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Got Rhythm?


Humans have a very deep connection to rhythm! As a matter of fact, our first experience with rhythm was our mother’s heartbeat while we were still in her womb.

From infancy the sounds of music and rhythmic patterns intrigue us. Babies and children really care about only one thing: their security, which in and of itself has a regular rhythm to it. This includes being well fed, changed, unharmed and generally being taken care of.

But eventually the child needs to develop the ability to take care of her- or himself, and that involves acquiring the necessary tools to master daily tasks.

Being taken care of and taking care of oneself is a major shift, and the key to taking care of oneself is the understanding that there are reliable patterns in life, and having a clear idea about what comes next. This is WHY it is so important to establish rhythms, routines and rituals, so that the child knows “what comes next” and thus develops skills that will allow her
or him to manage the constant shifting expectations of everyday life.

Children thrive on developing their competency skills and love their “I did it” moments. Rhythm gives them something to measure their success against: yesterday was a struggle, today is a victory, tomorrow I will tackle the next challenge.

All of us rely on rhythm. Rhythm is vital to our human experience.

When we understand the rhythm of the world, we can begin to understand ourselves.

Rhythm is something that happens over and over again, it is a pattern that repeats itself. Seasons have a rhythm: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Night and day happen over and over again.

Internal rhythms include heartbeat, breath rate, our circadian rhythms (internal biological patterns with a period of approximately 24 hours.), and the rhythms and patterns of our thoughts. These rhythms and patterns have a profound effect upon every aspect of our physical, mental and emotional lives.

External rhythms envelope us and effect us on many levels. These include the cycles of the day, the seasons, plant and animal cycles, and the geological cycles. External rhythms also include the patterns of our actions that we create in our personal, family, community and professional lives. These patterns of action, these life rhythms, shape our lives in both positive and negative ways.

Humans long ago understood the profound impact that these internal and external rhythms have on us. Survival depended on working with nature, not against it. Hunting and gathering food at the right time and with an effective group plan was essential, and lowered the risk of attack by predators. The tribes had to establish a strict personal- and group-rhythm in order to survive.

But in today’s high-tech world we are able to survive as individuals without
the immediate dependence on nature’s rhythms, which so dominated the lives of our ancestors. For example, we can get food anytime we want, and we can stay awake and work with artificial lighting, and thus don’t have to slow down and go to sleep when the planet turns its lights off.

But we pay a high price for this “luxury” and for ignoring nature’s rhythms:
feelings of isolation, disconnected families, high levels of anger, miscommunication and mistrust, environmental degradation, stress and stress related illnesses and other ails, like cancer, immune diseases, etc…

We have to ask ourselves: is this truly a luxury or just plain stupidity?

Children still have that magic wonder in their eye, and they still have nature’s rhythms deep in their fabric, but adults “beat” it out of them every day, until they, too, become disconnected from nature. They no longer will ask: “What will happen if I throw the spoon on the ground? What will happen if I pull on the tablecloth? What will happen if I kick my blocktower? What will happen if I am mean to my friend or hurt an animal or what will happen if I disobey the law?”…

We adults need to humble ourselves and become more aware of our actions and their consequences, and how our choices affect our health and our circumstances.

Rhythm is so important to our health.

To change your life, you have to get in touch with your rhythm!

There is rhythm and order in everything that is healthy and beautiful.
Rhythm is an inherent characteristic of the self-organizing dynamics of all of nature, humans included. Nature self-organizes through rhythmic patterns, but we just live so removed from this natural beauty with the fastpace of our modern lifestyles.

We need to go back to nature’s simplicity and experience its power when
living in sync with nature and its rhythms.

That is why it is so important to establish rhythm and routines, not just for
our children, but for ourselves, so that we understand what happens next and are comfortable with sequences and the ever ongoing changes in and around us.

For example if you want to change to a “do no harm” Vegan lifestyle, and
want to commit to a daily exercise routine, and living a more healthy life that is in tune with nature, it takes an understanding and mastery of rhythm.

Rhythm helps us understand what comes next, what are the consequences of my actions, good or bad. Rhythm prepares our brains for transitions, it creates order out of chaos! Rhythm helps us manage our daily lives by helping us establish categories of activities, and we learn to plan and prepare.

We have to realize that rhythm is everywhere. Our lives are driven to an
enormous degree by the internal and external rhythms that are a fundamental part of life at every level.

As a matter of fact, the rhythm section is the backbone of every band. Much like the rails for a train, the rhythm section provides a steady, seamless track for the rest of the band to ride along. In fact, when things completely fall apart in a performance, musicians call it a train wreck. If the rails are bad, the train is going no-where.

Remember, whether in music or in real life, rhythm is one of your biggest responsibilities. If your rhythm is poor, working on anything else will be in vain.

So why is rhythm so crucial not only to music, but to life itself?

Rhythm adds a whole new dimension to everything:
in music for example, instead of just varying pitches, composers can also vary rhythms! This creates the uniqueness of each piece and gives each piece it’s own character.

Just like we can vary our habits, and our life-style, which is like changing
our life’s “rhythm” and that change creates new outcomes.

When we are tired and sick, then we are out of sync with our body rhythm,
and it’s a proven fact that we can use music to get back in touch with our
body rhythm.

Drumming For Your Health

Drumming is one of humanity’s universal traditions. It creates and strengthens community bonds. It rejuvenates and invigorates the mind and body, enhances focus, it celebrates important events and it’s fun 🙂

All cultures have some form of rhythmic activity as part of their lives and
communities. From simple hand clapping to complex polyrhythms. WHY?

Because rhythm is an innate part of life. It is found in the structure of
atoms, in the complex plant and animal form, in the cycle of the moon and sun, the seasons, in our walking and talking, our heart-beat, rhythms is everywhere, we cannot escape it.

We humans are relentlessly driven by the inner rhythms of our bodies and minds and interconnected by the rhythms of our families and professional lives. Drumming is a way of aligning yourself with the rhythm of the natural world, and it is a vehicle of influencing others in positive ways. Drumming is a way of celebrating the blessings of life.

In some cultures for example, drumming is used to celebrate a young man’s or a young woman’s transition into adulthood. Announcing important events, such as marriage or change of status, to the whole community and bringing everyone together.

In our modern world, it is important to know about and appreciate the traditions of the instruments, and the people who developed them. It gives us the sense that we are part of something greater than just the immediate “feel good” experience.

Rhythms are the foundations upon which our own lives are built. They are
constantly present and affecting every aspect of life.

We have the innate ability and the opportunity to shape the rhythms of our
lives so that they serve us and help us create the kinds of lives that we want to live. For example, we can create positive inner rhythms during stressful situations by taking a few deep, slow breaths in order to calm and focus our minds and bodies. We can also look at the “bad habits” and “vicious cycles” of our lives and create different rhythms and patterns that help us to live the lives we WANT to live!

In our modern “Little House on the Freeway” lifestyle, we have lost touch
with these underlying rhythms that shape our lives. But by drumming or playing a musical instrument, you can get back to NATURE and enhance the quality of your life.

So get in the Groove or the Zone or the Flow…whatever you want to call it.

Get a drum or a piano and start groovin’!!!

© Daniela Clapp. All Rights Reserved

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