to build anticipation.

     With that said, I can guarantee--you can do anything but forget these stories or these artists after meeting them. And I'm pretty positive they'll stir something in you. Something perhaps you didn't know was still there.

     And alas, we've arrived at the beginning:

Keeley "Lockn'Key" Kaukimoce

Who has been one of the most influential people in your career and why?

I would say outside of Michael Jackson, Greg Campbellock Jr. has been the most influential.  He gave me the name "Lockn'Key" and he literally pulled me into my destiny as a locker which is helping take care of my family and allowing me to travel all over the world.  It's the platform.

How did we meet?

We met at Hope in Hollywood when Steelo told you about me.  You were looking for Christians in Hip Hop for a documentary you were working on.  I love that you went to the correct source of Hip Hop, the B-boy scene.

When you were 20 years old, what was your main goal and dream to accomplish in life?

At 20, my main goal was to be happy and in a twisted, immature way I thought that meant I had to be a super famous recording artist with a major record deal.  That's what I thought equaled happiness.

To someone that is thinking about pursuing a career in dance, possibly leaving home and moving to California or New York, what advice would you give them?

I find there are two really hard lessons I had to learn.  You have to have very tough skin to stay here.  You need to really know your REAL identity and purpose for dancing.  If it's only to be "praised" and to find acceptance, you won't last.  This city loves you one day and hates you the next then loves and hates you all over again.  I would ask them to ask themselves,  "Why do I dance?  Why do I want to dance professionally? What am I willing to give up to do it?"  

If all your answers are revolved around your satisfaction then I would say, stay in your hometown until you really know the answer.  BUT... maybe you have to just learn out here. Gotta see what God wants.    I would also say don't come here without any money.  Try to save at least 3 to 6 months of a living for yourself so you have a cushion and be willing to get a part time job too.

What has been one of the hardest internal battles you've face in your life?

I use to think I wasn't good enough.  That I'm not pretty, I'm awkward, I'm not the greatest singer or dancer and just don't fit in anywhere.    

How did you overcome?

I would say that when those thoughts try to creep in, I truly have come to understand that none of this is ultimately about me.  It's about God's creation being perfect in its "imperfections". Those imperfections allow me to lean on Him for his promotion and His anointing.  I totally rely on God.  TOTALLY.   I have accepted that I'm who He created me to be.  I believe in His power to change the things He wants to change in me and to keep and celebrate those things He doesn't want to change. 

And now, you're preparing for a missions trip to Fiji, can you tell us how this came about, and what this all is?

OOOOhhhh... That's a long one but I met Osea,  my husband when I went on my very first missions trip to Fiji in 2003.  Our marriage was literally an arranged marriage by God and all of this was confirmed through signs and wonders and prophecy.  We've always known because of the way God joined us together that we were suppose to have a ministry, and that one place would be Fiji.  We've been praying for God's plan and will to unfold for over 10 years and believe this is the year that we begin to build the foundation for all those really cool ideas He has placed in our hearts.

     Next week, I'll conclude my interview, with Keeley, where' you'll hear her heart about her new dreams and her own take on one of my favorite features on this blog--"Wisdom's Knocking." 

     Dreams takes time to unfold, and often we are changing and growing in the process to truly be able to receive the gift of such a dream. Many times our dreams don't play out or feel the way we thought they would, but if we've submitted to the process of humility and surrendered to God's best for us, we'll find out that the dreams we started with pale in comparison to the new ones ready for us.

     In preparing this interview, I simply couldn't believe that I've been apart of Keeley's journey for over ten years! And I can honestly say, that I have never met anyone else like Keeley. Her boldness, her heart, her strength, her conviction. 

     It's true. She's a fiery one. And if you stand too close, you might just get do something bold. 

Wisdom's Knocking:
"It's everybody's duty to give the world a reason to dance." 
-Kid President

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Tortoise & the Hare


Photo Credit: Bethany Mossburg

     It's always nice when we can get to our destination quickly and in a timely matter. When the dreams of our hearts are still burning with fiery passion, pushing us forward with an almost divine energy of sorts. And we often think that fierce and full movement will on it's own bring about the fruition and fulfillment of what has been longed for.

     And then comes a pause.

     This seemingly wrecks the momentum of what spurred us forward in the first place. It's the dreaded wilderness. The place of waiting. The place of healing. The place of waiting. The place of processing. The place of waiting.

     Oh, the identity-shaping wilderness. It's in these "slow" places where we really develop into who we are meant to be. And even more so, who we are meant to be when we receive the full gift of our destiny and calling.

     You've heard the term, "Overnight Success."

     I giggle and often roll my eyes when I hear that term. You know why? Because rarely is anyone an Overnight Success. Chances are, you'll find out that this particular person had been honing their skill and craft intentionally or unintentionally for years. And then the time came for their message (Whether in craft or skill or spoken word) to be heard, and they were ready. The message hadn't been heard before--not like that. And the world assumes it was the magic of some overnight success potion.

     But don't be fooled.

     That's just the hare talking.

     The tortoise would tell you that staying in place of passion, not rushing life, and staying present in your own life, is no easy task, but will garner the awe and wonder of those around you (Even yourself), when the time comes for your message to be heard. And believe me, at some point in time, your message will need to be heard. When that time is, I'm not quite sure. But I know that this time will exist at some point in the future.

     And how does this apply to romance? I want to be swept off my feet--in a fast and almost reckless way. But I also don't want to rush into something prematurely, and get severely burned. But even simple school girl crushes seem to bruise my soul a bit. That's always my battle. My heart is always ready, which makes it very susceptible to heartbreak and disappointment, time and time again. But the lessons learned in each scenario have been invaluable, although they've come with a price of tears.

     Recently, I was frustrated, that I, who have been waiting for just one good and magical romance in my life, was upstaged by a parade of newcomers. Those that had seemingly not walked through the wilderness of singleness for years and years, like I had.

     But instead, men and women, moments after meeting me or sharing with me their questions and desires to be in fulfilling marriage, would then in an instant, find their rib, their other half, their lifetime witness. And there I stood, once again, on the edge of valley, confused, wondering what I had done wrong. And if I somehow missed it all together.

     That's often how you feel in a race. The pace you are maintaining may not appear to be a winning pace to the speedy circumstances around you.

      But this is what I'm learning more and more: That everyone will become a tortoise at some point in their journey of life. There will be something in our lives, relationships, or circumstances  that will intentionally cause us to pause. Be sure to pay attention to the yellow lights and the red lights, not just the green lights in your life. And learn not to resent these pauses, but rather, become thankful for them. Because the ways of the tortoise not only bring forth steadiness and clarity, but sets you up for greater success in so many areas of your life.

     My tortoise portion of the race regarding romance and career just so happens to be in the earlier part of my life rather than a mid-life crisis or an end-of-life panic, and I'm become more and more okay with that.

     But nevertheless, being a tortoise is incredibly humbling.

     But I distinctly remember, that in the end, it's the tortoise who wins the race...

Wisdom's Knocking:

"These things take time..."