Back To The Drum

Guest Post by Tanya M, Retreat Attendee & Circle Member

This summer, I had the privilege of taking a long drive across our expansive, beautiful country with my beloved dog.

I brought my large cowhide drum with me, the one that I had purchased after my first visit to Northern Edge in 2015 and brought with me to The Edge last summer. I was envisioning that I would play her standing barefoot on Pacific coastal sand once we got to Vancouver Island. My health and other personal factors led me to shorten those plans, taking us as far as the Columbia Valley in BC’s interior. I wouldn’t get to the ocean this time and that was a hard fact to swallow.

Forty days into my journey across four provinces and back, I hadn’t felt inspired to bring the drum into my hands even once. At one point in southern Alberta, frustrated with having so many items crammed into my car for so long, I thought seriously about leaving my drum behind for someone else to enjoy. I felt like we didn’t belong together anymore.

Although I had seen many stunning sights with my dog and spent a wonderful time with my family out west, I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted when this adventure started and I wasn’t feeling one bit restored as it was coming to an end. I was wrestling daily with disappointment, self-doubt and other unexpected challenges. Finally, after 9000 kilometres in the car, I felt a calling to use my drum on the way home when we revisited Neys Provincial Park in Northern Ontario.

My dog and I were standing along the Little Pic River just after 7:00 p.m. Eastern. We went to the steep drop off where the river meets the northern shore of Lake Superior and I cautiously played the drum a little bit on the embankment, yelling out one big whoop at the end. That was okay but it wasn’t freeing enough.

There was a lot of negative chatter in my head about taking up space, about having permission to make noise and what the campers nearby might think of this outburst. I was getting uncomfortably warm in my running shoes and socks and there was nowhere to sit down comfortably so I gathered my dog and my drum into the back seat and drove down to the barrier-free access point on the main beach.

We walked on to the white-sugar sand and I started to drum again, realizing that she was very dry and didn’t sound as full and rich as when I had first bought her. With my dog leashed to my waist, I walked to the lake’s edge and tried to cup some water over the drum’s surface a few times without getting my shoes wet. It wasn’t working so I stripped to bare feet and let my toes sink into the soggy sand. I asked for the drum to heal the water and for the water to heal the drum.

As a small wave came up, I submerged my drum once for a full-body soak of hide, tassels and wood, rinsing off the bits of sand that had gotten inside her from my previous handfuls of water. Once hydrated properly, she sounded much better and I played her harder, longer, louder and freer this time. I even sang a little song “way-yah, way-yah, waya-wayah…” You (the circle) were all in my heart and my hands as I drummed and sang and walked on the beautiful beach at Neys that night. I was fondly remembering the Heart Blossom retreat in 2018 and sending good energy to the 2019 group.

I almost gave up on her, my drum / me, all of it seeming futile and out of place.

With only 10% of the distance remaining to get home, perhaps I was finally beginning to find my way on this long journey. Sitting on a huge driftwood log with my cold feet buried in the warm sand felt healing, if only for a few minutes. The water was kind of cold but in a good way. It felt cleansing for all of us, my dog, my drum and me. There were little waves rolling up all evening, like a soft, steady ocean, or like Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario when there’s a bit of a breeze. Neys is a magnificent park any day; even more so that my dog and I eventually had the whole beach to ourselves at sunset.

One nudge for us being out in nature that evening was the unexpected shabbiness of the little cabin I had chosen to stay in. I didn’t want to spend much time there and I already had a day pass for the park so it all came together nicely. With some courage and determination, with action and choices and blessings, I was able to make what I needed out of the evening instead of being pigeon-holed into something that was disappointing and joyless.

Instead of settling.

Instead of sucking my feelings in.

Instead of being small.

Instead of putting up with it.

Instead of being quiet about it.

Instead of going along with it.

The long piece of driftwood I was sitting on had a natural bracket at the end that was perfect for my drum to dry off in the setting sun.

Magical. Universe. Higher power. Grateful.


Home Practice:

Find an item in your home that you haven’t connected with in some time. Perhaps it’s a book, a piece of clothing, a souvenir from a holiday or a family heirloom. Invite the item to express to you what it needs.

Is it looking for a new place to be displayed?

Does it long to be held?

Is it asking to be of service to you?

Does it have something to remind you?

Has it served its purpose and needs to move on to another person or another home?

Experience how the energy of this item connects with your heart, your head and your hands.

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