Thump Thump… Thump Thump
The universal first sound that we hear as babies in our mother’s womb is the heartbeat. Thump thump… thump thump. That is the very first rhythm and sound frequency we are able to pick up and this tone can become very comforting, as the baby inhabits with his or her mom until entering the world. Reconnecting with that rhythm can be an extremely powerful and transformative experience, and drumming allows us exactly this. Drumming enables us to reconnect with our primal energy that we don’t tap into nearly enough these days.
Returning to that primal energy is an awakening experience, one that makes people feel alive, reborn perhaps, and makes them feel both at peace and captivated by the rhythm and vibrations that run through their body and move the soul when both hearing the drums, and even more so when we have the power to utilize our bodies and movement and engage with beating the drums. We live in a fast paced society nowadays where many of us are living almost completely in our heads, worried about our to-do lists, bills, and ensuring that all of our basic needs are met, not to mention trying to keep up with technology! Because of this, we inexplicably block out a lot of the joys and wonders in our lives because we don’t allow ourselves to tap back into that childlike happiness that music and the fine arts bring us.
Suzy Soulshine is no stranger to the beauty of music
and the healing power that lies within. Her passion lies heavily in the holistic healing that drums allow for the mind, body, and soul connection. Her experiences with playing music originated as she learned to play the saxophone growing up, and she still ponders why she didn’t pursue studying music when she went to college. Her confidence in pursuing music as a teenager runs parallel to the way in which society perceives music, art, and physical education. With many states having severely reduced or even eliminated funding for the arts in schools, many students who may have undoubtedly been the next Mozart or the next Van Gough, are turned away from their true passions.
As a society, we have to do better!
Suzy and I reflected about the self-limiting beliefs that many kids adapt when they are young and are told that they don’t have rhythm, that they have two left feet, that they can’t hit a note in the bucket, etc. We hold very tightly to these comments and buy in to them and accept the fact that there’s no way that we are creative or have talents that lie in the right hemisphere of the brain. But, drumming, drumming is objectively different. Drumming is universal. It does not require the ability to read music or figure out how to strum chords.
Drumming has been used in ancient practices all across the globe and is certainly a multicultural method of holistic healing. The sound and rhythm is used to radiate self-expression and accelerate physical and mental well being. Drumming has been proved to release emotional trauma and truly reintegrate self. When you engage in drumming, your whole brain is being accessed. Research shows physical transmission of energy to the brain actually syncs the left and right hemispheres, kick starting bilateral stimulation to the brain, which is a practice used in EMDR therapy to reprocess distressing thoughts and images.
Healthrhythm is an evidence based protocol that uses group drumming as a tool for healing
Suzy is a Healthrhythm Facilitator who utilizes HealthRhythms, an evidence based protocol that uses group drumming as a tool for healing. Participating in a HealthRhythms drumming program has been shown boosts your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduces stress, lessens the burnout among teachers and other high stress professions, and employs an ongoing community support for ALL, including those affected by trauma in an effort to create new neural pathways, igniting freedom. Her genuine spirit and contagious personality emits positively and she was yearning for community when she relocated to Texas after a toxic relationship. Suzy was struggling through the process of leaving a toxic marriage, and during that difficult time her weekly drumming class became her refuge and the one thing she never gave up doing. She continuously showed up at her drum lesson week after week, and in retrospect she realized she was healing through rhythm.
This transformative experience led her to her calling to leading drum circles and transforming others perception of themselves. She was surprised when she held her first drum circle at Cedar Park, Texas, and people actually came, and the experience started to grow and flourish from there. She was craving community and she found out that those that came were in pursuit of the same.
She began to dive into all of the research that was out there about healing through drumming and set out on a mission to spread the awareness throughout Texas, engaging with the community doing events at festivals, business events, and even in prison, to promote healing through music. Her experience transformed into a pursuit she titled, Soulshine Rhythm Experience.
She was determined to spread awareness about how beautiful and captivating drumming can be for the soul and how therapeutic participating with others to make music and engage in a musical storytelling, really is. We all have something to say. We have all been through different and similar events in our lifetimes and our unique voices matter! This is made evident through drumming, when a drummer falls out, or stops playing. This is true, too, in society. We all play such an integral part, and without community and support, life is not nearly as sunny!
Soulshine Rhythm Experience later created Soulshine Rhythm Gym
a program for children centered on movement and music. Suzy utilized this curriculum at a local Montessori school where weekly the children learned about rhythm and physical fitness. She noted extremely positive changes in the kids, and she continued to do this for several years until she needed to use the majority of her time to pursue facilitating drum circles in different contexts and with diverse populations throughout her community.
There’s something extremely profound about interacting with the Drum. It reverberates in the soul and calls on us to look within ourselves and feel the experience deeply. We are all connected to one another and we tend to appreciate our relationships even more when we are around music. Long-term results with positivity, freedom, and confidence have been seen after playing music, and specifically after engaging in group drumming. At risk adolescents and teens often find their escape in music and can break them out of the current situation they are in.
Most people Suzy has interacted with are shocked that they are actually good at it. Those who participate in her drum circles note a positive feeling of euphoria when they feel the connectedness to the drum, and they feel their release of emotions that they have been holding and trapped within.
Suzy always tells all those who play in her drum circles to honor whatever feelings come out, as we are all human and experiencing highs and lows consistently. She sees their self-confidence grow from being more timid and nervous around a new community at their first circle, to confident and stronger together as they begin to get comfortable around the instrument, and further, more comfortable with one another.
Her current passion lies within helping those in recovery, at risk youth, and veterans with PTSD, and she is applying for grants to aid in her mission to help as many folks as possible. Make sure to seek out Suzy’s Soulshine Rhythm Experience through group programs, upcoming events in the community, or to book a private event, and prepare to have a self-altering experience!
Find Suzy on Facebook @ Soulshine Rhythm Experience