This is Your Brain on Drums
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
While searching for a meaningful connection to my inner self, my nature, my ancestral soul, I learned how to make a traditional rawhide hand drum from a Metis elder. She was an amazing teacher who inspired me, not only with her skill in crafting drums, but with mnemonics and understated prophecy. Her ability to connect each participants personal verbal story to their face, after only one telling was impressive.
She taught me about environmental responsibility, only taking what you need and using everything you take. She taught me about possibilities, with her enigmatic assertion that I would be teaching others to make drums one day. More prophetic words were never spoken. However, I was only to answer the call a few years later. Much honour and respect to my teacher.
At the time, I was consumed with the birthing of the drum.
It made me smile, and I so enjoyed banging around on it. In fact, I even loved the history of the drum. How it was used in so many different cultures worldwide, in everything from spiritual or religious ceremonies, to sports, and sending messages. Drums were used by shamans to achieve a meditative state that allowed for journey to the otherworld, for spiritual and physical healing. Everything about the drum felt great to me. It connected me to spirit, to the ancestors, to the Earth.
Today, with so many medical studies on the effects of rhythmic drumming, its easy to track the benefits. Drumming provides a natural high. It increases the Alpha waves in my brain, and releases endorphins and enkephalins, which produces feelings of calm, relaxation, well-being, even euphoria. Bye-bye anxiety, worry and stress hormones, I am in the present moment zone!
And that nice production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, well those are the bodies natural painkillers, which means that the chronic pain from those old car accident injures is also given a reprieve. I am truly grateful for non-medicinal pain relief, let me say. There have even been studies that show how drumming boosts the immune system with an increase of T-cells, so drumming for healing is validated. Those ancient shamans were on to something important.
Most importantly for me, however, was the sense of connection I found when I played. The synchronicity, the harmony of spirit with other drummers, with Nature, with the Divine. I felt the heartbeat of all things, and I was in alignment with it, hearing and feeling the feedback, the rhythms of all things. The drum is a tool of transformation, moving me away from the cares and struggles of everyday life, placing me firmly in the physical cardio- movement and the spiritual connection. In the rightness of the moment, I found the sound of peace. This is your brain on drums.
Drumming in circle allowed me to beat out negativity, to release the stuck energy of that negativity from my body. It freed me to explore my inner self and let my consciousness reach out to other like souls.
By making my own drum, I created an instrument alive with personal meaning, a reconnection to spirit, to the ancestors, to the Earth. Whenever I play, I am sending vibrations from my soul out into the universe to touch the souls of others, to touch yours. And, when I teach drum making? I am an extension of past teachers, and others join the song, and it grows strong. I am encouraging a symphony of empowerment.
"It is through our vibration that souls recognize
each other, not our appearance."
Barry Bittman, MD, neurologist and President of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute
Christiane Northrup, M.D., Women's Health Expert, Visionary Health Pioneer, Wellness Speaker, and New York Times Best-Selling Author