A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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139. On Accidents of Birth

There is nothing like travel to give you a bit of perspective on life and my recent tour of Rajasthan, India, was no exception. It was our fifth day on the road and, leaving Jodhpur, the six of us - four travellers, our guide and our driver - set off in our little bus along the road towards our next stop, a village called Bhenswara. We were all a little tired and hot and dusty and were grateful to settle back into our seats and wait for the air conditioning to take effect. Looking out of the window, the land was flat, rocky, barren. Skinny cows wandered aimlessly along the road, sometimes settling themselves down for a rest in the middle. Goats foraged for what little sustenance was on o

138. The Case for Being Present

Some people rave about it, some people scoff at it - what is the truth about mindfulness and presence? There is often a trajectory when something new comes into fashion - I remember it with midi skirts in the seventies. For years we had all worn mini skirts and then, one day, I saw a girl I knew walking down the high street in a calf length skirt. If she had waltzed down the street naked it couldn't have had more of an impact. Heads turned, tongues wagged, but she walked calmly on, cool as you please. 'She was always a bit of a weird one,' said my mother, and I happily accepted her explanation for my discomfort. Of course, after a few months everyone was wearing them and they no longer