Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Springs Spirit Drumming:BodyArts Special Event Sunday August 22 7:30 pm


Stan Sternberg Spirit Drumming Guide

at The Ice House Berkeley Springs WVA

7:30 pm Sunday August 22nd

Well, folks, the momentum is building -- Celebrating The Inner Healer Wellness Getaway in Berkeley Springs West Virginia is manifesting the week-end of August 20th!

Did you know that USA Today recently listed Berkeley Springs in
the top 10 art-filled spaces destinations -- right up there with Key West, Prescott, Arizona and Athens, Georgia.

Arts promoter Jeanne Mozier was delighted with the coverage, as reported in Travel Berkeley Springs: "
We started out in 1994 as one of the 100 best. Earlier, Berkeley Springs was voted #18 of the top 25 art destinations in America. Now USA Today has us in the top 10. I can't wait until we hit #1," she said. And there is no one I know who has ever persevered more with their promoting a small town than Jeanne -- I have no doubt she will put our jewel on the top before long! can tell all about our claims to

fame including homeopathy, hot springs, an art gallery inside a

restaurant and a movie theater that posts its popcorn recipe on

the Internet!

I'm very intrigued by the 'magical' experience of synchronicity and
the law of attraction working with us to bring together a small group of seekers of inner peace -- for this week-end retreat coupled with a celebration with the community at large -- invited to join with us for a special session of Spirit Drumming led by Stan Sternberg (aka Bhagwan, aka Bracheem) of Ann Arbor Michigan.

(For the back story, you'll have to speak with me in person!)

I recently had a chance to chat with Stan and would like to relay the interview here to give you more of a shared vision of what Spirit Drumming is all about. Perhaps you've had the joy of directly experiencing it - and if so, I'd love to have your comments shared with us too. In the 'burgh our friend Jim Donovan has been the beacon of light leading drumming sessions which I always love joining and bringing others. In Berkeley Springs, a community drumming and belly dancing group has been meeting regularly for years now, too, hosted by our friends from Portals.

Sharda:So, tell us, Stan, how did your journey of Spirit drumming begin?
Bhagwan: I became a meditator in the early 1960's, inspired by the writings of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In the early 70's my wife Lynne took up Belly Dancing. She inspired me to study Middle Eastern drumming so I could accompany her dancing. I studied with professional Middle Eastern nightclub drummers in Detroit and Dearborn. Lynne, whose hebrew and dancing name was Shoshana, joined a Middle Eastern dance troupe in Ann Arbor named Ta'amulat and I became its musical director. Ta'amulat invited guest teachers to instruct the troupe. One of these teachers was Hassan Wakrim, a professional Moroccan dancer and musician. Hassan
introduced me to Moroccan trance music, a combination of polyrhythmic drumming, responsive chanting, and line dancing. I was immediately hooked. My meditation and drumming experience enabled me to achieve a trance state playing with Hassan. It was a magnificent, enlightening
and a totally immersive and enjoyable experience.

Hassan, Shoshana and I went on a three week musical expedition to Morocco. It was intensely magical the whole time. I played, listened to and recorded groups of Moroccan musicians all over the country. When we returned, the troupe leader felt that I was distracting the troupe away from her main interests which were Beledei (Egyptian, Lebanese, etc.). So I left Ta'amulat and, in 1977, started Magi, a Moroccan music and dance troupe without any real Moroccans.

Meditation, drumming, chanting and dance evolved into a collective experience of rhythmically induced states of group universal consciousness. Magi lasted for 25 years. In its lifetime I instructed hundreds of musicians and non-musicians in achieving a state of total connectedness through rhythm, movement, chanting and focussed intention. Magi performed for more than 10 years at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, The Detroit Arab World Festival, and a host of other events. Sadly, in the end, Magi morphed into a jam session of professional musicians who enjoyed soloing while backed by an accomplished rhythm section. That was in 2002.

Sharda: How is Spirit drumming like meditation, Yoga and Tai Chi?
Bhagwan: When the body and its movement becomes a focus of attention, other worldly distraction is minimized. Rhythmic sounds produced bilaterally stimulate brain hemispheres bilaterally. Groups which are able to achieve a high degree of synchronism in their playing experience a profound sense of oneness.

Sharda: So, drumming, combined with chanting and movement can lead to altered states of consciousness and trance states?
Bhagwan: Yes!

Sharda: Trance rhythms are a principle source of healing energy in North Africa aren't they?
Bhagwan: Yes!

Sharda: Where can we join you, Bhagwan, for this unique guided practice of "Presence"?Bhagwan:I am starting with sharing my experience in a weekly practice at The Lighthouse Center, Whitmore Lake Michigan Thursday 7pm July 29th as well as being a special guest at the Berkeley Springs West Virginia Wellness Getaway you are sponsoring August 22nd at The Ice House, home of the Morgan Arts Council (MAC). The intent is achieving blissful states of elevated group consciousness through polyrhythmic drumming, responsive chanting and synchronized movement.

Sharda: Having only known you forty years after you embarked on this journey of the spirit drums, I was trying to picture you then -- and wondered what name you were called then?
Bhagwan:Wherever I went in Morocco, people called me Braheem. I never had to tell them my name. Children would follow me down the street shouting "Braheem, Braheem." Of course, Braheem is the prophet Abraham, the father of Islam.

Sharda: Does Spirit drumming have anything to do with religion?
Bhagwan: No, there is no religious content to Spirit Drumming. Like yoga, it is a meditation of both mind and body. It does involve making and enjoying music and dancing.

Sharda: Thank you, Bhagwan, I am excited to open the Spirit Drumming Session you will lead at The ICE HOUSE to the Eastern Panhandle community Sunday evening 7:30 August 22.

Sharda: Do participants need too have their own drum?
Bhagwan: I will have some to share, but do encourage those who have their own drum to bring it along for the Sunday 7:30 evening session at The Ice House.

Sharda: And what has always intrigued me with 'conscious drumming', is that a group of 'strangers' coming together for a single guided session do achieve this 'entrainment'. I wonder how things might progress by your establishing an on-going drumming corps at the LHC.
Bhagwan:I love that concept of 'Entrainment'. Strangers who come together once with a group leader can only catch a glimpse of the possibilities - but that glimpse is real and very enticing. Deep entrainment comes with repeated encounters and lots of individual practice to get the hands to play without thinking. When drummers play as one, the effect on listeners is powerful. The music of Spirit-Drumming is healing gold.

Sharda: So it sounds like you have been greatly missing the deep transformative state the drumming brought you to individually as well as the rich experiences of the collective state of group oneness -- its been over eight years, Bhagwan ---and now, you are again feelin the beat -- so am I and soon many of our old and new friends will too!
Bhagwan:I'm in great need of some group healing and what better way than a giant drum-hug with new friends and old. Thank you for putting this together Sharda. I can't imagine a more perfect venue to recharge old tired and worn batteries and throw the switch that will ignite a new blast of unifying energy radiating to a unity starved world.

I hope folks share some comments here about their experiences of oness as players and listeners of on-going drumming groups (I know of the one in Berkeley Springs, Shepherdstown as well as a couple in Pittsburgh) And other comments also welcome from newbies introduced to drumming in a single workshop -- like with our special yogi/musician brother Jim Donovan of Rusted Root fame.

And remember, you do not have to be registered for the whole week-end retreat to join us for Spirit Drumming at The Ice House -- If you are within driving vicinity of Berkeley Springs, carpool and bring your drum -- Just email me or call for directions and to reserve a spot - With a suggested sliding fee scale $5 and up.

Many Species...One Planet...One Future

Yours in Wellness, Gratitude, Vitality and the Rhythm of Nature,
Suzen Sharda Segall

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Suzen Sharda Segall, Wellness Personal Trainer/Consultant, designer and facilitator of BodyArts Therapeutics, has provided an integrated approach to health and wellness for a wide variety of populations, internationally,for over thirty-five years

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