So I was blow drying my rock in an art class tonight, (let’s save that awesome topic for the next blog shall we?) -ANYHOW- There I am, blow drying my rock, hair dryer in one hand, obviously a rock in the other, and I thought to myself, “Wowww. Once there was a time in my life where I couldn’t even hold this Rock up to blow dry it,” and then I proceeded to quietly shake it around a bit like a rattle under the hair dryer, bobbing my head to the motions.
I start to paint my mandala, just breathing and painting whatever comes, and it’s all thoughts of Music. -I guess an important part of this story would be that 16 years ago I had my arm almost fully severed in a bad car accident where afterwards I had 4 years worth of orthopedic and maxillofacial surgeries to put me back together. (Helllllllloooo Nightmare!) I had severed my brachioradialis and all the nerves, which by the way, feels like your entire arm is on freaking FIRE, it hurt like Hell & no painkiller can touch that kind of pain. I remember begging in the hospital to amputate it and they kept telling me it was pointless because I’d still have phantom pains. So for the sake of aesthetics & vanity, I kept the now metal, and limp arm attached! No seriously, it just hung there in constant fiery, crappy, Pain. On a positive note: I learned Hilarious tricks with it like how to swing my hand up onto my hip or to open a jar for family & friends’ entertainment with my wrist, even spin around fast so I could open the fridge with my pointless limp arm. The body adapts to life incredibly but sometimes heals slowly to injury.
Ok. So then almost like a DECADE goes by of what I now see as Pointless Arm Syndrome. I had even worked for surgeons who told me it would never regenerate itself because of the amount of nerve damage i suffered, and let’s just say there’s a point in time when you stop trying! It worked well enough for me, I knew how to open jars like a boss, (lol) , kept it in the pocket of my scrubs at work for the most part and was crazy fast at typing with my right hand only! Naaaailed It! To make a long story short- I’m taking a Yoga class one day and we were threading the needle (a shoulder stretch on the ground) and I felt in my nerves as what I describe as a “zip, zip, Zip!” feeling and then realized, “Wait a minute…My friggen Arm just started working. Whaaaat The….” It was unbelievable to say the least. But don’t think that it just magically started working Fine again, I just said it started Working. Frustrating “AF,” as they say. I had very little use of my fingers and still couldn’t supinate (flip my palm up), or Ever imagine holding a plate of food confidently with two hands let alone playing an instrument, Uhhhhh No. No WAY. Little by little I built up strength by slowly supinating my hand with a #2 pencil but had zero bicep. Omg, I’m talking So pathetic too, poor sweet little bicep, it was truly a sight to watch and I am so incredibly grateful for my sense of humor through it all looking back.
A few more years go by of pencil lifting, yoga & training, and then my co-founder here brought me to a Djembe class at Skinny Beats Drums Shop in Asheville with Billy Zanski! I was kind of, how do I put it….. well, Pissed, because I barely knew how to do anything useful with my left hand, and there were Legit good drummers in there. I felt like such an idiot sitting there with a drum between my thighs. “Friiiiiiiiiig. I’ll just wing it for an hour. FINE.” Billy gives instructions and we all start drumming. I just started drumming. No thoughts, no feeling or emotions, no pain in my arm, just straight up Drumming. My brain talked directly to my hands where it even knew how to “bass, tone, & slap,” a djembe and had rhythm, it made absolutely No sense to me logically but it felt so darn good to just have that communication happening in my body. The best part was, Billy told me half way through the class, “hey, you’re left hand dominant, that’s fine, just go with it!” So I did. And I never told him about my arm until maybe a year later, I was still in such shock. I love that man as my friend and teacher! If you’ve never been to his class here or Asheville- GO!!! www.skinnybeatsdrums.com
In come the Singing Bowls! Ahhhhh, Yes. Crystal Quartz singing bowls infused with precious stones that vibrate at 786,000 pulses per millisecond- those are some Serious vibes, man! I wish that I could explain to anyone what it feels like to not have feeling on the Outside of your arm but be able to feel it on the Inside. It’s literally like Magic to me. It was like waking up inside and would bring me to tears, those bowls changed my life in so many ways and I am forever grateful for having them here! Not only did they sing my arm to life, when you harmonize your voice with them it’s a whooooole new world! It creates Binaural Beats and tells your brain to relax – More Magic (obviously.) Eternal love for our friends Paradiso and Rasamayi for introducing me to Alchemy Bowls at their live concerts here, they’re phenomenal! http://www.onlinesoundhealing.com
There have been many other instruments as well including African finger pianos, rattles, harmoniums, wind wands and more that have helped rebuild neuro-pathways in my arm but the one I have felt the most accomplished with as of late is the Guitar. It’s been 16 years and I was always a little bitter about it because I had a guitar when I got in my accident and was taking lessons, then got a bad case of the Pointless Arm Syndrome. I started playing again last week and can’t believe how naturally Fun it is again. My friend, (Kirtis- much obliged, mate!) helped me out and pulled some strings off my 12 string so now I can strum 8 chords semi-confidently baybaaaaay. Empowering doesn’t even scratch the surface of that one.
I always knew music could heal my mind and my soul, but to watch it heal my Body was beyond astonishing and humbling. I am constantly honored to be able to share such awesome events here held by other outstanding friends like Melody Lightheart, William Rodriguez, Joey Dukes and so many more. From Sound Relaxations to Gong Immersions, Live Concerts, Drum Circles etc, it is all so precious to my heart. I’ve always been a singer, mainly because the tambourine was the only other thing I could figure out one handed- HA! But these past few years have been eye opening and mind expanding about the possibilities of music and playing instruments as well. Building neuro activity within the body, strengthening memory & the mind-body connection, bridging communication gaps- I could go on Forever. From my heart (and formerly pointless arm) to yours- May the Music touch and heal you as deeply as it has me!
Amy J. Hargis
The Wellness Place