It was the first day of my three month sabbatical and seemed like the perfect opportunity to connect with other women outside of my church, to spend time outdoors in a beautiful setting, and to stretch my comfort zone by drumming.
Heather Pentz was the retreat leader; I met her when she drummed for You Gotta Sing! Chorus, the community choir with whom I sing.
This is the view from a hilltop off the West Lawrencetown Road where I, along with a group of eleven women, did Tai Chi a month ago. We were participants in a retreat for women entitled Awake In the Wild. There were eleven of us: we walked the land, we drummed, we danced, we ate, we sang.
I spent all day outside, something I don’t think I have done since I was a teenager. It put me in touch with that younger self, even as the body that climbed the hill to that magnificent view protested!
There is power in the drum, despite never having drummed before. The retreat opened with us beating on various kinds of drums as we made our way to the woods singing. As we sat in our chosen places, we were invited to say a few words about what we hoped for in the day and then beat out a rhythm on the drum we had and the rest of the women picked up the rhythm on theirs. The woods echoed with ancient and new beats.
The sacred wove its way through the day in ways that are almost indescribable. There is something sacred about having, as a friend puts it, ‘skin to skin’ contact with the earth. There is something sacred about moving your body to the heartbeat of the drum, the heartbeat of the earth and the breath of the ocean. There is something sacred that is always present, if only we are ‘awake.’
Later in the day we were invited to think of a mantra for ourselves. We made bracelets and were encouraged to wear them, to repeat your mantra throughout the day. To have the mantra become a part of who we are.
The day culminated in a drumming circle and if we felt called, we were invited to sit or lay in the middle of the circle as the others drummed or sang what we asked of them. I asked them to sing my prayer/mantra/song. It is an adaptation of a song I learned at YGS. They sang, “I let the love wash over me, I let, I let, it be.” They sang it over and over again. They sang it till I felt it vibrate up through the earth. They sang it till the love washed over me.
And that’s my window on God’s world.