The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

Can You Feel the Beat?

on April 9, 2013


Last Friday evening I tried out a drumming class with Brian (the man I married) and David (my 6 year-old). I was secretly certain I would have a hard time keeping the beat and feeling the rhythm and I was correct. Apparently I do know some truths about myself and, it seems, simply being born and hearing and loving beautiful African rhythms all your life does not affect your genes. I struggled to keep the beat I was supposed to keep while everyone else played their different beats so that all our beats could blend into beautiful, heart-pounding music. I kept getting lost in other players’ beats and joining in on theirs or I would lose my beat because my mind wondered off to enjoy the combined or whole drumming from the outside. This has always been hard for me. Seeing the trees for the forest. It’s hard for me to focus on a small piece of the puzzle when I can see the big picture. I struggle to remain focused on the details. When I took a music class in college, my professor often asked us to listen for the violin or the piano or the bass in the background and while everyone else nodded wisely as they listened and HEARD the separate instruments, I nodded wisely and was crazy confused in my head. I heard music. Beautiful, synchronized music. I could hear it all at one time and got lost in its beautiful WHOLE sound. But I could not tell you the beat or what instruments made up all the beautiful SOUND that I heard. Maybe you can relate. Please let there be someone out there that can relate. It can’t just be that I got no rhythm (yes, I can say that with the correct accent).

Anyway, I plodded on and committed to just enjoying myself no matter what. After all…


This was not preparation for a performance or competition nor was I being recorded in any way to go down in history or even on a YouTube video. This was certainly NOT my magnum opus. This was just light and fun and a great chance to show my son, who I hoped against hope would have a better sense of keeping the beat and feeling the rhythm, how to try something new win or fail. Not having the rhythm genes myself, I had hoped he’d gotten some from his Daddy’s side of the family. So I tried my best and drummed on. And I had a great time. I smiled hard when I missed or inserted beats even as the instructor focused right in on me and modeled RIGHT NEXT TO ME and OVER and OVER again the beat I needed to follow. I could have sworn he looked a little puzzled at how hard I was struggling to get down the simplest beat. Still I had a great time. There were even moments when I let loose and closed my eyes, shaking my head to the beat of the music…and then immediately got lost with my beat. Oh well.

I thought about this experience later and I have come to terms with three things.

1. I’ll never be in a band nor an orchestra nor a choir – and I have tried all three.

2. Learning is most fun when you allow yourself, going in, to make mistakes. When you can get that mistakes will be made and that the mistakes won’t make or break you then your learning can happen. It’s how we learn. As soon as we can accept that mistakes are part of the learning, then we are free to learn the most.

3. It felt GOOD to learn something new. In my walk of life, my work life, I’m an “expert” in my field and I am the one doing the teaching. Sure I learn from my students, too, and they keep me challenged. But being on the other side as the learner and making my mind and body do something I’m not accustomed to doing was rejuvenating. It was like a new part of my brain was at work so I was awake in a whole different part of my brain.

Despite my being rhythmically-challenged, I’ll probably go back again and enjoy it just as much. A younger version of me would have gotten embarrassed and never gone back. My time on this beautiful earth has taught me that life is too short to avoid things you love to do for whatever fears you have of failing or of looking silly, or of being laughed at, etc. Most of the time, people are too into themselves to even notice me anyway. I know I’m not usually thinking about and judging what others are doing. If I’m paying close attention to you it’s either because I’m trying to pick up some tips OR I’m in deep admiration of your courage to do whatever you’re doing while not being perfect at it. I’m committing to trying something new as often as possible rhythm or no rhythm, rough or smooth, off-key or not.

Truthfully yours,



2 responses to “Can You Feel the Beat?

  1. You know Rhina I read this when you first posted it…and read it again just now…I am always so inspired by your candor and your fun-loving spirit. You are an amazing womyn and I just love you so much…keep on being your wonderful self!

    • justrhina says:

      I didn’t realize that you would have gotten it through email immediately. I published it then retracted it for some minor revisions then decided to post another piece. Love you so much, too, chica!

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