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We never know where life is going to take us.

We never know where life is going to take us.

More often than not, we think we’re on the main road of our journey, content with towns that we know, and destinations that are safe with clearly marked sign-posts, until circumstances and/or people divert us, and offer choices that appear to be detours... So we venture down a detour, treading cautiously at first in unknown ground, and then start to merry along believing that eventually we will find the main road once again...

Frequently, however, the detours have holes and bumps in them, and scary things that sometimes jump out of thorny bushes, and with all that fear and confusion we can easily forget where the main road began or ended. But the things that challenge us the most in life are the ones that teach us the greatest lessons. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it: "There is a tide in the affairs of man which taken at the flood leads on to fortune, omitted the rest of the life is spent in the shallows and the misery." Simply said, “an opportunity lost is an opportunity missed”, or “she who dares wins.”

Bumps & Bruises
So along the detours, the bumps and bruises we sometimes suffer and the courage and determination we develop inside ourselves to ward off and fight the scary things are what actually build muscles of self-worth, confidence, faith, and most importantly AWARENESS. And with that newfound awareness, we finally realize that the detour we’re on is actually the main road we’ve been looking for and waiting for all our lives! All the tough work is rewarded and Hey! Presto, we’ve finally arrived! Magic is afoot. It’s time to start living the dream and realizing our full potential! We’re now on the road to endless abundance and countless exciting opportunities. We’ve earned it; we’ve worked hard for it, and now is the time to reap life’s rewards.

My Journey
My name is Julie-Ann, and if anyone had told me ten years ago that I would be an African drummer performing in front of hundreds of people and getting them all to drum together as a tribe, I would have laughed and thought they’d been in the Dubai sun a little too long. This definitely wasn’t a road I had ever dreamed of venturing down in any way, shape, or form. As far as I was concerned, I was headed down the road to being a Public Relations Professional, dossiers in hand - no detours were going to divert me from my intended path! However, some people believe that nothing happens unless you are ready for it to happen, and on some level you have wished for it. As the saying goes: "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And I can certainly remember ten years ago wishing that I had the power, belief, self-worth and self-confidence to venture out on my own, leave the corporate path and do my own thing. Without realizing it, with that one wish I was already opening up a massive detour from my well-trodden main road. By that time I’d been working for other people for almost 30 years. I was tired of corporate politics and “power plays,” but I was in public relations - a field I really enjoyed as I got to use my creative writing skills and meet lots of people.

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Leap of Faith
I had got to a stage though, where I just knew that if I didn’t stand in my power and tell the boss exactly what I thought of him, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror much longer. I also knew that if I spoke my mind I would probably get fired (he was a total control freak), and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take the plunge and dive into the world of private business just yet. It’s a scary thought when you have worked for other people all your life, and are used to the security of having a regular paycheck and benefits. People are generally resistant to change because it takes so much energy and belief to set new dynamics into being. It’s that whole 'jumping off a cliff in the dark and trusting that you will grow wings and fly' thing. It sounds good in theory, but who wants to actually test it out in practice ?! To make that leap takes an enormous amount of belief in oneself and infinite trust in the universe. It’s hard to jump at first, it’s scary. The day eventually day came when the boss pushed his weight around with me one time too many, only this time I told him to… Well, I shouldn’t say in mixed company what I told him to do! That was it for me. I got fired on the spot, packed up my stuff, and left – metaphorically pushed out of the nest by mother universe.

Fledgling Wings
But guess what? I landed in one piece, dusted myself off, and started to feel a strange itchy sensation between my shoulder blades – I was growing baby wings. With those fledgling wings, I began to fly on an entrepreneurial adventure. The timing was great: Dubai Media City had just opened its doors for anyone with an enterprising spirit, and I fit the bill. I definitely had spirit, and wasn’t too bad on the enterprising part either. The only thing I had no idea how to do was to start my own business…so I took a huge magic pink pill of self-worth and belief, and swallowed hard. My son Tamer gave me the money I needed for the start up, and I opened an office for event management. One of my passions in life is anything holistic, I’m a co-active life coach, Organizational Relationships System Coach, Reiki Master, and NLP Practitioner. I've studied Jin Shin Jyitsu, Breathwork, Sacred Geometry, Body Alignment and Astrology. All of this, combined with my background in public relations and event management, made me (I decided at the time), the perfect candidate to organize the Middle East’s first Mind Body Sprit Festival.

The Festival that Almost Was
So I booked a venue, got a main sponsor, and started researching holistic festivals around the world to see what would work in Dubai. I spent six months surfing the internet to find just the right combination of participants for my festival. That’s where I first started coming across community drum circles. Each time I read about them, something would stir deep inside me and my pulse would quicken. A primal nerve was being activated. I contacted a drum circle facilitator from Canada and arranged for him to come to lead a drum circle for peace at the festival opening. I had everything in place, with presenters booked from around the globe, and it all looked like it was going to happen. Then, four months before the festival was meant to take place, the sole sponsor contacted me to say upper management had rejected the idea - they didn’t think Dubai was ready for a holistic show! Surprisingly, when I got the news, I wasn't that bothered about the festival being cancelled. But I was REALLY UPSET that I wouldn’t get to have that drum circle!

Taking Flight
And in that place of truth, I decided that I would learn to do it myself. In that same second of immense self-belief and blind faith, my wings expanded fourfold. With those full-grown wings, I flew to Africa, did an extensive course in hand drumming and then traveled around the globe to learn the art of facilitation. Now, ten years later, just past the age of 50, I'm a trained drum circle facilitator that regularly uses rhythm as a tool for team building. I look back at what I've done over these recent years with pride, knowing that whilst many people were going through a mid-life crisis, I was in Africa learning to be an African drummer. I went through a major middle age career/life change that has truly bought me to the place I was always meant to be – living the dream with passion, or in my case drumming the dream with rhythm.

More Blessings Than I Can Count
I have a very successful business called Dubai Drums, a loving family and my husband Guy that have supported me and encouraged me in all my dreaming. I'm totally empowered, I'm my own boss, I meet many wonderful people all the time, and I get to drum with all ages and all walks of life as I go along my rhythmic journey spreading unity through rhythm. I am blessed, and I give thanks to the universe, every moment I can for what I have achieved. I have self worth and awareness, I have so much fun, I feel so alive, I empower others, I manifest abundance, and I feel in the center of my being. The moral of this story? If I can do it, anyone can! So get ready to grow wings and fly. Yes, the journey can be a bit scary sometimes, but if you put a back pack on and fill it with self-worth, trust in the universe, creativity, the ability to dream it up as you want it to be, lots of awareness, a bit of financial reserve, and people that love you -- voila! you can co-create with the universe and make your dreams a reality. We all have that spark of magic deep down inside us just waiting to be activated – all we have to do is believe and ask.

A year after I started Dubai Drums, someone else took my holistic festival idea and started the Dubai Well Being Show. By then I’d become known as ‘The Drum Lady” in Dubai, and, ironically, they asked me to do a drum circle for peace at the opening of the show. Standing there, with 80 kids from my daughter Dima’s school, I looked around at a show that I had once thought was meant to be mine, with a drummer from Canada that was meant to have been standing in my spot. Just before I started all the kids drumming, I looked up, winked at the angels, fluffed the feathers in my human angel wings and said “Okay, I know! I was always meant to be the drummer.” My detour had turned into a main road, and I had arrived at one of my life’s major destinations, and now I'm living the dream:-)

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