What the COVID vaccine means for Just Add Rhythm

The COVID vaccine has become a sort of status symbol on social media. I’ve seen friends on Facebook showing off their little white vaccine cards and sharing stories of emotions running high at vaccine clinics.
On March 29th, I received my first Moderna vaccine and felt the tears pricking at my eyes in the middle of the grocery store pharmacy. The process itself was underwhelming but the implications were huge.
After more than a year in relative isolation, I can safely begin to get back to work. WE can safely get back to work.
As a person who’s considered “high risk” for COVID complications, I’ve been extremely cautious this past year about where I go and who I interact with. Add into the mix a family and a little guy who’s still nursing, and most of my human interaction this past year has been on Zoom.

What does being vaccinated mean for myself and for my business?

  • No more fear going into assisted living senior communities. I LOVE working with senior citizens at all levels of care, but the fear that I could unknowingly infect or be infected was real.  Now most of the communities I work in have been vaccinated, and so have I.
  • I can begin to fully plan for our summer programming.  Summer is Just Add Rhythm’s big season; we work with dozens – sometimes hundreds – of summer camps, non-profits, libraries, and other community youth programs each year, serving thousands of children and youth every summer. Last year, 90% of our summer programs were virtual, and we only did about a third of the business we typically do in a summer season.
  • I don’t have to hesitate when I get the opportunity to present at in-person conferences and events. I can protect and be protected!
  • Companies are starting to return to the office – we can once again safely offer in-person workplace wellness trainings and team-building programs (while still having the option to pursue virtual or hybrid options as our clients prefer).
  • I have confidence knowing I am helping to keep my family safe from COVID, no matter where my business takes me.

Here’s what you can expect from Just Add Rhythm now that we’re ready to be fully back in business!

  • The same level of increased disinfecting protocols we’ve used since the beginning of COVID (disinfecting instruments and equipment before and after every program, and in between multiple sessions)
  • Continued use of masks and gloves as needed, and continued compliance with your organization’s health and safety procedures and requirements, including temperature checks and frequent hand washing/sanitizing
  • More flexibility to serve your group as is appropriate for YOU – we can increase or decrease group size as needed, work with you to find a hybrid option, safely drum at your facility, and offer more flexibility in scheduling options
  • A return to engaging, energized in-person drumming sessions that highlight hope, possibility, and FUN!

We thank you for continuing to support us throughout this challenging year, and wish you continued health and wellness during this transition period back to a sense of normalcy.

I hope that when your organization is ready to begin scheduling in-person events this year, you will keep Just Add Rhythm in mind to offer you the unforgettable and impactful rhythm experiences you have come to expect from us.

Ready to book an in-person or virtual rhythm experience? Contact us to get started!

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Finding resilience in 2020 – and carrying it into 2021

2020 was just…wow. Most of us learned a lot of lessons that year. What word or phrase did you take away from it?  What goals or values are you carrying with you throughout 2021?

Some thoughts on resilience

Last year was all about resilience for most of us.  Did you have those days where you were holding your head in your hands, wondering how you were going to do it all again tomorrow?  A brilliant book by my colleague in rhythm, Jim Boneau, called “The Rumble Zone,” helped me get through it, especially his chapter on resilience.  Below are some excerpts in quotes.

“Sometimes resilience is required, not to overcome an actual defeat, but the story of defeat we create in our head.”

“Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties – the choice towards optimism and belief in possibility.”

“Sometimes you just have to sit with the discomfort. As you sit with the emotion you develop the ability to choose resilience again and again.”

Choose one word to be your focus

You know, I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, but I strive to always be growing.  Another of my colleagues in rhythm, Jim Donovan, always invites his community of followers to choose ONE word for the new year that will be their focus, and to build out their values and goals around that one word.

After the hellish year we had, I couldn’t pick just one.  So, I chose three. Do any of these resonate with you too?

Foundation

After my business struggled greatly last year like so many other small businesses, I had to rebuild the foundation from scratch:  redefine my business goals, change up my offerings based on my clients’ new needs, and learn how to run a business as a new mom working from home 24/7 instead of just part time. I also decided I needed to go back to the drawing board on my habits as well – picking up journaling for clarity and focus, and setting specific weekly and monthly goals for my physical and mental health.

Purpose

Also, with less time on my hands, I needed to get laser focused on my “one thing” each day that needed to get done.  All the other tasks around the house and for the business were still there, but the “one thing” required my focus for a solid hour. Personally speaking, I also decided I was going to hold myself accountable for planning monthly and yearly fun and enriching activities for my family to enjoy together.  Having something to look forward to is so important for our mental health, don’t you think?

Peace

And speaking of mental health…

Did fear, anxiety, depression, anger, or frustration creep into your psyche this year?  I felt all that and more, between the pandemic, my struggling business, and being a new mom to a child with nearly uncontrollable colic and reflux. I’ve decided this year to react less, and to build more proactive habits for dealing with my mental health.  This includes simple breathing exercises that I lead all the time in my group rhythm sessions (I’m shaking my head that I didn’t ‘practice what I preached’ much before), as well as better sleep habits, TV-free yoga time, and the use of the Headspace meditation and mindfulness app.

Accountability – make sure you get it done!

Now, my invitation to you is to pick your word (or words) for 2021 and:

1) speak them out loud;

2) write them down in a visible spot at home or at the office (preferably multiple places); and

3) tell them to a trusted friend or confidante.

I want to come back to Jim Boneau’s words on resilience – over time, we develop the ability to “choose resilience again and again.” We can’t just throw up our hands, shake our heads, and walk away.  Put the power to choose into your hands, and let’s choose resilience together.

How can I help you, your family, or your organization improve on its goals this year?  Reach out to me for a 15-minute consultation and let’s find out!

Choosing resilience at a socially distanced, masked self-care retreat for Baptist healthcare chaplains in October 2020

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How do you communicate when words fail? Two ideas for inspiration

Lately, communication has been on my brain.  Our son just turned 9 months old a few days ago, and to be honest, I’ve never felt more challenged as a communicator than as a mom.  It’s been a crash course in identifying and naming all his cries, screeches, shrieks, and squeals. More than once I found myself asking – why can’t babies just talk already?

So, I started using baby signs with him, to help him make sense of his world a little better and give him some tools to tell me what he wanted.  He’s starting to learn them, but for the most part we still figure out what he wants based on his sounds.

As a musician, I wanted us to be able to connect with each other through music and rhythm – lullabies, dance parties, and teaching him how to play a baby-sized djembe drum (which he’s already rocking!).  We’ve had some of our best moments together this way.  Sometimes, when neither of us has the words, I flip on some music – any music – and away we go.  My husband has introduced him to Indian Bhangra music that he used to love to listen to, and our little guy loves to bop around to it.

Some ideas for inspiration

So, back to the question – how can we communicate when words fail us?

How many times have you said to yourself this year (or on social media), in response to something the world’s thrown at you – ‘I have no words.’

Below are two resources for you to watch, listen, and be inspired to use music to connect with others when words fail you.

Christine Stevens’ ‘3 Keys to Rhythm Conversations’

Christine Stevens is a facilitator, mentor, and highly sought-after keynote speaker in the field of music medicine.  Her “rhythm postcards” transport her audience to wherever in the world she is that week.

In her 2-minute video “3 Keys to Rhythm Conversations,” she drums an improvised piece with fusion musician Fantuzzi.  In the video description, she lists the 3 keys, which we can apply to any conversation, musical or otherwise:

  1. Take turns – listen just as much as (or more than) you speak
  2. Support each other’s creative ideas – go where the creative flow takes you, and use an open mind and heart
  3. Listen for a natural ending – know when it should be over, to allow room for something new to begin

Start with why – handpan drum inspo

Jeff Holland is a dedicated lifelong drummer, percussionist, and self-named “sonic artist.”  He’s one of the hardest workers I know, on a mission to inspire peace and compassion through sound – whether it be drumming, percussion, handpan drums, gongs, sound bowls, or something completely new.

In this 2-minute video, he takes his handpan drum (think an inverted steel drum) to the Grand Canyon and plays at sunrise to a 360-degree view of nature’s majesty.  No words, no introduction.  Just music and an unforgettable view.

Everything Jeff does, he does it with purpose and with the vision of bringing people of all backgrounds and ideologies together through the healing potential of rhythm and music.

I dare you to watch this video and not get goosebumps.  I invite you to sit in stillness for 2 minutes after watching and think about your purpose – not just your career, or your family, or your hobbies and interests – but your Purpose with a capital P.  What gets you up in the morning?  How are you living that purpose each day?  What action can you take to live that purpose more fully?

When the world outside becomes too much for me, I find comfort and rejuvenation in music – listening to it, making it, dancing to it.  Sometimes our favorite music can say what words can’t.

I hope this inspires you to flip on some music and get back in the groove.

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