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The Youngering Power of Participatory Music

The Joy, Healing and Youngering Power of Participatory Music

From Natural Awakening July 2011 issue

 Being engaged in the many details of survival, business and the day to day stresses tends to have us spending way too much time in our left brain.  Research shows that this drains the system, negatively affects our health, both physical and emotional and speeds the aging-degeneration process.

The indigenous nature based cultures, both past and present (what few are left) knew a secret.  For centuries they have integrated dance, song, rhythm making and other creatively expressive activities into their daily lives.

They understand how it balances the challenges of daily living, opens the mind to creative problem solving, fosters connections within the community, as well as brings health to the body and aliveness to the soul.  One of the distinguishing features is that these right brain (and hence left brain balancing) activities were for all – regardless of skill level – all participated.  Some may be more talented than others but they would all engage, and usually with the whole community.

Sadly, in our culture most fall into the category of either Performer or Spectator, which leaves most of the population considered only “good enough” to sit around and watch.  But the magic is that…The Healing and Transformation is in the Participating! … whatever your skill level happens to be.

Stan Groff a well known neuroscience researcher and the creator of holotrophic breath work said “The being will gravitate toward healing and balance when in a naturally induced altered state.”  Allowing ourselves to become lost in the moment in what can be called a “right brain activity” will bring about this altered state of which he speaks.

There are three distinguishing features to these right brain activities: 

 1) You need to be participating, (watching has some benefit but not to the degree that participating does);

2) You are doing it for the shear enjoyment of it – not for some other goal, like you have to become great at it to prove something, (though you might in the process), or you have to make money from it (and you might), or that you need to lose weight from it… (and again you might) But overall, the “have to” is not there.

3) You are totally immersed in the moment in it – that is, you lose track of time doing it… meaning you are totally present in it.

This can be most anything you love to do, however, I believe there is something yet more powerful and healing when it involves music and especially when making it or moving to it in co-creation with others.  This is why music therapy is a burgeoning field.  But we don’t need a special therapist to administer it for us.  Luckily we have many opportunities to partake available right here in Southern Florida.  From drum circles three to four times a week, dancing at these circles or at many other places,  opportunities to sing, etc.

Another great benefit of adding these kinds of activities to your life is that you find answers to challenging life questions with so much more clarity and assuredness.  Einstein said, “Solutions to our problems cannot come from the same mind that created them.”  Engaging in these activities allows for the capacity to access thoughts, feelings, and awareness’ that would otherwise be blocked by the minds “defense systems”. 

Also emotional healing and deeper transformations can occur spontaneously without any linier understanding what so ever.  Deeper truths easily rise to the surface, the heart opens, and shifts occur that mental processing alone could never access.   These significant shifts simply occur through opening other areas of the brain that are triggered by participating in these “doing it for the joy of it” activities.  Then magically you begin to experience opened creativity, enhanced joyfulness and a willingness to think outside the box as well as take risks you would never have attempted to take, that can led to wonderful life changes…. And all simply from having fun!

As I said you do not have to be “good”.  Just start, just find something – anything that interests you and begin it now – take a class, or return to it if you used to do it.  It is not necessary to have had any experience in it, only that it piques your interest.

And these opportunities are easy to find.  With the advent of the wonderful blessing of (which happens to be very strong here on the east coast of Florida), you can simply type in what you are interested in trying out, be it drumming, singing, dancing, even hiking,  gardening or most any interest you might have, and wha la groups with this appear.  Or, by looking in the Calendar of Natural Awakenings.   It is just a matter of you getting out of your comfort zone and stepping out to participate.

If you go to my website click the buttons that mention drumming, where you can read more details on how and why it works as well as research on the powerful and positive effects of community drumming.  Also find out about beginning classes in drumming and singing.

Joy Lynn Freeman D.C. Ph.D (cand.) has been a pioneer in the field of personal growth and helping others lead healthier happier lives for over 30 years as a life coach, expressive arts therapist, author, and workshop facilitator..   She is the author of the book Express Yourself: Discover your Inner Truth, Creative Self, and the Courage to Let It Out, and 2 music CDs.   Joy is also a performing dancer, drummer, singer and speaker.

Her unique work and joyful presence assists others in finding the strength and courage to express their authentic and creative selves, speak their truths and follow their callings. For more info visit  and or call 479-244-5469