I Was a Little Wowed

 So I was at this Autism Family Fun Day. It was an event for families with Autistic children. There were vendors and games and music. I did not have my daughter with me as I was just there helping a friend advertise her Therapy Center.

It was actually pretty tedious for me because I am not crazy about crowds and noise. I was just wandering around striking up conversations and handing out brochures.

But late in the day as most of the vendors were packing up, this woman who had caught my attention earlier began assembling a "drum circle". I had no clue, but I am not adverse to a little bongo action, plus, the kids were flocking to her. I was intrigued.

She began placing the drums in a circle--a really BIG circle, and I thought, no...no they are all going to begin banging and I am going to have to leave.

Instead, the opposite happened. No one banged. They all just sat there, most of the children were on their parent's laps as the woman began to "bang" all by herself. Her son was there to back her up on his drum, but pretty much everyone else was just looking confused. Then she did something cool; she began slowly walking around the circle and pointing to certain children, and their parents would help them bang. As she moved around the circle everyone started to catch on. The children began to anticipate their turn. They waited silently and watched her, transfixed. I too was transfixed, but not because I was waiting  my turn--no amount of cajoling would get me in there, --I was too tired I had said.

Then it happened. It was spiritual. The banging became music; the turn-taking, less stunted and more fluid, as she controlled the room, dancing and swaying and pointing and nodding and relishing every moment. I was dumbfounded. I thought drum circles were for pot smoking Wicccans during the Solstice. Man was I wrong.

These clueless (and I can say that because my daughter is Autistic and never would have initially understood either) children became virtual virtuosos. The beat was mesmerizing, as it is intended to be. But the children!!--parents were crying! They were participating, on cue, and connected to the other children without even realizing that they were interacting. I wanted to dance. I wanted to be part of it, but I didn't want to interrupt--couldn't interrupt. I made a conscious decision to just enjoy the moment as an observer. But I still felt connected because the aura encompassed all of us there.

My friend, the one with the Therapy center...she thought it was stupid. She gabbed the whole time. I shushed her,... idiot. (Afterwards I told her that she'd collaborate with the drum circle lady if she was smart. That advice went nowhere.) At least I can admit when I am wrong--and wrong I was. Those Wiccans have it going on.

That drum circle woman made magic that day, and my guess is she makes that kind of magic everywhere she goes. You want to talk about communicating without words, or feeling love in a tangible way for people you do not know, or just witnessing the beauty of a child's face, especially in the case of Autism, when you see the glimmer of joy and understanding that they could otherwise not express--then you want to talk about the power of a drum circle.

I am a student of life, and I learned a great lesson that day. Love happens, mostly when you least expect it. Try not to miss it.

*Also try and be open-minded and let go of pre-concieved notions when it comes to things you do not know about. That whacky hippy drum lady changed me. 

   

deleted deleted
26-30
19 Responses Mar 16, 2009

a PS FROM FOREVER ME.MY LATE HUBBY USE TO HAVE A POW WOW' WITH THE CHILDREN WHENEVER THINGS GOT OUT OF HAND HE WAS PART INDIAN,USE TO BEAT DRUMS ON THE BEDPOSTS ON HIS SLEEP.SOMEONE TOLD ME IT WAS "HIS SPIRIT SPEAKING' WHAT A LIVELY POST AND ANSWERS

MY DAUGHTER IN LAW IS A SPEECH THERAPIST WITH AUTISTIC CHILDREN.I HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE '"MIRACLE" KIDS SHE WORKS WITH,SHE HAS NO CHILDREN OF HER OWN BY BIRTH,YET,SHE LOVES EACH PUPIL SHE HAS AS HER OWN,ONE DAY SHE WAS CRYING,CAUSE OF THE ECONOMY 2 KIDS WERE CUT FROM THE PROGRAM,THANKS TO HER THEY WERE REINSTATED, HAS HER OWN BUSSINESS,THE ECONOMY WIZARDS CUT HER BEBEFITS 10 % ACCORDING TO ME SHE IS UNDERPAID,WHEN THE GOVERMENT CUTS CARE FOR KIDS ANS HANDICAPPED AND DISABLED WE SHOULD RISE UP YELLING (OR SOMETHING) I WAS A CARETAKER FOR HANDICAPPED AND DISABLED FOR MANY YEARS,ANGELS WALK AMONGST US.

Wow! Nice!<br />
<br />
I got my first taste of a drum circle during my recent trip to Sedona. Definitely touched my spirit. <br />
<br />
Now, I want more.

Whose videos?

OK...two can play at this, V.<br />
She didn't respond to my last comment. If she responds to yours, I'm going to have an even bigger hissy fit.

mmmmm, cookies. C is for cookie and that's good enuf for me. <br />
<br />
I found a KOA page which focuses on events you can go to if you want to experience and learn about Native American culture in Montana...Glacier Park is beautiful, btw. We have a spot on the "Going to the Sun" road where we're going to have our ashes spread.<br />
<br />
http://www.glacierparkkoa.com/indiantour.shtml

Seriously! It's an article with links to studies, drum circle facilitation, cortisol elevation.....oh, never mind.<br />
Eat your cookies.

Nora!!!! Did you even look at the link I just gave you?<br />
<br />
* hissy fitting beside vendettA*

*commencing hissy fit*

Hehe...I hate to say this VendettA, but I'm quite sure she will!

She better not watch a video for you, datura, or I'll pitch a fit. She never gives my videos the time of day.

Mine has a video;)

Check out this link. It will give you a starting point. You are on to something very big!<br><br />
<br><br />
http://blog.cleveland.com/health/2008/04/drum_circles_at_metrohealth_me.html

Here's a page of info on the festivities that I mentioned...most of the events take place in or around Arlee, but you'd love to check out the Ronan mountains and Doug Allard's trading post in St. Ignatius as well:<br><br><br />
<br><br><br />
http://www.visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=8920&SiteID=1<br />
<br />
http://www.allardauctions.com/index.cfm

I love this story Nora! There is a mind-body wellness center in my area that is affiliated with the hospital. The CEO is a forward thinking neurologist who started drum circles for cancer patients who came to the center for pain relief. At first he was ridiculed as some kind of New Age whacko...until the results were noted. <br />
Drum circles are now accepted in our area and they are part of the regular activities at nursing homes, schools, the hospital rehab center. Studies have been done that show their efficacy in promoting healing, peace of mind, stress relief. They have even been used in industry, for example by a team of people who work together on projects to help them bond and work well as a team.

I feel more connected just stumbling into and reading your wonderful story this morning. Thank You

They make drums like that and sell them on reservations, but I'm sure that in today's age you could probably find a ceremonial indian drum on ebay. I was born and raised in Montana and we were never really far from an indian reservation, so we would go there for every Fourth of July for their annual pow-wow and rodeo weekend. I have a feeling that you would love that week long experience, if you ever find yourself in Montana in July.

You should go to a pow-wow. Not just drums but singing, and dancing. It would probably be sensory overload for an autistic child, but it is a very powerful experience to see a snake dance, where everyone can participate along with the skilled dancers in full ceremonial dress.

What a beautiful experience, I have tears of joy welling in my eyes as I can clearly see what you describe in my mind. Thank you for sharing this with us!