Carbonell Yeshaya: Spirit guide to music healing

Written by Sarai Guerrero, CNN In the time since Carbonell Yeshaya started playing music to create work and to find balance in her life, the young student has witnessed a profound change. “I was…

Carbonell Yeshaya: Spirit guide to music healing

Written by Sarai Guerrero, CNN

In the time since Carbonell Yeshaya started playing music to create work and to find balance in her life, the young student has witnessed a profound change.

“I was a student in first year at Manitoba’s Royal Military College who struggled with depression and anxiety. I remember my teacher, assigning me five activities that I had to complete to be a good student. I never completed the five activities!

“One afternoon, while I was stuck at my desk, I remember my teacher preparing me a beer. So I decided to break down and play the drums to celebrate my growth.

“As the song went on, he gave me encouragement and compliments. I felt so blessed to be there. So, if music helped bring me closer to purpose, then I strongly believe that there is power in our stories.”

Carbonell Yeshaya says learning to drum can help deal with your mental health issues. Credit:Courtesy of Carbonell Yeshaya

Yeshaya is passionate about drums and wants to use her experience to help other people struggling with mental health issues by promoting the benefits of drumming and participation in Indigenous culture.

“I’m now studying indigenous drumming, as it’s a direct approach to effective personal development. In the past, traditional Indigenous cultures took care of our emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. Taking part in drumming or history means more than just learning an instrument. It means people can connect to their stories and culture.

“Telling them that drums and drums alone can take your mind off these issues feels empowering and also connects you to a different way of living.”

Carbonell Yeshaya is studying Indigenous drumming. Credit:Courtesy of Carbonell Yeshaya

Not only does drumming help individuals who are struggling with physical and mental health issues, but it can also open other avenues of self-empowerment. It offers men an opportunity to express their emotions without shame or intimidation.

“I’ve been through quite a few embarrassing moments when people would turn their backs on me while I was drumming. However, music is the highest language I have. It’s my language and a means to express things. It’s a means to express myself without letting others see what I’m feeling inside.

“And when someone listens to me, I know they are there listening, or they might not be, which I know will help me get through difficult moments in my life. There are so many things to be shared. I only hope we can inspire other people to share their stories.”

Carbonell Yeshaya’s music has also helped to change the lives of families affected by trauma, such as when her own family was affected by her father’s rape and murder at the age of 15.

“My parents owned a small restaurant, as part of my brother and me’s upbringing. My family has been through some very scary things and that’s why it’s important for me to share my story and show others that it doesn’t have to be like that.

“No one is an island. This is our city. This is our communities. This is why we must be better, and why we must put our heads down and get it done.”

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