' Marching to a different beat. | Adventures with FitNyx

Monday, November 2, 2015

Marching to a different beat.

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.

Cleveland drum circle Saint Coleman church djembe conga gypsy

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.

djembe conga bongo drums drum circle african rhythm beat

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?


  1. My cousin participates in a drum circle and she swears by it. I don't know if it would work for me. I always turn to running when I'm having a hard time. We went through a lot with my oldest son last spring, and I don't know how I would have managed without my runs.

    1. Running helps me think *through* things, but doesn't do much for getting things *off* my mind. But that's the beauty of this world - everyone can find what works for *them*! I'm glad you can find your peace while running, not everyone has found their peace yet!

  2. That sounds awesome, and that's really cool that they meet every week + all year round (yay!)! I've never joined a drum circle, but part of what helped me to de-stress back in undergrad was music and dance! :]

  3. There is a group that hosts Drum Circles at my sis-in-law's dance studio, where I teach my burlesque workshop. I have yet to make it to one, but they sound really cool.