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Letting Go of Shame

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Once a month a local women’s shelter has a therapeutic drum circle. This program has been gaining momentum and appreciation from the women who live there, and on Monday October 17th we had the largest turnout yet! The women who have been attending monthly are so excited and cannot wait for the next circle. 

Some women have just moved in to the shelter and are absolutely STRESSED to the max. The struggles that they are facing are huge. The drum circle is a safe welcoming place and they quickly realize that they can breathe a little deeper. Faces soften and smiles begin to appear.

 After about twenty minutes of drumming I suggested we create some rhythms and have some intentional rounds of drumming. For the first round I asked them if there was one thing they would like to let go of. After a pause, one woman suggested, “Shame.” Everyone unanimously agreed that would be something amazing to let go of. We created a rhythm, ‘Letting go of Shame.’ and drummed together with that phrase running through our minds. I suggested to entertain the question, “Who would you be without the shame?” 

We came to silence and it was time to create our second rhythm.”What would you like to drum up more of?” Again a pause, and the same woman said, “Love.” Another woman said, “You have to love yourself first.” Isn’t that the truth! We drummed for love with the phrase ‘drumming up the love’ in our minds.

At the end of the circle I was packing up the drums and a staff person came to me and said, “Every single woman that came out of that room was radiant and smiling! Not sure what you did in there but it was clearly remarkable.”

 

Written by
Jamie Gore

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Alberta Aphasia Camp, Drumming For Wellness

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On Sunday September 18th, 2016,The Department of Sciences and Disorders from the University of Alberta held a summer camp for people living with a brain injury and surviving and thriving with a condition known as Aphasia. They asked Circles of Rhythm to attend and facilitate a drumming session. In years past one of our affiliates from the Edmonton area had done this for them, but he was not available this year. Upon arriving at the camp the day before I was met with much anticipation for the drum circle. Everyone was excited for the event, it was the highlight of the camp for most everyone. One individual in particular was very exuberant and ready to drum.

The morning arrived and the setting was amazing. Drumming in an enclosure with a view of the lake. Everyone began to drum and the sound was incredible. What a surprise! I have long ago let go of what to expect from people, and am always so amazed at the capacity of people when they listen and play together, no matter what struggles they face. I spoke about the harmony we were creating and the impact it has on the disease in the body. The music of the drum circle brings the body into a state of wellness and balance of heart and mind. At one point in our drum circle many participants were teary eyed with grattitude for the time they were sharing together.

At the end of the circle the man that let me know how excited he was about the drumming approached me. He asked me if I had read a certain book that he was reading. I said yes. His response was I KNEW IT! He proceeded to tell me that he had started to read the book before he had his stroke and the message did not mean anything to him. Now that he had this condition this book meant so much more to him. He had found the messages I delivered to be in alignment with the books meaning for him. The title of the book is ‘Conversations with God.’

He had been seeking the truth outside of himself for years. The stroke had changed his entire perspective on life, and he found that the truth was in him all along. The drum circle was a way for him to connect to that which he knew to be true.

Written by Jamie Gore

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Women’s Shelter, Drumming Making a Difference

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For the last year Circles of Rhythm has been offering a therapeutic drumming program at a local women’s shelter. The women are not obligated to attend, so at times there are only two participants. Even when two women show up we carry on and have a lovely evening. The circle in July was special because we had five women attend, some returning and some new ladies! A staff person is always present during these sessions, to be support, to witness and to be there in case of emotional crisis. On this particular circle it was this support person’s third drum session with me, so she had witnessed and grown accustomed to drumming, and could see that these circles were very beneficial for the women.
At the end of the session the following day I received this from her. With permission I am sharing this communication, she had sent this to her boss to speak about her experience in our drum circle:

I just have to let you know that drumming group last night was awesome!  It was everything a group should be and more!  We had 5 participants. I actually had to turn one lady away because she was a last minute sign up and we couldn’t accommodate anymore children in childcare.  

The group was asked to choose 2 words to think about while drumming , something to discard in their lives and something they would like to receive in their lives.   It was unanimous, the drumming themes were: “ getting rid of anger “ and “ bringing in the money”.   Following that,  each participant took a turn in being the “receiver”, in which one person sits in a chair and the rest of the group walks around them playing a drum or percussion instrument.  The idea is to receive healing from the group.   Afterwards each “receiver” spoke about what they felt.   At the end of the drumming class a drum stick was placed in the middle of the floor and used as a “talking stick”.   Each lady spoke about what they could do to bring more happiness into their lives.   Finally we all stood in a circle , held hands and choose one word to describe how we were feeling, the words spoken were, “happy, good, and….. like skipping”.

I cannot stress enough the positive and healing energy in the room.  I know each lady felt it because they expressed it verbally.  The group went 5 minutes over and the ladies still were not ready to leave.  They left on an emotional high and wanting more.  I feel deeply that the participation last night is evidence that our ladies can and will share in a group setting.   I know all of us are trying to educate the ladies to “buy in” on why we run groups as part of our program, how trauma affects the brain and how these groups can be incredibly healing and fun.

I also have to credit Jamie Gore our drumming group facilitator who demonstrated excellent skills in maintaining control and flow of the group throughout the evening.  Jamie was very creative, flexible and shared on a personal level, which created a safe and fun environment for our ladies.”

 

Written by Jamie Gore

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Is Circles of Rhythm A Good Thing?

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Judy received this incredible feedback from a gentleman. He was responding to her ensure that she is aware of the impact she and her team of facilitators and volunteers have had on his life. Sometimes in life we question if we are making a difference, and when we receive recognition like this, we can step back and say, “Thank-you, universe for giving me that chance to live my purpose here.”

I wanted to drop you a line regarding the comment you made last night concerning someone or some community of people suggesting that you were not providing a good or valued service. Perhaps it was that you were not in keeping with some drumming “standard” as you did not elaborate on the matter too much. I found the thought of this deeply disturbing as this attack could not be further from the truth both for the organization and for you personally. Given the above I would like to share with you what you and your program means to me as it is not anything like the feedback you experienced from those others.

I first encountered you and your drumming team at a workshop during the New Thought Conference in June and was amazed at how easily I was able to transform from a very anxious state to that of engagement with a group vibrating in energy as one. Not only did my anxiety subside to the point that I no longer wanted to “bolt” and leave the conference but I now felt a part of it and was much more comfortable with the entire group and individuals. The experience was transforming right in that moment and the lingering positive effects carried me through the entire 3 day conference. One of the other beautiful things was that there was a “knowing” positive energy between the participants of your drumming circle that shone in the eyes and sprit of those that experienced it along with me and that too was evident all weekend.

Further to that initial experience I sought out your organization and found your Friday Evening Circle of Rhythm held in Inglewood and promptly began going to these every available Friday. These have become an integral part of my spiritual growth, personal emotional enhancement, addiction recovery and perhaps the most significant….a sense of actually belonging and fitting in with others. Your 2 hour session of drumming mixed with meditation and spiritual concepts is the perfect blend of powerful healing and growth energy, action and thought and each time I participate I am renewed, restored and energized in a way like no other activity I know of. This has become such an important component in my life that I have encouraged several friends and family to join me on Fridays and each time I am so rewarded to see that they too are able to both give and receive the magnificent gift that your drumming circle provides.

Surely I speak the words of many souls in saying that you specifically and your team provide one of the most incredibly spiritually connective programs available. The evidence is so very clear to support this statement just by looking at ones neighbour while drumming or witnessing the deep moving energy of those in the healing circle, or the passion and sincerity of the drummers on the hand drums beating a rhythm of love and compassion for the benefit of others.

I implore you not to take council from anyone who believes that you, your organization or the format is not appropriate, beneficial, healing and a magnificent gift for all that participate. As I see it these negative thoughts must stem from complete ignorance of what you truly provide to a very large community. Please, keep doing what you are doing, continue to bestow this incredible experience on all that love and follow you.”

To all the drummers on the path of life, thank-you for being a part of the change we wish to bring about in this world.
Circles of Rhythm Team
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Drumming with the First Nations

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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

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What can I do?

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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

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Teacher’s Drumming For Wellness

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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

 

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What makes a successful Drum Circle?

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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
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Why do you drum? Reflections on a Rhythm Lodge

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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

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