Drum Circles are Confessional Booths?

How is a Drum Circle like a Confessional Booth?


On my way home from a grueling three weeks at  an  ashram in India I, I stopped in France to visit my daughter. Immediately upon entering the Notre dame Cathedral in Paris I was overwhelmed with grace and couldn’circles_top_image_country.jpg’t stop the tears of pure joy from running down my face.   I felt as if I had come home, and knew that Hinduism was not my path, but that pure unconditional love was.

Interestingly, I was particularly drawn to the confessional booths along the side walls of these cathedrals.  They drew me in like gentle magnets, so I decided to sit in one for a while and rest.   I realized while sitting there, in that warm, dark private space, that confessing, expressing or telling  another human being out loud about your guilt, regrets, even shame is akin to a gift of freedom.  I have since come to know that this is also an important step in the healing process.

There is merit in the confessional booth, but the process needs to shift.  The keys are not being criticized, fixed or labeled as a bad, but being accepted as a human with frailty who makes mistakes.  Acceptance without comparison, condemnation or criticism but with, but with kindness and compassion is what makes this practice work.

The traditional confessional booths are long gone, thank goodness, however, there is still merit in the simple practice of sharing your misgivings or misdoings and fears with another or in a group.  Expressing your pain out loud and being able to do so without judgement  is critical to  the healing journey.

This is backed up by research and explored extensively by Dr. Brene Brown, the “shame expert” in her book The Gifts of Imperfection. After years of intense research she concludes that being vulnerable by sharing  your pain is a sure- fire path  to mental health and  emotional intimacy.

Interestingly in many first nations groups there is no word for “mistake”.  They have other words that mean, “missed  the mark” and they encourage each other to simply re-aim and try again.  No judgement, no shame, no sin,  just  compassion and unconditional love.

So what does this all have to do with the Drum Circle?

Therapeutic Drumming

Expressing your pain out loud and being able to do so without judgement, criticism or shame  is critical to the healing journey.

At a Circles of Rhythm Friday Night Drum Circle we offer you the opportunity to let go, shout out loud and release your pain in what we call the “Stress Release Round” or the “Tribal Scream”.   In this group practice you drum and use your voices together to release and let go as a group process.  It is powerful!   I truly believe that this practice is akin to the confessional booth, but much safer and more effective.  It is also cheaper than multiple visits to your therapist, although it might be a powerful combination and I highly recommend that you do both when you are in a time of transition or change.

Come see for yourself.  We meet EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT from 7-9pm at the Inglewood Community Hall.  It is only $15 and you will be provided with a drum to play.  The evening is professionally facilitated and a team of loving volunteers are there to help you feel at home.

I hope you will join us one Friday night soon.  You will walk away feeling freer, in joy and full of grace, as I did in France.  Peace to you on this amazing day.

Judy Atkinson
Founder Circles of Rhythm