Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remembering How to Drum

It is during the solstices, equinoxes and all the physical evidences of seasonal changes around me that I am reminded that we are all a part of a global and, ultimately, a universal rhythm. From even before conception our very existence is as a result of rhythm. Once conceived the rhythms of a mothers heartbeat (and even emotional rhythms) have both direct impact and direct implications to the fact we now must simply remember.

Whether considering interpersonal relationships where emotions have their own rhythms, to the walk in the forest where the creaking of trees in the wind, or their branches moving back and forth in rhythmic movement, rhythm is all around us.

In my experience the key to celebrating and stepping into this is to first learn to "recognize" this.

Any drummer will tell you that they spend a lot of time recognizing patterns… beginning with the reorganization of our recognition receptors to the point of seeing/ feeling that there ARE patterns around us before even getting to the patterns themselves. With this mindset we start to look at the world around us differently and with more appreciation. We tend to look at life differently as well, and see that all things are natural patterns, even to birth, life, death, and rebirth again.

Drumming is Pathwork.

Drumming is recognizing your place in the rhythmic continuum of existence.

Drumming is a celebration of that "Experiential Understanding" of this concept.

When we begin to drum from "Experience" we realize that drumming is merely "remembering".

When we do a Circle of Eight's where a particular piece of percussion begins on the first, second, third, forth, etc., etc. beat, and after X-amount of measures everyone strikes the same beat, we "Experientially understand" the inter-connectivity of everything through rhythm… the very rhythm we are born with. This is good to understand, especially when we are challenged with walls and borders that often come up in life whether related to interpersonal, social, economic, geo-political, or any other challenges. We find that the reality of things are that there is a meeting place in any chaotic stream of events… there is an "event horizon" where all things meet and connect.

Some might say "well, I am not a drummer" (often as they are tapping their pens, or wiggling their leg. The fact is, we are all drummers. We are all percussionists. We are all masters of rhythm as our very heartbeats, our breathing patterns, the gate in which we walk along, the subconscious rhythm we use and the order in which we grab for razors, toothbrushes, makeup, etc. in the morning all demonstrate this simple fact.

That fact is that we are all drummers.

It has been said that even "the Creator" loves drums so much that he gave us each a heartbeat so that it would be within us at all times.

We celebrate this fact when we pick up a drum, shaker, etc. and, even with a simple beat, carry a tradition older than time itself. We celebrate this fact every time we begin drumming at a different pace or rhythm and others start following along. Drumming causes change, and change causes evolutionary process that no human can stop.

The local drum circles in Tuolumne County every Wednesday night, and now in Calaveras County every Monday night, are venues for which to explore world drumming. There are always an assortment of drums, rattles, etc. to borrow, but many bring their own drums (whether Djembe, Native American drums, or as we saw last Wednesday, an overturned garbage can). Sometimes a flute or didgeridoo makes its way into the venue.

We will be offering a drum making class, and soon a rattle/shaker making class.

However the point is that it is really healthy, healing, and just a powerful experience to step into the natural rhythms of the world around through world instruments, through hand to skin on the drum head, and through celebration of the most primal, instinctual experience there is.

Even if you choose not to partake in a drum circle, consider these things next time you walk your dog, or the next time you walk in the forest, or drive your car. Recognizing the inner drummer in yourself is to recognize the potential in yourself to change the very rhythms around you for good or ill.

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