Miraculous Enjoyment

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April 29, 2013

Another day, another miracle. Today my job consisted of teaching drumming to groups of fifth and sixth graders at a local public school, and today, like so many times before, I went to work injured, and left work healthy.

For several previous days I had significant pain on my left side, as if all the muscles were sprained. It hurt every time I moved. When I got home last night, my left hip and knee were in so much pain it was difficult to walk, impossible to climb stairs. I soaked in a hot bath, and then used cold packs for several hours. When I awoke this morning, the pain had lessened, but was still constant. Any movement triggered muscle spasms up and down my left side. I went to work, and slowly set up all the instruments and chairs, trying to not put any pressure on my left leg. The first group of students arrived, and we began to play… Seventy minutes later, there was a text from my girlfriend, asking if my hip was all right. It surprised me to realize I wasn’t feeling the slightest pain at all. It was completely gone. I had drummed, bounced around, stomped, and even jumped a few times, and had not been in any discomfort at all. An hour of drumming had miraculously cured the pain I had been feeling for a week.

Many times I have gone to work feeling sick, fatigued, or hurting, and had my symptoms cured by the end of the day. Sometimes I almost overlook the daily miracles drumming brings into my life because they happen so frequently. On a yearly average, I only get sick once, typically for only two or three days, and otherwise, stay physically healthy, all the time.

As the decades go by, and my doctors become increasingly surprised by my ongoing state of remarkable physical health, I credit the majority of my health to drumming. Playing drums is my health maintenance program. Every time I play, I get moderate exercise and a heightened heart rate for an extended period of time, I exercise both sides of my body and both hemispheres of my brain, it alleviates all my physical and emotional stress, I get cooperative musical interaction with groups of friends and neighbors, and I have an art/sport/philosophy that brings me health and happiness. The price for a professional caliber djembe and lessons for a year is far less than any medical insurance I’ve ever heard of, and the tests and check-ups are far more pleasant. And sometimes, like today, it even heals my physical injuries.

Play drums. Enjoy your life. And enjoy all the miraculous benefits along the way.

Surfing 2-4-13

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Sunday morning I went to the beach. The surf was good and the weather was great, but the scene was shocking. My three favorite local spots had more guys in the water and cars parked along the road than I had ever seen before. I go to the beach to decompress, not to haggle. The thought of paddling out amidst a hundred other guys was nauseating. So I opted to drive for an hour and then hike for another entire hour in order to surf one of my favorite un-crowded spots.

I wasn’t prepared for the hike, brought the wrong backpack, had no food, was only wearing sandals, and my ten foot-long-board was brutally heavy. My surf session cost me an entire day, $25 in gas, and significant personal discomfort. And I woke up the next morning with so many aches and pains I could hardly move.

But ever since, as I work, email, text, manage my bills and negotiate traffic, my thoughts keep drifting back… back to the beach… back to the feeling of my toes in the sand… the surf all around… the sublime enjoyment of the sea.

When I’m surfing, the exercise, the rhythm of the waves, and the natural beauty of the beach always make me feel happy and relaxed. As each set of waves passes by, the rhythm takes over, and everything else just slips away. You forget about your concerns. Your internal chatter calms down. You unwind. As the hours pass and you settle deeper and deeper into your session, all your worries wash away, until your thoughts are only about the beauty of nature around you, and how stoked you are to be a part of it. The steady rhythm of the waves, paddling and breathing is all that matters. I cherish the days I surf. I enjoy it every single time I paddle out.

Make time for the things you enjoy most.

They recharge us for the days and ToDos ahead.

Prioritize nature.