Drumming: Cure For Pain

Well actually, not just drumming, all kinds of things can cure what it is that ails ya.

I was talking with some folks about finding your passion, your purpose or that thing that you were put here on earth to do. And the questions always come down to this: “how will you know it when you find it?”

Good question; it’s not easy. So, here’s my sense of how it worked for me.

First and foremost, I strongly believe that there has to be some part of it that serves others, some way for other humans to benefit from this thing you were put here on earth to do. We humans are social creatures, so if you’re really aligned with what you were put here to do, I think it has to benefit the human community in some way, shape or form.

And secondly, being engaged with it takes you ‘out of your self’ in some way. For me with music, when I’m 100% engaged and in the moment with it, I lose track of time, and I lose track of pain. This is where the title of this blog comes in–for me, it can be a cure for pain.

I get migraines, and I have all these meds and processes to help manage it, but one of the best things I can do sometimes is to simply play drums. This doesn’t cure things 100% of the time–sometimes things are too far along and nothing works. But, if I’m somewhere short of that, drumming can help get rid of the pain. I realize that this makes zero intuitive sense (making all that noise and being so physically active when your head feels like that seems less-than-logical). But, I swear to you, it can totally do the job.

So then, what is the thing for you that does it? What are the things you engage in that take you outside of yourself? Where you lose track of time? Where it doesn’t feel like ‘work’, or a ‘chore’, or a ‘grind’? And then, once you’ve identified it, how can this thing serve other people? THEN you will have the beginnings of something wonderful.

I know it may sound like I’m oversimplifying things, but some things in life really are simple and straightforward, and we humans like to mess it up and complicate it with our minds and our thinking. (I did that for decades with my drumming and my music–I complicated it and found problems with it over and over again.)

To quote Seth Godin, “The obvious answer to your problem isn’t obvious yet, but once someone finds it, it will be. That’s the way obvious answers work. They’re not obvious because they’re easy to find, they’re obvious because, in fact, there’s an answer. Most problems don’t have obvious answers…”

This is how it was for me when I was learning what I was put here to do. And, I imagine, it might be something like that for you as well. When it dawned on me that I was put here to teach and perform music, it was very anti-climatic. A total buzz kill. This is because it was so obvious and, in my mind at the time, uninspiring. (Long story, but it was because my mom, my stepfather and my biological father were all teachers, so it seemed about as ‘un-sexy’ as any thing could be.) I’ve since found a way to be excited about it–thrilled even. But it was totally anti-climatic at first: no fireworks in the sky, the earth didn’t move, no parade. 😉 It was like, “you’re kidding me…that’s it?”

And sadly, it may be anti-climatic (and obvious, and simple, and a total buzz-kill) for you as well. But, that doesn’t make it any less important. Life’s like that sometimes. And of course, your mileage may vary. I mention this only because it’s what I know–it’s how it happened for me.

And there you have it. Cheers!

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9 comments on “Drumming: Cure For Pain
  1. Doug says:

    Really great information here, Miguel. I feel like I’m sniffing the obvious answer in my journey. A little whiff here, a little whiff there… It’s like smelling Aunt Bee’s pies. You know they’re in the window sill even when you’re a block or two away!

    So maybe that was a terrible analogy, but the thought remains.

    One of my favorite things you said here was that drumming, for you, is a “cure for the pain”. This really, really, hits home because I can testify from the opposite end of the spectrum. When I took my current position, I was in great physical condition. I worked out 4-6 days per week, and was getting stronger in the gym. Just 2 months later, I am in the worst shape of my life. I have no energy, make it to the gym 2 times per week if I’m lucky, and have started having severe chest pains due to acid reflux. I am convinced that this new condition that I’ve never had was onset by extreme stress. My hope is that once I leave this job my health will come back, but to be honest I’m a bit worried. One thing that I will take away from this post is I will start monitoring the things that make the pain go away… I think that is a very key point and something I can personally tune into.

    I play a little guitar myself and that is always a fantastic emotional outlet. I’m off to play some tunes and get lost in the blues.

    Cheers Miguel, I congratulate you on finding your way. Keep up the good work! Fight the good fight!

    • mlyonscavazos@gmail.com says:

      Wow, what a great comment! Thank you so much.

      I can relate to the stress-related pain. My last few months in the ill-fitting job left me within a few days of having a breakdown–nervous, physical or all-of-the-above.

      Best of luck to you, let me know if I can help more in any way. Cheers!

  2. Bianca says:

    Wonderful subject.
    Since I just finished watching a Brene Brown Ted Talk on Vulnerability, the words “you have to believe that you’re enough” are still ringing in my ears.
    Wanting to do something that is big and exciting has always been a big part of who I was. A little bit further down the line, I am finally ready to acknowledge that is not necessarily going to make me happy. I would even like to take this a little bit further: excepting myself for who I am and for what makes me tick is suring easing a lot of pain!

  3. Nice post, Miguel. I really appreciate your down-to-earth approach to something as seemingly complex as identifying your purpose. I’ve also found it to be true that doing the things you love (that thing with the power to take you outside of yourself) has a healing effect–the connection between our minds and our bodies is so much stronger that we initially think. Keep up the good work!

    • mlyonscavazos@gmail.com says:

      I totally agree with what you say about the mind/body connection. I was talking to someone on Tue. who is in one of the corporate, ‘grind’ jobs, and I could just feel it…his pain, I mean. Yes, yes! Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Lik says:

    Totally get you with the counter-intuitiveness of drumming for pain relief… Can remember a time long ago when I was going to sleep and listening to Rammstein)))

    Have you heard about the “world domination” concept by Chris Guillebeau? “Doing good things for ourselves while helping others at the same time”, as far as I can remember. Does not have to be a passion, by the way.

    There can also be a difference between a passion (what we do) and a purpose (why we do it).

    Like Seth Godin’s quote very much.

    • mlyonscavazos@gmail.com says:

      Thanks for the comment, Lik! I am VERY aware of Chris…I have read both of his books, and would love to go to the World Domination Summit.

      Wow! Rammstein is intense, never listened to them before.


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