Healing as a Practice: Bongos and a Tambourine

Healing is a practice. There is no magical moment when all of a sudden you’re over it and healed. Ta da! Over it. Healed. All better now. Our bodies and emotions and spirits do not work like that. We carry things with us, traumas and responses, in our cellular structure…hard coded into our DNA…triggers and memories and more. We carry it with us.

And so, we practice. We release. Again and again and again. We heal bits and pieces here and there. We do deep surgery as needed. We bandage things up. Sew it up with sutures. Apply some ointment here and there. And eventually maybe, one day, it is healed…and we have a tiny hairline scar to show.

Find our medicine and practice using it to heal ourselves.

“They sang don’t waste your hate
Rather gather and create
Be of service, be a sensible person
Use your words and don’t be nervous
You can do this, you’ve got purpose
Find your medicine and use it”
Manifesto – Nahko

When I was 16, I was in a co-dependent and emotionally controlling relationship. He asked me to quit drumming with the marching band to spend more time with him. I did so. Tearfully. On the phone with my band director, who was also crying, I walked away from something I loved. For someone else. For co-dependency.

I’ve had an awkward relationship with the drums ever since. I was never great with a drum kit and that’s the kind of “drummer” people know. Not the one who loves the deep reverberating sound of striking a timpani just right. Not the drummer who can rock the shit out of a tambourine solo and strategically place a trill of wind chimes. I haven’t owned a drum since high school. I still have my middle school drumsticks, painted with nail polish…red, black and blue. I’ve been meaning to buy a tambourine for years. But, I never found *the right one*.

Last week, I went to the music shop and found the perfect tambourine. Still, I walked away from it. It’s extra money. I don’t need it. And with encouragement from friends, and remembering how long I’ve wanted one, I went back yesterday and bought that damn tambourine. I’m going to jingle the hell out of it. I’m gonna bring it to jam sessions. I’m going to dance around my house and play my tambourine just because. I’m going to use it like a shaman rattle and dissipate energy around myself and my clients.

At Burning Man in 2015, I had the honor of playing a djembe from across the world. A kind man let me play it at the base of R-Evolution. R-Evolution was the final statue in a three part series meant to bring awareness to violence against women. Playing that djembe, I remembered the love of drums buried deep in my bones.


This past summer, I was gifted a frame drum that sings like thunder. I play her for journeying ceremonies. I adore using my hand with that drum. There’s a feeling of palm connected – flesh to flesh – to make her sing.

So last night, in addition to the tambourine, I also got bongos. Because, who doesn’t need bongos? I talked myself out of it a million times. I don’t deserve it. I don’t need it. Why do I need drums if I’m not going to play professionally? Because healing. Because playing. Because they’re DRUMS and they are made to be played by these hands.

Today, 15 years after I walked away from the drums and percussion and from a piece of myself…I reunite my hands with my drums. I have picked the scabs, sutured the wound, applied the ointment…and finally…I have a small scar to show for this one thing. Drum scar.

Healing is a practice. Join me to learn more tools to guide you in YOUR practice at my upcoming Sacred Intimacy workshop, or, book a session online or in person by emailing me at info@wildwoodhealing.com ❤


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