Drum beats my heart beats
I heart drumming. I drum heartbeat. Heartbeat is my drumbeat.
Ok, I guess it's not a huge surprise. Congo drums *did* play a large role in the fortuitous convergence of cosmic forces that resulted in my conception. My dad *was* a rock star drummer in the most famous Israeli rock band of the 1970's. I *did* have instrumentalist crushes on the entire percussion section of my high school marching band...
But, despite having an inner rhythm soundtrack for as long as I can remember, despite my insistence on doing the vocal percussion in my college a cappella group, despite my secret desire to be a rock star drummer like my dad, and despite all the band classes, music lessons, and music camps I had access to throughout my childhood, I stuck to playing piano almost exclusively -- and when I dabbled, I only tried on alto sax, clarinet, cello, and guitar. Never a drum, nary a tympani, and absolutely no congos.
Upon moving to California, I quickly realized that drum circles were not just an abstract hippie concept that one put on one's Facebook/Jdate profile as a professed interest to exude or attract a drum circle-loving type; drumming (usually in groups, African style) was actually a somewhat regular social occurrence here! So, I decided now would be a great time to get some drum lessons, in part for looking/sounding good at the next party. The other thing I realized in moving to California - in closer proximity to my dad, enabling me to see him and the family half a dozen times this year, way more than I ever had before - was that it was time to embrace and fully express my genetic predisposition to rhythm.
Intern year didn't give me much time to pursue any new hobbies, though, so I was looking forward to graduating to being a second year resident to get things started. Lo and behold, the morning after the residency graduation, my first morning of official second-yeardom...I met a drum teacher! Declaring my intention to learn how to play the drums, I was off and running...first to the music store to buy some sticks and a practice pad. The following week I had my first drum lesson, and it felt like coming back home after a long trip out of town. It felt exhilarating and strangely familiar; it reminded me of looking at yourself in the mirror in a dressing room and seeing yourself looking absolutely magnificent in the new outfit you're trying on, so much so that it already feels like you own it.
According to my drum teacher, I'm the best student he's had all year! Then again, his other student this year was an 8-year-old. But regardless of how good I'm doing, I am totally in love and obsessed with my new hobby. I think my dad is more excited/proud that I'm taking drum lessons than he is that I'm a doctor...but I guess I am too, for the moment. :)
Last weekend my drum teacher helped me buy my first...ever...electronic drumset! It's definitely the coolest gadget I've ever owned, or at least goes into the top three along with the Casio calculator watch I wore in 4th grade (which was the coolest gadget I could own at the time) and my first Iphone. I've been practicing every night, practicing by playing along to my favorite music. SO FUN.
Several years ago, while lying on the floor with 20 other med students in a room at the Omega Institute, experiencing my best (and only) shamanic journey to date, I had the following vision: a hole opened up in the floor next to where I was laying, and I dove into it, tunneling through the ground deep into the earth. After some time I resurfaced with explosive power, shooting up into the sky like a geyser and landing on a giant butterfly that happened to be carrying a few other passengers, family members and friends who were no longer alive. We flew around for a bit on the butterfly, catching up (it was so great to see them), and then they bid me goodbye and disappeared. The butterfly flew me over a large ocean and alit on a rock or mountain formation jutting out from the water - my father emerged from the mist surrounding the rocks and stepped onto the hovering butterfly. I walked up to him, and he said "Give me your hand" - and as I held out my hand he placed into it a small drum with sticks attached (it looked a little like a Christmas ornament). "Here," he said. "Put this into your heart, and its beat will show you the way." Then he too disappeared, the butterfly started to fly me away, and shortly thereafter I woke up from my trancelike shamanic journey state.
As I've told several people who I've talked to these last peri-birthday weeks, I think of my 20s as having been a decade of doing a lot, being ambitious and successful, and having sleep deprivation; I can already see that my 30's will be a new phase of doing the things that give me fullest self-expression, being grounded and clear, and having abundance.