My Husband has been drumming for longer than I’ve known him and I’ve always watched him and others. I have even hosted one or two circles. I just never actively participated. Last summer, I had my first drumming experience when the Monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery were here.
I’m going to be honest with you…I have never felt comfortable enough to just lose myself so completely in front others. Do you know what I mean? I watch my Husband go away when he drums. I have seen people completely give themselves over to the drum and its beat.
But last year, when I was beating the drum mallet against a huge drum along with 6 other people, including two of the monks, I finally understood what that felt like. The vibration just kind of soaked into my soul. It was as if every beat against the drum was in synch with my heart.
So awesome was it then when I read this article on drumming and its effect on health and stress. Check out the videos of the people dancing to the drumming with such abandon! Oh, to be that free! Watch the drummers. There is no stress on their faces. These people are feeling pure joy.
When I hear this kind of music, it does make me want to get up and move! Stomping my feet! Waving my hands! Feeling the beat of my heart and the drum stamping out whatever stress I may be feeling! And, it can be any kind of music. Last week, during my workout, the song, Footloose came on and I just stopped what I was doing and danced. What an amazing experience!
Do you dance?
It has been a long, cold winter. I’m not one to complain about Mother Nature. My Husband always says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing.” That is not to say that I haven’t been hibernating. I have never been a cold weather athlete. Every year I think about it but it is just so easy to stay home, where it’s warm and cozy. I walk but not nearly as much as I do when it’s 30 or above. And, with all the snow we have in my area, even walking a mile takes an hour. I get a bit complacent with my workouts.
After spending some time psyching myself up to do circuit training this morning, I finally took a deep breath in. A deep breath in of gratitude. Gratitude for the bright sun shining through my windows. Gratitude for my body that feels like it’s been waking up after being in a dark cave. Once the gratitude soaked in, I was allowed to do a kick ass workout. With each jump squat, lunge, and push up, I felt the winter begin to flow out of me. I swear I even smelled spring.
And with this feeling of gratitude, spreading through every pore, came the release of all the stress I put upon myself just minutes before. Feeling gratitude allows me to accept the present moment as being exactly perfect just the way it is. By the time I got to the second set of circuits, I was sweating and smiling and feeling pretty damn good. I was grateful.
Here are just a few ways to experience gratitude:
- Be aware of all the wonderfully small things in life.
- Keep a gratitude journal (I don’t write in mine. I make collages).
- Change the negatives to positives.
- Give compliments or share your appreciation with someone.
- Avoid gossip, complaining, and/or criticism for a few days and see what happens.
- Sound happy when you speak with others and notice how they respond.
- Do something for others.
What are you grateful for today?
The purpose of writing this blog have changed since taking blogging101. In the beginning I had planned for this to be a teaching platform. Now, I just want to share my experiences with others. I want it to be a way to channel my brain activity into a creative glob of words and pictures.
I want to share my experiences with how I manage my stress and create a balance of mind, body, and spirit though this particular journey. And, if someone learns something from me while I do it…well then that’s just swell. I want to influence others to smile, laugh, and chill out a little. I think I have a responsibility to lead a good ethical life but not to take myself too seriously.
My desires for this blog orbit around expressing my creativity while balancing my mind, body, and spirit. It will be about me getting through this life handling my stress in order to create and live the best life possible. I want to share my life experiences, whether it’s a picture or post or both, about whatever random ideas pop into my head.
That being said, here are three goals: I will post 3x a week, I will read 5 posts from other bloggers a day and comment on 1 of them weekly, and, lastly, I will establish a monthly feature educating others on subjects of stress management.
Pain. It’s not something I used to talk about. I didn’t need to. It didn’t apply to me. Lately though, seems all I think about is pain. My physical, unrelenting pain. And for those that don’t know me…I am not a conventional medicine kind of gal. I don’t even like taking over-the-counter pain relievers. And usually don’t unless I absolutely have to! I’ve always assumed these beliefs stem from my journey with the twelve step program. So, here I embark on a new journey. The journey into middle-age; peri-menopausal and arthritic, and pissed off but still trying to be happy and content even with all of the chaos in my head.
And, in this journey, yoga has become my friend and nemesis.
When yoga is my nemesis, I curse the lack of progress. I despair over my tight hip and hamstring. I whine at my knee that just won’t move the way I think it should move. My shoulders: why have they failed me? Curse the stupid fucking elbow and forearm! And don’t even get me started on the calf pain that won’t allow me long walks on the beach.
However, there are times when yoga is my friend. With music playing and incense burning, I sink into my mat. When I’m feeling stiff and uncomfortable in my own skin yoga loves me anyway. Like a supportive hug from someone I love, yoga allows me to relax. I just breathe and let my body open up. I feel my body respond to the letting go and my mind follows suit. I release everything.
Yoga permits me to let go of my physical stress. It is my prescription for pain relief. All I have to do is open up and let it take me into the moment.
p.s. Here’s a view from my mat.
Helping others learn to manage their stress has been a goal of mine for some time now. I believe how we handle stress is key to leading a more content and fulfilled life. I ponder health from a threefold perspective; a balance between mind, body, and spirit. Alas, I lack focus which has caused lagging in my blogging history.
So I made a list of who I think I am. I’m a feminist. I’m a white, straight, cis, fat, middle-class (if there is such a thing) woman. I’m a mother, wife, sister, friend. I’m a Gemini. I am Buddhist, Pagan, Wiccan, and beach bum. I’m introverted, peri-menopausal, and an ally. I’m a bit sassy, a former addict, holder of a few degrees, a latchkey kid, and an 80’s girl. I love walking, strength training, and yoga and I believe food is medicine. I also like to say the word fuck. A lot. I have the ability to be invisible to most people. I don’t like conventional medicine, I have many conspiracy theories, and I am lover of all things “woo”. I’m also a really good listener. I cannot separate who I am from what I want to teach.
With all that going on, how can I write about just one thing? And, then I realize, I don’t have to: It’s MY blog. If people want to read it they will read it. I am hopeful I have something to teach people that helps them on this journey we call life.
Mostly, this blog will be about the many aspects of health, ways to get and maintain a balanced life, and the ever changing moments we experience as we live it. Stay tuned…