• thedrumwoman | Melonie

The Ego and thedrumwoman

Picture the scene.

I’ve arrived at the festival. I know where my drums are kept and I know where I'm running my workshops. I’m a little worried/excited about the size of the marquee for the first workshop tomorrow. But standing in it, I get my bearings and I know where Ill set up my space and how we can utilise this expanse.

Bearings worked out, I get down to enjoying myself. I dance and I sing and I listen to inspirational people. I sit and watch the stars and I don’t sleep very well as I’m a bit nervous for tomorrow and it’s quite noisy.

I do sleep in the end and I’m off dancing again in the morning and enjoying a cuddling for healing workshop. I rush off before the end to get my drums organised for the first workshop I’m holding this weekend - a mixed drum circle.

It begins:

I set up and people begin to arrive - lots of people with young children. I noticed the day before that my workshop was down as ‘The intuitive drum dance’ not ‘The Intuitive Dance – a Drum Journey’ and I realise that perhaps people are coming thinking they will be dancing to drums.

As the tent fills with families I share that this is a healing workshop. The children are welcome but there will be practices for pairs and groups where there may be a lot of healing happening.

Some leave, some don’t.

It gets to the start time and we have about 40 people in a circle. I open with a connecting meditation and we call in the directions – we open up a sacred space for deep healing.

I notice people joining us and tent begins to fill.

We begin with a drum circle to open the heart and connect to our highest selves. It sounds fantastic as we are all drumming. As it comes to a close I open my eyes and see we have attracted even more people.

We go into the second activity – a paired holding of space. One drumming for the other as the other releases that which no longer serves. There are children around as the participants’ pair up, some wonderful parents pairing with their children, and the work is going well.

A huge marquee and people drumming in pairs
Less than half of the Marquee

As I move around I notice 2 broken rattles. My heart sinks a little. After the activity I mention that if there are breakages its OK, just bring them to me.

A shift in flow…

We move into the third section of this deep journey -A holding of space for the truest expression of the self. I invite the group to split – some holding the space as guardians around the edge - others feeling into their divine feminine in the centre. The plan is that as the drums sound those in the middle will be able to embody all that they need at this time, all that they are. Then we will swap, holding space for the expression of the divine masculine.

I’ve done this before. I know how deep it can go.

This time it doesn’t go as planned. The children around edge drumming are enjoying themselves but not actively able to hold the space. Those in the middle I feel are too open - the space is too open, people are peering in from outside - the circle is too open.

We finish and I invite feedback and the sense of it being too open is repeated back to me.

So, I decide to scrap that bit and go back to collective drum circles.

And this is where my mood changes. My inner critic comes out to play and starts to tell me how SHIT this whole workshop has been. I struggle through the last 30 mins.

We finish and people ask for my number, they talk to me about land they have and wanting to run drumming on it. People hug me and some are feeling emotional.

But I'm not hearing it. Well, I am but it isn’t registering because the voice of criticism is too loud. I get my drums in the buggy and start to moan about how I wanted it to be different. I put my drums away and make a tea.

I sit feeling consumed with how bad my workshop was. The frown on my face is evident.

I go looking for a massage and they are all busy and I end up in the Red Tent. I want to crash out. I am lucky enough to bump into Cath Jevon and Heidi Wyldewood who listen to me as I offload my woes.

There is shared talk about first time festival workshop blips and funny stories, talk about what I have learned and how tomorrow is a new day. Then I lay and I rest. I am exhausted.

I pull a Sassy She oracle card…I get ‘REFLECT’.

FUCK OFF! I laugh. I know I need to reflect. I know it wasn’t ALL bad. I just can’t lift this grumpiness.

I go to dance again and I can’t get into it. I make a decision to leave which creates an inner turmoil in me – ‘Can I leave? Should I leave? What will the facilitator think?’

I brush it all off, remembering that we all have the right to be where we want to and if something isn’t working for us, leaving is a good option.

I leave and the sense of freedom that rushes through me is immense, reminding me that I did the right thing.

I go back to my tent, still with the hump. I sit with a tea and look at the stars.

A comet flies across the sky. It is so bright and I smile. It is like it was a personal ‘it’s ok’ to me.

I get into bed and I turn on my phone and I have an email from someone who came. She says she left in tears but wanted me to know what a wonderful time she had.

I shake my head. I have had the hump all afternoon and evening. For what?

Because my ego told me I didn’t do well enough. The stuff in my head didn’t come out as planned so I beat myself up hard about it.

I didn’t stop to watch the faces of those in the workshop; I didn’t let the praise at the end land. I wouldn’t allow myself to remember that this was my first festival workshop EVER. I couldn’t shake it off.

The next day people stopped me in the fields to say thank you and people came to the second workshop because they loved the first.

The second workshop was in a yurt. The perfect venue for this deep work. Enclosed and with a door we could shut. I gently said to families that it was adult only and our circle formed. So many women held in the safest of spaces.

I left there on a high. The day before just a memory and a reminder, in the words of Elsa, to just ‘Let it go’.

You just don’t know what is going on for other people. You have no idea how they are feeling and how much the drums have touched them and by holding on to my own crap I was just stopping myself from being fully open to the joy this festival brings.

Luckily I was able to get a massage the next day (an amazing myofascial release and deep tissue from Ariana), shake off the tension I'd built up and go home with a whole new festival workshop outlook. I’ll definitely be back!

A shot of me drumming in the beautiful enclosed yurt

Sisters of the Drum meet monthly in Essex and in London for women only drum circles. No experience is needed and drums are available to borrow.

The next dates are:

10th Sept in Parndon Wood Nature Reserve, Essex 7-8:30pm. £15

14th Sept Clapham Common Eagle Pond, London 12-2pm. £15

Melonie is holding a drum birthing workshop on 22nd September in Essex. Booking in advance is essential.

Melonie and Steve Altman run a monthly mixed Drum workshop in Aho Studios, Hackney Wick. The next one is 25th September and is ‘Drumming up your heart’. £25 pre-booking essential.

Melonie is also one of 6 amazing women bringing you ‘Immersing in Autumn - a pamper day for the soul’ on 6th October in Brighton.

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