The sound of drums calls through the crystal blue sky. Beckoning. Singing. Saying, “Come play with us. All are welcome here.” The message is clear. “Find a perch on the grassy knoll, soak up some sunshine and live your own rhythm. Welcome to the World Rhythm Festival. Welcome to life.”
Saturday was my first experience in a community drum circle, but not my first in finding my personal rhythm. If you’ve never participated in a drum circle, it’s quite an experience. From out of the silence, a lone drummer begins. Soon another joins in, percussion instruments follow and, if you’re lucky, a bass carries the heartbeat. It’s a magical experience as multifarious people of assorted talent levels come together to create music. Dancers step into the mix and uniquely sway to the emerging beats. All elements are essential to creating this life-engaging experience.
One dancer swayed on the outer perimeter of the circle and I wondered why he steered clear of the middle and whether he longed to be center stage. Later as we had a brief conversation, I realized his perfect rhythm was to be exactly where he was – nothing more or less. Many of us don’t listen that well. If everyone isn’t doing it (whatever “it” is), we draw back because it might not be acceptable. We choose to listen to everyone else’s rhythm and find ourselves out of sync, and thus missing out on our unique part of life's harmony.
My part in Saturday’s experience was to sit on the knoll and play my djembe. I didn’t need to be the one to start or stop the circle. My role this day was harmony, and in that I was perfectly content. I was grateful for those who brilliantly began each round of music and less appreciative of those who exerted an odd power to bring the circle to an unnatural close. In practicing our personal rhythms, it’s important to know when we must follow the beat of our own drum and when it feels best to play harmony. There’s magic in listening to the pulse and finding the simpatico places both within and without.
Take a moment and imagine leaning into your own grassy knoll and soaking up the sunshine of your personal rhythm. What instrument would you play? What role would be yours? Where would you dance in the circle? What beat will you choose to follow?
World Rhythm Festival 2011 © lucy
My djembe & my friend, Carole © lucy 2011