Monday, April 29, 2013

My week of discoveries:Jam sessions,impermanence and new songs

It has been a hectic two weeks here at New Life Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I have been working so much on self development, through daily mindfulness, yoga and meditation and i feel i am doing huge discoveries on myself, there is so much we are not aware of about ourselves.
So much we hide even to ourselves or we have never been used to admit or never been allowed.
In the past 2 weeks a few people i really liked, volunteers or residents here have left for their next adventure, most of them still travelling in South Asia. The atmosphere here is strange because you feel like being back at school and also at the same time on a school meet at daily community work, then at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then we have workshops where we speak about ourselves and really talk in depth about emotions, feelings, situations.
We are literally people from all over the world,lots of English people and Americans,some from other countries but i have never ever felt so close and so much alike. It almost brings tears to my eyes because when you let your prejudices fall and really listen and ask people you find that under the conventions of the society they come from or the habits given by the environment where they were raised or live, we are really the same and we CAN understand each other truly deeply.
Here at NLF we talk daily about the impermanence of things/situations and how that affects our sufferings because human beings tend to attach and not want change which is the normal process of life itself. So the fact that you meet and like people here and after a while you have to part from them is a lesson on impermanence in itself and make you constantly have to check how you feel inside, it makes you ground on yourself.
While processing all these thoughts, listening to people, asking them opinions about my issues and meditating i have had lots of inspiration for new music and i have finished writing one song called "Been a while"and another one called "Wake up in the morning". The first one talks about deepest moments of sadness, so deep that you do not feel a link with the outside world, so close you feel in yourself, but the chorus sparks the seed for change into happiness.
The song "Wake up in the morning"is a good hymn to making every day a new day, realizing every day is a precious gift and that everyday you are born again and have endless chances.
I particularly feel connected to these 2 songs.
I have also organized jam sessions every week end, and given "concerts"here at the Foundation receiving much appreciation from everybody.
The following is a picture of a jam session last Friday in a club in the centre of Chiang Rai.>>>

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My week of discoveries, Music books and others

Lately i have been investing most of my time in myself, and one of the things i am taking my time to do is reading. While living in my friends living rooms or spare guest rooms for the past 3months
( before my departure to Thailand in end March) i learnt so much from them, from their way of living and got cool tips or had the chance to be introduced for example to Ayurvedic cooking, since one of my good friends in Amsterdam is studying that. ( Really worth getting deeper into it, what is better for an Italian than recipes that are both tasty and have medical properties? I have in my mind a fantastic dish with only plain rice, lime juice and cinnamon, so simple but yet so delicious and i was quite surprised by the way cinnamon and lime combine gracefully in the mouth)
So inspired by her i also made strange and colourful food combinations like this one >>>
While living with my friend Charlie, who plays guitar in my band in Amsterdam, he lent me his book "Summer of Love"by George Martin. The book is  centered around the Beatles and the production of the album "Sgt Pepper Lonely Heart's Club": how they made each song, which ideas where behind it, all their musical research, new instruments they used ( even the toilet paper of their recording studio, considered "too hard for the conventional use"was used by John Lennon in one song!), That book was so inspiring, absolutely eye-opening on the world of songwriting.
But it also gave me hunger for more music books, to read more about other musicians stories, biographies, mindsets....So  after that, i wanted more...and by chance the next book to read came to me. One Thursday i read on twitter of this Dutch band presenting their debut album in the music shop Concerto in Amsterdam. It was just the Thursday before my flight to Thailand and i arrived to late for the concert, while i cycled under the snowflakes ( yes it was still snowing) so i reached the place and the concert was over....but i then had time on my hands to check the place out, which i had not done yet and there, the book called me from the shelf, so i bought it, right when i wanted one, and right before my departure. I am reading it now: the biography of the Rolling Stones, which is quite a thick book and actually it is too much focused on their "sex, drugs"life and too little on "rock n'roll"and songwriting for my taste, but still i plan to continue to read it until the end.
And then since i have landed at the New Life community centre in Thailand, i have taken advantage of their library of self development and buddhism books and i have just finished "How things exist"by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, which i admit, was a bit too hard for me to really grasp much of the buddhist philosophy it deals with....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My week of discoveries, in Thailand

It has been 9days since my arrival on Thai soil and the experiences and people met have been already amazing.
Seeing a small crocodile swimming next to the boat that was bringing me on a temple tour in Ayutthaya was unexpected but not scary and the locals did not seem bothered by it ( even kids were swimming just 50metres from the croc).
I tried all types of tasty food from local stands and finally for the first time in my life drank young coconut juice. I can't complain at all about the high temperatures, even if we reached 44degrees and i had to learn all the ways to keep my body hydrated and not fainting, i do not miss the cold snowy weather that i left in Amsterdam on the day of my departure.
Last Thursday night i landed in the North of Thailand, near the town of Chiang Rai, at the New Life Foundation where i'll be spending 4 weeks. I'll write more about this place in my next post, but it is an incredible place which has given me already a lot in these few days!
I can't wait to see how much better i'll feel going on, here and how i'll feel when i'll leave this place.
The last 3days i had a great chance at songwriting thanks to Simon, one of the guests here, who is also a songwriter and living in London. He had a task for this week, to write a flow of consciousness by making a song and i offered to back him up with my guitar.
It was a big learning experience for me, to be just backing up and listening and working on some one else's song, and it was so interesting to see his style of songwriting, which to my ears was really "British" because it did remind me of the style of British songwriters. I think the British have a talent for inventing catchy melodies, kind of stories in melody and having several catchy melodies in one song, kind of switching and surprising you by totally changing the pace of the song. If that makes sense to you, i cannot explain more clearly than this what i mean.
So we performed his song today at the 8am morning meeting in front of the other guests and they were so enthousiastic that we were asked to play again while they would be filming.
The video will go on the NEW LIFE FOUNDATION official blog and i'll put a link here.
Following are some pictures of the New Life Foundation.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My week of discoveries, Project one picture a day

I landed in Bangkok on Saturday afternoon and i am enjoying this wonderful country and the very hot weather(touching 44degrees celsius!).
I had started thus also a project on twitter called #onepictureaday but for some reason, twitter does not always let me i have decided to upload here the pictures of the last three days!
And later this week i will write a long post on my experience in wonderful Thailand.


>>>So much new food to discover in Thailand...what is this stuff? still have not tasted it!