Rustic Vibe – Music of the Soil

Ever since the first hand struck the stretched hide of an animal, we’ve been dancing. Ever since the first human being touched a perfect tonal note, we’ve been listening in awe. Ever since the first violin was constructed and played, a connection has been established with our souls. This is the power of music.

But what is it about this eternal art form? Why do we respond to it as we do? When you hear someone sing a particular note or when someone strikes the surface of a djembe, why it that our hearts miss a beat or the hairs on the back of our necks stand on end? There’s no denying it: music is a part of us. Take away the layers of commercialism and stigma attached to it and we see music for what it really is: timeless rhythm and tone.

Music has come a long way, but the music of the soil, the original form of music, often referred to as Folk music, remains an intrinsic part of many cultures around the world. Studio-recorded albums are great, but more often than not I love myself a bit of rusticity. There’s just something about the spontaneity and ‘out-of-the-box’ vibe that gets me. In such performances, anything is possible. One place where folk songs rule is the Indian state of Rajasthan where nomads can be seen, sat on the dunes of the Thar desert singing century-old, uncorrupted songs in the same way they were originally sung in.

The video at the top of this post begins with singing sensation, TK Tunstall jamming with a group of villagers in the remote town of Tilonia in Rajasthan. As soon as she completes her fantastic acoustic piece the villagers join in with a famous folk song Diggipuri ka Raja. There’s something about the rhythm of the drums and the intoned voices of TK Tunstall and the folk artistes that will get you bouncing, even if you don’t understand a word. And, that’s the beauty of music: It goes beyond language and creed.



Illogical Wisdom – The Art of Free Writing

my deskWriting is great. You get to explore new places and find out new things about yourself. But, I often have those moments where I’m lost for words. For me, it happens before I start a chapter, when I’m aware of the enormity of the task at hand.

There’s a great way to jumpstart the inner stream. If you haven’t tried it, Free writing is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Free writing involves you writing on a piece of paper, or on a computer, without thinking. That’s right, just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t try to be logical about it, just write. It could be words, or partial sentences. The great thing is that grammar and structure do not matter.

Because we’re used to self-editing it can seem hard at first, but when you get the hang of it, the words will pour out of you like water from an overfilled carafe!

It’s a great tool, not just for writers but for anyone who is looking for an answer. That’s why it has been utilised by psychologists for decades from counselling marriages to treating mental conditions. Often, free-writing will tap into something you weren’t paying attention too. That’s the beauty of it. And, of course, you weren’t paying attention because it was too ludicrous or illogical. It’s how we are taught to behave. We somehow overlook that which does not make sense. That’s where this method works, it brings out all the uncensored, obvious, illogical stuff for you to gawk at later on. So, give it a go.

Living in the Moment – The benefits of a day of mindfulness


In truth, we’re all over the place.  Our thoughts are travelling back and forth between regret and worry.  To set our attention on the present moment is difficult.  Why? Because, that’s the way we’ve been brought up.  It’s a psychological habit.  The systems we’ve inherited from those before us have moulded us into stressed-out, anxious, question marks.  For some, even taking a break is a chore.  Offensive, even.  Sometimes, you’ll hear people say “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to think about myself,” as if it’s something to be proud of.  And, then there are those who feel immense guilt, “No, I’m strong, I don’t need a break!” – This kind of mentality can lead towards hypertension, stress or even depression.

The fact is, our lifestyle has affected our health, breathing and posture, not to mention the way we perceive the world and life.

But, there is a solution.  It’s been around for centuries, and you probably do it already.  It’s called Mindfulness – the act of focusing the mind in the present moment.  Try it now,

Close your eyes.  Hear your breath.  Before you inhale, say in your mind, “I’m breathing in.”  Then, breathe in.  Count in your head.  How many seconds did it take for you to breathe in?  Now do the same when you exhale.  It’s a simple task, but one that cannot be done without you being mindful of it.  During the exercise did you think about your mortgage, or what you’re going to have for dinner?  For a brief moment, you gave your brain a breather.

A recent study has proved that those who practice a mindful task such as meditation or painting are more likely to be able to make rational, relaxed decisions compared to those who place their brains under stress.

Read about how you can benefit from incorporating a day of mindfulness into your life by downloading the FREE Kindle eBook from the relevant Amazon links below.

Rest of the World:

Here’s more information about this book:

‘Day of Mindfulness’ – Living in the Moment (Kindle Ebook)

???????????????????????????????There are 7 billion people on this planet.  But only a handful are really here, present in this moment.  That’s because most of us are travelling through our thoughts, regretting the past or worrying about the future.  But, as medical science tells us, worry is bad for our bodies.  It creates knots in our necks and pain in our hearts.

Remember when you were a child?  Remember how carefree you were?  We need to get back to that point.  It’s not as easy as you may think, but then again it could be as simple as clicking your fingers.  The fact is, it’s as hard as you believe it to be.  But, there are some basic techniques you need to correct in order to maintain your focus.  I’m talking about your breathing pattern; it’s all wrong.  A breath should fill you with life and should not begin and end in your lungs.  In fact, you should be breathing from your stomach.  The other thing is posture.  How can you possibly see the world if you’re an anxious, irritable question mark?

The point is, you’re a product of conditioning.  You’ve been brought up in a world of laptops and systems.  But, what if you were to grab the reins?  What if you moulded life to your whim instead?

It’s time to break those rules and make new ones.

If you’re up for it, click here for the link to Amazon.

Thanks for reading.

“Anybody on the path, looking for wisdom and guidance will find plenty in this book!”

“This is a good book that addresses an issue which affects a lot of people.  It offers good advice, relevant for today’s world.”

Day of Mindfulness

Milan Bakrania (Emissary Books)

Published Dec 2014


The need for space


A person needs his or her space, and those in the creative field (whether hobby or profession) will know the value in creating a suitable atmosphere.  Freedom is necessary to get those creative juices going.

Clean, airy spaces with ample room to spread and with access to daylight and, if possible, a great view are ideal, but sometimes you have to work with what you have.  Try not to compromise on much because it can affect your work.

What I do is set up shop on my desk.  I love starting with a clean desk, so all my notes and research are tucked away neatly in drawers and files.  Even when I’ve worked all day, with papers everywhere, I make sure I’ve cleaned up and put them in some kind of order than I understand before the working day comes to a close.  It’s just the way I work and you will have your own way of doing things, and that’s the key.  Don’t conform or go by the words of others.  Find your own path.  Ask yourself: What will make my creative juices flow better?

The other thing I do is immerse myself in music.  It depends how I feel on the day, and what I’m writing, but more often than not I love meditative or mood music.  I tend to stay away from orchestral and over-bearing compositions.  I’m the kind of person who visualises a scene before I write it.  It lives in my head for days.  I find that music helps to tease it out.  But saying that, some days I sit in silence and write or paint, so hey, there’s no one rule to follow.

Also, there’s nothing on my walls.  I keep ’em bare.  It’s just a personal preference.  Too much clutter holds me back.

That’s pretty much it.  I keep things as simple as possible.  One desk, a hi-fi system and bookshelves.  The rest is open space, ample for my thoughts to project.

And so, to all the budding creative sparks out there, I urge you to find your space.  Perhaps its a room in your house or flat, perhaps a studio or maybe you prefer a seat in your local library.  Whatever the place, make it your own.  Furnish it lightly and make sure you are away from distractions, so you can get on with writing or painting in peace.



Some would say that we are born into a life of struggle, and it’s how we get out of this and live from the centre of our being that matters.  But what is this struggle that we must escape from?  Well, it can take many forms, like belonging to a family with little income, having too much money (believe it or not, an over-privileged childhood has been known to lead to stagnancy later in life, though this is not always the case), having a physical disability, being put into foster care, being shy, being over or underweight, having abusive parents etc.  In fact, the list can go on forever, because at some point in our lives, we must face situations in which we are forced to overcome fears and learn new skills like reading, knowing how to communicate effectively, basic arithmetic, riding a bike and swimming.  Even phobias such as a fear of spiders or heights are seen as a personal struggle.

But stop for a second and breathe.  Is life really an up hill struggle?

As a race, we have come so far, yet certain things have remained the same since the beginning, such as the desire to be more, the frantic search for appreciation and the hectic race to be the best.  Will we ever evolve to a state where we can find true peace instead of constantly searching outside of ourselves for validation?  Will we ever set up systems which treat each person as an individual instead of turning us into a robotic herd?  Will we ever see life as a beautiful journey full of possibilities and joy?

My forthcoming eBook puts forward, among other things, the notion that we are already great by nature, and that we no longer have to compete with those around us.  Could it be true?

Discover How Great You Are in 30 Minutes


Seeing is believing?


“Excuse me, I’d like to exchange death and sadness for two boxes of happiness and three kilograms of love.  And, if its in stock, get me three scoops of joy while you’re at it!”

Imagine if we lived in a world where feelings and sensations were tangible, where we could physically touch and see them.  Love would be a red fluffy heart shaped pillow filled with golden light.  Happiness would be a never ending piece of flowing cloth.  Depression would be a backpack filled with tremendous weight and Death would be a silent crawling insect.

But we can’t see this invisible realm.  It’s beyond our scope of vision, yet it exists like the space between stars and planets.  We know this because we can measure it using scientific method.

The fact is we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to be human.

And while we’re on the subject, let me pose this question to you, can humans fly?  A few days back, I saw a music video where a man was passing above the canopies of vast forests like a bird on caffeine, dipping into valleys and rising above mountain tops, all done with the aid of a rocket pack.  Although it takes a hefty piece of technology and plenty of fuel to do it, the answer to the question is hell yes, humans can fly (with the aid of a jet pack!)

What about those monks in the Himalayas who sit in freezing temperature in thin robes without feeling a chill, or that boy who sat in a deep state of meditation for four years without sustenance?  And have you heard about that disabled man who paints with his feet?  Or the doctor who cooks and feeds the homeless?  Big or small, examples are all around us though at times fear, conditioning and personal strife hold us back from seeing the beauty.