Archives for posts with tag: Life

When I first started this blog, I specifically wanted to write about my journey through the art market, offering insight into the state of affairs and how to navigate through what is truly a complicated and oftentimes bewildering industry, where the cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top. Though, I’ll readily admit that my endeavor to expound on such a topic was not only ambitious, but also overly optimistic, considering how little experience I had in navigating any market on my own, then. And even now, almost six years later, I am still only beginning to make sense of how I fit into that puzzle and how I want to maneuver through it.

So, perhaps more important than my perspective (having officially changed the title of this blog from “Through My Eyes” to “Rapt”), is the fact that I simply Love what I do. It’s the only reason why I’m still in the game and still riding this crazy roller-coaster of a life; because there is nothing easy or glamorous about the hard fight, especially when so many victories are won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile (for any normal person).

That’s not to say that my efforts are wasted, but that the ultimate reward is an elusive one that only a few will ever truly secure. Many are called, it seems. But only a few are chosen. So, in this business, if your heart and mind aren’t perfectly aligned and ready to brush off disappointment (for the sake of pursuing your passion), don’t quit your day job. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Mine was always a Labor of Love, since childhood. And I’ve never compromised my vision for the sake of accolades or the easy paycheck. That might make my job a little more difficult at times. But it also makes each new triumph, along the way, much more fulfilling.

I remember my dad telling me, even before I decided to embark on my creative journey, “Always do your work as if you’re going to sign it.” And, although that might sound like the voice of perfectionism to some, it resonated with me, despite only now fully comprehending the significance of that statement, as someone living the life of an artist. Doing my work as if I’m going to sign it has not only held me accountable for my own shortcomings, without deflecting blame elsewhere, but it also creates the opportunity for all my actions to fully express who I am (beyond mere words). I don’t want to tell someone that I am this or that, or some variation. I want them to know it by the way I conduct myself, every day.

So, I still ultimately hope to chart a useful path for other artists to adopt and modify as a loose guide. But, until that accomplishment is capable of speaking for itself, there is no reason for me to assume the role of the teacher. I will continue to report on any advancements in my position (up the ladder, of course). But I’ve decided to slightly shift the direction of this blog, to simply share the enjoyment of the journey with you, and to find better ways of helping you stay inspired on yours as well. So, as of today, this blog is no longer a window into the market, “Through My Eyes”, but an expression of what I am: “Rapt”, and Ready to continue my work.

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Just a quick poem for you, as I re-establish my practice of daily meditation; returning to the source, which is the root and sustenance, which is the breath of mindful living.

“One Breath at a Time”

It is neither the first nor second

Nor will it be the last

But one among many in a sequence that creates Life

With or without the dream

Which only obscures the passage

And obfuscates the true purpose of the journey

Which was always the destination

Moving from one moment to the next

First experienced

Then expressed

One breath at a time

A continuation of the previous entry: “Flashback to Now”

After a brief moment of panic, purely induced by the expectations set upon myself, meditation and sustained mindful breathing has finally restored me to my natural rhythm, which seems aware of itself (once again) as it converges with the subtle energy around me. And, all at once, I am reminded that I am still present and fully immersed in the flow.

Even now, as the steady palpitation that powers this body mingles with the cadence of these typed and whispered words, I am grateful for the knowledge that I am human, after all, and still a work in progress, despite oftentimes driving myself like a machine that was designed for the assembly line. I am multitudinous, and complicated. But I am also just a person, who hungers and bleeds like any other. And I have to remind myself to take a step back from time to time, for perspective. Because, even life itself is variable, as the world around us progresses from day to day.

So, as I continue laying the pieces of my current puzzle across active consciousness, evaluating what is worth salvaging and in what sequence, each fragment of empty or occupied space appears unrelated and incomprehensible at first. But, like stray notes of a chord, when assembled in the proper order creates music, life too is but a living mosaic, to which I have now returned to work.

I woke up on the floor this morning and, while staring at the ceiling, realized…

“D@mn! I’m still here!”

For more than half my life now, officially, I have slept on the floor, sacrificing basic creature comforts, like a bed and chairs, for the sake of my art; to preserve necessary space in which to meditate and work. I sometimes only feel like the hint of a person. And, the reality is… that may never change.

I moved to Austin (TX) with only my clothes, my music, and a stockpile of art supplies. And by March of this year, 2018, I was supposed to be more comfortably situated, within the market, so that I could finally upgrade my living situation, to include an actual life. But, alas… very little seems to work out as planned. And, as I’ve just renewed my lease once more, I can’t help but feel as if I’m back at square one again, despite having made significant strides in learning the business and creating new work. I just forgot to adapt along the way, assuming that whatever previous success I enjoyed would always be.

Fortunately for me, I have to count my blessings as well, and give credit where credit is due, because I have an amazing supporting cast that has kept me fed, inspired and in the game (as I continue to evaluate and improve upon my position). Otherwise, I’d either be on a monster fast (competing for the world’s hungriest artist) or headed home to mom and dad with a ready plate and a larger belt.

So, don’t worry. I could easily justify feeling disheartened or defeated. But, I’m not. Sure, I’ve been punched in the guts. And, d@mn, that hurts! But, that also just pisses me off. And the next round will be mine! You’ll see.

~ to be continued

P.S. Wanna experience the complete flashback? Check out my very first entry, from 2012, here: The Entrance Door

ContinuumSometimes… I get lost in the tangle. I get lost in the confusion of space and time, which carries me through the quietude, an encompassing silence that shares its mass and weight with me until I am no longer discernible from the vastness I’m attempting to fill; not to substantiate it, but to mitigate my own burden, which is comprised entirely of gravity, evidence of the stillness that flourishes at the center of everything.

From the surface, the pattern may appear only to perpetuate the repetitions. But the extremes of that structure have become so abundant and so intricately woven that the accumulation now seems like ornament, from a distance, like a dense cluster of meticulously carved impressions that were purposefully arranged within the enormity, which has no rhyme or reason on its own or within the immediate. Though, we may find ourselves at any time within that same instance.

The winds of change have begun to blow, moving through and around me in such a way that expresses who You are, You who are discernible and always present like the deep seeded vibration that awakens and animates one’s dreams, the quiet though resonant Om discovered in sustained meditation, the Vitality that must be recovered from misconception (each in our own tongues) so that You may be planted, nurtured, and harvested as Fruit. We have walked together, side  by side, for so long that I have not known a Life without You. Therefore… amid this change, amid the metamorphosis of my consciousness and the transformation of Life as I know It, I seek to discover You completely and in every capacity (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and in all periphery) so that we may (together) express the beauty of our union, the Poetry of that Promise which belongs to everyone!

~ Feeling Lifted

I am an artist. And like many artists, my life remains in a constant state of flux, always transitioning from one iteration of myself to another in a meditative state that is expressed in my work. It is how I encounter this lifetime, though I could never explain what that encounter means. How could I, when Life (in general) is transient and variably perceived, always corresponding to even the most passive of interpretations as part of a shared human experience? So, as I begin to rummage through the wreckage of a scarcely-remembered past, attempting to excavate a story… My Story… I’ll readily admit that I haven’t the slightest clue where to begin (except perhaps, at my opening statement).

What I have discovered so far is that the resourcefulness I’ve enjoyed as an artist can be easily modified and incorporated into other (more neglected) areas of my personal and business life to create a complete picture (of past, present, and future). It is a strength I can build on in The Now, as long as I am actively versatile instead of purely reactive, and I am optimistic that the pieces of this  “Who is Michael Torres?” puzzle will soon fit together.

Until now, I hadn’t truly engaged in Conquering the Course (pursuing my art as a career) but have only played the game, perhaps because I’ve always just enjoyed the journey. So despite the determined will that propels me forward, I have really only trusted my instincts to pave my path, to provide opportunity, expecting that a foundation for the changes undergone await me on the other side while knowing full-well that nothing in life is guaranteed. And my instincts have served me well. But I now realize that a passive flexibility doesn’t necessarily equate to “progress” in an evolutionary sense. Adaptability alone is not enough, because the ability to adapt is only an instrument if not directed, but not the work itself, which is a more determined and purposefully coordinated commitment toward “Becoming” (whether becoming something more, or simply becoming one’s Self more clearly).

I regularly immerse myself in research and development as a way of honing and expanding my intellectual tools. But I am also inspired by the success stories of others. And I also appreciate self-help books that effectively provide benchmarks for measuring my own progress. I think it’s simply foolish to believe that any one us has all the answers. Therefore, I actively participate in the shaping of my own life, and although I may be a dreamer, seen by some as naive or unambitious (as the stigma of the artist goes)… I am living proof of that dream, not as an idea, but as a “work in progress” that speaks for itself with each new accomplishment. And I finally understand what that means (applicably) because of The Start-up of You, written by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

The Start-up of You is an insightful and practical book that is filled with navigational advice, intended to inspire and guide the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. Though the central concept alone is compelling enough to provide a birds-eye view of the landscape that is your life (your current position, your pursuit, and your destination). It’s about achieving “Permanent Beta,” which means, “to always be starting, and to forever be a work in progress” as a way of navigating through an ever changing world. It’s about recognizing and defining an already existing Self while simultaneously discovering your genuine interests, as compliments, that are capable of coexisting in a persistent stage of development (as progress/evolution requires of everyone). That means, not only pursuing what you love, but also, recognizing and building on existing “Assets”, weighing them against your “Aspirations” and core “Values”, and finally, determining the “Market Reality” (what is possible) of your ambitions.

Want more insight? Check it out: thestartupofyou.com

Although I am always learning, I’ll readily admit that I am not always actively utilizing that new-found knowledge. Though I certainly should. “Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more…” and in a state of Permanent Beta we allow ourselves to acknowledge that there is room for improvement. “It’s a mind-set that is brimming with optimism, because it celebrates the fact that we” actually “posses the power to improve.”

“Success is fragile.” But, with active participation and a willingness to rediscover yourself everyday, you can confidently count on a fruitful tomorrow, as the result of an attentive today. Even though “your aspirations shape what you do… your aspirations are themselves shaped by your actions and experiences. You remake yourself as you grow and as the world changes. Your identity doesn’t get found. It Emerges.”

That is my mission, both creatively and spiritually. And that is the mission of this blog – to finally Emerge from the depths of obscurity. It won’t always be lollipops and roses. But, oh! What a beautiful and exciting journey!

~ ’til next time!

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