Trust from Distrust

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building trust

out of the ruins

from the walls of distrust

her history

pain, shame, betrayals

emotion-filled quarry

stolen innocence

a thousand slashes upon her soul

older kin, once thought to be a prince

brick and mortar

hiding tears, embracing chaos

dwelling in darkness with its false sense of order

kids bearing kids

societal tricks, better learn quick

construct the walls, lock the lids

each new love lost

taking chance on romance

but built on distrust; oh, what a high cost

walls grow thicker

settles for joyless marriages

walls now symbols of “no love” sticker

till new love arrives

soul-mate man with heart in hand

says, “tear down walls and love survives”

she takes a chance

willing to bare all

still blocks out the world

but naked to her love

supported by his strength

she learns to stand tall

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© JW Thomas

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Misfit Angels

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They’re the ones you rarely think about

They’re the ones you never praise

Until a time comes when you need them

You won’t give them the time of day

 

They’re the misfit angels

Heroes you thought could never be

Always taken for granted

Till they perform unexpectedly

 

They’re the ones you pass without seeing

They’re the ones who never win

You’ve tagged them deadbeats and rejects

Yet they help you again and again

 

They’re the ones who do the menial tasks

They’re the ones with no task at all

But they still hear, see, and feel

And often answer when you call

 

They’re the ones lost among the masses

They’re the ones; faceless ghosts who seem so small

Then desperation finally finds you

And those once small are now standing tall

 

They’re the misfit angels

Heroes you thought could never be

Always taken for granted

Till they perform unexpectedly

 

They’re the ones never seen with halos

They’re the ones never wearing crowns

Wingless creatures; yet you need them

For without them life’s sins abound

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“We finally got our wings.”

© JW Thomas

Honest Injun

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I awoke in L.A.

and was lulled back to sleep

with promise of the American Dream

I was told to work hard

and to save what I made

then my life would be Peaches and Cream

 

So I worked like a slave

with my eye on the prize;

I held down two jobs while going to school

My first future crumbled

when my first marriage died;

tried to be honest, while others were cruel

 

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

but wound-up as the fool

Grandfather tried to warn me

“They will abuse the Golden Rule”

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

Forgot how the rich man schemed

System’s made by the corrupt

so the rest of us get reamed

 

My second future fell

wounded in the Army

and finding out the VA is a joke

Next went all my savings

in the crash of oh-nine;

was about to retire but now I’m broke

 

I was left to flounder

to starve and disappear

while Uncle Sam bailed out the crooked banks

They say that each of us

will get a fighting chance

but the gun they give us only shoots blanks

 

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

but wound-up as the fool

Grandfather tried to warn me

“They will abuse the Golden Rule”

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

Forgot how the rich man schemed

System’s made by the corrupt

so the rest of us get reamed

 

©JW Thomas

The Pageant

 

Maximilian Panderpoop leaned forward and kissed the top of his daughters head as she sat in front of the mirror adding last minute touches to her face. It reminded him of his days in construction using putty, caulk, and other fillers to patch and repair.

“Oh, Daddy,” said Penny. “You’re gonna mess-up my hair.”

“There you go worrying again over nothing,” said Maximilian. “You’ve been painting on the perfect little princess face and hair for as long as I can remember; ever since your momma first allowed you to play in her make-up case.”

“Momma said old farts like you can’t remember stuff that far back,” said Penny, while making eye-contact in the mirror, “except perhaps when you had your first erection.”

“You know how filthy your momma’s mind is,” said Maximilian. “You see it every day as clear as the nose job on your face.”

“Touché,” said Gwen Panderpoop, as she came up and stood beside her husband and stared at her daughter’s progress. “But let’s forego the word war on cosmetic reconstruction or Penny will miss her entrance.”

“We can’t have that,” said Maximilian. “This is your year to win, Princess. I just know it.”

“You’ve said that every year, Daddy.”

“And it hasn’t happened yet,” said Gwen.

“But she’s gotten closer every year,” said Maximilian. “And this year I feel it in my bones.”

“You’ve had that condition for years, and you know it,” said Gwen. “Always acting like you’ve got one foot in the grave.”

“Stop picking on him,” said Penny. “At least he’s rooting for me.”

“Oh, honey,” said Gwen. “You know I’m rooting for you.”

“You have a funny way of showing it,” said Maximilian.

“I always want her to do good,” said Gwen.

Wanting her to do good, and believing she’s going to are two different things,” said Maximilian.

“I’m just a realist,” said Gwen.

“Would you two go to your neutral corners,” said Penny. “You’re not exactly creating a stress-free environment for me to prepare my perfect look.”

“You don’t worry about a thing, Princess,” said Maximilian. “Daphne, the only girl to beat you last year, isn’t even here today.”

“Oh, my god!” said Penny. “And did you hear what happened to her?”

“Spill it,” said Gwen, always in the mood for gossip.

“Word is that she went down on her boyfriend, Luther,” said Penny. “And the freakiest thing happened.”

“You mean she was the slut that maimed Luther?” said Maximilian.

“I heard they were both maimed,” said Penny.

“Dammit!” said Gwen. “Just tell me what happened.”

“Well, I heard that when she was doing the dirty deed she developed lock-jaw,” said Penny.

“No way!” said Gwen.

“It gets worse,” said Maximilian.

“Yep,” said Penny. “Luther didn’t realize she was in trouble, and thought she was just giving him the tightest B.J. ever, which really turned him on, and he got bigger than he’s ever been.”

“Don’t tell me he…” said Gwen.

“Yep,” said Maximilian, nodding. “It got stuck.”

“Ouch!” said Gwen.

“And that’s not the worst of it,” said Penny.

“That’s for sure,” said Maximilian.

“Dammit!” said Gwen. “Just tell me what happened.”

“Well it ain’t pretty,” said Maximilian. “He yanked.”

“And she yanked,” said Penny.

“Simultaneously,” said Maximilian. “And something was bound to give.”

“Oh no!” said Gwen.

“Oh yes!” said Penny. “She is jawless and missing her front teeth…”

“Awaiting reconstruction,” said Maximilian.

“And what about Luther?” said Gwen.

“He changed his name to Luthinia,” said Maximilian. “And she’s competing here tonight.”

“Dammit!” said Gwen. “Then how can you possibly tell Penny this is her year?”

“Because she’s prettier, smarter, and more talented than any other contestant,” said Maximilian.

“Yeah, Momma,” said Penny. “You always tell me I’m pretty.”

“Well, of course I think you’re pretty, Baby-cakes,” said Gwen. “But this is an election year and Luthinia is obviously going to get the politically correct vote.”

“Oh shit!” said Maximilian, looking forlorn.

“Daddy?” said Penny.

“Sorry, Princess,” said Maximilian.

“That’s not fair!” said Penny, staring at her reflection in the mirror. “I’ve worked my ass off recreating my new image.”

“We know it, Honey,” said Gwen. “But you know how these pageants work.”

“It’s just not fair,” said Penny. “How much reconstruction does a girl have to get before they finally give her what’s coming to her?”

“There’s always next year, Princess,” said Maximilian.

Penny dropped her head into her hands, and Gwen gave her husband a dirty look.

“Now you listen to me young lady,” said Gwen. “Don’t you dare give them the satisfaction of seeing you at less than your best.”

“You listen to your mother, Princess,” said Maximilian, making sure he didn’t put his foot in his mouth again.

“You go out there and show the rest of the world who the real winner is here tonight,” said Gwen.

“Damn straight!” said Penny, looking at herself in the mirror with confidence. “This is my night to shine.”

“And you won’t even have to break a sweat doing it, Princess,” said Maximilian.

“It’s not like she can anyway,” said Gwen.

 

“All contestants to the stage,” yelled the stage manager from the doorway.

 

“This is it,” said Maximilian.

“Do us proud, baby,” said Gwen.

Penny hugged her parents, gave herself a last minute scan in the mirror, and headed for the stage with her folks trailing behind.

Penny hit her mark just as the announcer began.

“Ladies and gents, and all the rest of you worm-eaten roadkill,” said the announcer. “I welcome you to this year’s Miss Teen Necro Pageant.” He began to walk along the line of females in their tattered evening gowns positioned on the stage. “As you can see the contestants are all eager to compete; and don’t be surprised if your eyes drop out like mine, because they are all Drop Dead Gorgeous!”

Family Fireworks on the Fourth

Jerry stunt #15

The Fourth of July party is taking place on the Boles farm. Half the town has turned out on the big spread to eat, drink, and be merry with traditional and nontraditional activities. Local chefs are keeping an endless supply of barbecue beef, chicken, and ribs available with six grills and an open pit going nonstop. Farm and ranch wives are trying to out-do each other with side dishes, salads, and desserts. There are inflatable bouncy castles, a church sponsored puppet theater, and several water activities for the children. There is a small carnival with booths and rides for the whole family. There is a stage to be used for local bands, a talent contest, and the high school drama class. And a larger stage for the evening concert that has two aspiring performers that are debuting their first albums, and the main act, an ex-A-list band that has not had a hit song in over a decade; but they are still fairly popular with the middle-age crowd. And there will also be a western show followed by a fireworks display.

Billy, now twelve, charges out the side door of the main house just as his mother, Kathlynn, approaches.

“Whoa! Not so fast,” she said. “We can sure use an extra pair of hands to bring out the rest of this stuff.”

“Ah, Ma!” said Billy. “I helped set-up the tables and the other kids aren’t doing nothing.”

“Don’t sass your mother, William,” said Ben, Billy’s father, approaching from the boy’s blindside.

Billy stops arguing immediately, lowers his head, and begins to fidget.

Ben points toward the house: “Get your butt back in there and do like she told you.”

Billy stares at the ground, stuffs his hands in his pockets, and heads back towards the door, scuffing his shoes every step of the way: even on the wood floor as he disappears inside.

“Must you always talk to him like you’re cracking a whip?” said Kathlynn.

“That boy’s on a mud-slick trail to nowhere,” said Ben. “And you know it.”

“Do you have to start that again now?” said Kathlynn. “This is supposed to be a festive day.”

Ben looks toward the corrals and sees Dalton surrounded by kids and several adults.

“I told you not to invite him.”

Kathlynn grabs her husband’s arm and turns him to face her.

“This feud is between you two,” she begins in a low stern tone. There are people all around and she was raised proper. “Once and for all, will you just keep Billy and me out of it?”

“I’ve tried for years to keep you out of it by keeping ya’ll away from him,” said Ben loudly, not caring a hoot for propriety. “But you’ve been the opposition to that.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” said Kathlynn as she glances toward Dalton. “All I see is a kind old man who is rough around the edges.”

“That’s cuz’ you don’t know everything about him.”

“Then tell me.”

They stare at each other, neither wanting to give an inch. It is just the most recent in a long line of stand-offs.

This time Ben gives in first. He huffs, turns, and heads over by a group of guys congregating around a few kegs of beer.

She wants festive, he thinks while grabbing a full mug. I’ll show her festive. He gulps down the beer in one long pull, slams the empty glass down, belches, farts, and grabs another.

 

A short time later Billy carries his final armload of plates to the tables near the open pit with a rotating side of beef, where the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lasso is slopping on his family recipe next to a worried looking chef.

Kathlynn ruffles her boy’s hair.

“Now was that so bad?”

She was hoping for a smile but it did not appear.

“Momma, why does Papa hate me?”

Her smile disappears as she hugs him tightly.

“It’s not hate,” she begins. “It’s not even about you really.” She wishes she can transfer all the love she feels into him through the hug.

“Grandpa?”

She nods.

“I don’t understand why,” said Billy.

“Neither do I, son,” said Kathlynn. “Neither do I.”

During the lull after lunch while most folks are lounging, napping, or enjoying the activities two groups are out passed the corrals in an open field making final preparations. One group is adding last minute touches for the fireworks set-up. The other group, on the opposite side of the field, under Dalton’s experienced leadership, is Billy and a couple dozen men and women finalizing preparations for a western action show that will precede the fireworks display.

“This’ll be the first time Pa’s ever seen me do a routine,” said Billy.

“It don’t pay to fret,” said Dalton while inspecting weapons. “Besides, you got the gift, boy. You’ll have your pa and all these folks spellbound when you get to shootin’.”

“I hope he likes it enough to let me tour with you.”

“I told you this life will bite you when you got the gift,” said Dalton while cracking open and inspecting the barrel of a side-by-side scattergun. Clean as a whistle and lightly oiled… perfect.

“It’s all I’m ever gonna do, Grandpa,” said Billy while spinning the cylinder on one of his two single-action Ruger Blackhawks: verifying it is empty before inspecting the cylinder and barrel for cleanliness. “Ever.”

 

A few hours later Dalton, Billy, and the performers from the traveling show take-up positions. The veteran entertainer gets the attention of the announcer and acts like he’s stretching something between his hands: letting the announcer know he needs to stretch the introduction so a couple of last minute adjustments can be made.

“That’s it folks, take your seats,” said the announcer, the town barber. “And everyone please remain on this side of the markers. We don’t want anyone getting hurt, especially today. And let the kiddies up front so they can see. That’s it, keep a coming.”

He glances toward Dalton and sees him nod and give the thumbs up signal.

“The sun is fading so we best get started,” said the announcer. “And don’t forget we got the fireworks show right after this event. But first, let’s give it up for our very own Dalton Boles and his Sure Shots for bringing us this free show on this blessed day of freedom.”

The crowd applauds. Dalton signals the troupe and they burst forth to begin their action-packed exhibition of riding, roping, shooting, fighting, and a few rarer talents like knives, hatchets, and bullwhips. It is a scaled down modern-day version of the western extravaganzas, like those put on by Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Bill Cody.

 

The show continues to entertain the enthusiastic audience as a little girl runs by Ben as he continues to intoxicate his wounded ego near the keg crowd: where he’s been all afternoon, except for piss breaks.

“Hurry, Molly!” said the little girl. “Billy’s in the show.”

Ben stops paying attention to the dirty jokes being told by keg connoisseurs, and tries to focus thru the beer-induced fog on the girls talking about Billy. He does not recognize the little girl but he recalls Molly. He believes she has been a friend of Billy’s for most of his life, though he is not certain of anything at the moment.

The little girl approaches Molly. Molly is the older of the two, by a few years. She is only a year younger than Billy.

“Billy… are you sure?” said Molly while darting off toward the field before her friend can respond.

The little girl takes off after Molly, but her shorter legs cannot keep the same pace.

“Yes, Billy,” said the Little Girl while huffing and puffing and lagging behind. “He’s with his grandpa.”

Ben startles the small group of people in the vicinity as he throws down his beer mug and storms off toward the field far behind the girls.

“That damn brat,” Ben mutters while getting angrier with each step. “Think he can disrespect me just cuz’ all these people are here, well…” He stumbles but remains upright. “He’s got another thing coming.” He pinches closed his left nostril and blows a hunk of snot out of the right nostril thinking it might clear his head some. But it gives him a head-rush and he almost falls again. “I’m gonna give that little sum-bitch the business end of my belt like he ain’t never had it before.”

 

On the field the bang-bang-shoot-um-up action has peaked and is beginning to decline as the performers begin to meet their staged deaths one-by-one in dramatic fashion: blown off a wagon, roped from the saddle, dragged by a horse.

Molly and her little friend stop near the other kids to watch and cheer. But Ben, intoxicated and fuming, does not care a hoot about what’s going on as he stomps passed the crowd and safety markers.

Surprise responses begin emanating from the spectators and catch the attention of Kathlynn, which up to that point was beaming brightly with pride for her son’s performance.

“No, Ben!” she yells, but knows it’s a waste of breath. Damn him! Damn him to hell!

Ben is so focused on punishing Billy he does not hear the crowd and charges head-strong into the choreographed fracas.

Several entertainers are becoming aware of Ben’s intrusion. Unfortunately, it is primarily the stationary ones already “dead” in the show: but now having instant resurrections. And most of the crowd is now aware of the situation, with a growing number becoming frantic.

However, Dalton, Billy, and two other performers are in the middle of a wild shoot-and-chase sequence, and have no idea Ben is in harm’s way as they come charging around some western town facades. And it’s too late.

The two pretend outlaws take the turn wide, with Billy and Dalton cutting the corner, hot on their heels.

Ben sees the first two horses and, drunk or not, realizes he’s in deep shit. He jumps to his right… right into the path of Billy.

Without hesitation Billy yanks the reins to the side and back – knowing what it means for himself and his horse – in a heroic effort not to plow over his father. The young boy and his hard-charging mount crash into the nearest façade, tearing thru the wall, and tumbling over the props and braces. The volatile sounds of impact, along with a young boy’s yell and the animal’s painful snorts and whinnies, tears at the heart of every sober onlooker.

Kathlynn screams the soul-piercing scream of a mother watching her boy go down hard.

Dalton is just far enough behind, and to the side of Billy’s mount, that he’s able to jump over Ben’s sprawling form.

Performers and audience members begin to rush toward the impact site, while Dalton and the two other riders slow their mounts and backtrack to the impact point.

Dalton, still in the saddle as he approaches, can see Ben being helped to his feet, but there is no sign of his grandson near the spot where some men are trying to calm the wounded horse.

“Stop your pawing,” said Ben to those trying to check him for injuries. “I just stumbled. Ain’t you ever seen anyone stumble before?”

The people near enough to hear and smell Ben begin to move away from him with expressions of disgust.

Dalton dismounts and brusquely pushes through the growing crowd. The sight that befalls him as he nears the shattered façade sparks concern. The injured black and white Pinto is frantically trying to rise from atop a broken blank. And there, underneath the cracked four-by-eight plywood plank, Dalton can see his grandson is pinned: only half his body is visible. And, though Billy is trying to remain brave, the pain is evident.

Kathlynn cannot stop the tears as she does her best to cradle Billy’s head while the struggling horse and men trying to calm it continue to rock the plank atop his body.

“Do something!” she yells.

Dalton shoves people out of the way.

“If you ain’t needed and don’t know what the hell you’re doing, back-off.”

Sheriff Wyatt follows Dalton through the crowd and stops beside him: a few feet away from the frantic struggle.

“I need to borrow that,” Dalton said while gesturing for the sheriff’s weapon.

Sheriff Wyatt, realizing Dalton’s weapons are filled with blanks – not to mention what this is going to do to Billy – gratefully hands his .357 caliber Smith and Wesson to his friend.

“Do what you got to do.”

Billy looks at his grandpa with soulful eyes, imploring him not to.

Kathlynn tries to shield her son’s eyes and turn his head away, but he won’t allow it.

“We got to, son,” said Dalton. “Little Joe’s busted up bad, and you can see the pain he’s in.”

“I’m busted and hurting,” said Billy, “and you ain’t shooting me.”

Dalton kneels beside the animal and strokes its bloody neck and mane.

“Look at him, boy,” said Dalton. “Your head and heart know what’s right.”

Dalton continues to stroke the wounded animal while raising the pistol, aiming, and cocking the hammer back. He then looks at his grandson.

Billy’s heart breaks as he nods approval and he can no longer hold back the tears.

Knowing that prolonging it only adds to the hurt, Dalton squeezes the trigger. The loud report silences the crowd as quickly as the bullet silences the heart-wrenching struggle of the injured horse. With one difference, the crowd noise re-emerges, led by the sobs of the sensitive members; like Molly and her little companion as they are turned away by nearby adults. And many of the folks keep going, to their vehicles and off the property, not caring if the fireworks show is cancelled or not.

Dalton hands the pistol back to Sheriff Wyatt. He holsters it and gives his friend a nod for the hard task completed.

Dalton twirls a finger at the two performers still mounted. Both men toss the loop of their ropes to their boss while they secure their ends to their saddle-horns. Dalton fastens the loops around the carcass: one around the neck and the other around the front legs. The mounted pair ease their horses rearward, trying to maintain a steady non-jarring motion as they drag the dead horse off the plank. And as soon as the burden is removed, Dalton and Sheriff Wyatt heave the large piece of wood off Billy, while a few crowd members with medical training begin to assess the boy’s condition as he lies helpless in his mother’s arms.

Ben pushes his way thru the remaining onlookers.

“Where’s that boy?” he yells. He sees his father blocking the path. “Damn you! Where’d you hide that brat?”

Dalton turns sideways, as if allowing Ben a clear view of the activity around Billy. But to everyone’s surprise he was just positioning himself in order to cock back his arm.

The loud fist to jaw impact startles the people nearby, and sends Ben toppling backwards like a felled tree: its lights out before he hit the ground. Dalton returns to his vigil near his grandson. And everyone close by is equally content to leave Ben lying unconscious in the dirt.

Within a half-hour the ambulance is on-scene and Billy is stabilized, prepped, and loaded. Kathlynn jumps into the vehicle to accompany her son, as the attending EMT continues to monitor vitals and relay information to ER staff.

Sheriff Wyatt helps clear a path through the remaining crowd as Dalton heads to his truck.

“Don’t worry about a thing,” said Sheriff Wyatt. “I’ll supervise the clean-up here.”

“You set them fireworks off first,” said Dalton while climbing into the truck cab.

“Ain’t nobody in the mood for that.”

“It’s Independence Day, damn you,” said Dalton. “You set them off and light up that sky.”

“Dammit, Dalton,” said Sheriff Wyatt. “What the hell difference does it make now?”

Dalton gestures toward some families gathering together and a congregating group of kids.

“Cuz’ I don’t want their last memories of this day being the shame of my family, the pain of my grandson, and the death of his horse.”

Sheriff Wyatt can tell by Dalton’s clenched jaw and piercing gaze that any further discussion on the subject is useless. So he nods agreement, watches his old friend back out and speed down the drive, and he turns to fulfill his promise. And by the time Dalton reaches the main highway to town, a couple miles away, the first colorful projectiles are exploding in the clear night sky above the fields.

 

In the ambulance, while the EMT relays vitals to the ER staff over the radio, Billy looks at his mother.

“Momma.”

“Yes, baby?”

“I can’t feel my legs.”

 

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Creative outlets

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(Had to learn guitar to put music to my lyrics.)

Utilizing your creative talents can be just as beneficial physically as they are spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.

Pat Snyder, author of “The Dog Ate My Planner,” has taken her ability to inject humor and creativity into the stressful areas of her life, and organized it into a complete series of wacky workshops to teach others how to do the same.

There are numerous humorous books, CDs, and DVDs on the market to satisfy every personality and taste; such as Laughter from the Pearly Gates, Healing Through Humor, or any family-oriented comedy special. In fact, Healing Through Humor, by Charles and Frances Hunter, has been used by medical professionals during laughter therapy sessions. The forward was written by Dr. Francisco Contreras, who is quoted as saying, “Positive emotions invoked by humor have healing effects.” And Dr. Don Colbert claims, “Laughter is absolutely the best medicine as it charges the immune system and triggers the relaxation response.”

Here are some other positive effects from laughter:

  • Your heart and lungs are stimulated.
  • Your heart beats faster and your blood pressure rises.
  • You breathe deeper and oxygenate more blood.
  • Your body releases natural pain killers called endorphins, and you produce more immune cells.
  • You burn seventy-eight times more calories than when the body is in a resting state.
  • Your diaphragm, facial muscles, and internal organs all get jostled in what some professionals call “internal jogging.”

And after laughing your muscles and arteries relax, which is great for easing pain. Likewise, your blood pressure subsides and your pulse drops below normal: all of which researchers attribute to aiding digestion.

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(One of my fine art pieces called “Life’s storyboard #1)

However, creativity doesn’t have to be combined with humor to be beneficial at releasing stress, or for any number of other creative healing therapies, such as Veteran and Educational institutions, like Montclair University, having programs for veterans and military students to relieve stress and exorcise pent-up emotions through creative art and writing.

Dr. Marie Cascarano, Coordinator of Health Promotion for the University, claims, “Everyone experiences stress throughout their daily lives, but the key to managing daily stressors is finding a way to take breaks throughout the day to take care of you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Creating art and discussing the process can help you increase your self-awareness and relieve stress while using your creativity.”

JWT NEG ART #1

(My first attempt at negative etching.)

Another creative outlet used extensively by novice and professional alike is the various forms of music therapy: an outlet I utilize for stress relief and healing.

Sung-Chi Chen, BSN, RN, says, “Music therapy has shown positive outcomes on physiological and psychological well-being among older people.” However, music therapy is clearly beneficial to everyone, not just the elderly. For instance, on Art Drum.com there is a list of twelve ways drumming benefits students: everything from physical benefits to helping them focus and become better students.

All forms of music can be therapeutic, but I am strongly attracted to percussion and drum therapy, including drum circles.

When you have individuals like Babatunde Olatunji quote, “Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm,” it is not simply a statement off the cuff. These are words backed by thousands of years of human culture utilizing percussion instruments to communicate, celebrate, instill a strong sense of social community, worship, heal, and even bid their last farewells. After all, who of us does not know of the strong role drums have played in many communities like the African tribes, Australian aborigines, and Native American tribes?

Modern-day professionals, medical and otherwise, have discovered some fascinating facts regarding percussion and/or drum therapy. For instance, Ben Schwarcz, a professional music therapist with Alternative Depression Therapy, claims “Drumming Therapy taps into layers of the mind and body that other modalities cannot. Studies have shown that repetitive drumming changes brain wave activity, inducing a state of calm and focused awareness.”

Jerry drumming #1

(My favorite instrument to play.)

One of the best studies done backing the benefits of drumming was published in Alternative Therapies in January, 2001, entitled, “Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects.” Some of the key discoveries for this research are as follows:

“Both neuroendocrine and immunologic alterations were found in drumming subjects following this composite intervention compared with controls. These changes appear to be immunoenhancing (increased DHEA-to-cortisol ratios, increased NK cell activity, and increased LAK cell activity).” In other words, not only can it immediately reduce stress, but it “has the potential to produce cumulative or sustaining neuroendocrine or immunological effects that could contribute to the well-being of an individual facing a long-term condition in which elevated NK cell activity is known to be beneficial.”

It would literally require volumes of text to do this subject justice. However, there is enough evidence shown here to come to the conclusion that all forms of creative therapies or outlets have some form of positive effects that can be acquired through personal or group participation. So be sure to make some time during your week to let your God-given creative juices flow.

 

Works Cited

Bittman, Dr.Barry B., et al. “Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects.” Alternative Therapies. Jan. 2001 Vol.7 No.1 P.38-47 Print.

Hunter, Charles and Frances. Healing Through Humor. Creation House Press. Lake Mary Florida 2003. Print.

Phillips, Bob and Jonny Hawkins. Laughter From the Pearly Gates. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, OR. 2004. Print.

Rodak, Denise Y. “Stress Relief Through the Creative Arts.” Montclair State Univ. Web. 8 May 2011.

Schwarcz, Ben, MFT. “Drumming Therapy: Healing Through Rhythm and Sound.” Alternative Depression Therapy. Web. 8 May 2011

[* Originally published on another blog in 2011.]