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First healthrhythms experience
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Poster First healthrhythms experience

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 7, 2010
No. 1 Posted on Nov 11, 2010 4:39 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Well, it took me about a year, but I finally facilitated my first healthrhythms. It was with only three people, but it was powerful. It was with a "stop smoking" group. It went as such:
1. pass the shakers
2. Description of how to hit the drum
3. Drumming each others' names.
4. We continued with one person's name into a groove, and the magic began. They were smiling, enjoying themselves, using shakers alternately with drums.
5. I did a volume up and down, and then a rumble and a stop cut.
6. We started with pass the popcorn, and then I tried encourage others to facilitate, but they wouldn't do it, so I just kept it up until it was time for inspirational beats.
7. I led a guided visualization in which they envisioned themselves as nonsmokers 10 years from now, and saw their clean lungs, healthy bodies, new exercise habits, and the positive impact on their kids. I am also a hypnotist, so I installed negative connotations to the smell of tobacco smoke.
8. I asked them to bring one word back that symbolized their new smoke-free life.
9. they all had powerful words, and spoke about how they felt insulted/intimidated when they first saw the drums, but all had a great time. They BEGGED me to return with the drums for following weeks.

GREAT EXPERIENCE! Ready for much more. I have just sent out e-mails and flyers to the larger community.


Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 29, 2010
No. 2 Posted on Nov 29, 2010 7:11 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Oh, that sounds awesome, Cara. What a wonderful experience for them with the visualization, and seeing themselves in their smoke-free bodies. Woo!


Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 22, 2010
Location: Oklahoma City
No. 3 Posted on Dec 2, 2010 3:16 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Did my first group Wednesday nite. Youth group at church. Had 6 kids and 3 adults. All had a fun time. They didn't want to stop, so we went back and did a couple of things again. Did the Body Beat cards for something new. All of them wanted to do this sort of thing again.

Dave Conrad

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
No. 4 Posted on Dec 6, 2010 7:07 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I facilitated my first HealthRHYTHMS circle on Saturday, Nov. 27 with a group of 14 friends. Through a serendipitous turn of events, the owner of a local drum shop offered his back room for us to gather – and his entire collection of hand drums and percussion for people to play – free of charge! The theme was “Releasing Stress and Celebrating Gratitude.”

I was amazed and delighted to see the protocol work just as we had been shown in the training (seeing is believing for me!). The group quickly started to connect. I included a getting-to-know-you section in the beginning, where we went around the circle and made a clap, tap, whap or lap slap as we said our names, introducing the group to percussion just using our bodies.

Our wellness exercise was a stretching exercise; We did the egg shaker pass to the right, to the left and then the pass of the silent “gift” of each person. It was interesting to see some people letting the shakers fall and some scrambling to collect them and get them back into play.

Drum lesson went well; we had one participant with arthritis who I offered a frame drum and mallet. I also brought my Healing Drum Sound Shapes which amazed and delighted participants!

Every person got to play their name and quickly picked up the hand signals for stop – giving the signal themselves for the group to stop when they had enough of their name being played. There was a lot of laughter and interaction among the group. It was awesome to watch connections develop and grow.

One participant was very “vocal” on his drum all evening (it was a drum from the shop that he wound up buying at the end – a nice benefit for the generous drum shop owner!!!!) so I asked him to start a rhythm for us as we went into entrainment. I did some facilitating by having half the group play loud, soft, rumble, etc. We then switched instruments and did another groove. The last groove was with hand percussion only, no drums. We talked about it afterwards and one person made an observation that they could feel the rhythm change and he was unsure whether to follow that or stay with the original rhythm –and that it was like life—sometimes you feel pulled to change and grow but aren’t sure if you “should”; one participant said he was holding the beat steady for the rest of the group . Debriefing also revealed real joy among many participants in the fun of PLAYING.

Inspirational beats focused on Releasing Stress first. It was really a sacred time to witness people translating their stress into sound and playing it for the group. And it was poignant to actually FEEL it in the music….the sound building and exploding; or relentless irritation ; or the sound of a tiny bit of sanity in the middle of it all. I ended that section by asking everyone to play their stress at once – some people were concerned it would be a cacophony - a great metaphor for how stress feels.

Then we played our gratitudes. One participant created the playful sound of cat feet scampering over the surface of the drum. Again, we did a group drumming of our gratitudes all at once so everyone got a chance to participate, even if they were shy to express their gratitudes for the group.

I used Christine’s guided meditation from The Healing Drum Kit CD. This was great, except that the drumming got really loud and drowned out the most of the visualization, despite turning it up to full volume. Although afterwards people said they couldn’t hear some of the meditation, participants also had VERY powerful experiences (tissues were needed).

We repeated the wellness exercise and I asked people to check in with their bodies to see how they felt With the finale, several participants reported they felt “peaceful” and “connected.” We did a final slow groove to bring the evening to an end.

It was truly a wonderful experience; with participants asking me when the next one is (Dec. 29), and others I’ve mentioned it to wanting to join in. The experience of allowing trust to build in the group was also an exercise of developing trust in my training, innate creativity in the moment and intuition to guide the group and interact in a positive, gentle supportive way.

(Click the picture to view the original one)


Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 29, 2010
No. 5 Posted on Dec 13, 2010 3:12 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I love your pictures, Lesley. How wonderful! I am now posting a quick overview of my first (and second) group. We are snowed in tonight, 10 degree weather with -5 windchill, woo! So, the group I had scheduled over the weekend was canceled and waiting to be rescheduled. Anyhoo.

I facilitated my first group on Saturday, Nov. 27th as well, over at a friend's house. We had a total of five that first night, and then the following Saturday, Dec 4th, we had a follow-up session with the same individuals plus four more participants. We have had a total of nine people so far. All are personal friends of mine, and a couple of family members, with an age range of 41 years old to 83 years old. One elderly retired minister, two musician/singer/songwriters, two energy workers/shamanic practitioners, then all the rest are in the psychotherapy/counseling field, one school counselor, one family counselor, a social worker/family counselor, and a clinical psychologist.

The purpose of the group was to help acknowledge, heal, release and let go of some of the frustration, grief, anger and stress of going through the holiday season while grieving the loss of a loved one. It can be a very trying time, especially during the first few holiday seasons, after the loss of a loved one, family member, spouse, child, etc. Everyone in the group had experienced some type of loss this year, with only two dealing with a death longer than a year or so ago.

The group was amazing! It was very beautiful. Even as everyone already knew each other and were already very close friends or family members, the heath rhythms protocol gave the group an even deeper connection and intimacy than before, which was very beautiful to witness. We went a little over an hour both times, with the second time going even longer than the first, but the group was in such a strong and powerful emotional healing moment that I just let it go, and let Spirit guide the timing and "closing" of the group. It all came into perfect timing. The inspirations questions were quite moving. I like the term "ibeats" but I used the inspirational beats to have everyone whom wanted to, to express their frustration and grief over losing the loved one and dealing with the holiday season, too, along with expressing one of the most difficult moments of the process, and what would they want to say now to their loved one, with the others beating their support and love to the group member, then we ended with the best, single most wonderful moment or memory with that loved one, that would be there forever for them, and then ended with talking to the loved one via their drums. It was... whoa! Amazingly beautiful, inspirational, filled with such love and support. There are absolutely no words for the moving experience that happened for everyone in the room. It was amazing and all are wanting to participate again!

We had a total of three men and six women, and all participated, led and facilitated the group.

In the guided imagery I took a chance and had everyone picture their loved one and themselves reunited in Spirit (I was already aware of the spiritual beliefs of the ones in attendance. I would not do this in a regular group, ppl whom I was unfamiliar with when it came to their spiritual beliefs...although maybe in a church group setting) but, listening to what the group expressed during the rest of the protocol kind of gave me guidance on where to take them through the guided imagery. I know I took a chance that I normally would be hesitant to do, but I also know this group very well because they are all some of my closest friends and family members, so that was a little bit of an added advantage I had in this, compared to a totally new group and not knowing anything about them.

Everything went very beautifully, and very profoundly, and all expressed truly how much healing, forgiving and letting go had taken place within the group session. It was amazing to see the cohesiveness, love, joy and support that all gave to each other during the process.

Thanks everyone, and I guess my personal observations were to just start the ball rolling, and then let it flow. You'll know what to do and where to take it, gently guiding the group until they are guiding themselves. And if you see it begin to shift into a direction that might be a little "off" then gently guide it back again, like gently changing the direction of an oar in the water as you guide a canoe through treacherous and river-rapid waters. Soon you'll come to the calm peaceful waters again and then you can begin to drift and guide via that wonderful oar and paddle.

It really was quite beautiful, and reminded me so much of being on a river, paddling through, then letting the water take us for the ride, and then coming out on the other side in still peaceful waters again, everyone looking back at where they had just been, and how they had made it through those difficult times (losing their loved ones, mates, parents, spouses, two young adult sons, etc) and come out on the other side in peaceful waters again.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone.

Love to you,



Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 3, 2011
Location: Greater Phoenix, Arizona
No. 8 Posted on Oct 24, 2011 8:23 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I invited some high school ad college students over to our house for a little de-stressing with drums. I have a pretty good-sized dining room with lots of light (I have since converted this from a dining room into a DRUMMING room!) The participants were all friends of my daughters. I had been hearing complaints about teachers and tests from three of them. I played a simple beat as they gathered and 3 joined along for a few minutes, simple groove, but nice – the others talked to each other.

Then I asked them to gather in a circle and reiterated my rationale for bringing them together (school stress) and explained the HealthRHYTHMS program briefly. It was a natural progression to introduce some yoga-type stretches at that point, and they followed along.

Then we did the famous egg pass. I was a little reluctant at first, concerned that high school and college students might find this condescending, but I was wrong. They loved it We actually incorporated singing. I think we all benefitted from the idea that dropping an egg here or there was really no big deal. “Letting go of perfection” brought a few nods and sighs of relief.

I had 2 tubanos, several large Remo sound shapes, and 1 buffalo drum available. During the ABC’s of drumming, we passed the drums around our small circle so that everyone had an opportunity to try the different drums. During rhythmic naming, a couple people created complicated rhythms. We played along with each person’s rhythms several times.

The entrainment building was then a natural progression from the rhythmic naming. I held the underlying beat on the buffalo drum for the most part, inviting the students to create their own beats. Two of the participants were very comfortable in taking leadership, starting and stopping the groove and controlling the tempo and dynamics. As it progressed, I asked them when they felt energized, calm, or together as a group (supported), during the drumming experience.

I used a recording of ocean sounds leading into the wellness exercise, asking the participants to close their eyes and imagine feelings of relaxation by the beach. I then repeated some stretches from the beginning. I asked them if they felt different than when they arrived and they all reported that they felt more relaxed! The amazing thing to me was that they not only appeared more relaxed, but they seemed to speak in softer tones of voices. I thanked them for coming and told them I would welcome them back whenever they felt the need to drum again.

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