Drumming with the First Nations

On June 15th and 16th I was asked to facilitate two drumming sessions for First Nations. The first circle was for all women and the second circle was for all men. The first day arrived and the women gathered to drum. There was apprehension at first but as the circle progressed the women became empowered and joyful. After each round of drumming there was such laughter and connection. It was playful and so present. The women really got to experience their community in a visceral way. At the end of the session we had a talking circle and the women really opened up about their personal stories, and how glad they were that they came. They all shared that the drumming was healing and a great stress reliever.

The next day was the men’s circle. The difference in the way the men approached it was incredible! Such strength and power in their drumming, and all in unison! They were able to see and understand first hand that the drum connects them to their past, to their ancestors, and gets them to be present. The drum also helped them to connect to their future by sending and intention to their children. The circle was to honor all of the Father’s who were present and who have walked before them. It was a powerful gathering.

Two very different circles, but the outcome was the same, people who come together to drum find exactly what they need!

Written by Jamie Gorewheel

What can I do?

I was given the opportunity to bring a group of women together to facilitate a rhythm cradle evening for them. Some had drummed before, some had not, and two women had even participated in the Rhythm Cradle before. There were eight ladies present for the event and it happens with three rounds of giving and receiving support healing and nurturing from the group. They were numbered off for the three rounds and I knew during the last round there would only be two women to receive. I had a plan for the empty chair for round three. Rounds one and two came and went and then it was time for round three. Instead of removing the empty chair I said lets keep it there. I asked them to drum over that chair to represent everyone affected by the devastating fires at Fort Mac. It gave them a chance to do something, like a prayer in action. We silenced the drumming and began the hands on giving of support. We all continued to send our intentions to that space on the empty chair. Our compassion as a group was there in its fullest not only for the women who were receiving, but also for the space we created to send our love to Fort Mac people. At the end of the drumming we had a sharing circle. One of the women said how precious the action of drumming over the empty chair was for her. She expressed how sad and heavy she had been feeling to see the loss and struggle of her fellow Albertans. The action of drumming gave her a way to process the feelings she had been having.

Find ways to take action!

Written by Jamie Gore

Teacher’s Drumming For Wellness

 

Teachers and staff came together at their Professional Development day with a drum circle.  Many of them had no idea what to expect when they came into it. How could drumming be a way to Wellness? Also how could drumming be an effective way to demonstrate a sense of team? As the time progressed the answers started to become clear. They were drumming so well together, listening to one another, playing together, speeding up and slowing down together, and recognizing that each of them had an important role to play in the group, even the tiniest egg shakers. Everyone’s ‘voice’ matters, and they needed to listen to one another to make their group song. All levels of musicality were respected, from the beginners, to the experienced drummers, and each person felt heard and valued. They were given an opportunity to lead one another, and this really demonstrated their unique personalities and approach to leadership. Not to mention that this was a great time, full of engagement and camaraderie. All of these elements are the same key elements that it takes to be a part of a successful team.
Here are some quotes from the teachers regarding their impressions of drumming before and after:

“To be quite honest I was quite skeptical. But shortly after everything got started we all really got into it. I was surprised that everyone was so involved!”
“It was great to see how people came in and seemed so reserved, and as it went on you could watch them open up and become very engaged.”

Many of the teachers were surprised that the experience was stress relieving as well. Here are some of the quotes directly from the teachers:

“I had no idea this would be so relaxing.”
“I did not realize how much stress I was holding onto, until I started drumming.”
“This experience really showed the balance of loud and soft, and the importance and value of silence. You could really feel how palpable silence is after a loud drumming round.”
“I normally like my classroom to be quiet, so it was interesting that I was okay with the noise in the drum circle.”

Find out what messages the drum circle has for your team, and how it could benefit them! If you have a workplace that would like to drum contact us today!
Written by
Jamie Gore

 

What makes a successful Drum Circle?

I run a regular drumming program for adults with disabilities and have had some of the participants coming regularly for over a year. Yesterday (April 11th) we had our first of a nine week session and I asked the group to tell me some of the reasons why they like the drum circle. Many great answers came up, one lady said she likes the drumming program because it helps her with her anxiety.
Another man said, “You guys are like my other family.” That one nearly brought tears to my eyes.
They feel equal, heard, valued, and respected in the one hour session we create together each week. As their facilitator, I focus on what is going well in the circle, and celebrate the things that are going right, instead of seeing the misbeats as mistakes. They all bring their best effort, and some of them never actually play on beat, but that is not why we are there!
At the beginning of the session, when I was signing everyone in, a lady arrived that did not have a disability, and she was not an aid either. She had paid for the program and was under the impression that is was just a drum circle! Well, I welcomed her! It was a risk! At about the half way point of the session I approached her to see what her thoughts were, as this is clearly an adapted program for adults with a disability. She said, “If you would let me stay I will, because I love drumming and this is such a great experience. This is bringing a smile to my face! You mentioned that everyone here is welcome and equal and I would like to keep coming.”
My heart was so pleased to hear her say that!!! A truly great day of drumming!

Written by

Jamie Gore
images

Why do you drum? Reflections on a Rhythm Lodge

iStock_000005095291Large

 

Why do you drum??  

Most people do not have and answer to that question as it is their first time drumming let alone in a circle of people!

At the end of a drum circle my hope is that they have an answer to the question, and they decide to return to a drum circle again. The answers can be as varied as the people who show up. At the first drum circle a person experiences they may have one answer such as ‘this could be a fun time’! But if they choose to attend once again their answer may change. Drumming has the power to literally impact all areas of your life, especially in community. It is a way to bring about a sense of well being and harmony inside and out. Regular drumming can certainly become a practice for people to integrate into their life to bring balance, stress relief and even peace. Not to mention the original answer, pure fun!

On April 3rd I was able to bring people together for a drumming experience called the Rhythm Lodge.  I asked people to introduce themselves and tell us what brought them to the event. Answers were so varied: for friendship, community, healing, and even to have an experience that would help to bring a sense of grounding and getting right into the body. It was a great experience to share with these people, and each of the participants was able to find what they were looking for, and maybe find some things they did not expect! It is always so special when people are surprised at what can happen.

A close friend of mine has found the drumming to be instrumental in his life. There are many individuals that find their way to a drum circle that have had their entire life affected in a positive way. The rhythm has rippled out to influence all aspects of their life, mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual. It will take a person as far as they would like to go!

So, Why do YOU drum?
Written by Jamie Gore

We Are All Equal

“We are all Equal & Unique”

Spring Equinox, Saturday March 19, 2016

ALL OVER THE WORLD, every year on March 19, 20 or 21, depending on where you are on the earth, day and night are equal!  I love this because it is a visceral experience of our equality.  In a drum circle two of the most important ingredients to  its success are sitting in a circle to indicate our equality, and contributing our unique rhythms from our individuality.  All humans are made of equal value, and uniquely created to be ourselves contributing to the whole.  We all have gifts and unique ways to experience our authentic JOY while here on earth.

YOUR PURPOSE
I have come to believe that our purpose here is quite simple; it is to be ourselves, to experience as much authentic joy as we can, to be happy, and in doing that we are automatically of service to mankind, and to our mother earth as well.   When I’m happy, I am doing what I do best, and that is offering my best to the world.  What could be a better purpose than that!  No, this is not selfish, it is smart.  I know you can’t always be doing exactly what you love, the dishes still need to be washed and the ditches dug.  But, if you love home and family, or being in nature, these two tasks can actually be joyful while contributing to what needs to be done to make this world work! 

YOUR NEW BEGINNING
The equinox is also about new beginnings.  Like a seed planted, it needs moisture, nutrients and sunlight to germinate and grow.  What in you is being planted right now.  How are you going to water, feed it to help it to grow?

Go outside on Saturday and enjoy the equality of the daylight, and the moonlight, and be grateful for every human being on this earth and the uniqueness they bring.  Celebrate your uniqueness and the diversity of what we all contribute to this world.  In these times of upheaval and change we need ways to connect not separate, to celebrate now berate.  Meditate on what is being planted in you this spring, and reflect on how you are going to take good care of that new idea so that it can grow and become your gift to the world, and your unique expression.  Joy will naturally be the outcome. 

Come drum when you can, regularly to be reminded that your joy is your purpose! Here are some facts on the equinox for you science lovers!

Written by Judy Atkinson

                                                                                                                                                        

Why is it Called “Equinox”?

On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”. However, in reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12  hours of daylight.

What Happens on the Equinox?

The Earth’s axis is always tilted at an angle of about 23.4° in relation to the ecliptic, the imaginary plane created by the Earth’s path around the Sun. On any other day of the year, either the Southern Hemisphere or the Northern Hemisphere tilts a litte towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the tilt of the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays.

Celebrating new Beginnings

The March equinox has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth in the Northern Hemisphere. Many cultures celebrate spring festivals and holidays around the March equinox, like Easter and Passover.

Source:  http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/march-equinox.html

march-equinox-illustration

Culture and Drumming

I had the honor of drumming with some Japanese students on their visit to Canada. Twelve drum circles over the course of three days. Intense! Each group was a class of 25 students all learning the English language. They were visiting Canada and came out to Canmore area to spend time in the Canadian Rockies. They spent one of their days out at Boundary Ranch and were able to participate in four amazing experiences. Dream catcher making, dog sledding, snow shoeing and a drum circle!

The drum circle was a highlight of their time, for both myself and them. Each group had their own gifts to bring to the circle, but as the workshops went on I began to notice and appreciate the culture of the Japanese people. Some of the things I noticed were, a deep respectful nature, a real focus on attention to detail, and getting the rhythms just right, and how the girls played so softly, and the boys played as loud as they could! By the end of the circles they were having so much fun and really getting into the synergy of drumming together.

On the last day the youth were clearly all needing some space to just relax, they had been having such a full week already. The first group to come through was practically falling asleep on their drums! I was thinking that the rest of the groups would be the same. But you can never really know what to expect, so I stayed open for the next group. To my surprise they were FULL of zest! This group absolutely loved the drum circle. They loved it so much that they asked to come back on their lunch break to have a spontaneous drum circle. I let them get into it on their own, without facilitation. This spontaneous drumming was so joyful and free, and it was exactly what any facilitator hopes to see. They were using all the skills I had shown them in their facilitated drum circle, and it drew a crowd of the other students to share in the joy.

Our drum circles are not specific to one culture, and it really shows that everyone in the human race can come together with the drum, it is a language all on its own. We overcame the boundary of language, and created true communication without words.  We created such a memorable experience for these teens, that they will bring back and remember for the rest of their lives.

I am so excited to work with them again next year already!!

Written by
Jamie Gore

Eight Drum Circles, Five days

Written by, Jamie Gore

What an amazing life this is, to be able to bring people together with a drum circle! Each group I get to work with is SO different, there are so many reasons to drum together!
Here is a snapshot of the last week for me:

Drum circle one: A daughter and her father and mother have been attending a very special set of drum circles, at Wellspring, as her father is living with cancer. She knew how much her father has benefited from this drumming that she decided to surprise him with a birthday celebration circle. She got together with her brother and they rounded up all the people that are special to her father to surprise him. We were all ready and waiting for him to arrive. With tears in his eyes he realized that the circle was there for him. What a special experience for him to share with his loved ones!
Drum circle two: Later that day I came to the home base drum circle, the community drum circle that happens every Friday night. The energy and connection is amazing, and the folks that come bring me such joy! It truly is an anchor point in my week.
Drum circle three: Saturday arrives and it is time to facilitate the drum circle for people who are going through cancer and their caregivers at Wellspring. The circle was session five out of six and an absolutely deep and so healing.
Drum circle four: Sunday evening, Rhythm Lodge. This was the first time I was ever to facilitate our rhythm lodge. I was so excited to do so! The people that attend are able to experience drumming in a deeper healing intentional way. With focus and intention, the frame drums work their magic. A special evening for me. I absolutely loved to do this.
Drum circles five and six: A regular program, two drum circles back to back on Monday afternoon for adults with disabilities. These participants get to drum weekly for nine weeks. It is so special for me and I know it is for them as well.  They get to come and be part of something greater than themselves, and they are seen for who they are, NOT THEIR DISABILITY. I asked them to tell me something that stresses them out, and one lady’s answer brought me to tears. “When someone sees me as my down syndrome, I feel like a total failure, that stresses me out.” I told her that I see her as who she is and not her as down syndrome. The drum circle is a place where they are seen and heard, equal and human.

Drum circle seven: Monday night I facilitated a drum circle at a women’s shelter called Sonshine. These women are coming out of a domestic violence situation. Drumming with these women is yet another gift for me. In the first round of drumming every time I stopped drumming they would all immediately stop as well. It took several times to encourage them it was okay to keep going even if I stood up! They were very timid and shy in the beginning. One participant was absolutely disconnected from the beat of the group. She was almost connected by the end of the session. It shows through the music, that with tenderness and support there will be healing. Giving a woman a drum to play and letting her know that it can be a way to communicate is very empowering for her. This was the first drum circle of a new monthly program that we have worked to create at Sonshine!

Drum circle eight: Tuesday afternoon, I was so excited to be able to facilitate a very special drum circle at the residence of Judy’s parents! Judy asked me to fill in for her as she is having a health issue, and what an honor to do so! The lodge had never had drumming before, and forty seniors showed up ready to give this new experience a go! They all had a super time, as did I! Judy’s parents got to see the person that Judy brought under her wing. As the eighth drum circle came to a close, I took a deep breath and noticed, Yes I am physically tired in this moment, but this work is so fulfilling and rewarding spiritually. NOW time to recharge!!
Judy has taught me so much, and she is always there to hear how things went after each circle. I feel very lucky to call this my vocation, and am truly grateful that Judy has brought me in to this work at Circles of Rhythm.
On a side note: This business is rhythmical and it has ebbs and flows. As I write this article I am happy to know that after a flow there is an ebb, and I have the chance to recharge before our next surge of drum circles! I take each day as it comes, and happily look forward to my next DRUM MARATHON!

IMG_1262

Message from the sand!

I noticed this morning when I was doing my walking meditation  on the
beach that with every step forward, a little bit of sand collected on
the top of my big toe, and was kicked forward landing rhythmically on
the sand just a little bit in front of me. I also noticed that what I
was leaving behind were cute steady footprints in the sand. This
sounds ridiculously simple but what it was for me is a metaphor for
being in the past, the present and the future all in the same moment.

So as my foot hit the ground I was in the present,  solidly here and
now.  And at the same moment I was leaving a trail of footprints
behind me, as a mark that my presence was noted in the sand. Then, as
I kicked the little bits of sand forward, I reached into the future,
not too far, but just enough to see that I was coming and that my
presence was moving forward.

A simple but beautiful metaphor during my beachwalk meditation to
share with our community this Friday.

Be in the present but keep an eye on the pas,t knowing that you have
made an impact. Also know that as you step forward in your life, the
future is just a little bit in front of you. Just as far as you can
kick the send naturally walking at gentle pace. This is as far ahead
is you need to plan or see when you’re living your life in the present
at a gentle steady pace moving forward.

Keep a steady rhythm especially in in these difficult times. Every day
get regular rest, exercise, eat well, drink fresh water, try to enjoy
and appreciate your work, meditate,  love your peeps, and play even
just a little every day.

And finally it was also interesting to note that the footprints I left
behind and the bits of sand I kicked forward were almost immediately
washed away by the waves. The impact I’ve made and will make in the
future are real for this moment but also temporary. Like the seasons,
a good meal or a beautiful sunny day, all things including my life
will eventually come to an end. So I’m left with the deep gratitude
for each step forward that I  have made so far, for the mistakes made
and the lessons learned. And I’m also looking forward with childlike
anticipation to what is yet to come.

I’m learning to live between the beats and notice the small but
special messages as they come by! How about you?IMG_2159