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Happy Buddha is full of music.

Pianos, drums, volunteers singing in the kitchen, sound bowls – you name it. We offer Sound Healing retreats, Drum and Dance retreats, plus Drum Circles. Does that mean you have to be musically gifted to attend? Absolutely not! We encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go, because music is for anyone and everyone. It’s a part of our innate wiring, and something that connects us together. You’ll see!

Below are reflections from one of our fabulous retreaters…

Is there anything more endearing than watching a baby bop to a tune? As humans, we’re born with an innate joyful response to music. We naturally tap our feet, hands and bob our heads when a funky song comes on. But somewhere along the way… we stop asking ourselves if dancing and singing makes us feel good, and start asking ourselves if we are good at them.

As we stop trusting our bodies, our inner child begins to play tug o’ war with our inner critic. ‘Am I out of time? Is this the right pitch? This can’t sound good. I look silly. Oh no, I made a mistake… again.’ Perhaps you can relate? Upon retreat, I felt the strong desire to reconnect with my inner child – the toddler who sang freely (and loudly!) to whoever would listen), and danced with two left feet before her inner critic came knocking.

How can I nurture my inner child when my inner critic won’t give me a break?

I can question my ‘facts.’ We all create narratives or belief systems, that we intend to keep us safe. As mentioned, one of my personal scripts tells me that ‘I cannot sing. I do not dance.’ Cinging to these self-determined ‘facts,’ protects me from (mostly my own!) judgement. Yet, just because my inner critic’s the loudest and most consistent voice, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Loud doesn’t equal true – it’s just loud!

As these ‘facts’ become louder to keep me invested in them, my inner child’s voice can often be drowned out. Naturally, understanding me deeply and intimately, my inner child wisdom is usually rather communicated softly through calm breaths, gentle feelings and quiet affirmations.

Remember, it might initially feel uncomfortable to listen to this kind of wisdom, as it challenges the narratives we’ve devoted so much time to. To start, I personally find it helpful to simply redirect my focus away from the head and down into my chest and belly, to observe what arises. So I invite you to ask yourself:

…Which of your narratives are preventing you from living freely and authentically right now?

And remember: your inner child will eventually always win the tug o’ war match. Why? Because as your inner critic becomes flustered, angry and upset your inner child simply stands on the other side, laughing – knowing that this too… is only a game!

 

healing power of music drums

 

On retreat, the body percussion and drumming workshops were a great way to reintroduce playfulness into mindful movement. As someone whose heart usually races when I lie down to meditate, this felt like the perfect opportunity to clap along to its beat instead! Stomping, clapping and clicking in a circle of strangers might sound funny at first… but body percussion is an ancient practice that helps people communicate, connect, improve circulation, coordination and enter a mindful state almost instantly.

It felt powerful to delve into creative hobbies that we would enjoy as children! Painting, drumming, singing and craft – whatever it is that you can get lost in – all transport your energy away from the thinking brain and down into the heart. I was reminded not to judge my own efforts, just as I wouldn’t judge a child bringing home her artwork from school. It’s about cherish yourself, and the process!

After dinner, Sound Healing presented a restful music activity. Here, we lay under blankets with eye masks whilst someone gently played a harp. We grounded our thoughts, through chanting ‘Om.’ It was soothing to have my voice melt into the collective Ommmmm without judgement; surrendering and relaxing into the sound reverberating through my body. It was both invigorating and soul-stirring during the retreat to experiment with sound, reconnect through movement and laugh freely at ourselves when we fell out of time. Within this non-judgemental space, it turned out that making mistakes, while being so connected together was often the best part.

If these lovely reflections resonate with you, we would love to have you pop in for one of our many musical offerings!

*Note: this article was written in June of 2019, but has been recently updated.