10 January 2010

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Dear Drummers,

Welcome one and all to the drum, Friday January 8, from 7-9 PM. A note setting the tone for Friday is below, but since there are so many people new to this list right now, and to the idea of drumming, I’d like to say a little about why we drum.

We need ceremony; we need ritual in our lives. The culture provides it for us in the form of the accepted mainstream worship and in the commercial marketplace. So we have Sunday church available to us, and we have television and sporting events and bars, each of which are about filling a need in us for ritual, ceremony and community. I suspect you are attracted to the drum because there is something calling to you that desires (or requires) a mythic, poetic, spiritual alternative to the buffet of rituals that has been set out for you by the culture. I think a spiritual life really requires a nuanced dance between two things: courage and discipline (or openness and work). Courage opens imagination, fear, doubt, love, joy, mystery and yearning. Discipline is about negotiating with the ego. Without some modicum of spiritual discipline, we float between diversions and flirtations. Without some courage, we merely become superstitious robots, doing and saying what we are told. This drumming group offers you an opportunity to uncover in you both courage and discipline, if you want to, at whatever level you want to work them. One of the greatest, holy-endowed gifts that must be used frequently is irreverence and sheer, gut-wiggling laughter, and I surely always make a place for those energies at each drum! So there. That’s why we drum.

About Friday’s Drum:

In the depths of winter, we drum. During the most silent slice of the wheel of the year, we raise a joyful pulse. Wrapped in the arms of the darkness, we ride with one another on the wave. The trees are dreaming, the land is dreaming, the silver stars call us into the dreaming place of winter. We have built for ourselves a life of constant rush and shout, a life of never-ceasing motion, movement and frenzied light. We live them externally and we have created a room in our inner house for them to live as well. The winter calls us into slowness, into silence, into dreaming; the place lit of dim lavender light on snow, the place of unadorned bare branches and sleeping roots; the place where we rest, and reset our balance between the seen and the unseen, between our fevered plans for ourselves and the purpose woven into us in the dark womb. Winter calls us to breathe deeply between the summer dances. Rest, breathe, and drink from the well of darkness. Before we may drink, though, we must do something. And that is what we will do on Friday.

If you can, please try to bring two self-addressed stamped envelopes. If you forget, don’t worry, I will have some available.

I leave you with this bit of text from Kahil Gibran (The Prophet):

You have been told that life is darkness
and in your weariness you echo the words of the weary.
I say to you life is indeed darkness
save when there is Urge.
And all urge is blind
save when there is Knowledge.
And all knowledge is vain
save when there is Work.
And all work is empty
save when there is Love.
When you work with love,
you bind yourself to yourself
and to one another
and to God.

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