A Step Out Your Comfort Zone

One small step out your comfort zone,
is one bigger step towards personal growth 
Uncomfortable things may block your path,
the sooner you face it the sooner you can grow

I’ve noticed that facing uncomfortable things have led me to personal growth and growth as a musician. Like practicing, techniques and patterns are uncomfortable, to begin with, but the sooner you give it a shot the sooner you’ll grow into it and it’ll then become comfortable, then you move into the next level and so forth. Continuous growth.

Busking for me was originally terrifying, being amongst strangers playing music that I love, open to rejection and humiliation, but it soon aided in my personal growth. I feel the confidence to talk with strangers now, whereas before I’d rather have run away from any conversation. Now I enjoy it and thoroughly miss it with this quarantine.

From this first step out of my comfort zone onto the streets, it has grown into many opportunities I’d never seen myself doing. Like standing in front of an audience to give a TEDx talk;

Flip flops were definitely a bad choice. If it wasn’t for that first step to go out and busk, I’d never of ended up doing this. The first few busking sessions were extremely uncomfortable and filled me with nerves, I’d even had a few cases where I went home crying because of feeling like a fool and having insults thrown at me. But I knew that in order to achieve the goal I intended (make a living as a musician and leave my supermarket job), I’d need to keep stepping out of my comfort zone to get there. Like trekking through a murky bayou infested with crocodiles and giant spiders, in order to get yourself to a safer place…? Uncomfortableness is a threat and the sooner you face it, the sooner you can get on with what you really want to do/who you really want to be. 

So if there’s something you wanna do, and the only thing stopping you is an uncomfortable wall, then the sooner you climb it the better off you’ll be! Do it now! Like right now!

If you want to be a writer, but feel your words/stories aren’t going to be good, the sooner you make writing a habit, the sooner you can push those doubtful/negative thoughts aside. One word, becomes two, becomes one chapter, becomes one story, becomes one book, changes your life, changes other lives.

With the internet age, it’s easy to share things, your art, your thoughts and yourself. It’s also terrifying to share because you’ve opened yourself up to the entire internet world -which is gargantuan. Full of trolls and people who are just looking to find flaws in everything. But also full of wonderfully kind people who’ll compliment and share your work. With that, it can become uncomfortable to share, but again once you start doing it and getting over the fear of other peoples judgements, you’ll grow comfortable with sharing your journey and your creations. Which can, in turn, affect other people in a positive manner and aid them in doing something that they love. The internet also connects you with those doing/thinking the same, your niche podcast on spiders might open up a whole community that loves discussing and learning about spiders. Giving space for those who feel uncomfortable about their individual love for spiders, to open up, connect and feel comfortable in an online community.

For instance this – I feel uncomfortable doing, talking to a camera and sharing it. But starting a podcast and vlogging this music journey I am on, is something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Generally documenting the journey is something I really enjoy doing, writing words, sharing stories, uploading improvisations and pictures from busking sets. It’s a nice way for me to share what I do and for myself to look back and see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve done.

So my best advice for you is to give it a shot, trek through that difficult uncomfortable terrain towards a new land and share the steps that you take. You’ll look back in 6 months time and see your own progression, you’ll see the impact it has on other people and it’ll fuel you to trek through the next uncomfortable terrain. To keep growing and expanding.

You got this! The first step is the hardest! So go and do it now!

Email me when you do – basschatfield@gmail.com 🙂


Lockdown Thoughts #2 in a song. I Miss Busking

Lyrics inspired by the recent blog post on Lockdown thoughts + a musical idea inspired by a meme = this song above.

I first wrote this (below) and built from the ideas to form a full song (above).

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This meme was sent by a friend in relation to our current situation – these are difficult times – indeed they are. So I figured if I could write a riff in those times, but at a slower speed (90bpm). I could in some way respond with; ‘these are difficult times, but if you take it slow, then it’ll be slightly easier’, which is true in regards to this riff. It is also true in regards to our actions, we all need to slow down, staying indoors slows us down as we cannot go out and do all things that this world allows us to.

I imagine this lockdown to be much longer than first ordered, and as the world learns to slow down and stay indoors, we’ll step closer to a healthier world – I hope. It’ll be easier if we all slow down, so – stay the $%&* inside


I’ve truly been missing busking,
…and as I sat in thought on this, a busking buddy messaged me saying she felt like a lost soul, that her heart wasn’t into making music. As buskers, we have both lost that spontaneous interaction with the passing world, we’re missing the smiles from strangers, the compliments from people you’d never expect to enjoy your music. Although there is online busking, it has nowhere near the same interaction as ‘actual busking’ like this – spontaneous dancing – or this – spontaneous jam sessions. I struggle with ‘online busking’ somewhat, enjoying the playing but I find it strange to be inside playing alone in a room, to a virtual audience who are also inside. I can only imagine their smiles and dancing, imagination is helpful. But it may quite possibly be the future of busking, so I’d better compromise.

She said she felt a lost soul, I said it might be that your soul just needs to do other things right now. To not beat yourself up for not continuously playing/making music, that productivity comes in many forms, even resting with meditation or reading, speaking with family and friends is all productive for the soul.

This time now is for us to slow down, and that might be taking a break from what you’d be doing daily in an ‘opened world’, reflecting on it or even forgetting it for a moment. Don’t beat yourself up, do what it is that you feel you need to do right now, as long as it’s not detrimental to your soul.

And although I have been missing busking, it’s been a good time for me to sit and work on new material, to look at cover songs and to break apart some of my songs to fine-tune them and develop better techniques. Which I usually don’t make time for as I normally focus my time on getting to the streets and just playing.


That’s all I really wanted to say for now. My lockdown today will mostly be filled with learning cover songs and annoying my family until they finally succumb to a game of scrabble!

If you’ve any suggestions for cover songs, comment below and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

Wishing you a good day! Stay safe and stay at home!

James


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The Gargantuan Hand that Pulled me from the Depths of the Mindhole

 

 

It’s a while since I last wrote a blog or interacted fully on social media. A mixture of reasons, one being; me feeling that my content has no worth, that my day to day happenings are not worthwhile sharing. Which is a weird feeling that comes from self-doubt, lack of confidence and low self-esteem, those feelings come from a multitude of reasons, some I have control of, others I don’t. Its definitely been a weird few weeks, inside my mind and my surroundings outside. It’s not until quite recently that I’ve felt genuine confidence in myself as a person and this music and its meaning.

Busking always seems to be the ‘cure-all’ a ‘greater restoration‘, this act, has been keeping my head above water (both figuratively and literally – rain has been frequent). Everything has felt like waves, up and down, and as I got heavy I sank far below the surface. Then yesterday 23rd January 2020 ( 😮 2020! Happy New Year! ), felt like a gargantuan hand reaching in the water and pulling me to shore. Following quite a rough evening of family-related problems, with a lack of sleep, I woke early and felt drawn to busk in Hereford. It was a bizarre mix of encounters that seemed pre-composed, someone/thing had planned it all out. Bumping into someone I met only a couple times, (Dan Jaye, a musician from Manchester) we had breakfast in his new ‘Retro/Vintage/Assortments of Wonder/Cafe/Music Studio’ shop, catching up I felt it necessary to only choose the good things that have happened and ignore the bad that I was feeling – that process helped my mind massively, focusing on the good of it all. Dan also busked and traveled when he was my age, with his experience he spoke a lot of incredibly advisable things, that snapped my mind out of negative into positive. Like, “f**k yeah, this music has a story and it’s got to go through every chapter word by word, just get through each emotion and keep going, this is okay. You’re lucky to have a) been born, b) found something which you love and you’re good at! We’ve got this and we can’t stop!” – internal dialogue speaking. This taught me to; take the time to catch up with yourself inside yourself, go through each emotion, each happening and divide the good and bad, learn from the bad and understand it, then go to the good and sit in that and enjoy that, because there is a whole lotta good out there/in here. 

Whilst busking that day, like every day of busking there are people who stay, watch and converse and it’s nice to connect with them, music like a key, opening a door to a conversation between two humans. A line of four people, all from different places, all with different lives, watched for the entirety of a song and applauded so loudly. They got quite hyped, a woman said she heard the music subtly from the distance and had to follow it, she said it’s music that uplifted her and music that this world needs. A couple said they were amazed by the technical side and the composition itself, said I need to be playing to crowds, be on TV and share it with more people. — See I haven’t felt like sharing much recently, although I’m on the streets playing, I feel like the soundtrack to the streets rather than a performer, like why would anyone want to come to a show and watch a whole set of this? Why should I be filmed and put on TV? Which comes from the lack of confidence in oneself, I still feel that I’m just the soundtrack to the streets and the concept of being on stage playing a show to a crowd, passes me by and I’ve kind of forgotten about even pursuing that. I sit and I write these words and feel that it’s not worth writing because it’s not worth reading, but then I think, I don’t actually care if anybody reads this, but I find a sense of relief writing these words and this somewhat diary entry is part of a greater journey that I can look back on for my own growth and learn from this moment, this timeframe. — That moment on the streets of Hereford outside M&S, playing for this small group of people who were really emotionally connected with music, along with the meeting with Dan, gave this feeling of worth. A feeling I haven’t allowed myself to feel, but it was like this day was a showcase of my reason why. “Here, let me show you why you need to keep your head up and keep going, this is why you need to keep doing that which you love and put your attention on expanding, growing, exploring” – said the gargantuan hand that pulled me from the depths of the mindhole.

Multiple interactions with people on Hereford highstreet kept uplifting me. People said very relatable things to what I was feeling, “you can’t stop, you gotta keep going. This is amazing, I’d give you money but I have none” one voice said.

It’s bizarre, I feel all sorts of weird right now.

The day ended with conversations with family members, that healed up previous happenings. A message via Instagram that detailed the impact it had on their day in Hereford. Then a couple of beers and a chinwag with one of my closest friends Ollie – check out his music – check out our music. A monologue of encouragement from Ollie completely shaped my focus to; growth as a person, growth in music, aiding on the difficulties of family members. I mean I don’t know what else to say, because I feel weird, but I feel determined and really set on a good path.

Now I don’t know if this holds any value to you, but if it does, then I just hope you to find a way out of the darkness inside and towards the light. Because there is light there, there’s so much light!

Here’s an amazing song;

Here’s a video from a recent busking session in Stroud;

Here are some inspirational words that have helped me many of times;

Here’s to you and all your wonder 🙂

With love,

James

 

Slapped by a Mole

PatreonTemporaryImage-912a14bf-8f60-4e5f-836b-f07a58670698Short Story;

A man goes off for a wander to explore the world and see what’s going on. He sees many wonderful things and meets many interesting people. His quest slowly reveals itself; to become a nomad and share melodies to bring spontaneous joy and happiness to all who wander. This world needs more positivity, as negativity is loud and powerful. The light slowly burns in the darkness and bathes it in good. At times a challenge as darkness is overwhelming.

The wandering man finds himself falling into a hole, tripped up by a series of small events, he gets stuck and struggles to find a way out. The world begins to slowly bury the wandering man and he feels all is lost, he feels he belongs in this hole, that he should stay. So he stays, and as time goes on he feels his fire fade.

A mole comes across this buried man, “Oh, hello, why are you in the ground? You’re not a mole”, the mole asked sniffing at the man.
“Well you see I fell and got stuck here, so I figured this is where I am meant to be”, the man replies, a tear in his eye.
“Don’t be silly human, everything falls over, even I do when I am above ground, but I do not belong up there, I have a world of my own down here. As you have a world of your own choosing up there. I will dig you out of here human and you will create your own world up there as I create my own world down here!” slapping the man as he spoke.
The mole dug this man out and dragged him up slowly by his tiny claws. As the man felt the fresh air again he thanked the mole, the mole sniffed up at the man and said, “Everything falls over, but everything has the ability to get back up, so don’t come falling into the ground again and staying there, unless you want to be a mole” the mole slapped the man once again and hurried off back to his own world.

The wandering man realised that to keep on wandering and to keep on his quest, that he must do exactly that. So the wandering man continued with a warmer fire inside.

The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’ gig!

On the 27th of September I played a concert at The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’. Which is in South Wales, near Carmarthen. I stayed here a couple times this summer (2019), and connected really well with the owner – Ken Knuckles. Ken is an avid traveller and spent his childhood travelling with his family, then as an adult would travel across the world for 6 months at a time. We conversed a lot about travelling, it was incredible to hear his stories and he’s a great story teller. When Ken travelled, the internet wasn’t super prominent like it is now, so most of the time he didn’t know exactly what to expect from the places he visited. I’ve made this a habit to not look into too much detail about the places I’m going, to allow the unknown to surprise. I feel always knowing too much information can ruin it at times.

Every time I visited this hostel I would always meet new characters and connect with people from all walks of life, one of the may joys a hostel brings. Hostels for sure take introverts our their comfort zone, but it builds your ability to socialise and hold conversation. There’s always so much to be learnt by conversing with new people, we’ve all got lessons and stories to benefit one another. – a blog post about this Hostel


So after walking into the hostel with my guitars on my back, those at the bar asked me to play a song – they liked those songs – we booked the gig. The great thing about having a portable set-up means you can play on demand, anywhere. The great thing about music, you can fit it into almost any environment and provide entertainment and value to people, as music is cleansing for the soul in numerous ways.

We promoted the gig on local Facebook groups and flyers around the town. The turn out was 6 people, but it was amazing, it really was. Feeling rather nervous about the show, as I hadn’t properly gigged in some time. I feel like I don’t gig often, but that maybe because I felt too many fails from organising shows, spending so much time on building a set of songs specific to the gig, and no-one turning up but myself and the staff – ha! I guess it’s part of the trade, you just got to keep on gigging. So this time around I didn’t solely spend my time writing a new set of songs or postpone busking to practice for the gig, I just continued busking and noted any improvisations to revisit for the gig. So my set list contained a lot of instrumental songs with looping and space for improvisation. I did include a couple of songs with vocals, here’s one;

Which is actually one of the first songs I wrote with this dual guitar set-up. Back when I jumped into the trio of vocals/guitar/bass, part of me wishes I just stuck that out and kept on writing with vocals, but once again those moments of failure pushed me down. But I’m learning to just accept failure, ignore judgement and do that which makes me happy. So I have been writing with vocals more these past few months, I yet have any completed songs, but I’m on the verge of finishing a few.

With only a small crowd of people it allowed for conversations and connections to be made with ease. At times we had group discussions about travel, certain song stories and their confidence in me to travel the world and perform to many thousands in the future – who knows what will happen! It was full of laughter and smiling, which made it more comforting to play and feel good in myself. Taking the time to look up and share eye contact with everyone during a song really helps settle those nerves. Ken said he noticed how when I smiled whilst performing, everyone else would begin to smile, an infectious feeling. Smile at strangers more – it can highly impact someones day. 

I met Paul and Deborah, who we’re so kind to offer a place to stay whenever I visited Haverfordwest, even if they’re away I can camp in their garden, well that’s just brilliant 🙂 The following day they gave me a bag of goodies, as I reminded them of their son. Very lovely people. I met Paul (another Paul – Paul WS) during the day of the gig, rehearsing upstairs in the hostel, Paul walked past then asked if he could sit in, “sure!“, he videoed a few tracks and took pictures.  When I finished a song he said “You’ve just played the soundtrack to my life“. He told me his story and the journey he’s currently embarking, which is tough going. I won’t go into specifics as it’s personal, but he’s been through hell, and yet his optimism on life is inspiring. Walking across Wales has healed his mind and soul massively, we went for a sunrise walk the morning after the gig.

“Depth over distance, every time…” – Ben Howard


Following the conversations with Paul WS, I wrote a track ‘Freeze Frame’. Here’s the idea behind that phrase from Paul WS;

“Freeze Frame” – Paul WS. We only have today, each day brings a whole collection of moments, a series of frames, just like a film. Take a snippet, one frame of each day and freeze it in your mind. That way of capturing the good moments, allows you to go back and hold gratitude, it aids you out of the darkness because there are always going to be good moments, even if for just that single frame.

You can really learn a lot from conversations – converse more with strangers and dive into questions 🙂


Lessons learnt from the gig;

  • Talking with an audience isn’t actually that terrifying when you just be yourself and open up. Eye contact helps, so does a smile – do it more.
  • Singing works, keep practising and keep song writing.
  • Early mornings outdoors gifts energy for the day.
  • Music is healing and holds a meaning to each individual. Don’t stop gifting it to the world#

Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

If you’d like to support it further you can join me on Patreon. A subscription platform, where you donate a price of your choice, rewarded with different benefits, like exclusive tracks and postcards. Link below;

www.patreon.com/chatfield 

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Have a great day!

Continuous Travel, Continuous Music Creation – What Do You Want?

Continuous Travel, Continuous Music Creation

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In all the things I want in this world, I’ve slowly figured out the two basic happenings I desire 🙂

To Travel and to Create Music – that’s it. In basic terms, someone can ask, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?

I want to Travel and Create Music!

Sure there’s a thousand things that fit into these desires; certain countries to explore, the kind of gigs I’d like to do, being on stage singing and talking about creativity and giving words of motivation to pursue what makes them happy, to create a family on the road, to home school those children, while continuing to travel and create music. There’s a whole list of buckets to jump in, a billion to-do lists to throw around in excitement. But many of those to-do’s are personal and will be better shown rather than spoken about.

Now I ask you and, you ask yourself;

What do you want to do for the rest of your life? Or at least for a large portion of your life?
What do I want to do for the rest of my life?

Maybe write it out in a journal and really delve into everything you desire, till you pick out the core components – the simple answer.

Note: I really don’t know enough about this life to know what I’m writing about. I’m just writing constantly in hope to bring someone value! and because I enjoy it and it helps me document the travel and music creation.


Live stream video from today’s busk in Caernarfon

The streets were quiet today, but it was still an effective day, where a whole range of people walked away from the music with a smile. Shop owners poked their head out to see what the sound was, noticing the eye contact and either smiling and waving or quickly darting behind the door then popping back out to smile and wave.

A gang of kids followed by their Mum, the one boy looked at the CD box,
“WHOAW you have CDs! Mum is this man a professional musician?! How much? Can I have one? I have a 10p, and it’s got a little bit of rust on it, just a little bit, where is it? Ah yeah, here, look! Just a little bit of rust!” his eyes filled with excitement, stretching his hand out to share this wondrously rusty 10 pence.
“Take one!” I said back,
His Mum replied, “Oh no, we can’t do that! It’s only 10 pence!”
“But Mum he said so! Look this one is a Dragon!”
The other children put some more coins in, and they all walked away happy. The excited child came running back after they reached the end of the street.
“Hello! Just wanted to say, thank you, we are going to listen to the CD on our drive home!”, said so quickly fuelled with excitement. Then waving and running back, he turned and shouted down the high street – “It’s a three hour drive!”.
Ha! Brilliant 😀


Too tired to write more! Arrived in another YHA in the middle of Snowdonia!

 

 


Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join me on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Online Tips – paypal.me/jameschatfeld

Have a great day!

A Morning Message, A Morning Meditation, Have a Beautiful Day

Let this sound soothe you in the morning, in the evening, always. Visualise the dreams and goals that you have running around this world, alive and happy. See yourself as the best version of yourself, as healthy as possible, as happy as can be, as productive and creative, surrounded by people you love and admire. Feel the wind, hear the trees, taste the air, speak out that which you are grateful for, speak out that which you desire. Affirm yourself and speak kind words to yourself. Hold your hands on your heart and feel the pulse beating around your body, thank it for gifting you life, thank it for gifting you the ability to be you. Be you and be grateful for every small detail in your life. Be you and develop your person, your talents. Be you and help others become themselves, help others feel comfortable in their own bodies. Be you and smile at the world, see it for all the positive it is, see it for all the beauty it is. Be you and don’t stop moving forwards, don’t stop growing, don’t stop learning, don’t stop doing!

Have a beautiful day!