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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 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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We Are All Equal

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“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

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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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