Culture and Drumming

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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

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Eight Drum Circles, Five days

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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!

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Message from the sand!

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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

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Living the Dream!

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Yep, I sure am!  Just wanted to say to you all to go for your dreams.  Don’t wait, don’t procrastinate, excuse or justify, go for what you want now.  One step at a time, slow or fast, but dream, design, dare and do!

I had a dream of running my own business, one that offered inspirational, healing and community building events and experiences, a business that was an authentic expression of who I am, and one that I would enjoy running.  Enter Circles of Rhythm!

I also wanted to do work that would feed my bank account and also my hearts longing to make a positive difference in the world.  I also wanted a business that I could mentor and guide others to eventually share the responsibilities with so that I could get away in the winter, and work part time as I aged.  Voila, Circles of Rhythm, Jamie, Julien and an amazing volunteer team to boot!

Here I am in Hawaii for a month, and planning another trip before the winters end. I’m looking forward to some cross country skiing, ice skating and tobogganing when I get back, to enjoying winter immensely, and to getting back to my tribe, all of you.

I received an email from a friend yesterday informing me that a mutual friend’s health is failing and it does not look promising.  This woman is younger than me, did everything “right” re healthy lifestyle and good stress management, living a balanced and deeply spiritual life, and is still dying of cancer.

Make hay while the sun shines people!  Don’t wait to live your dream until the kids grow up, or until your mortgage is paid off, or until you lose weight or, or, or….  First step is to have a dream, or many dreams, and next is to take steps towards them.  It is January of 2016, what do you want to be able to say you accomplished in the direction of your life’s dreams by January 2017?

Aloha!

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Humble Pie ANYONE?

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Humble pie anyone? Today I was to facilitate a very special group of people. All of these people’s lives have been touched by something in common. Cancer. The drumming today was the first of a six-week session for these survivors and their caregivers. I was on my way and pulling up to the site when I got a phone call. ‘Hello is this Jamie? Are you aware that there is drumming today at Wellspring?’ I reply with a yes. The volunteer proceeded to let me know that the program was to begin at 1:00 and it was now ten minutes past one. My understanding was that it was to run from 2-4pm!


Oh my goodness what has happened! My first reaction was to be upset. This is the fist time in the six years that I have been facilitating drum circles that I am late. As I was scrambling to get the drums inside, I really needed to stay calm and centered. This was not the time to be in a tizzy about being late. There were twenty people waiting patiently in the room for me. One of the participants had brought a drum and had stepped in to keep everyone entertained with a clapping rhythmical game. We got the drums in and everyone had a drum to play and I was in the center to commence. I started off this session in a way that would assist me to get centered. I encouraged everyone to focus on the breath. I immediately was able to let go of my judgement of myself for somehow dropping the ball with the start time and be fully present for the rest of the two hours. Life gave me the opportunity to LET GO and relax into the challenge. These people are facing a struggle of their life, and I have the gift of the drum circle to give to them. I could have spent the time wondering about where I went wrong, but instead I was able to come back to the present moment with the attention to one thing, my breath.


The rest of the session went incredibly smoothly and everyone had an amazing time, including myself. A participant shared with me that she had never experienced anything like this before. Her words were, This experience is more valuable than thousands of dollars of healing therapy.” What an amazing gift the drum circle is, for me and for these beautiful souls.


I took a few moments at the end of the session to sit in the room and feel the gratitude for the opportunity to bring this amazing tool of the drum circle to people, and to forgive myself for being late for the first time in six years. If life gives you the opportunity to judge yourself, take a deep breath and LET GO, and learn to be gentle with yourself.


If you or anyone you know is living with Cancer please follow this link to find out more about the amazing facility: Wellspring Calgary.


Today, I ate humble pie, and enjoyed it.
Written by Jamie Gore

Circles of Rhythm's photo.
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Ushering in a NEW year Welcome 2016!

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Christmas 2015 at Circles of Rhythm!

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The Rhythm of JOY was evident at all our Christmas and Winter Solstice events in 2015.  Our Staff Party, Karl Anthony’s magical Laser Light Concert, and plain old fun at our last drum circle all added up to one amazing season to remember.

Thank you to all my amazing volunteers, to Jamie and Julien for your talents and commitment to COR, and to the drum for its unconditional love shared far and wide through our circles throughout 2015.

Peace be with you all as you reflect and plan for a brand new year!  We love you!

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Messages from a Team

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I was honored to facilitate a drum circle with the focus of team building for Fortis Alberta. They were a group of twelve, and it was clear from the beginning that they were an amazing team. We went through rounds of drumming to warm them up to their new tool, the drum, and to notice what it takes to make a drum circle work, and how that is comparable to making a team work! They had an amazing drum circle, full of rhythm and connection.  At the end of the session they were able to dialogue about how drumming is comparable to their work and what comparisons they could make. Here are some of the key messages they came up with as a TEAM

Messages from a Drum Circle

Timing! It is so important- knowing when to come in and when to step out. Know when to stop and when to start.

You cannot go full speed ahead all the time or you will burn out and be ineffective. You need to slow down sometimes as well.

If one person loses their beat, it can impact the entire group. The team keeps the work alive and supports one another to keep the rhythm going in sync. If one person needs a break, the group will keep the momentum going.

TRUST! Counting on one another! When you trust your colleagues it empowers them to do the best they can.

We are all equal, and partners, no one dominates in this group. It is very important in this organization, and each of us has our expertise to bring to the group.

It is so important to know both strengths and weaknesses in the group.

Consider bringing Circles of Rhythm into your workplace to bring your team messages out!
Written by Jamie Gore

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