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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get with the Beat…or Don’t

Tonight I’m going to the monthly drumming circle. I’ll take my tiny ceramic dhoumbek and my giant wood djembe and I’ll drum until my fingers and hands go numb.  And probably my mind too.

Why? one might ask….Because it is an intensely focused form of meditation for me and it has a number of benefits:

1.  It releases my pent up stresses.  I have a few.

2.  It lets my mind chill out and I can just go with the flow.

3.  I’ll sleep like a baby when I get home because I’ll be ultra relaxed.

4.  On Thursday, and for several days after, my focus will be crystal clear and my creativity expanded.

5.  It makes me feel good and happy.  I smile a lot, hum some while I’m drumming and it doesn’t cost a thing except some energy and getting to the group.

These are two great articles that talks about a number of serious studies of the health effects of drumming. 

drum-circle1 (1)
Drumming has a long history and has been found in many cultures across the world and in many timeframes.  The Celts use them, Native Americans use them, Africans use them, even the military uses them.  What would a parade or a football game halftime be without a drum line or drum break?  There are at least 50 different styles and types of drums currently in use around the world.

Now, I’m not fanatical about it.  It’s something I do once a month, sometimes every other month if there is nothing more pressing or of interest to do.  I have not rearranged my life around it.  I only know one or two “official” drum patterns and most of the time I can’t remember them.

As opposed to some circles I’ve drummed with, this particular one is made up of very clean people (literally, as well as in the psychotropic or pharmaceutical sense).  I’ve drummed with the “unwashed” fringe as they were sometimes referred to in another time and town.  But everywhere I’ve drummed, the people have treated me respectfully, accepted me and every other member into the group happily, and basically let each person do their own creative thing without trying to smash down anyone or limit their abilities.  In my mind, that’s pretty good company, whether they’ve taken a bath or not.

So, for a quick creative fix, this week, I’m opting for drumming.  It doesn’t matter whether I’m with the beat or doing my own thing.  In the end, no one cares and it all blends in fine anyway.  We’re just making music.