In September a tragic accident claimed the life of a family member, a cousin 20 years my junior. I felt called to bring my drums along to Prince Albert where the funeral was to be held. I contacted my aunt and asked if it would be alright, we agreed that I would just bring them and see...well after the service and internment we were all gathered at my aunt's house and it just really seemed like the right thing to do, I checked in with her and then began to unload the drums. Around the large gathering drum was my cousin's father, a brother and some friends. Slowly the rhythm built as more joined in, relatives and friends previously unaquainted yet united now through the powerful turbulent emotions of grief, happy memories and everything in between. A powerful and healing sharing of one heartbeat which pulsed out into the community, signalling to all those nearby that something significant was taking place...
This used to be part of the healing journey and I believe it can be once again.
Then in October we lost my dear friend, drum circle playmate and renowned photographer Courtney Milne. I was honoured to drum along side three other friends as we welcomed those arriving for the celebration of life ceremony and later hosted a drum circle in his honour. I was beginning to really see the tremendous value in drumming as a tool for healing and specifically in helping process the emotions surrounding with grief and loss. Throughout my late teens, twenties and thirties I seemed to be experiencing an unusual amount of loss and came to realize that I was being called to work with those left behind. The seeds were being planted...
I rented studio space at the Aurora Energy Centre in downtown Saskatoon...and with my small collection of instruments, I was on my way!
And a burning desire to make a difference in this world!
The first New Year's Day Community Drum Circle and Potluck Social was held at St. George's Hall and over 100 people came out to raise their voices for One Billion Rising bringing awareness to the fact that 1 in 6 women are victims of violence and to drum for Peace and Healing for all. It followed that I was invited to drum for International Women’s Day Celebrations at Station 20 West. Then in March then it was off to PA for a private Spring Equinox Women's Gathering. Earth Day was celebrated with a casual gathering at Gabriel Dumont Park and then the Nature City Festival at Kiwanis Park. We did a Flash Mob Drumming at Pine Needle Bike & Music Festival in Prince Albert, went back up to Ness Creek Music Festival for another great instalment of TribalNESS, and returned to Saskatoon for LOVEFest. There was also a drum circle for the Full Moon Medicine group, a 10th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, an Autumn Equinox Celebration, the Sask. Brain Injury Association and the Sask. Abilities Council Brain Injury Support groups and a pre-winter Community Drum Circle and Potluck Social to wrap things up.
2017 is whizzing by and as we fly into Summer I'm going to just keep on keeping on, following Spirit, listening to guidance and answering the calls as they come...So far there have already been some pretty fun circles, one with the Marketing Den, the shareholders at Balance Within, Twig & Squirrel's Wild Goods 4th Anniversary, my Qi Gong teacher & friends, PTSD support group and a few in an Igloo for the Potash Corps WinterShines Festival!
Updates to continue...!
In that first year that followed, I hosted and facilitated 20 community drum circles, one family drum circle and four private drum circles including a favourite to this day, taking place in the teepee at Courtney Milne and Sherrill Miller's acerage in Grandora Sk.
I was also invited to participated in a Drum Festival with local drum maker and friend Kellie Welk (EarthBeat Drums) organized by the late Dr. David Kaplan of the University of Saskatchewan.
Back in the early days, circa November of 2006 when I first started facilitating my drum circles I was calling things Soul Shakers...
While enjoying the precious time of being at home with my little ones it was a great honour to be be invited to work along side by beautiful mother and long time energy medicine worker Donna Chicoine, facilitating a women's retreat at the Calling Lakes Centre in the Qu’Appelle Valley, and guess what?
There was a labyrinth : ) Summer of 2011 also marked the debut of my TribalNess workshop/performance at the Ness Creek Music Festival and that followed with a chance to drum in the amazing Cedar Lodge at Blackstrap for a fantastic organization's company retreat. Thank you to my longtime friend Jason Mewis and his team at ENGCOMP for a great drum circle experience!
November 11, 2011 or 11/11/11 gave us an opportunity to return to the fabulous space at Oshun House for an incredible night of drumming, community and magic! if you don't know the significance of 11:11 just go ahead and google it now ; )
My interest in Labyrinths spans decades. I first became aware of and subsequently began researching them while attending the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. I was able to walk the replica of the Labyrinth from the Chatres Cathedral in France while visiting San Fransisco during Spring break one year, when I returned to Calgary I discovered the the labyrinth at the Knox United Church and began to make regular visits.
Here is an excerpt from their website "The labyrinth at Knox is a modified 24-foot diameter Chartres pattern Labyrinth. The Labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France, installed in 1201, provided an alternative form of pilgrimage, when it was no longer safe to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The Labyrinth is not a maze, built to confuse, but a single pathway winding to the centre and returning out again on the same path. On the Labyrinth walk, we engage an ancient spiritual practice of pilgrimage and self discovery. The movement is a body prayer through the architecture of the soul. As we move to the centre, healing, transformation and the divine can be known."
Fall led us to two art gallery events. The Moffatt Galleria in Langham, Sk. hosted us for a lovely evening of drumming and A.K.A Gallery in Saskatoon was where we took part in the Earth Elemental Event with Artists Dominique Hurley and Charlie Edwards. I also had the pleasure of making my second drum with Kellie Welk of Earth Beat Drums. Following that, I brought the drums down to the Crocus Co-Op, a non-profit, charitable, member guided co-operative that works on behalf of people with mental health disabilities for 6 weeks of drumming and wellness circles. The year wrapped up with a wonderful team building session for the Human Resources Department from the U of S.
2012's drumming fun started off in April for an EarthDay celebration in cooperation with the Unitarian Church, a drum circle at the Contact Conference, to an acreage South of town for a lovely lady's Splurge group. July meant it was back up to Ness for what was quickly becoming my favourite weekend of the year! I had the privilege of drumming at Wanuskewin for the first time having been invited to do a drum circle for a retreat for the U of S College of Nurses Faculty and Staff. Crystal Weekend at Flowers By Fred followed that, then to Samaritan Place Senior’s Centre with the residents & staff and ending the season with a drum circle forCity of Saskatoon Community Resources Department.
2009 began with a Joseph Ashong joining us again in January for another epic community drum circle at Oshun House. Sadly, we also bid farewell to a very dear member of our drum circle community, Lorraine Boucher. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time and just a few weeks later I gave birth to a second daughter...needless to say I took a couple of months off after that!
2008 was a fun and busy year with 32 more community drum circles and a host of others including a wedding, a goddess themed birthday party, a fundraiser for the YWCA, a teacher's retreat, circles for the MS support group, the Rainbow 50+ Seniors group, World Laughter Day, Oshun House's grand opening, an event at the Odeon Called "Breathe" and the Bridge City Boogie...We were invited to the Studio at Oshun House where we drummed for the grand opening and then began regular community drum circles in that space. We had a drum circle/didgeridoo workshop with Evan Janzen and a drum circle with special guest performance by African Drum Master Joseph Ashong. In the summer we had the pleasure of drumming outdoors at the Peace Flame in Rotary Park and at River Landing. I rebuilt my frame drum with Kellie Welk on the banks of the river under a large tree near the Bessborough, oh and I was also now pregnant with baby # 2!
2016 kicked off with the second annual New Year's Day Community Drum Circle and Potluck Social, and the year continued to be filled with many fun circles. I was invited to drum with the residents of Preston Park II Retirement Residence and have been returning to play with the wonderful folks there on a fairly regular basis. They have been exceptionally gracious in helping me with the testing of the Unleash the Wild Within material and I'm most grateful for the opportunity to work with them to refine the work.
The first session of Unleash the Wild Within Session was offered in October which turned out to be a busy month...I met with the United Church Office Workers at Queen’s House Retreat Centre where we had a great drumming session, had the pleasure of joining my mom for the second time facilitating a circle for their annual Healing Touch Retreat and I facilitated an incredibly powerful and moving circle for a family honouring the loss of their infant son along with their extended families. It was answering a calling to bring this work to another level, one very Spirit led and for healing.
On November 5th ZEN RHYTHM CO. was officially launched with a Community Drum Circle and Potluck Social along with this website, a first for me! It has been quite a learning curve as I have done all of the graphic design, copy writing and website building myself in the "hours in between" facilitating circles, mothering two young girls, running a household and maintaining a loving relationship with my partner of 15 years.
I also stepped into a new role offering Sound Healing Session for the first time. This has so far proven to be something I feel very called to do more of and consequently I have extended my availability for this work.
If you are interested in a labyrinth walk and drum circle please let me know, I'd be happy to help coordinate this for your group. Although the cloth labyrinth is not available, there are two very near Saskatoon. They can be found at the Devic Centre http://www.ablecrystals.com and Prairie View http://www.prairieviewchapel.com
I was once again running some regular weekly drum circles this time at the beautiful SOULworks Sanctuary and had the opportunity to facilitate circles for the City of Saskatoon's Ignite Your Leadership Conference, EarthDay celebrations at the Farmer'sMarket in co-operating with the Saskatoon Environmental Society, for Compassion 306 with Venerable Losang Samten at the Saskatoon farmer’s Market, ESP Salon Sales Team Meeting, Next Generation Child Care Co-Operative Staff Team meeting, , the CISV youth camp participants, the Culture Days Kick off at City Hall/City of Saskatoon and again for Culture Days with the City of Saskatoon at The Spirit of Alliance Monument.
A Rhythm Parade for the opening of the 1st Annual 33rd Street Fair, TribalNess performance and Drum Circle at the PA Arts Centre for Samahdi Collective’s Opening Show (Kevin Bendig) were also part of 2014's drum fun!
The weekly Community Drum Circles were put on hold at this time but there was no shortage of special events to drum at!
We gathered at the Peace Flame again, this time to celebrate Earth Day on Aril 22nd, and then in May (tick season in full swing oops!) and with a three month old baby in the stroller we experienced the first Drum Circle and Labyrinth Walk at the Prairie View Crematorium just south of the city. Bridge City Boogie followed in June and in July, during the week of Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and the Jazz Festival I rented the upper deck of the Prairie Lily and with "baby on board" over 30 of us drummed as we cruised up and down the beautiful south Saskatchewan River, Captained by my dear friend Tamara !
In 2010 we drummed at Ten Thousand Villages in Circle Centre Mall for World Fair Trade Day and I facilitated circles for the Superannuated Teachers Conference held at the Travel Lodge, the Red Hat Ladies at a private residence, three sessions with the youth from the Open Door Society and at a wedding reception for a lovely couple who first met at one of my drum circles!! Having two little ones at home was keeping things exciting and busy. The drumming kept calling me...
My 40th Birthday celebration was of course a drum circle, held at Oshun House with special guest performances by Jackie Jenson - Whirler
Jen Rae - Tribal Snake Dancer
Karla Kloeble - Hula Hoopster
Other notable drum circles were with a cancer research group from the U of S, the grand opening of SOULworks Sacred Healing Centre, EarthDay, Official opening of the Moose Jaw Trail unveiling ceremony - City of Saskatoon/Culture Days, and the Department of Highways.
Two of my favourite memories would also have to be drumming with the Sisters of St.Angela's Convent and a rope construction Labyrinth walk and drumming at Oshun House for "Spirits on the Rise."
This was the year that I completed my Level One Sound Healing with Marsha Read and went to Edmonton for some more facilitator training with Cameron Tummel and Lucas Coffey.
I was a new mom with a daughter just 18 months old....
In May of 2010 we were fortunate to have access to this beautiful handmade cloth labyrinth and enjoyed a very special afternoon again in the beautiful Studio at Oshun House.