Friday, February 23, 2018

I'll often say that those of us with an artistic bent, and especially those of us who "live the life" are born with rose colored glasses permanently affixed to our heads. I'll also say that the artistic temperament, depending on one's view of things, is either a calling or a disease. In other words, we don't choose (or accept) this path because it makes sense. So I suppose that means those of us who do this are attempting to take something that doesn't make sense and make it work (or try to make sense of it). And perhaps, in attempting to do so, we miss the mark, or the point. Not that we don't want it to work, but rather that we wrap ourselves around what working, in this context, means. 
It's the tension that every artist faces, especially the independent artist. Either one's livelihood gets in the way, and pushes the artistic pursuits away from the center of our everyday, or the struggle to make a livelihood from our art does much the same thing. But the rose colored glasses remain. I've worn them all my life. And they've kept me on the path, running the race, even if I may have tried, at times, to see around them.
Is it rose colored glasses that led me to work as a salesman (in music, of course) in my 20's, in order to learn sales techniques? make piano lesson barter arrangements with a business consulting firm and a sales manager, to receive sales coaching? .. to develop a billable hour sales strategy, to spend time selling and strategizing (at the expense of practicing), and consistently pulling off 400+ gigs a year (at the expense of practicing)? At the time, I would have said yes. I was doing what I had to do. I was believing in myself, even as I was working overtime to prove it was permissible to believe in myself. And I'll still say I was doing what I had to do, the best way I knew how at the time. For everything, there is a season. But as seasons pass, the rose colored glasses may fog up and run us off the road, or we may begin to see through a wider angle lens, seeing that believing in yourself (or anything) doesn't require you to prove it - rather, believing leads one to live it. So, some years ago, I threw out my business plan - the one that calculated how many hours, and at what rate, I needed to bill, and what steps I needed to take to get there. In it's place, I simply embraced the view. The view that says "Yes, I am this. Yes, Be this. Yes, trust what you know. Yes." 
So now the business plan is reduced to a rather simple formula, or better, statement: Show up at every performance with the space opened up, prepared to play. Devote the day leading up to the gig (and really, all of my time) to practicing, contemplative listening (prayer) and living in the moment (which, the deeper I get into this, the more all of these become the same thing, or at least occupy the same space). I could lament that I've found, later in life, the practice discipline that would have made all the difference (or at least a big one) in my earlier years. But it's more than just discipline. A better word would be maturity. And each of us find our own path toward that, throughout our lives, as we progress through it's seasons. 
Yes, I see through rose colored glasses, and the future looks bright.    


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