OK, this isn't really about drumming. It's about fire. Specifically, it's about lighting YOUR fire. As it happens, the workshop and book I'm developing is drawing a connection between drumming and fire. And this little graphic really brought that idea to light for me.
When I saw this image I immediately thought that it was an absurdly simplistic blanket statement. Then it hit me the other morning while the candle twinkled on the kitchen counter, long before the sun came up, that perhaps that was a hasty assessment. I started thinking. Then I grabbed my journal. Then I realized I'd filled an entire page....
We think of an epiphany as that "aha moment". The word epiphany comes from ancient Greek and means to suddenly reveal to, like shining light on something in a dark room. And that's exactly what happened to me as the water boiled and my French press steeped and my synapses leaped while the sun rose across the back yard. Suddenly I was taking inventory of all the things that had shown up since I started on this path as an artist, educator, and facilitator.
Before I started drumming I was going through the motions of career and home and adulthood. I carried society's shoulds all over me like fifty extra pounds. And it all TOTALLY SUCKED. It sucked the joy right out of me to the point that I was twice the size and half the shine I wanted. I was dimmed, diminished, and surrounded by stuff and people and expectations that I didn't want. But something happened when I played music. I found myself fully present and back in touch with the young man I once was; the one filled with hope and enthusiasm and joi de vivre.
But a funny thing happened along the way. I renewed and developed interests in all sorts of things. Things like spirituality and nature, world music and jazz and house concerts, fine art and design, creative writing and poetry, drawing and singing and storytelling, photography and fashion, philosophy and ancient wisdom traditions, knots and hammocks and indigenous footware, leadership and education, civics and local economy, sustainability and holistic living, chant and meditation and what it means to be well, mentorship and character development, travel and culture, minimalism and tiny houses, and (bless my student loans) graduate school.
As it turns out, for me it was true. No drums, no life. Know drums, know life. Taking personal stock in the pre-dawn revealed I was now stocked full, and that my personal pantry was juicy, and flavorful, and good.
So I encourage you, too, to find that thing that lights your fire. The ancients say that through that fire you can burn away the things that no longer serve you, and that from the ashes new growth emerges and you come away burnished and pure and lean. Burnish is another of those old words that means to polish, make sparkle, make bright, or shine. And I say that drumming has done those thing for me, and through me. And I also say it has been an amazing gift to walk that path with you.