I went to my first drumming circle last Friday, and it was intense to say the least. It was absolutely amazing, so much so that I had to step out for a long break part way through.
Two of the ladies from my outpatient program were there when I walked in, and they had saved me a chair between them with a big drum they chose for me – just because one of the girls had heard me say I might try and go that day. That alone made me feel so special.
The banging was loud, soft, overwhelming, enveloping, all encompassing… We all become one… We all connect, in beautiful unison… We’re not alone! We’re all one beat together, made by dozens and dozens and dozens of drums smashing in rhythm. It’s amazing…. Nothing I’ve ever felt before – that kind of connection. Unbelievably powerful.
At the end, the guides asked everyone to stand in a circle and hold hands with each other if we liked. And I was so happy when the stranger beside me on the left offered his hand and one of the girls from my outpatient program (whom I’d barely exchanged more than a few pleasantries with) took my hand on my right.
The guide told us that we do drumming so that we can all connect a one. So that we know that we’re not alone. And so that we can give a gift to everyone else there, freely and openly, with nothing expected in return. He then asked each person to say a word that expressed their gratitude for something. This made me smile and feel so happy.
And right then I felt the hand slip out on my right hand side and I felt a moment of panic and shear fear thinking that the girl decided that she didn’t want to hold my hand anymore… My intense and overwhelming fear of abandonment kicked in immediately… But she smoothly and quickly rearranged her hand just so that she could intertwine her fingers closely between mine. She then gently squeezed my hand and smiled at me, full of warmth and love.
She will never know what that meant to me…. that was such a loving gift she gave to me, and I’ll remember it and cherish it forever.
So I always keep thinking – how do these souls, these people who are hanging on for dear life, just like myself, still giving so much? The people in the outpatient program came off their respective psychiatric wards or just having been recessitated back to life. All have their own mental illnesses and stories… Some are completely empty, desperate, all alone, no one’s functioning… Barely alive…. Barely making it day-to-day… Yet… many still give so much to others, many give the only shreds they have left… Absolutely beautiful souls trapped inside burning houses.
I think the explanation to this was put beautifully and simply, as always, by Mr. Robin Williams – another mental illness sufferer, when he said;
I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.
– Robin Williams
He hit the nail on the head with that one. It is absolutely petrifying…