Tag Archives: essentials

Close to it all

They say that when all falls silent one is better able to hear their own voice. That resonated with me the past weeks. It’s terrible what’s happening in the world, but it also has good and interesting sides. To take a moment to ask ourselves what’s really important to us: if we really need all the distractions all the time: many trips a year, big festivals, dinner outings, dating craziness or if we can find happiness in the environment of our own families and neighbourhoods. Think about what we really appreciate in our lives. Sit still and go back to the essence of things. Are we only waiting for this episode to pass or are we willing to start living differently after this?

Which jobs are really important? Do some jobs need adjustment? When it comes to musicians for example living room concerts seem to be very much valued now as simple entertainment. They are very practical and the oldest forms of entertainment and storytelling. It gave me a fuzzy feeling to see bigger artists play simple gigs from their livingrooms, struggling with technique. When all the glamour falls away we’re all some form of campfire artists in the end. And why do we actually need more than that?

I started broadcasting daily #lockdownsessions in studio on YouTube over the past 10 days. It’s quite a bit of editing work since it’s not live, but I (also!) stumble upon technical difficulties to do it livestream in studio quality, so I might go for live streaming acoustic sessions instead in the next while and make the studio work a less regular thing…

To me making music brings me closer to the feelings and energies around us. While playing live I usually tune in on what the audience wants to hear, what the energy is like in a hall, and I still try to do the same online, looking at the requests that come in and reactions to songs. That way even now it’s pretty intense work. One thing that I noticed is that people seem to value old songs, songs with a history more than newer ones. They carry powerful memories and have helped people in the past so they can still help us these days.

I’m learning lots of new songs this way as people can send in any request they like. One of the songs that I really felt while playing it for the first time  is this one: Close to it All by 60’s Woodstock singer Melanie Safka. If we get back close to the essence of things we can’t fall so deeply, and our society can’t either, so maybe that’s something we should be aiming for: to get back close to it all….

 

 

 

 

Slow living

Cycling to work everyday  in my work suit in busy The Hague traffic at 8 am, meeting the same civil servants at the same traffic lights every morning, very much like the Groundhog Day movie, I thought I wanted a change.  Well it wasn’t only a thought, it was also my body screaming for a break. Stress can really get into one’s system, especially if you experience sensory impulses intensely. I think no money is ever worth endangering one’s health.

Anyway, so here I was in the middle of nowhere in the North West of Ireland, with only a wooden stove to heat the house, no tap drinking water, electricity that often went when there were power cuts. And a lot of silence…. Just a house, nature, birds and wild deer in the garden. The quietness was so omnipresent that it felt I was in a different world, and that the real world with the traffic jams didn’t even really exist and certainly couldn’t be important if it did! What wás important here was to collect firewood and water from a well higherup in the mountains. There was a bus once a week to a nearby town in 20 minutes distance. And I actually met one of my best friends on it.

I started focussing on baking breads every morning, pizza’s, cakes, doing the household, volunteering in an animal sanctuary, making music with the locals, meeting some very talented people in the area. All of this felt so grounding and healing. There was plenty of time in a day, no rush to do anything, no appointments in my agenda. Not even internet in the house, so I had to walk down the road to receive messages.

And I loved it…

Back in Holland I still love spending time in the house or nature just by myself to load up on energy. Are you one of these sensitive people too? How do you step out of the 21st century rat race now and then?