If The US Surgeon General Sat In On My Drum Circle, Then I Would ________

US Surgeon General Drum CircleI found myself asking that question a week ago Friday evening, after the fact.

Maybe it was better that I didn’t know that he was sitting there, drumming up a storm, cutting off our rhythm to exclaim “Wellness!” and smiling and having fun.

Let’s do a quick refresher on who the Surgeon General is: Boris Lushniak is the current leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government of the United States, appointed by the president. And after participating in those meetings at the resort (of which the drum circle was a small but memorable part), he now knows the power of music in healthcare.

But I didn’t know that it was HE sitting there, until my buddy Mike told me an hour after it happened. Ha – And boy am I glad I didn’t realize it was he.

Because if the Surgeon General isn’t enough to knock off your boots, imagine facilitating a drum circle with Ben Folds sitting there, too.

I’ve realized that there are two sides of me in situations like these: Professional Kat and Fan Girl Kat.

My friend Draza helped me figure that out when I asked her two weeks ago at a friend’s birthday party, “How do you hold it together when you do healing work on famous people?”

She grinned, kicked her legs up behind her, and said “There is a time and place for the Fan Girl, and sometimes she wants to come out and say ‘I saw you looking at me at your last concert!’ or ‘Can you autograph my drum?’ And the Fan Girl plays over and over in my mind. I see her making cartwheels and hear her squealing, and then, at the same time, I put all my energy into the work in the moment.” Draza went on for a while describing the experience of her work in Malibu with the stars.

I had no idea that she was coaching me for what was to come the next weekend.

I’ve taken an entire week just to process my experience before sharing it here, because. it. blew. my. mind.

When I asked my client what the objectives were, and who would be attending, she said “There will be stakeholders and policy makers participating.” Truth be told, my initial reaction was “I can handle a bunch of boring old suits, loosen them up, help them crack their first smile in a week! Yeah!”

You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the resort and saw Ben Folds chatting it up with Robert Gupta. So, THOSE are “stakeholders and policy makers.” I thought they would be a big group of boring old guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

And what are the chances that less than a WEEK after Ben Folds shared my guitar pick on twitter, he would be standing there at the resort…. The spirits moved me to give him another guitar pick, *just* in case he had lost that other one. #GuitarPickMarketingWorks, no joke.

I had the pleasure of sitting through part of the roundtable discussion, and hearing Meagan Morrow’s story of working with Gabby Giffords. What perfect timing that she happened to be sharing her story with these 45 brilliant minds, when Robert Redford walked in.

He goes by “Bob.” When he picked up the mic to say hello, he insisted that Meagan had much more interesting things to say than himself. He was very impressed with our group, and he had things to take care of. He couldn’t stay for the drum circle.

BUT that’s ok. We had a blast, even without Bob.

My buddy Mike drove up in his Drum Bus, and helped out with all the equipment. He has them in multiple locations. Call him up to see if there’s one in your neighborhood! Check his Drum Bus here:
Drum Bus

Our first circle played in the Drum Bus itself. It was a blast. Then the second circle happened outside. Big thank to Meagan Morrow for sharing these pix with me!

Sundance Drum Circle


Below is a shot of Maegan, Ben, and Alicia.
And of course, they all jammed into the evening over at Bob’s house (Robert Redford’s house, that is)—-

Coming back home from an experience like that, feeling the abundance of support thrown at the arts, I’ve been flying around Cloud 9 for a few days. I’m usually flying around there anyway, but this was just a little more jet fuel to propel my spirits into the atmosphere.

I know that I’m positive in an extreme and rare kind of way. I base my future and vision on past successes, because otherwise I’d never take risks. And sometimes I base my future and expectations on absolutely nothing from the past but a leap of faith, knowing that I may fall down very hard. And I have fallen down very hard before.

There have been some really interesting discussions about music, arts, healthcare, and job opportunities lately. A lot of people feel hopeless, and a lot of people have given up on the idea of living your dream job.

I’m not claiming to have answers. But there are some things I know, for sure.

In every economic crisis, in every long-term hardship, in every doom & gloom era of history, there have been people who have thrived. Not just survived and barely made it through… THRIVED, prospered, flourished, succeeded. Not just rich, healthy people either. Even people who start with nothing.

What sets those people apart from the rest?

Lord knows, I have opinions on this. But maybe what’s more important than the opinions, ideas, and answer is just remembering to ask the question.

Thanks for reading, and I hope that you can feel the excitement, hope, exhilaration, and pure bliss that have been running through my veins this past week.

Be well, feel good, and make music! Kat

38 Responses to If The US Surgeon General Sat In On My Drum Circle, Then I Would ________

  1. Ginny D September 30, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    So much awesome! I needed to read this on multiple levels. Thanks, Kat! and HOLY COW!!

    • Kat Fulton September 30, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Woo hoo Ginny! Thanks for flying around Cloud 9 with me here for a while =) Thank YOU for your presence and awesomeness and research-geekiness! xoxo

  2. Vi September 30, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Congrats, Kat! That is amazing!

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      Thanks Vi! I’ve signed on to 365 days of fiddle tunes from you!!! Can’t wait! =)

  3. Rachelle Norman September 30, 2013 at 10:10 am #


    I don’t even know what to write here. This is amazing beyond words.

    Our collective vision needs to be so much bigger. Thank you for holding this positivity, exhilaration, hope, and bliss for so many who are struggling.

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Amen sister. You could not have said that better, so I am reiterating: “Our collective vision needs to be so much bigger.” right? right ? right?!?!?! Totally agree. yes yes yes.

  4. Vicki Gross September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    YOU are an inspiration in a not so perfect economy! Thank you for being our Music Therapy spokesperson extraordinaire!

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      And same to YOU my friend Vicki! I’m so happy to fulfill that role of spokesperson and sing our melody from a mountaintop! xo =)

  5. Sarah September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    That’s awesome! Sounds like a great day. I love hearing about the things you do.

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks Sarah! It was NUTS. Thanks for floating on Cloud 9 with me here for a while.

  6. Diana September 30, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Great post- thanks for sharing about your experience and I’m so glad to have people like you representing our field so well!

  7. JoAnn Jordan September 30, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Yeah, Kat! What an amazing group of influencers you have touched. Thank you for being our ambassador.

  8. Mom September 30, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Such a positive story. Keep it up, Sweetie, โ™ฅ U always. Mom

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks mom! I know you’re always rooting me on, and I’m very thankful for that!

  9. cami smith September 30, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    You are amazing and this post brings so much inspiration and enlightenment to me and thousands of music therapists out there! I’m so excited and thrilled for your incredible way of being and success in the world. Keep on living your dream because it inspires the rest of us to do the same.

    Love you,


    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Love you too woman! Thank you for your kind words here Cami! I miss you – We need to hang out soon —

  10. Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    What an amazing experience! I’m proud that you and Megan were there to represent MT in this way. Thanks for all you do.

  11. drummergrrl September 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Kat, thanks for sharing your story. It is so important tht we realize to always be excited about what we do. Each day can bring a new discovery and new challenge when sharing musical inspiration with others. And what you felt when the “biggies” joined your circle is usually felt by that new person sitting in the circle for the first time. “You” are always awesome in their minds especially with your enthusiasm!

  12. Carly September 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    A-MA-ZING! Your zest and love for our profession shows no bounds! Thank you so much for all that you do for us and our community!!

  13. Bev September 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Kat! Awesome! I am thrilled to have witnessed that convo with Draza. Who would have known!?!? But of course….anything can happen. I’m a believer! Wild!

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Yes BEV! You were THERE! How cool is that. I’m just taking notes on this experience to expect the unexpected with an open heart, open mind, and curiosity out the ying yang! Our collective wisdom in our group is just unmatched —- love you woman!

  14. Debi Kret September 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Hey Kat – OK the only one My inner Fan Girl wants to meet more than Robert Redford is Bono — so once again I bow to your amazing awesomeness! I can’t imagine holding it together enough to actually do my job in the near vicinity of Bob, Ben or the US Surgeon General. Once again you rocked our world! Thanks!

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Debi – You are cracking me up. Do you know what a good writer you are? And omg if Bono sat in on my drum circle I would melt right into the floor!!!

  15. Michelle September 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    What an amazing event to be part of. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Anne September 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    WOOOOO!! Fantastic, Kat!

  17. Meridith Lager September 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    You continue to inspire me – all while rocking music therapy into some important minds! Congrats and thanks for sharing!!

  18. Chance Selinger September 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    That is SOOOO cool! I am definitley on cloud 9 with you!!! You are so inspirational Kat! Keep rockin it!

  19. Dena Register September 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    What a fantastic advocacy story! Nice work ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kat Fulton October 1, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      I do what I can – take one for the team! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Heike October 1, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    Lovely, enjoyed reading that and what a great experience ! I hope it’s catching on – all over the world !
    Best wishes

    • Draza Jansky October 1, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      It’s true ! It’s so amazing to take the child-like awe and gratitude you have for someone who has touched your life through their art / work, and channel that amazing rush of power into your work. (I’ve noticed you work with that awe for EVERYONE ~~ you speak with the same joy about your seniors as you do about rock stars !)

      “Fan girl” dances with love in your head~~and the calm, competent, hooked-up-to-the source healer works through you with lightning clarity. It makes sense that if you have true passion for your work, you attract people with true passion for their calling as clients. This is only the beginning for you . . . ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Tim Ringgold October 1, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Woohoo, girl!!!! Hahaha I am just GLOWING with happiness right now. You are so inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to process this and then share it with the world. You are such a magnetic force! You attract the best.

  22. Melinda wilson October 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    This is super cool. I love that you included some great links in this post. It just read,”The Day My Business Died,” guest post on Kimberly S. Moore’s blog, which was a helpful read, as I am in the process of placing a higher value on myself and what I can offer as a music therapist. You are constantly reaching new heights with your amazing trail blazing path as a music therapy business owner and entrepreneur. You are setting a positive trend!

  23. Jason Oosthuizen October 4, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    Awesome blog, really one of the best ive read in a while. I’m also a drummer and have recently started a youtube channel. Would be great if you could check it out and let me know your thoughts:). Ive got a few solos and drum covers on there.

  24. Solomon October 21, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    it;s no surprise that this happened to you – you have a powerful alchemy of brilliance, subject knowledge, spirit, heart and talent that makes you an amazing practitioner and perfect ambassador, I am thrilled!! Wonderful to hear this and way to ‘be.’

  25. Oh My Musical Goodness October 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    I feel like a child and I want to yell “NOT FAIR, I WANT TO MEET BEN FOLDS!” Please Ben Folds if you ever want to get amongst the music therapy scene down under look me up ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Donna October 29, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Wow! Congrats and Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. You never know how your path will unfold. Your journey is filled with beautiful stories. Keep sharing your inspiration. We look forward to it! So here it is a month later. How is it up there on cloud 9?

  27. Anita L. Gadberry, Ph.D., MT-BC January 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes!

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