Drumming Up Love
Last year, I was to make a drum as part of my Four Seasons Journey with the School of Shamanic Womancraft.
It didn’t go to plan.
While the other women were selecting their deer hides, cutting long strips, drilling holes and learning that their new drum was a powerful tool for shamanic healing, I was down in my tent, with my mind being devoured by a migraine while my physical body was vomiting, shaking and crying.
But of course. The process of making my drum was going to be my process, it wasn’t going to be the same as another woman’s.
So I lay in my tent, listening to a new sister calling out the star constellations to keep me grounded, to keep me out of the screaming fear that can accompany my migraines, while high up on the hill, my sisters Viv-Bear and Magnificent Moth midwifed the first process of my drum for me.
The next day, purged and fresh, I took my deer hide from the dam, walked up the hill and started working on the second process, with no real understanding of what I was doing and why I was doing it.
Because you know, I was too busy throwing up the night before and totally missed that pep talk.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered my drum-making process was pretty easy.
It was just work.
I didn’t experience the same kind of pain that I could see some of the other women were in.
And they were in deep.
For me, I had a good-looking drum in just four hours, and sure, I felt a bit tired, but all of me was intact.
And then the realisations started to dawn on me…
Realising my own birth was just four hours long.
Realising that my mum must have done a good job with my birth.
Realising that my mum must have loved me then – even though I don’t remember her ever telling me that she loved me.
Realising that my mum was never told she was loved by her mum.
And I’ll bet my last dollar that my grandmother was never told by her mother.
Realising that my bloodline had been poisoned by a lack of love.
But back to me now…
As one of four children under 8 years old, I always felt there wasn’t enough love to go around. So I did what I could to shield that need, pushing away my family as best I could, as early as I could.
It’s a pattern that I take into all of my friendships and relationships – better to not voice that need, to pretend it isn’t there, rather than suffer the pain of not having that love-need met.
It’s a pattern and a grudge that up until I made my drum, I have taken little personal responsibility for.
“It’s my mum’s fault that I can’t show love”, my scared, love-starved 9 year old, 21 year old, 38 year old self would yell, but would never cry.
You see, I find it almost impossible to cry tears for my own sake, and piggybacking off the cheap tears of other people’s stories don’t give me much relief.
You see, I won’t let my guard down enough to cry for myself. And shamefully, I’ve passed that emotionless trait onto my own daughter, who has great difficulty expressing any pain. She bottles it up and then it pours out of her in disruptive nightmares and festering excema…
You see, I know how good I am at holding that grudge, that deep, bleeding mother-wound. I can keep insisting that as my parent, as my elder, as my teacher, she should have known better.
Or, I can really see that she really didn’t know better. That she was doing the best she could with all that she had.
And if what she had, was even a tiny bit close to the woeful stories she told us of her own childhood, then oh Great Mother, she didn’t have much.
The realisation uncomfortably dawning, that if I wanted to change things both up my bloodline to my mother, and down my bloodline to my daughter, then it’s up to me to break the cycle.
So, from the bottom of the hill, away from the other women still making their drums, and from the sanctuary of my tent, I decide to text my mum.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
Such a cop-out to text!
But it was too hard, too emotional to phone my mum.
I was afraid I would start to cry, not be able to get the words out, not be able to explain the riot of emotions in my heart – even though they genuinely stemmed from a place of gratitude that she did love me, even if she couldn’t actually say it.
And if I messed up that explanation, she would be forced to be her defensive and accusing self; “Oh, you poor, hard done-by child. Who else have you told that you weren’t loved?” while my shy, broken emotions, so well hidden under my decades-old mask of defensive, sarcastic pain, would shrink away before they had the chance to peek out of the rubble.
Cop-out or not, texting was the right baby step for me to take.
My transformation from striving all my life by trying to ‘be a better man’, to now becoming a better woman is going to take years – and there will be many baby steps to take along the way.
But with just that small text to my mum, my world changed a little.
I like to think of it as one small step for me and Mum, and one giant leap forward for womankind.
And it felt good. It felt like healing had begun. One step forward in swallowing my pride, one step towards letting go of years of feeding my pain.
Letting go of my fear of sharing my authentic voice.
Letting go of my fear of sharing my truth.
And by letting go, I become more of who I was born to be.
While birthing my drum taught me many things, above all it taught me gratitude and the power of love. It encouraged me to move.
To make change.
To take action.
To own this red thread, both up and down my own bloodline.
Realising that wherever I am and with whatever I can, the change must start with me. Even if it’s with just one little text.
And that little text says,
“I love you Mum.”
Womb-Centred Leadership Coach
In 2016, after nearly 2 decades working in corporate, I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. Designed to celebrate the cycles (lunar, menstrual + seasonal) I also loved interviewing imaginative women in inspirational careers. Now, I'm a Life Coach + I support Corporate Wonder Women just like you, to explore + harness your own Womb-Centred Leadership. When a client discovers her Power Days + plays to her strengths on these days, her corporate life + home life transform. She is more productive, more inspirational, more creative + more rested. Yup. All of it.
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Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis