Throughout my life, I’ve been able to turn to art and music to help me get through difficult times. I’ve been sculpting since I was very young – instead of toys, I always wanted clay and books. With those, I could go into another world and not even notice the time passing. Today, sculpture helps me find a place of calm in the middle of a storm. I leave behind my stress and concerns and just create. I was recently able to take a foundry class at Mesa Arts Center that allowed me to go through the full process of replicating one of my original sculptures in bronze, from making the mold to finishing it with a patina. I’ve also branched out into classes in jewelry and glass.
Taiko drumming is different, but it fulfills a similar need. I play taiko as part of a team, and the energy that we share revitalizes me even at the end of a long and tiring day. Whenever I have negative energy weighing me down, I can let that energy out while I pound on the drums with my bachi (drumsticks), and I leave the dojo tired but refreshed and feeling good. I love the feeling of mastering a tough piece of music and sharing the joy of taiko with other people. Here’s a video of my group: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWH7sd5BV6c
Even while I was working full time and writing my Ph.D. dissertation, I always made time to play taiko and keep creating art. Instead of leaving me tired, it gave me the energy that I needed to tackle my research and my job.
I think everyone has a special thing in their life that gives them positive energy and ‘recharges their batteries’. It may be art, music, family, faith, reading, or exercise. What is it that sustains you? How do you make time for it in your busy life?