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2009-02-14 - 9:36 p.m.

I have only one actual regret in life.

I wish I had not impulsively given away my carved wooden Djembe made in Ghana which I bought from the traveling merchant whom Emile led me to years ago in order to find my drum. He had a lot of drums that day, and I played a number of them until I found that one.

That was a beautiful drum. It was MY DRUM. It was painful for me to look at it with it's punched in skin head sitting in the corner unplayed. It was a reminder of the attempt to destroy the things that I loved, one of which was my joy when playing my drum. At the time I felt powerless as I couldn't afford to re-skin it and wanted to be free of the painful reminder it had become of the attempts to destroy me.

When in a beautiful loving gesture my beloved gave me a new drum last year on my birthday, I was so happy and touched. It was a moment of reclaiming the celebration and joy of that day of my own unique self. As September 11th is my birthday, that was so important as it had become a day of conflicting emotions and memories,not only of the terrorist attack on our county, but for me of the personal attack that left me stunned and literally bruised the year prior.

It was with great joy that on this September 11th those memories were not the first to come to mind. I felt like I had been freed of the stronghold of my past pain which sometimes still tarnishes the present; and felt hopeful that if I could celebrate a few hours of that morning without any mouring that there is hope that some day I might be freed of that pain fully. So I was really happy this year on my birthday with that realization that I was FREE.

Today with excitement I put on the Valentine gift of the Mel Bay Produced DVD, Learn to Play Djembe, and took out my new Toca drum.

I have enjoyed playing this new drum while sitting outside on the slopes of the beautiful Western Loudoun countryside as I would wait for the bus to return the kindergartener home and play alongside a CD of Emile as he accompanied Nina Simone in a recording made the year I was born. Before I started to work full time I enjoyed those peaceful moments at my old home.

It was easy to let go of the past and relax when outdoors listening to that marvelous music. It was easy to get into a groove and play along and forget about the limitations of the plastic head and plastic body of the Toca.

But tonight, as I sat with my new drum and this DVD it just made me cry. It makes me so sad, and this sadness is something I have to work through in order to really play this drum fully. I did play it in those outdoor moments alone, but when I play in indoors I grieve at the loss of that one I let go. The goatskin and wood have a richness of tone that I can't compare this new drum to. I know I shouldn't compare...One has to let go of the past and fully apprechiate what one has in the moment.

For some reason, when playing along this simple DVD (which is not really that inspiring as its a bit basic for my experience), the sadness just overcame me. Perhaps its because I was so desensitized and so disassociative out of a need to protect myself, that I was detatched in order to give up that thing I loved rather than face the pain of not being able to enjoy it. I wish I had the foresight to know that in time I would be able to afford to have a new skin put on it; and that in time if I repaired the damage the drum would be a conduit of joy again and the violent blow which tore through both its skin and mine would become just a distant memory which is forgotten somtimes, and recalled sometimes, but without such pain over time. I wish I had the foresight to have known it would just be one of those hurdles that I am proud to have overcome. Instead I gave it away. I think however I never grieved that painful loss.

It makes me sad in a way also as now I want to love this new drum , yet I don't yet even really like it's sound. I need to grow into it, or vice versa. And yet it was such a sweet and loving gift that it was given to me . It's so very special and wonderful and important to me.

I also can't help remember that Art had said he wanted to carve me one. He does make absolutely beautiful wood carvings, and he has gone to drumming circles, and that thought was also so very beautiful.

It is good to be loved.

The DVD was a sweet, sweet gift as I have been yearning to play of late, and have been searching for an African Drum Circle and haven't found one. I found one years ago when I didn't have the time and ability to go (in Washington D.C.) Now I have been looking on and found a few Native American Drum Circles but not what I really have been looking for. There actually is a drumming circle on Friday nights in Leesburg, but somehow I Know that is not the one for me. (Art and Pocahontas have both been there and it is a spiritually centered group but not really serious drumming from my perspective.) I am sure I can find the right one in D.C. again, but I hoped there might be something a bit closer to home as this area is more diverse than it was ten years ago. No luck though.

So the DVD was a thoughtful gift based on my desires and I am sure that once this is worked throught, I will be able to begin playing my drum with a renewed passion. I am just not yet quite there, but know someday I will be.

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