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Lessons from a rockfish

[Newsletter April 2021]

A moment captured – me and a rock fish eyeballing each other in his/her magical world (gopro silver)

Whilst working on the long draft for this a few days ago, I wrote a page of angry, painful ranting. I won't share that part with you, because it's actually just a process - getting the feelings through and out so that the understanding and reflection can feature. But in essence, it was about how life is unfair and no one cares about music anymore. Towards the end of the page and the tantrum I realise the only thing you can do is get up, swallow your pride, try again, create again, and again and again. If you let pain (and I mean pain in the form of disappointment, shattered expectations, normalcy) get in the way every single time, you will NOT achieve the big dreams you are dreaming. (I've also just finished Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday - helped me with this a lot).

I’m sitting in Bootleggers. On my left is a woman on a zoom call taking a client through a 3D architectural render of some sort, on this epic program where you can literally walk through the house, like Sims. So cool! On my right is an old, non-hipster cyclist, paging through the paper like he has all the time in the world. A young woman just walked in with her Staffy dog. The Staffy has the biggest dog smile in the world (as they do), and he looks like he’s just having the best time, all the time. Looking at everyone in the coffee shop like “Helloooo! How are YOU doing! I just went to the beach and life is awesome!!! I’m alive!!!”

Which makes me reflect on my own mood- why can't I be that grateful for my life, health, family, financial security-ish? Is it ego? Is it a modern life? Is it the human brain? And can I have a dog brain, please!

Which leads me to community. This one really gets me going. Where has our sense of community gone? Can we get it back? A dog can walk into a coffee shop and look every single person in the eye and “smile”. I can’t do the same. It’s easier to pretend everyone else is a stranger, people to be glanced at but not engaged with. To make this loneliness feel better we invest in ourselves more and more. Hobbies, alone time, super long jogs. And we spend more time engaging with our whatsapp messages and Instagram – places where we get some kind of feedback and sense of belonging. But the body doesn't lie. It's still sitting on the couch alone, even if our mind is "occupied by social activity".

Have you ever spent a week camping with a bunch of friends? Where everyone congregates around the coffeepot in the morning, tired and bruised from sleeping on the ground, but happy to be together? Never having to check your phone, because everyone you need to message is already around you? Every time I experience this I am baffled by the city life when I return. I frantically try to book the next getaway before the city swallows me in and the bright memories of the experience fades…

Anyway, all I’m saying is it would be grand to have that sense of real community more often in this modern world. Is it possible?

Whilst going through a little research phase regarding this, I came across a brilliant article Finding our tribe in a modern world. A quote from the article: "Humans do not mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it. Disasters are at times remembered more fondly than weddings and tropical vacations. What we do mind is not feeling necessary."

If you know or have heard about anyone else who manages to merge a modern lifestyle (city living, working on a computer) with a strong grounding of community, please enlighten me! I’d love to see some real life examples of this being possible. Maybe this could be a cool topic for a next blog post…

Ok, enough philosophizing. Time for an update!

Epic violin album with Dutch producer

During lockdown I managed to link up with a music library in Amsterdam, called Kamikaze Kitty. Tim Spekkens, the director, found me on Instagram (yay, my one lead via Instagram in 5 years!), and he wanted to create a new album that featured epic violin with electronic music production. He put me in touch with one of his frequent producers, Bastiaan Ruitenbeek, and we started chatting. We listened to each other’s music, felt an instant mutual understanding regarding epic music, and found out that we both share a deep love for adventure and landscapes (He lives in Scotland!). Long story short, we have completed a five-track album, featuring my violin melodies, and Bastiaan’s kickass electronic music production.

I’m literally chomping at the bit with excitement at sharing this album on Spotify with you, but it’s only due for release mid May. However, I snuck a little preview onto Soundcloud for you to listen to in the meantime! The album is called Gladiatrix.

Always pivoting

The daily music grind has taken a spot on the bench for a while. I’m sorry, music! But mama needs to make some cash dollah. I’m doing more work in the graphic design, video editing and website design world, and it’s been a relief to work for ACTUAL PEOPLE!! (*dramatic music*). I’ve spent most of my adult life creating my own things. Which has been a lot of fun, and I’m super grateful for the playful space I’ve had to do exactly what I want to do. But it’s also a very lonely world, with no feedback.

Freediving at Beta Beach

That being said, I actively try to create some space in my new routine to still do some playful, creative things. Yesterday I went for a snorkel at Beta Beach (in 12 degree water!) and was utterly enveloped by the magical underwater landscape. The kelp looked like submerged, alien forests, the rocks like majestic, sunken mountains, and the feeling of weightlessness made me feel like I was flying over these vast landscapes. Here’s a little video I made of the underwater world.

If you’re keen to try some snorkeling/freediving, I can point out some great, easy and safe spots to go exploring.

Last thoughts

It’s tough to take a chance at doing something else. There are times when I’m at my laptop doing some “compulsory” design work like a real employee (this is new to me, don’t laugh!), and I’m aching to be somewhere else: on the mountain, in the ocean, doing something adventurous and free. And I’m afraid that that side of me will slowly wither and die. (I said don’t laugh!)

But then maybe it won’t. Maybe what I need to do now is commit to trying something else for a while, to really find out if this is the path to be on. You might lose something, but you kind of need to say no to one thing before you can fully say yes to another, right?

David Whyte puts it beautifully in his interview with Sam Harris: (I'm paraphrasing)

"Whilst your first kind of 'marriage' is a love relationship with another person, your second 'marriage' is with your vocation. And sometimes you need to let go of your vocation, your work, to see if it comes back to you, and in what shape and form it will return."

I've been listening to In this shirt (Royksopp remix) for most of the writing process. It's quite a sound journey, especially if you make it past 4:45.

Thank you for your attention and your support. I hope you find something inspiring today that lifts your spirit for a second or more. Hold onto it, allow it in, and then let it go.

Bye for now


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