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Get Your Flu Shot in a Drum Circle?

Circles Of Rhythm - The Integrated Community Drum Circle - Calgary, AB - The #1 Community Drum Circle in Canada!

By:  Judy Atkinson

Living Well Between the Beats

Last Friday night I attended the first Circles of Rhythm drum circle in 2019 and the following quote, which was written after my very first drum circle in 1997, came to mind and became a reality once again:

“I walked into the drum circle sad and weary, I walked out on fire!”

The drums were beating, the lights were dimmed, hearts were opening and joy was in the air.  I closed my eyes and felt the skin of my drum; it was pulsating, physically moving to the heart beat of the circle, connected to every person there, to every hand, every heart. Everyone was engaging and involved whether listening, drumming, dancing or sitting quietly, everyone was giving and receiving in harmony, connected, ONE. 

Then it happened! Joy rushed through me like lightening.  It was electric; goosebumps raised every hair on my body and I was taken back to the feeling I had at my first drum circle so many years ago.  That feeling was one of hope, fearlessness, connection and pure unadulterated JOY!

This experience was a reminder that the drum circle is a place where I can go when I am sad, lonely or world-weary.  It is a place where I can go to have an actual in-the-body experience of hope for our seemingly falling down world; a place where I can let go of my own fear, worry and doubt for a while and just let the rhythm of those gathered hold me.  

Image taken @WUB_Gathering 2018 in Banff, AB

Circles of Rhythm drum circles are like flu shots providing an immune boost for hopeful thinking while counterbalancing the negativity in the news and media.  Over time the drum circle has helped me come to know deep down that the purpose of life is to live fully, to embrace it all, the good and the not so good, getting help and support when I need it, offering it when needed by others and truly enjoying the beauty of this earth and good times as they present themselves as well. 

“Years of attending drum circles has helped me to know that heaven on earth is not something to seek or to look for, it is something that comes through me when I allow it, notice it, and set myself up for it by putting myself in those places and with those people who know this too!”   –Judy Atkinson, Messenger of Joy

 So, let heaven come through you in 2019.  Stop trying so hard to feel good. It’s easy in a drum circle, you just have to show up as often as possible and get dose after dose of good medicine.  You will begin to know that goodness and harmony are not only possible but right here in front of you, pulsating through you wanting to be heard and acknowledged.   Joy is awaiting you in the drum circle, come get your flu shot, of joy regularly. 

See you in the circle!

Judy Atkinson, Founder: Circles of Rhythm

Author: The Drum Code, Living Well Between the Beats,403-862-5654

Judy Atkinson continues to support the growth and development of Circles of Rhythm from afar while she travels – and – as a board member of the Circles of Rhythm Foundation. Thank you Judy for your ongoing support, wisdom, and strength over the years.
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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


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Messages from a Team

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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Messages from a Team Building Drum Circle

Staff of the Brenda Strafford Center came together for a team building drum circle. This center creates a safe shelter for women to stay at while they are coming out of a domestic abuse situation.

At the end of the drumming, the question was asked of the group, ‘How does a drum circle show what it takes to be an effective team?

These are the answers that the staff came up with:

You cannot do it alone

Being a part of the team is what makes the good rhythm

Drumming for someone else is so valuable, remember everyone has stresses

At different times we all have different energy levels, and all need support when our energy is low

Look to your team when you lose your way and need to reconnect

It takes variety of different sounds, rhythms, and levels of ability to make the whole thing work

Each person brings their own rhythm and pattern to the team

We notice when someone is missing, their beat is important

Everyone can do things their own way, but we need to work together

You don’t have to be loud to make an impact

Everyone has their own personality and style

We need to trust our co-workers

When you work as a team, you can impact each other and those you work with, in a deep way

Consider bringing in a drum circle to your next staff development, and find out what your team will discover!