I just finished doing a drop in drum circle on a university campus. It’s almost the end of the semester, and stress is mounting for a lot of the students there.
Students, staff, and members of campus visit tours came and went from the drum circle for over two hours.
Near the end of the event, one young woman asked a very simple, yet profound question to me: What inspired you to do this?
I smiled, and replied, “Just this!” as the groove held us.
I looked around at the people currently playing, and continued, “It’s a chance for people to play a while, smile, let go of some stress, and be part of something.”
She smiled and appeared to be satisfied with that answer, but I’ve been thinking about her question ever since.
If you listen to enough podcasts or read enough books about entrepreneurship, you’ll hear about “the why.”
Your “why” is your reason for doing something. It’s your motivation, your inspiration. It’s your reason or working over and over again to do something, and do it well.
What inspired me to do a drop in drum circle there? College students are stressed. Drum circles can provide a release for some of that stress.
We had some first timers there. They stepped out of their comfort zone and tried something new.
There were smiles, and laughter, and looks of uncertainty. There were people inviting their friends to join in. There were people who shied away, and there were people who stayed well after their friends left. One young man sat in for a while, stopped playing and said, “I play every Wednesday, but today I’m just out of sync.” I assured him that happens to everyone now and then.
It was beautiful. All of it was beautiful.
What inspired me to do this?
Just this: The people who were taking a West African drumming class. The guys from the baseball team that drummed a bit before practice. The people dancing by as the groove drew them in. The first-timers, and the experienced players. The man who sat next to me and said, “My style is a little different. It’s Persian (I was playing a djembe).” He played for about five minutes, thanked me, and went on his way.
Rhythm is what inspires me to do this. Rhythm is as close to a universal language as humans have. I could see that as the groove changed when people joined or left the circle. I could see that as people, even from a distance, began to move rhythmically to the groove.
Rhythm is how we are brought into this life. When the groove ceases in our body, we leave this life. Rhythm is one thing that truly unites all beings. A drum circle is where we can all connect. It’s where we can all create. It’s where we can be our amazing, unique, vital selves.
The looks of delight, and wonder, and smiles as all of those beautiful people shared a bit of themselves with the groove. Those are the things that make my soul sing its purpose!
Now as I bask in the groove afterglow, I take a moment to express gratitude for the beautiful experience that was created by everyone who played, smiled, changed their step to match the groove, danced.
I am feeling especially blessed for being inspired to do this work.
Aho, Mitakyue Oyasin