Friday, July 24, 2009

the beat of my OWN drum

For awhile now I have wanted to buy a drum. while I'm not yet prepared to join a drum circle, I wanted something that I could make music with, as well as something functional and small that I could bring to Sounders games and join in the merry music-making.

I had been perusing online and found a few drums that I liked, but I was on my way to my favorite East West bookshop and saw this shop called Ten Thousdand Villages, and thought "hmm, that looks interesting, I think I'll go inside."

Lo and behold, this shop combined many of my loves and desires all in one place. It is a fair-trade shop that sells hand-crafted pieces from all over the world. At first I thought it would just supply me with my need to Indianify my place, but there was a whole table of drums...and they were so reasonably priced ($25+) that I just had to buy one. So I picked up a goat-skin/mango wood drum made in indonesia, and away I went.

While I had been researching drums, I had also been looking at drawings that people have done on their drums, to add a little flavor. I love henna and in my online research (you know, the internet is truly a wonderful thing in this regard) I found many people who had painted their drums with henna. So while I don't have any henna materials (and was too impatient to go through the whole process...maybe on my next drum!) I used a Pentel marker that is eerily similar looking to real henna.

The process of drawing on the drum was relatively easy. I used a compass and a rule to get the basic circles and radial points, but I mostly just freehanded everything. I was surprised at just how meditative the whole process was. It makes me wish I was independently wealthy and could just draw on drums all day! :)

Here's my "finished" product (I think I want to add a few more embellishments, but I'm happy with how it looks now and I don't want to make it too busy).

Already I love playing it, and I get to break it out in public tomorrow at the Sounders game!

So cheers to following the beat of my OWN drum!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't Hold Your Breath

"Don't hold your breath," is a phrase I grew up hearing. It ran in the same circles as "don't get your hopes up," and "there are starving children in India, so finish your dinner." I always thought the phrase meant not to get too excited about something ala not getting your hopes up (which is a phrase I took too to heart for a long time), but yesterday I noticed a shift, a way of looking at the phrase differently than I had previously.

I have been noticing and focusing on my breath and breathwork in general for awhile now. And yesterday, as I was lying on a massage table (with a cat companion nestled at my feet), I was noticing my breath. Courtney asks me to take deep breaths during the massage, especially when she's working on a particular area. So I was thoughtfully noticing when I don't breathe...when I hold my breath (which is contrary to the advice in 'don't hold your breath.')

I came to two conclusions. 1) I hold my breath in anticipation of pain. When I sense she's getting close to a spot that might hurt, I hold my breath, as if that tensing or tightening and restriction would somehow divert her hands to a less tender spot and help me avoid confronting the source of my tension. This goes for more areas than just in my massage...I hold my breath, in a failed attempt at keep the pain at bay. Of course it doesn't work, but for a moment it gives me a sense of a little bit of control, though my muscles are much tighter afterward... 2) I hold my breath when I am trying to prolong the pleasure. Sometimes a spot feels so good when it's touched, and in an attempt to not miss out on any aspect of the goodness, I hold my breath. It's as though I could make that moment last forever if I just stay completely still and absent of breathing. Rather than truly, fully experiencing the moment, I'm worried about it fleeing, which is also about control, and in effect I lose out on the power of really experiencing the moment.

So, for today I will try not to hold my breath...I will embrace and ride the waves of both pleasure and pain...