Saturday, January 30, 2010

How To Create Your Ideal Condition in Under 5 Minutes

Mandala Art by Stephanie Smith

by Jim Donovan

Before you go to sleep tonight, try this...

All you need are three to five minutes to make this exercise powerfully effective.

Imagine your ideal condition whatever it is- better health, better finances, better relationships... Think about this ideal condition with all of the sensory detail you can.

Be unlimited.

In your mind's eye, see this condition as if it were true. Focus as much of your attention on this ideal condition for as long as you can before falling asleep.

Try this for the next 22 days and notice if anything related to your ideal condition begins to emerge in your life. Tomorrow, notice if you begin to do anything differently...

I'd like to hear about your progress.. 
feel free to stop back and leave a comment to share your story.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When do you feel most alive?

by Jim Donovan
There is an excellent Congolese song I learned from my dear friend Elie Kihonia called Mutwashi. In the song, the lyrics translate as "We are giving thanks for being alive today." In light of the recent events in Haiti, this sentiment has never felt more true to me. Just to have the opportunity to wake up and live again is a gift. Seeing people being pulled alive from the rubble after ten days gives me pause to reflect and remember to be grateful not only for my family, health and abundance- but also for the chance to try again.

I'm interested to hear from you on this...
When do you feel most alive?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

10 Reasons Why Drumming Together Builds Great Teams

by Jim Donovan

1. Drumming levels the playing field. Drumming levels the playing field, removes hierarchies, and helps participants to know each other on different terms. Creating music together creates lasting bonds between people unlike any other. By putting all of your employees (CEO's included) on the level playing field of group drumming watch how the hierarchies melt away and you each begin to see the importance of player in the room. Strengthen interpersonal relationships. 

2. Drumming creates a strong sense of respect among participants.
You can create more effective team members by turning them into deeper listeners. Drumming unifies and creates a common purpose for your team and is the perfect metaphor for working together in harmony while highlighting the importance of the group dynamic.

3. Drumming encourages creative thinking. When you drum, it demands that you think outside the box. Drumming uses both hemispheres of the brain. Each player learns how to balance their creativity and expression while supporting others in their own pursuits.

4. Drumming quickly brings focus and concentration to large groups. Drumming helps to bring immediate focus to any size group. Within moments, everyone is on the same page, letting go of worries, skepticism and concerns, and immersed into an enjoyable group experience.

5. Drumming fosters cooperation instead of competition.Your team members will feel camaraderie closer as they experience making music together. When all players are working in complete cooperation, and with full focus, extraordinary music results. Create a common ground and a solid sense of community by uniting participants as a team and feel the power of playing as one drum.

6. Drumming melts stress. Drumming is scientifically documented to quickly and safely help people release stress. With the first five minutes you will feel a significant shift in how you feel, and also how the group is better able to focus.

7. Drumming stimulates deep listening. Group drumming demands that you learn to hear subtleness. You learn to hear more than one thing at a time. You learn to hear more than just yourself. It increases awareness of others while participants learn to listen and interact with each other.

8. Drumming helps participants to find their own voice. Learn the power of individual contribution. In their expression individuals make a unique contribution to the success of the entire group. Group drumming is the perfect metaphor for relationships in the workplace and is a cathartic way to enhance personal and self-awareness. Drumming with others with a group encourages self-expression and personal growth.

9. Drumming is easy, energizing and enjoyable! Percussion is RIGHT NOW. You pick it up, you strike it and it makes a sound. With mindful direction and leadership, any group can be turned into a "percussive orchestra" within a very short time. the Corporate Drumming Programs I do specialize in building immediate energetic synergy within groups who usually take a long time to develop.

10. Drumming can happen anywhere. Your conference hall, your business, auditorium, outside (weather permitting), parking lot. I've done sessions in very diverse circumstances such as a woodworking sawmill, a juvenile prison, factory manufacturing floor, cafeterias... you get the idea. All we need are the ability to make loud music and seating for all participants.

Get more information on Jim's Corporate Drumming Programs....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

56 Reasons You Should Be Drumming

Bryan Fazio playing congas. Photo by Kaylyn Oshaben.

by Jim Donovan
(Special thanks and hi-fives to all of my friends on my Blog, Twitter and Facebook for your contributions to this article!!)

It's true... many of my friends also play the drums, and so I thought I'd ask them why? Why do you drum? I learned quite a bit from reading their answers.

Feel free to add your 2 cents by leaving a comment below...

1. Peg Hubbert it is relaxing for me. It is a great stress reducer.It gets me intune with my inner being. I love the way I feel when I am drumming.
2. Elizabeth Witalis
so many reasons Jim! 1. it's good for my heart and health 2. it's therapy 3. it allows for self-discovery 4. great for meditation 5. facilitates transcendence 6. mind clearing 7. self-cleansing 8. human connection in a group setting
I could go on but I gotta go play my drum now:)

3. Ryan Taylor Anderson
to connect to spirit, to realign my mind, body and soul. To help others in the healing of their whole selves! Thanks Jim!

4. Mandy L Kivowitz-Delfaver
Weird question.... are there people who DONT like to drum? I remember getting scolded for repeating rhythms on my text books with pencil erasers in the first grade, I have always made circular rhythms as long as I have lived and I have no idea why. I guess I like the focus and I love the power, I love to dance and sing to drums and I love to support a greater form by simply holding down a repeating beat while a soloist, drummer or melodic instrument takes flight.

5. Jim Pyecroft
My grade school teachers wanted to know that too. It's primal, built into my dna.

6. Carmen Capozzi
The reason I drum is hard to explain. It's something inside me that wants out. It's a vision in my head, a feeling in my hands and feet. When I play I play with conviction. There's times when I played and got tears in my eyes. I get off on making people hear me. Maybe it's a control thing. Maybe I need attention. Im not the best but I know they are... See More listening and watching. When I play out with my band it a spurital
Experience. I am exhausted when I am done. Almost like an Indian war dance, I came for blood !!

7. Sue Fishkind Field
because its soulful FUN.

8. Michelle Vanelli
It serves as the ultimate release for me- a great stress reliever; when I have many things swarming in my head it helps me to slooooooow down, BREATHE, and sort of compartmentalize.... puts everything in perspective. I am reminded just how small I am. drumming on the beach....mmmmm

9. David Webb
To me it's a source of meditation and a connection to my Arab heritage. Drumming has totally changed my life in the fact that constant practice and improvement has lead to a sense of accomplishment in ALL areas of my life.....If I can achieve it on the drum...I can achieve anything!!! It is a part of me and I cannot picture a day without it. THAT is why I drum.

10. Steve Sciulli
I get great joy from creating and programming drum loops and mashing various cultural rhythms to create one small world big beat. I also love to drop drum clips in Ableton Live and have the beats magically time lock and sync. To me this is a way in which one can move beyond the limitations of our biology.

11. Mandy L Kivowitz-Delfaver
We are all forgetting the "I just like to watch the pretty girls dance" factor.....

12. Rosemary S. Erb
to connect to the Great Heart Beat of the Mother. Then to know that I am part of a greater community all co-join in the sound and feel of a drum, no matter what kind it may be. It is for the wild primal-ness within that I drum.

13. Nikki Patterson Zeiler
So many reasons but mostly I do it to reconnect and ground myself. I feel my heart realign with the collective.

14. Stephanie Smith
Because it feels really, really good... It's one of those things that feeds your spirit in innumerable ways. It allows you to be open and escape into this truly primal space...

15. Kerrie Wolf
it soothes my soul.

16. Amy Phillips Hudkins
From Jackson (7 years old), "I don't know, I just like to!"
"It's like lightning comin' outta my sticks!"

17. Jonathan Fell
I am part of a "tribal weaving". . . I drum because it allows me to feel both empty and whole. . . to go deep within and to connect outside of my Self. . . to organize my thoughts and to escape from my thinking. . . to bring order and chaos. . . to embody my sensuality and to transcend my bodily experience. . . to get in touch with my pain, and to ... See Morego beyond my suffering. . . to shake things up, to destroy false constructs, to pierce through illusions, and to seek the ONE. . . and of course to watch beautiful dancers ride on the rhythms created. . . thump-thump. . . thump-thump. . . we all share the beat of the heart.

18. Rebecca Regan
it's actually the best listening excercise I've ever come across.

19. Jenni Levy
What everyone else said about the meditative and stress-reducing reasons, and also because as a singer it helps me to connect with music in a different way, to access a more complex piece of my musicality. It's also a physical skill and I can see myself getting better each time, which is intensely satisfying in a very different way than the emotional and cognitive challenges of the rest of my life.

20. Teresa Rodriguez
I hit a drum because hitting annoying people upside the head is frowned upon. ;) Seriously, though, aside from vocals, percussion is the oldest form of creating music. Drumming creates a link to humanity going back hundreds of thousands of years, as expression and communication evolved. I would imagine our first experience with rhythm would be the... See More pulse of our mothers' circulatory system when we were in the womb. Is that why our brains are so stimulated by this arrangement of sound? Are we trying to recreate the first vibrations we perceived?

21. Amy Phillips Hudkins
From Jude (2 years old) "Betuz I be wakin' up Jackson!"

22. Jennifer Dean Will
It makes me feel good. I accidentally typed 'god' instead of 'good' the first time. And I concur with that statement coming through me: It makes me feel god.

23. Lawrence Michael Enderle
i drum with community in the middle east. 9 - 12 corporate and community drum circles a week, about 100 people from different parts of the region at each circle. drumming with community brings peace to me, i see and feel that drumming brings peace to the circle. i hear and witness that drumming in community brings peace to the community and one ... See Moreday, my hope and dream is that drumming in community will bring . . . peace to the middle east, Inshallah. i don't see other activities where people of very different backgrounds, religions, ages, cultures, social economic status, education and nationalities can listen to each other, share their own personal rhythms and support the music we make. we are really one in spirit, drumming brings this out like nothing else i experience. this is why i drum . . . dance . . . sing . . . tell stories and sit in community in total blissed out silence . . . i thank the Great Spirit for these blessings every day of my life. Thank you for asking Jim.

24. Kelly Bowers
Because it feels so damned good. In a group feels better than alone. Love the feeling of vibration, collaboration, and, oh yeah, the noise....

25. Stephen Fabian
i drum beacuse it helps me relax, and clears my mind. wish i could have other people to drum with.

26. Tony Kisling
I drum to silence the voices in my head!!

27. Joel Pilon
Hey Jim,I got the best answer. Because I CAN!!!!!!!!!!
Because I LOVE TO!!!!!,Because I NEED TO!!!!!!!Because It's MY Life!!!!!!!!!

28. Bob Bradley That's like asking why do birds fly?

29. Melissa Murray
Everybody said it so well - I don't have a lot to add. It just makes me happy!

30. Connie Popp
It's hypnotic. It allows me to escape my usual (conscious) way of being and to connect with that deeper, inner self. Hypnosis is a form of concentrated focus - so is drumming.

31. Anna Noack Brown
I drum to share connection to the group of women that I drum with!

32. Craig Glaser
brings me back to the cave yo!

33. James Matt Holcomb
Me: It gets me doing something that I have to not be trapped in my head to do. Daughter: Stress relief, and that she's generally a percussionist, as that's what she is.

34. Travis Lacey
Because I can disappear. I can be who I realy am out side of my human form. I also love that my body-my blood, muscles, organs-become in sync with my drums when I play, and becoming in tune with my senses.

35. Jeff Tripoli
i drum because its its what I love to do. Plus, guitar was too hard to learn by ear.. I also love watching people dance to my groove with my bands!!

36. Dana Grande
It engages my hands, my feet, my ears, my breath, my heart, and my soul. I can throw my whole body into it and totally lose myself, while simultaneously connecting with others.

37. Heather Newton
It relaxes me and brings me into continued balance on every level almost as soon as I begin. I love the intimacy between my drum and I and the times I've drummed with others. It touches on something truly raw and real and ancient, resonating long after I am done. Thanks Jim for all of your encouragement! You're an inspiration!

38. Jennifer Ellison Bland
for a way to get out artistic expression, frustration, and to have some me time. Mostly though, just cause it feels so damned good!

39. Dave Mott
To communicate with other like-minded souls... among many more reasons....

40. Julie Biroscak
Christopher drums to create a swirling vortex of energy that breaks down barriers of interdimensional travel and allows for the ancestoral spirits to cross over and commune with the living.
I drum to connect with Christopher.

41. Steff Heller
it brings me a calming connection to the sacred.

42. Ryan Allred
to move spirit

43. Mary Twitchell
I'm over 50 and work in healthcare,helps me to maintain focus, and a stress reliever

44. Paige Riley
It is a tangible, super fast way to remind myself - my cells - why they pulse....reminding my very cells of deep ancestory - a vehichle to primal pulse and connection.

45. William Affeldt
When I was a young boy my mother used to ask me that all of the time when my hands were making rythms on anything I touched. Well actually is was not really asking why it was ususally DAMMINT KNOCK OFF THE NOISE.

46. Maggie Spilner-Brotzman
I like to drum as a way to making music without having to know notes or take too long of a learning curve. I like call and response as a community way of making music. I don't like stress busting workshops where people just make a lot of noise. I like doing rhythms that sound like music.

47. Stacy Wright
i like the way it sounds. :)

48. Mandy Manuel Odum
I drum to find that primal beat of life and spirituality

49. Elizabeth Ann Wilson
I drum because it is a way to experience musical joy with friends. That is something that I could never do when I was locked away in a conservatory practice room. For me, there is more satisfaction in sharing music with others rather than practicing alone in a room.

50. Debbie Kemmerer Graul
I drum alone to listen for my inner rhythm. I drum with others because it brings on the sense that we are all from the same tribe.

51. Andrew Patton
I drum to break down walls

52. Amy Morrill Borlaug
I drum to open that wild women spirit that i hold inside so silent. and then it rises to the up most love i have ever felt and drum so hard that the psirit fill the room with passion.....

53. John Buynak Your question reminds me of Bill Moyers interview w/ Joseph Campbell, where he questions…Is it t/ birds intention to sing a beautiful song, or is it his nature? Is it t/ spiders intention to build a beautiful web, or is it his nature??
*So why do we drum??? Its in our nature to do so…and, if your not drumming already, stop fighting it…its who you are.

54. Nadine Bergeron
I'm following the path! Drumming, spirit flows through me, exciting, enlivening! - Creating community, making powerful rituals. teaching, healing...

55. Jarrett Sumner
Because drumming is the audible expression of time itself.

56. Kim McElhatten
to feel the trance and swell of forget my earthly presense and be a vibration in the collective feel the connection of the infinite...

Did we miss something? Leave a comment...
Then go play your drum....

Check out my last post "Why Do I Drum?"

Why do I drum?

My trusty drum kit..
by Jim Donovan

I was thinking about this question today and I realized that beyond the enjoyment and energy, that I drum because it teaches and reflects to me important aspects about my life...

  • Like feeling stuck or uninspired because I feel like I am just repeating the same old rhythms...
  • Or trying to learn new challenging new rhythms where the patterns challenge, frustrate, and right out confound me...
  • And even realizing, that the rhythms in and of themselves aren't nearly as important as the intention I inject into them.

Elie Kihonia and I drumming at Riverbeat in Pittsburgh.

When I drum, it reminds me of the craving I have to be "in the groove", fully present and in joy. I feel the most alive when new ideas are flowing effortlessly and great music happens!

Drumming is one of the tools that continuously challenges me figure out a way to create that which is inspiring. Whether I break "hard" rhythms down into smaller parts, play them more slowly, or find someone to help me figure it out, drumming always gives me opportunities to grow... if I look closely...

I want to know, why do you drum?
Be a part of this article by leaving you answer in the comments below!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wisdom for the Next Seven Generations


As an experiment, I posed the following question to many of my friends to see what kind of answers I'd get:  

If you had 3 pieces of wisdom to pass on to the next seven generations, what would they be?

The following are the unedited answers they gave me...I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did!
Feel free to add to this "wisdom list" by leaving your comments below...
Peace,  Jim Donovan

Doug Patterson
1. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
2. Doing what the average person does gets you what the average person gets.
3. Your place in the universe is sacred.

Thomas Batchelor
1. always wear footwear that you could run for your life in.
2. stay true to yourself, and don't pander to others.
3. learn how to do your own oil changes, it'll save you money and connect you to your vehicle. Put a sticker on your dash with the mileage when you change the oil, every 3000 miles faithfully. Use a quality oil and filter each time, and it will more than pay for itself in the long run, and recycling the oil is good for you and the environment.

Mike Krach
I always try to pass this thought on to my students: Dream as big as you possibly can and if you truly want that dream then pursue it as if nothing else matters.

Becky Mills Bouille
From "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz
1. Be Impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

Rachel Allen
1. Proceed until apprehended
2. Take nothing personally
3. Be present in all moments...thats where joy and grace exist..

Mitranand Baumann
1,be respectful humble helpful and loving.2,eat well be thankful, remember we live in a magical plane of existence and the universe supports and wants to help you don't delay ask God thats your job,thoughts are creative.3,be creative,drum..celebrate life and take time to sit quietly in the early morning hours...( i know i cheated that is really more than 3) lol

Toni Kellar
1. Don't consume more than you really need: honor all our precious resources.
2. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
3. Be yourself: live out your life purpose.

Connie Popp
Always question everything. Trust (and act on) your instincts. Follow the golden rule. And, as my mom taught me, don't idolize people (although respect and admiration are ok), no matter what title they hold, because they are simply humans, like us.

Sue Fishkind Field
trust your inner voice, no matter what people become in life we are all just human, hindsight is 20/20

Stacey Greenholt
1. Listen to those older than you. They have been there and their wisdom is valuable.
2. Learn to save your money.
3. Get to know yourself and do what makes you truly happy, despite what others think of you. Who are you living for?

James Matt Holcomb The only thing you can trust other people for is to be themselves. If you put on to them an obligation, whether explicit or implicit, and expect them to live up to it, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. You can either love or control, the two are mutually exclusive. So, expect only from yourself, obligate only yourself, and love ... See Moreeveryone else for who they are and allow them the freedom to be who they are. If you are successful in this, it therefore follows that nobody can hurt you emotionally, nobody can let you down, nobody can anger you, nobody requires your intervention, nobody deserves your pity, and you fully own the choice of how you interact with the world.

Oh, and the key to understanding the true meaning of life is to play the bones.

Tammy Nadene Torrens
1.Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrows cultivate compassion. Those who have suffered the most will become the happiest. 2.The course of our lives is determined by how we react--what we decide and what we do--at the darkest of times. The nature of that response determines a person's true worth and greatness. 3. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Caren Knox
1. Be yourself. You were put here, exactly as you are, to be a piece of the Earth-puzzle. Don't try to be somebody else's piece!
2. Follow your truth and inner knowing, no matter what.
3. Be kinder to your kids, connect with them, understand why they do what they do; don't coerce, manipulate, or punish.

Tracy Leskey
Eat matter where you are, embrace all seasons, and use sunscreen.

John Buynak *don’t eat the yellow snow, I know…but its not lemon.

Brian Lyons
1. Believe in the truth that GOD will never give you more than you can handle.
2. Everything happens for a reason,even if you don't know what the reason is at the time.
3.It's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

Teresa Rodriguez
1. Don't believe everything that's inside your head.
2. If there is a choice between being kind or not, choose kindness.
3. Say "Thank You" whenever possible.

Carmen Capozzi
Give me the solution. Not the problem

You are the architect of you destiny !!!

Curtis Webb Jr. I'm a big business quote guy...
1) Serious matters require serious people. - Marvin Worthy
2) To get what you want, you have to be willing to risk what
you have. -Scott Welch
3) Our future lies not with one genius in a garage, but in connecting the garages together. -Todd Welch

Deborah Metzger 1. Who knows what's good or bad - from a sufi story
2. Is that so? mantra

Andrew Gilch
1)if wishes were fishes,we'd all cast nets in the sea.

2)just because you're the loudest,doesn't make you the rightest.

3)say what you mean and mean what you say.

Holly Greene White
Acknowledge the TRUTH that you are MORE than the flesh-bone-blood Being that you physically see, hear, touch and smell ... you are a part of the Divine who has once again decided to come forth to this physical time-space-reality to expand his consciousness and spiritually evolve. If you remember this ... all things will come into alignment for you.
Yesterday at 11:00am ·

Beth Mcahren
Relax into the tenth dimension.

Amy Morrill Borlaug
Life comes at you fast at times, take it all in and slowly. There is always a meaning behind everything the universe has to offer...

Darin Goldenberg
Listen before u speak.
Think before u speak.
Always keep compassion in ur heart.

Jennifer Dean Will
Take it easy on yourself & be forgiving of all the mistakes you make. Learn from them, but be forgiving.
And, then apply that same thing to everyone else.

Christine Trotz Cosgrove Live on less than you earn. Listen to your mother, she wants what's best for you. Say it if it needs to be said, keep your mouth shut otherwise

Nadine Bergeron The only things that matter in the long run are learning how to love each other, sharing your talents, and enjoying this life we have to the fullest!

Andrew Gilch
...mis-interprintation abounds,
eschew obfuscation,
and never date a girl that can beat you up

Jeff Kolbfleisch 1) Lord loves a working man... 2) Never trust whitey... 3) See a doctor and get rid of it... - Navin R. Johnson (The Jerk)

Valerie Chambers-Barber
What more can one say...
Be yourself
Pay it forward
Spread positive vibes!!

Jim Gagnon 

1. Be kind.
2. Be grateful.
3. Be awake

Georgette Januse
To thine own self, be true...... A quiet mind, can be healing..... History repeats itself..... Choose happiness!

Mandy Manuel Odum
Respect and care for the elderly, for you too, will be old one day.
Keep an open mind, things may not be what you think they are.
Be positive in all things. Or, find the good in everything.

Melissa M. Bailey
1. Always stay true to yourself.

2. All people are equal and deserve your respect regardless of
their status or situation until they
disrespect themselves.

3. My mothers advice since I was a kid,
"Don't make an ass of yourself!"

Jim Pyecroft
Do not take that which is not given.
A ship that sails with the current has no rudder.
War Sucks!

Laurie Pisarcik Connolly
As I am one for those pithy quotables, here are a few of my wisdom-laden favorites:

1. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.
2. You are always stronger than you think you are.
(Because you are connected to the Divine whether you
realize it or not, and accept it or not.)
3. Authenticity means acting like the kind of person you most
want to be.
4. Everything can be taken from us but one thing...the last
of the human choose one's attitude in any
given circumstance. ~Viktor Frankl
5. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were
to live forever. ~Mahatma Gandhi
6. Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening.
Treat it with care. ~Buddha
And three of my own:
7. Good manners are but kindness and respect walking
companionably hand-in-hand.
8. Do not assume the answer will be no. You'll never know
until you ask.
9. Live vertically, breathe deeply, and walk forward.

Thank you for letting me ramble on with all these rich thoughts for the soul. I stuck to the three of my own, but could not resist sharing these wonderful gems of wisdom from others on this eve of the new year. Happy New Year to all, and thanks to Jim's request, we shall all walk forward that much more fortified.

Ohh, just one more because it is so fine!

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~Lao Tzu

Mandy Manuel Odum
I forgot the most important one: If you love someone, tell them so. We never know how much time we have.....

Kerri Vaughn
be thrifty, show compassion, practice generosity

Todd Dalton say what you mean...mean what you say

Stacy Wright
1. always act ethically - you will be free from the heavy burden of shame and regret
2. consume only that which nourishes your body, mind and spirit.
3. allow time to listen - to yourself and others.

Peter Shefler
1. Trust yourself. Listen to your inner voices. Take away everything others have said about who you are and see what is left. Hold yourself tight.

2. Know how to listen to others. It is only then that we can really hear what they are saying. Just be there with them without interruption, without needing to respond ~ this is the greatest gift to them, and to your relationship with them.

3. Create! Express yourself. Take off your magical cloak that hides you and share your truest self with the universe. Do this at least ten times a day! Then, go to bed with visions of sugar plums for tomorrow's awakening!

Feel free to add to this "wisdom list" by leaving your comments below...