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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    camp—it’s
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...
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Parentheticals

A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.

The Journey to Handpan-Land

Posted by: julia

I’ve been super quiet on social media of all kinds lately (because reasons, but that’s not the point of this post). I’ve just hit what really feels like a big life crossroads, although I’m still mired in the middle of it so it’s hard to say what will stick in the long term and what won’t. But even so I just had to write this story down for posterity. What story you ask? Why, the story of my journey into handpan-land. What’s a handpan? You ask? And well you might. A handpan is a musical instrument that is vaguely related to the steel pan, but is convex instead of concave and is played with the hands (actually, the fingers) rather than with mallets or hammers. It is made of hammered steel and looks a lot like a metal turtle shell or UFO. Go look up “handpan” on YouTube and you’ll see a zillion videos, of which my current favorite of the moment is this one (but believe me there are 10,000 more). They’ve only been around since the year 2000 and there aren’t very many of them in the world (though more and more people are learning how to make them and there is a very passionate community of players.

(Let me digress for a moment and say that I am by no means anywhere close to a trained musician or even a drummer, although many years ago I did play darbukka in the UCSB Middle East Ensemble and I still have several hand drums which I enjoy occasionally fooling around with. These days I spend my creative time as a writer and artist, not so much as a musician: the only instruments regularly in my life have been my kids’ piano, violin and cello.)

Anyway, my recent journey into handpan-land (say that three times fast...it will make you giggle!) was like falling into a whirlpool full of fizzy water, one that lifted me up rather than sucking me down. (Anyone remember the fizzy lifting drink scene from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie? Yeah, soaring and gleeful like that, but without the threatening fan at the top waiting to chop me up into pieces...for now at least!) But it’s also been a crazy ride on the serendipity train. Everything that has happened to me so far on this journey has felt like an incredible lesson in both manifestation, and what my Jewish friends and family call “b’shert” (which is a Yiddish phrase that means “meant to be” or “destiny”).


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