What is it to create art? Why do we do it, why do we need it? Maybe we don't. When we began working on efforts in Africa back in 2006, I went through for the very first time a crisis of belief in the idea of being a musician. The thought "I am striving and fighting for this little three minute song, a frivolity aginst the backdrop of people living with issues of life or death just because of their drinking water." This thought was strong, but did not last long.
In one of the first times returning to Africa in 2007 with our friends at Toms Shoes we were able to first see the impact of the work of Take The Walk. We were alone with a small group of kids, each one living with a death sentence, one day's anti-retroviral drug supply away from the end of their life due to their immune systems being so weak. Despite it all, when they heard music they wanted to dance. They needed to dance and clap and sing. In this moment I had a new perspective. Music and art and creativity, they are the essentials of the heart and soul. They are as critical and vital as the water we drink or food we eat. Without these feelings of joy and connection, we are already dead and without them we find it nearly impossible to find the hope needed to overcome adversity.
This year has been one for the books. One of seeking the next mountain for music. For me personally it has been a year of seeking, asking questions of meaning and purpose and the value (once again) of the music we make. I am again, more than ever, convinced of the power of music and art to inspire and move. I am also more clear than ever on the importance of each of us to use what we have to impact the world around us. To use our talent, our voice, our experience to walk through doors and chase dreams and fight for things (and stand by our friends and family, which only WE can do). So in a season of creation still ahead and much behind us, be encouraged in whatever it is you do (or are thinking might not really matter). You are a creator. You are an artist. You are the only you. As is true of the painter and the canvas, you are not only the sum of the last painting you did or even the one in front of you. What you do is important and as long as you continue to breathe, you can always begin again. Claim a new canvas, grab a brush, a guitar, a laptop, an excel spreadsheet, a hammer, a camera, a spatula, a diaper bag, a lawn mower, the throttle, and start. Fail, win, or lose...you can always begin again.