Monday, March 2, 2009

Drumming for Renewal - Workshop (aka Uncomfortable Learning)

This weekend my partner Chris and I participated in a workshop on Saturday called "Drumming for Renewal" run by Music/Dance Therapists Kat Fulton and Draza Jansky at an expressive arts therapy studio called "The Art of You."

Before we went to the workshop, I was communicating with my mentor Mr. Fobes about how uncomfortable I was about the performance aspect of the workshop. He said "If you are uncomfortable, that means you are learning."

This comment has been marinating ever since.

The workshop consisted of four parts: drumming, vocal toning, movement and meditation. I never did any of first three, so this was an experience. I also have not participated in any performances since junior high and my anxiety was almost overwhelming.

1. Drumming - After a short intro to the drums and we fell into a rhythm of the group. It was by far the easiest part of the workshop for me, and I could almost block out the others around me by closing my eyes. The thud of the lower drums was soothing and the vibrations resonated through my body.

2. Vocal Toning - Next we moved on to vocal toning. The each sound connects to different chakras of the body. It is used like crystal bowls to align but can be done on your own. Elivira Melody's website has more info. This was getting more of uncomfortable territory for me since I haven't sung in public since elementary school! I tried to keep my voice low and not concentrate on other people.

3. Movement - Onto the expressive movement - my most uncomfortable learning! My body and I are not friends and generally ignore each other. I can follow directions when I am doing yoga, but to freely move around the room just for the sheer pleasure of it was so odd! We also did patting of our body and rolling around on the floor. Even trying to put it into words makes it sound silly! But silly is what I am missing out on now that I have to be an adult. My uncomfortable adult side was not willing to let my child come to play.

4. Meditation - Finally, we did a meditation to seal in the final act of healing and set our intentions for renewal. I was back to more a comfortable learning. I loved listening to the sound of Draza's voice as she spoke. When she asked us to think of a person that we could be completely ourselves with, I first thought of my partner Chris. Then she said that it didn't have to be someone who was still alive and I thought of my grandfather. He died when I was in my pre-teens. He was the only one in my family that did not judge. He was a creator too; made little rocking chairs out of clothes pins. Tears started streaming out of my eyes as I cried for the relationship that was lost so long again.

Overall, this uncomfortable learning experience was profound. I can no longer tell myself that I cannot dance, drum or sing - I just have to do it!

Your turn --
What has opened up your world to new experiences? Ever try something that you never thought you would? Ever move past anxiety and experience some uncomfortable learning? Share and let us all learn!

Happy learning!


  1. Great post. Congrats for sticking it out, no matter how uncomfortable. I understand non-relationship with body, as I had that for years. Now not so much: yoga on my own helped. Completely felt the connection to your grandfather. I have similar experiences but would (will?) have to write on my personal blog. Will let you know if I do.

  2. Thanks Kristin for the comment. It is so much harder to write about what you are NOT good than what you are good at.

    I would love to read about your connection with your grandfather. It is something I have personally never explored until now.


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