YES! I’ve started a short class of Taiko (‘big-drum’), monday evenings, 8.30 pm to 10. I thought I would be tired by 10, but I ended up so invigorated I couldn’t even think about going to sleep till gone midnight.
Forget drugs, if anything I’m addicted to these drums. And yet it has taken me years to get as far as even thinking I could try to take part in a group. I watched my brother teach himself to play a drumkit with some awe but wrote myself off without even trying.
One of the reasons for this is, despite talking a lot, I’m not very good at *really* expressing myself. My handwriting is a tiny, cramped scrawl, my artwork little pencil doodles in the corner of pages, and stand me up in front of others and tell me to talk, and I fall apart. It seems slightly ironic that someone who on the one hand has spent a long time craving attention, also has spent a long time being shy and afraid of expansive gestures that might expose who I really am. I think about the freedom which comes from wearing a mask, or a costume.
And yet, I want to be able to express myself more rawly and immediatly. I want to be able to play roleplay games and not be hindered by these fears. To be able to REALLY dance without caring what I look like. To play high register notes on my flute. To be able to shout loud enough for people to hear me in bars. To have totally unhibited noisy sex even WITH other people in the same building 😉 Sometimes I get a taste of this, as though I’m -almost- there. But there is still something in the way..
So, I stand in front of a big and very loud drum, and suddenly have to hit it, quite hard, surrounded by 10 other people who will notice if I get out of time. Taiko is not only about the noise, but also the visuals – so there are also some really big, expansive and flowing moves to build into the drumming. A real all body action. It looks, and feels amazing, but I am still shakey and hesistant. What I found yesterday though was I did start getting into it, and feeling how it -could- be. When I was thinking no longer, but instead feeling the bass in my stomach, trembling through my feet, and suddently awareness expands from just your own sticks and drums to the sounds and group around you. It’s always over too soon!
Still, I can feel the drumming loosening me inside, pulling me into my body and making me happy to be there. When I drum, I feel engaged with the world, making physical and obvious impact. My drumming is still a bit quiet, tentative, I stumble when I think too much, and hit the sticks together by mistake when I loose concentration. But I hope, and intend, that this will change over the remaining 7 sessions. And if I can get to the point I can try solo-ing (I start shitting myself even hearing that word) then so much the better.
…I have no doubt that drumming is ALSO energetic, vibrantly spiritual and very grounding. It certainly shifts consciousness, even the scientists can agree on that one. I’m actually very interested in exploring shamanic drumming, if I ever find the chance to do so, which might just mean experimenting myself. Last night the whole thing triggered off quite a mental shift, I felt as though on drugs. It was also the last night before menstruation, and whatever hormones kick around, I tend to feel at my most primal, which can mean stressed and angry, carnally horny, or desperate to run off into the woods. Definitely werewolf time, which ever way you look at it. What I felt last night though was beautiful and with a definite spiritual edge (I still don’t like that word but it’s so hard to find something else). I was just so ALIVE. Everything shone, every sense was incredible; and by that I don’t mean so much super-sharp but simply without the usual static. It was as though my heart was going to explode at one point, and just the general amazingness of existance. I sat on some grass and just looked at the sky for a while. When I’m in that state, I’m usually very quiet, as words just break it down. It reminds me though of how I felt as a child, some moments anyway, those times when you were just amazed by simple things in the world, could conjure up imaginary games in the back garden and monsters or elves in the forests.
When you are pretending, but able to forget you are pretending, at which point it seems somehow *more* real. Perhaps it is just that you are playing your *own* game, rather than everyone elses? Perhaps that is what the wolf is all about..