Getting Out of the House (In this Case, It Was Well Worth It) - The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • On any given day of the week, I have only one reason to get out of the house and a million-and-one reasons for staying in. Even if it’s reversed, the one reason for staying inside generally wins out over the million-and-one reasons for getting out.


    You know what I mean. Chances are just about all of you are reading this from your home right now rather than in a Starbucks.


    There are sound reasons for staying indoors. Our population - especially the introverted amongst us - requires generous allotments of quiet time and space. This is essential to our healing. We also find our own inner worlds highly rewarding.

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    But there is a time and place ...


    Yesterday, I ventured out to a drum circle/neuro-talk event led by Mickey Hart. Mickey Hart is the legendary drummer of the Grateful Dead and the leader of the Global Drum Project and other efforts. He has been working with neuroscientists on rhythm and healing. 


    I will be writing a lot more on this topic, but for right now ...


    I showed up with my didgeridoo. At least a hundred drummers were there, plus a larger general audience. My didge was mounted on a stand and hooked up to a small speaker. This freed up one hand to thump on a cajon - a wood box drum you can sit on - and a foot to stomp on a tambourine.


    At six o’clock, we all started spontaneously banging (and in my case, honking) away. Think of a drum circle as a self-organizing phenomenon like a flock of geese or the internet. Order emerges, the sum becomes greater then the parts. In a drum circle context, this can be a transcendent experience.


    It’s no coincidence that drumming featured in ancient rituals and that music is found in every culture.


    Mickey and a brain scientist talked about all that and more. Then we were back to banging (and honking). It is no exaggeration to say that at this particular moment, on this particular piece of earth, the universe temporarily suspended its laws. No time, no space, no gravity.


    No self, no other.


    The drumming stopped. I came to earth, well not quite. Mickey walked past. “Good doo, man,” he said to me.


    Added bonus: The Dead’s tallest groupie, Bill Walton, approached me. “What do you call that?” he asked.


    Some days, it is well worth getting out of the house.


    Question: Getting out of the house. Tell us about it - your challenges, your rewards, your disappointments.


    Comments below ... 

Published On: May 18, 2014