I took my conga to drum circle last Saturday and played like it was easy. I’ve discovered that doing things the easy way, so to speak, works. It’s not just that we shouldn’t try too hard. It’s not that if we believe things are easy, they will be. We still need to work on our skills, but that too is easy, and should be just a factor of time. Put in the time, then do what is easy. Recognize that it is easy, and you will impress even yourself. Easier yet, impressing others. I played well. I didn’t show hesitation in my rhythm. I played fast, and slapped effectively. I didn’t get excited, and sometimes I worry that will make me boring, but excitement comes on its own, as an accent and as a punchline. It’s most effective when you can’t help it, and when it comes from within. Then you must calm down again and get back into the groove. Dancers responded to the drums and the only way we can respond back is by letting it happen. You don’t think, “that butt shake requires this drum roll.” You let the butt shake (or whatever we move them to) enter you, and you allow what you feel to control what you play. Nothing is forced, when you do things the easy way. You know it’s working when the best dancer at the fire moves in front of you, and provides you and your buddy a nice silouette to look at. He raises an eyebrow. I tell him after its over, “I think we had a connection.” “you did,” he says back. I played the drums when I was younger, but I never did get it then; those days are but a missed opportunity. She is 20 (something) and I’m 48 (married, yes, that too), so she can take what I give her to the bedroom of the man she came with. My gift to her (and to him).
I take what I learn from drums and apply it to the rest of my life. That we are at our best when we think of everything as easy. What you can do is easy, and what you can’t do is impossible (so why try?). Writing, accounting, husbandry, child rearing… With an observing manner, I’m just going to keep pressing the easy button.