Most days are still a struggle for me. The divorce, the move, trying to move forward while not quite able to be done with the past... I've been making my time in Cleveland count as much as possible, pursuing adventures and trying to find my place, but it's hard to let go of a life and a person you loved - and still do.
Fortunately, my adventures have been taking me to some interesting places and introducing me to some new things that are slowly helping to turn the tide. Yesterday, I tried something completely new and different, and found the first bit of true meditative clarity I've had in a long, long time. I went to a drum circle.
We met in a stunningly gorgeous church in the city. There were a handful of people to start; more came later, and most of them had been drumming for years. I was encouraged to grab one of the extra drums, got a very brief lesson on different strike areas and patterns, then someone started a beat and everyone started joining. I'm rhythmic enough to follow the beat, and was quickly able to jump in myself. My beats weren't as complex as many of the others, but I found ways to work into each set. Some rhythms were harder to follow; those times I kept my eyes closed and my hand on the head of my drum feeling the vibrations of the other drummers until the music spoke to me directly and I could speak back.
For hours we sat in the church and played. My head was filled with the drumbeats - and nothing else. I could have stayed there all day, all night, all week. I've practiced several forms of meditation but my mind is always racing, I've never been able to divert my focus to something external so wholly as I did in that drum circle. I couldn't even hold the realization of my clear mind for long, it was so quickly beaten out of my head by the next rhythm! Sometimes they also are joined by dancers; I'd like to experience the circle with movement as well for added depth.
Fortunately, this particular drum circle group meets every week, all year round. I will have ample opportunity to join regularly, and I definitely plan to stay involved. Purchasing my own drum may have to wait a while (I'm still broke thanks to lawyer fees) but there were plenty of spares to share, and I'm sure the wonderful people I met last night wouldn't mind if I borrow for a while until I can get my own. Perhaps I'll even make a drum for myself sometime! Either way, the drum circle will certainly become a part of my regular routine. The experience resonated with me on so many levels, and I know I can only build on this first foray!
What helps you find clarity in hard times? Do you typically have trouble clearing your mind of doubts, worries, and anxiety? Have you ever joined a drum circle, either as a drummer or a dancer?