Featured poet

Kylie Borg

I was born in Adelaide, Australia and was lucky enough to have a passion at young age. I was ‘no prodigy’, but knew I was going to be a musician. I have since played music professionally for 35 years, in many genres.

Dad was a hotel manager and we lived literally in the car park. But life was privileged in that I would come home from Brownies, change into ‘high heels’ and play percussion with the band, every Friday and Saturday, from 10-12 years old.

I started playing piano for weddings with my own trio at 15. At 16, I joined Australia’s ‘first all female rock band’ as keyboard player / vocalist, and had the kind of recording success, media and touring lifestyle most musicians dream of. I was young, and the lifestyle seemed glamorous - but it wasn’t really. The more successful we became, the more we were ‘walked and talked' into being something manufactured. The leader of the group was a controlling, hard business woman - and at 40, no agent would cross her. At 17, I wasn’t about to either.

I was never a ‘rock ‘n' roller’ at heart and didn’t like the lifestyle - so I eventually left at 19 to join another band, and began teaching piano. I was always a spiritual seeker, so went from a ‘rock 'n' roll life’ on the road, to ‘self realisation’ meditation practices and study. At 21, I quit smoking and drinking, married a musician, had the house and dog, our own bands and home teaching studios.

I continued to play as keyboard player for an 80’s cover band. We were a six-piece outfit with great harmonies. They were all older musicians, and I learnt to pull up my bootstraps and be ‘one of the boys’. In the 80’s, clubs had shows with comedians and singers - and we would back the artists. With a quick read-through of charts and 'count it in’, we were on. Over seven years, and some memorable failures, I learnt to sight-read well. We were resident at five major clubs in Sydney over this time, with great peer respect in the industry. After 10 years, I began to freelance - playing in bands, clubs and at functions - and formed my own jazz trio. It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I began to play solo piano /vocal in Sydney's five-star hotels' piano bars.

While continuing to play full time, I returned to classical piano studies to gain a diploma in piano teaching, after which I decided it would be good to see some of the world with my musician husband before having a family. I was now 27. So we spent three months travelling overseas through Europe, the UK and Egypt. On return, I went through a divorce and began again.

This opened a spiritual thirst, and I immersed myself in ‘new age spirituality’. I quested and soaked up retreats, workshops, travel and experiences in ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’, while carrying on playing professionally and teaching from home. I followed Tony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within) and travelled to Hawaii from Australia three times, to do Mastery University. I didn’t have the money - I just knew I had to go. I sold stuff, I saved for over a year - and the third time I got a loan, that took five years to pay off. I wanted to be the best I could be and experience all that life has to give. I had firewalked three times and felt like I didn’t get it. Of course, life unfolds through its seasons and the journey goes on.

In 1992 I travelled again to America, where I had lessons with various jazz piano masters. I was considering studying in America, as I knew other female piano players who had done exactly that. I was still hungry, pursuing the endless goal of becoming ‘more’. After years of carrying a carload of equipment, in and out of venues, the idea of travel and playing - with grand pianos and PA’s provided - seemed like a dream worth having.

In 1995, I had an invitation (a call from an agent, actually) to play in China for three months in a German hotel piano bar, The Catstango. The day I had that call, I brushed an enormous black spider off my shoulder, into the bath. I'd felt something on my back. It must have crawled up my skirt from the outside laundry (that’s suburban Australia for you!). Spiders have remained significant ‘way shower’ symbols for me ever since.

The contract in Bejing was extended and I ended up being there for a year and a half. Subsequently, I spent five years playing solo in hotel piano bars in Kuala Lumpur, Japan, Cambodia, Oman and Dubai. I was living my dreams and being paid for it, while having the most incredible spiritual life experiences. Having saved some money, I ended up travelling through Tibet and then extensively around China. Of course It wasn’t all as glamourous as it sounds, and there were many times in between contracts where I stayed in backpackers' lodgings. In 1997, I had months in Sydney waiting for the next contract, having previously had all my home contents put in storage, which was there for eight years.

In 1999, While In Oman, I met an Englishman and ended up moving to Kent, in the UK. I continued to play solo on cruise ships, and in hotel piano bars in Germany - and I came and went. Finally I had an ‘angel kick in the butt’ and went ‘kicking and screaming’ at the peak of my career, having developed vocal nodules. I was continually hoarse and couldn’t do what I’d spent my life pursuing; it was a rude interruption. I was already interested in ‘sound healing’ and learnt to ‘overtone’, to heal the nodules. This took me into the world of sound as a vibrational healing tool, and I immersed myself in learning from pioneers in this field in the UK. I continued to study and expand in the areas of energy healing, and became a ‘Vortex Divine Energy Healing’ practitioner - mostly for my own development.

Having started again, I spent 13 years living in Kent, teaching piano and voice in schools and privately. I also ran ‘inner voice’ workshops, to help others express themselves vocally. In 2013, I moved to Kettering to share a life and re-start my business - but after 3½ years, I once again experienced the unexpected and unwelcome change that comes from chaos: the unwanted growth spurt; ‘the dark night of the soul’; the fear that comes from uncertainty with its self-imposed limitations; and not knowing where to go or how to go forward. It's something we all go through at times, in greater and lesser degrees - and I'd have given anything for it to stop.

Like most people I prefer comfort to uncertainty and fear. It seemed my previous adventures and risks were carefully chosen and considered. But stuck in fear and self limitation, the old ‘mental stories’ replayed themselves. Though I have lived many dreams and did achieve what I wanted to do, I followed my dreams and passion. That was then. This is now. I feel tired of striving and struggling to recreate yet again. Being self employed, I've started from scratch more than a few times. Everything I did on my own.

However, while writing this, I realise that I’ve always followed threads of inspiration - and that through and beyond the darkest times of pain, it has always led to something new, something more, something greater, eventually. Getting through it and beyond it has been necessary to grow, to expand, to become even more of the Self that’s there. I feel such a slow learner of trust, but now it's time to put trust and faith into action, and be willing to surrender and follow the threads - the ‘breadcrumbs’ of inspiration - into action once more. A whole new life is beckoning.

It seems that we are all - individually, collectively and globally - experiencing chaos, change and the pain and uncertainty that comes from it. I ask: 'what else is possible?' What more can I / we be? What else is there beyond our limitation of who, what, where and when we think we are? What is it that we do know? What else are we willing to unfold and meet within ourselves and with each other? What else is waiting for us to step into?

I’m only just glimpsing now, that a new leap of faith is necessary. Letting go of the old ways, the old patterns of thinking and limiting self talk. A new trust, to risk into a bright, bold, colourful, new possibility. This time, with ease, co-creation and a return to Joy.

» visit Kylie's website


Ni Hao Beijing

Ni Hao Beijing means 'Hello Beijing' - and I wrote this song about my experiences there in 1996. It was a time of 24 hour building and commercial expansion in China. In the lyrics 'duo' means 'yes' and 'shere shere' means 'thank you' in Mandarin.

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Long Distance

This song was written during my time in China and travelling, about long distance relationship.

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