Serendipity

Drum with music notes - Ink Drawing

Have you ever heard of Horace Walpole? Neither had I until this morning after Googling the origin/definition of the word serendipity. It turns out it was coined by Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford in 1754.

It’s interesting that a word that means fortunate happenstance was defined by a man described as an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician.

Serendipity is one of my all-time favorite words and I’m often reminded of how many of my experiences and opportunities are nothing I could have orchestrated. It boggles my mind to think about how everything that happens in life becomes intertwined.

One event, often-times an unpleasant or unwanted one, can result in an outcome that is better than we could have imagined and it exposes us to new ideas, people, and possibilities.

A few years ago my chiropractor had to close the doors on his practice. I was devastated and had no idea how I was ever going to find someone to take his place and provide the same type of care and support.

Location was the only criteria I used to choose a new doctor from the list of recommendations. Since I knew nothing about any of them and I have a track record of getting lost in unfamiliar areas, it made the most sense to pick the one closest to my house.

Enter serendipity

I’ve now been seeing her for almost 3 years and it’s become increasingly clear that she isn’t a doctor you go to see because your back hurts, she’s a person you see because you want to live a full life and understand what it means to accept who you are and how to tap into your potential. She understands a lot about how the mind, the body, and the universe are intertwined.

Her teaching and healing practices have introduced me to many new ideas and techniques. Among my favorites are  NET (neural emotional technique), the teachings of Louise Hay, and drum circles.

She hosts a drum circle the second Friday of the month and it’s an event I do my best not to miss. Never in a million years did I think that I would be comfortable sitting among a group of strangers while playing a drum or another type of percussion instrument, but I am.

Drum with music notes - Ink Drawing

Last night the group was an equal mix of regulars and newbies which is always fun. Sometimes the music we make is more orchestra-like and the sets ebb and flow with a sense of purpose and beauty.

Other times, like last night, the beat is more primal and the sounds of each individual drum are more prevalent. The music may have been a little more off-beat but still beautiful in its own unique way.

The leader of the drum circle ends each evening with a meditation. His gentle words guide our imaginations to beautiful beaches, mountains, forests, and other beautiful places where the night skies are always filled with stars and the days are sunny, warm, and breezy.

Last night we took flight and drifted peacefully over a meadow reaching down to touch the softness of the multicolored petals of the flowers below us.

Ink Flower with multi-colored petals

It’s strange to think that I might have missed out on these experiences if not for an unexpected and undesired disruption. Serendipity is all around us; it’s a matter of being open to new possibilities.

Peace Surrounds Me

Peace Surrounds Me

July 11th was the second Friday of the month, which for the past four months in my world meant it was time to enjoy another drum circle.

This one was extra special to me because my youngest son and his girlfriend agreed to be my guests. At dinner I did my best to give them a preview so they would know what to expect.

The one and only prediction I knew would come true is that they would be by far the youngest people in the group. Beyond that, each circle creates a unique footprint that becomes a part of each participant’s memory but impossible to recreate.

During my short exposure to drum circles, it’s common for our leader to start the evening with a question. He asks each of us to describe how we feel with one word. The words included perplexed, nervous, anxious, happy, optimistic, flurried, and uncertain.

Stormy weather got in our way in June, but we lucked out in July – and instead of playing our instruments under a roof, our heads were covered by clouds and the only light was the setting sun followed by the rising of a nearly full moon. The sounds of city life were present but unimportant as each of us found and followed a rhythm that was uniquely ours, but also part of the group’s.

It may only be me, but in my mind, together we traveled to distant lands while beating our drums. We became part of a rain forest; alive with chirps, clicks, and the gentle rhythms of nature while each of us played a small hand held instrument. We also learned that almost anything can be used to create a musical sound, including an empty coffee can – as long as it still has its yellow lid. 🙂

The sun set, the moon rose, and the evening ended with a walk along the beach.

Each of us played our own quiet sound, keeping in harmony with the underlying heartbeat that led the group. I have no doubt that others also heard the waves and felt the sand between their toes as we took a moment to imagine and dream.

The evening ended with the same question it started with.

“How do you feel?”

We all used different words to describe feelings of gratitude for the chance to be temporarily transported away from our worries and fears to place where our hearts felt surrounded by peace.

Peace Surrounds Me

March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Release the past and embrace today and tomorrow

Friday night I went to a drum circle. Yep, I did. I had no idea what to expect and was utterly amazed and delighted.

I entered a room full of people, (all strangers outside of 3 familiar faces), a circle of chairs, and an assortment of drums and hand held instruments to choose from.

After a couple of icebreakers, we selected a drum. Mine was was a  Djembe drum with a rich red base. The leader had each of us introduce ourselves by speaking our name and playing a drum beat. The rest of the group followed each person’s individual beat and repeated their name like a chorus.

“My name is Beth.”

A gentle tap on the outer edge of the drum preceded each word before my name and two open palmed strikes to the middle of the drum emphasized my name and a non-existent syllable.

After that he had one person start a rhythm, guided the rest of us to follow along, and then invited us all to “do our own thing.” The result was amazing.

A group of complete strangers, each with our own rhythm and beat composed a beautiful and harmonious song of drum beats. The leader passed out some of the hand instruments, transformed into conductor and directed our tiny orchestra through the movements of the impromptu song.

It was amazing.

I experience left me feeling energized, inspired, and relaxed all at the same time.

It inspired a change in direction in one of my current projects. It occurred to me, that the process of journaling positive thoughts and affirmations will be even more powerful and meaningful if I make it truly my own rather parroting another person.

That night, I started with the concept and quote from Louise Hay ~ “I easily and comfortably release that which I no longer need in life.” But I created my own.

Release the past and embrace today and tomorrow

I don’t know exactly what form the rest of my journal will take – I imagine it will be combination of original thoughts and shared quotes. I’m making this up as I go along. 🙂

If you ever get the chance to attend a drum circle, I highly recommend it.

P.S.

Here are my journal entries from the past week. I’m having a lot of fun with this project.

“I love and approve of myself. I am loving and loveable.” ~ Louise Hay. I added the word Beautiful.

release aches_I Love and Approve of Myself_04_06_2014

“I now discover how wonderful I am. I choose to love and enjoy myself.” ~ Louise Hay.

This little entry has a “writo” which wasn’t intentional, but I think it’s meaningful.

I discover how wonderful I am

“I love and accept myself at every age. Each moment in life is perfect.” ~Louise Hay.

I love myself at every age

The original Louise Hay quote is “I live in now. Each moment is new. I choose to see my self worth. I love and approve of myself.” I changed the last sentence to “I choose to live life not hide from it.”

I live in the now

“I deserve to rejoice in life. I accept all of the pleasures life has to offer.” ~ Louise Hay

I deserve to rejoice in life

Inspired by Louise Hay ~ “I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life.” I am safe.”

I trust and follow my instincts