At the heart of my work lies music, rhythm, community, celebration, spirituality, meditation, ceremony and ritual. My father, a professional drummer for over 40 years, exposed me to rhythms of many genres starting at a young age. I learned to embody these rhythms through painting, drawing and socially engaging art and musically as a member of Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble (SIWADE).
While traveling in Ghana, a traditional Ghanaian drummer, who came from generations of drummers before him, told me to give thanks to my father for passing along the tradition of African drumming along to his daughters. A lineage and connection to family and ancestors is abundant in many African and Native American cultures, and is a source of my connection to ritual and ceremony.
Native American sweat lodges and full moon fire ceremonies, such as ones I have participated in, call to their ancestors for wisdom and guidance. Traditional West African drumming rhythms I have learned by word of mouth and performed each have their own purpose and meaning such as giving thanks to ancestors or praying to have a good harvest. While previously living in Australia, I observed traditional aboriginal dance and singing ceremonies, and aboriginal elders painted traditional symbols on my skin. Aboriginal and Native traditions across the globe have become the source of development of my spiritual path in addition to daily yoga and meditation practices.
Drumming, dancing, nature, yoga, singing, and meditating represent more than their physical application; they are spiritual practices that take me to a deeper place of understanding, connecting me to other people around me and the physical world. Ritual and Ceremony are times to be in the present, to be mindful, to listen to your breath or feel the pulse of your heart beating, to create space, to be spiritual whatever that means to you personally, to create community, and to hold each moment, or day, or week as sacred. Jack Kornfield stated in A Path With Heart, “When things are properly understood, one’s whole life is like a ritual or ceremony.” “Sacredness is everywhere.” This space invites others to create their own practices that connect them in new ways to their own spirituality and the people and the world around them.