Brain Hemisphere Balancing and drumming

Brain Hemisphere Balancing and drumming go together like peas and carrots. Coconut Grove 1970. Bananas’ carport was part of her rental that was originally a sprawling hacienda type stucco with lush plants, infinite shades of green surrounding the low houses. The whole property was shaded by a huge old family of Florida Live Oaks. We could hear the tinkling of the rigging of Sailboat Bay a few blocks away. A vintage 1956 Volvo Station wagon painted dark British Racing Green pulled into the shade of the carport. The tiny station wagon was immaculate. The interior was perfect leather in two tones of light brown. Roy and Joy got out and hugged Bananas. They were fresh from Guatelmala, working in the Peace Corps. Thirty years later and three thousand miles northwest, the same Volvo is waiting at the light as I cross to the Duck Blind liquor store for a cigarette lighter that costs four times as much there than it would anywhere else but it was necessary to get a lighter immediately. I glanced at the usual types of cars; Lambourgini, BMW, Porsche, Benz, then my memory jolted back to Coconut Grove. The car was identical to what it had been. 1956 Volvo Station Wagon, now painted grey. Roy had a little grey too but was almost the same; big, tall and handsome, but he never took it seriously. He was a genuine person. I stood in front of the Volvo wagon and waved at him from the time warp I was suddenly in. He looked at me, unrecognizing. “Bananas!” I yelled at him through the windscreen as the light changed. The destiny of our reconnecting and my mystical connection to Coconut Grove continued to evolve as our new friendships grew. His current wife, Joy, mentioned once when they came into the store about brain hemisphere balancing research being done at UCLA. “They are discovering that a patient can pass a ball back and forth from one hand to the other hand and get into a therapeutic mode quite easily. They call it Mirrored Hand Activity.” Her hands moved back and forth as if she were warming up for a game of basketball. The Lakers could use her. “I thought of you.” she said, “..and the drumming therapy you are doing.” Her hands moved back and forth, now up and down. The bulb that went off in my head was brighter than that old Key West lighthouse that warned the clipper ships away from the reefs. This was big news. It all made sense. Entry into our belief system via the body was what was happening with the drumming therapy. As long as the person was keeping the back and forth activity of hitting the deep downbeat, they would stay in a safe place and be able to talk about issues, keeping the beat sort of steady. When they could keep a slow funky groove going while they talked, they got better. It had to be laid back though. That was the secret ingredient. They got better from the relaxation introduced into the mental processes through slowing tempo. That was insight from my first drum teacher, Ailleen Trafford. As a ten year old drummer, I had to speed up then slow down the drumming rudiments. Now, fifty years later, I was slowing people’s belief systems down by showing them how to lay back the groove. Things I learned how to do back when Bethlehem Asylum was playing in Coconut Grove in nineteen seventy. Harmonic resonance between people can’t be explained using logic. But the brain doesn’t really understand rhythm. It doesn’t have the feet to dance. The body has it’s own wisdom that is accessed through the grooves. excerpt: “History of the Groove, book three” Russell Buddy Helm ©2014 all right reserved

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