We leave for California on Monday to spend the remaining time with family.
As you can imagine, this is a stressful time as we rush to make travel arrangements, figure out pet care, and cancel holiday plans.
And when things get intense and our nerves get frazzled, as has happened repeatedly in the last few days, Sweetie advises me to go into the other room and drum.
Drumming is something I've often done throughout my life to relieve stress. Today has been especially difficult as we juggle various details of our need to rush to be with family. So more than once, I've retreated to the back room in our little house and chopped out.
In the morning it's been as simple as playing slow and steady eighth notes to a metronome, gradually increasing speed and continuing until my hands get tense, then backing off of that a little and hanging out at the fastest comfortable tempo for several minutes. This is usually enough to calm me down and clear my head.
If after that I feel a desire to chop out on random stuff I can do that too, like in the videos below.
This "drummitation," as I like to call it, has helped repeatedly in my quest for calm during tense times. I recommend it highly.
Numerous studies have shown that repeated drumming can calm the fight-or-flight response in the brain, can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, and can help to relieve stress in much the same way that gentle exercise does. I must have known all that instinctively before I'd ever read about it, when I was a kid; my childhood was filled with a great deal of stress and drumming was something I could always do to calm down. About eighteen months ago I began to turn it into a morning meditative practice, with a metronome and a rubber pad (to avoid disturbing Sweetie, who worked in the dining room and asked me not to meditate on an actual drum while she was home).
It has become a regular part of my meditative practice and a cherished part of how I wake up and come to "full density" in the morning.
Wherever your drumming takes you this season, I hope it's enjoyable and fulfilling.