Interview with Toby Christensen, Part 2: Discovering the Realness of The Healing Drummer

Nechema Robinson, MA, the director of KinderWorld Tracks recently spoke with Toby about his life and healing gifts. The following is the second excerpt from this three-part interview.

First Impressions of The Healing Drummer

Nechama: I would like to get a sense of the impression most people have of you when they first meet you . . . from people you encounter on the street to clients to event organizers.

Toby ChristensenToby: Because of my very real-world presence, I drive a bright red sports car, I like to wear nice clothes, and my watch is a Rolex. There is a funny association with such ordinary-reality things which often contradicts people’s perceptions of what a “healer” is.

In Park City, Utah, where my home is, there is an organization that brings students of shamanism in for workshops. When I am not teaching there, I am often doing private healing sessions. When I pull up to the conference center to pick up [my clients] for their session, I often hear, “This is not a shaman car!” I often respond, “I know, but it’s the best I can do for now until I can afford the real shaman car, which everyone knows is a Ferrari!”

I believe that the gift that we bring to the world, all of us, is the most natural thing that we do. It is not being something other than who we are at our core. I love having a great human experience, and I enjoy the pleasures of this human experience. Because I come from this place of authentic connection to the spirit world, energy world, and the physical world, it gives me a way to relate to people that are often shocked by my ordinary reality appearance.

Or—in the case of Procter & Gamble and Merrill Lynch [examples of my wide range of clients]—they were thrilled that I walked in wearing a pair of Prada issues and an Armani shirt. The CEO later told me he wasn’t sure what he would do if a dreadlocked hippie dude would’ve come walking in the door!

Bridging People from All Walks of Life

Nechama: That is a great story! So, are any of your friends “dreadlocked hippie dudes?”

Toby: Sure! I hang out in Hawaii four months out of the year, and there’s a ton of them over there.

[In fact], I’m doing these really cool workshops in July, August, and September on the island of Kauai.

Nechama: And how do they see you? Do you change your presentation when you are around them?

Drummers PlayingToby: No, I’m pretty much always who I am. The thing that [my clients and friends] like is that I am this very connected-to-the-ordinary person, but I have done a radical ritual and ceremony in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the United States with the Lakota medicine man. I am a full mesa carrier in the Andean tradition of shamanism, and have become an initiated diviner in an ancient African modality.

The “realness” of how I live my life is in alignment with my hippie friends, and the fact that I fly first class and brought back a nice Louis Vuitton sweater from Paris keeps me connected to my ordinary world friends. It’s a pretty funny paradox, but I have always been [that way] and my work seems to always be a bridge bringing people together!

There was a situation in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was invited to facilitate a drum circle at an Episcopal church. I told the pastor, “If you want me to come, I want you to be prepared. You say you want community, and with me you will get that. You will get the whole community! You will have dreadlocked hippies, gays and lesbians, you will have the woo-hoo fairy people.” And we had them all! We had 75 people show up for the drum circle and they were from all walks of life.

At some point I’d love to tell you the story about how I got the Rolex . . . it’s a very good example of this bridge building.

Nechama: Please feel free to share that story, now, if you’d like.

Healing Drummer Toby ChristensenToby: I was at a retreat center in Oregon where I was facilitating a grief ritual with an African woman. I was in the food line when a [woman] looked at my hand and asked me if that was a Rolex that I was wearing. I said, “Yes.” [She] asked, “Is it real?” I said, “Of course!” She then went on a rampage about how could I, as a conscious human being and healer, spend $5,000 on a watch. I started laughing.

I then went on to tell [her] that when I was in San Diego, California, assisting Chief Phil Crazy Bull of the Lakota nation on a vision quest I met a woman who desperately needed a computer. When I asked her how much she wanted to spend on a computer, she said that she had purchased a Rolex submariner for her husband, [but] they divorced and she had never given him the watch. She was going to go to the pawnshop, and whatever they gave her for the watch she would use to buy the computer. I talked to a friend of mine who builds computers. He said after receiving her specs, that for $500 he could build a much better computer than what she expected to buy.

I had the Rolex, she had the computer, and my friend got to sell a computer. It was Win! Win! Win! [for everyone]!

Nechama: Your story is so powerful! What kind of feedback do you typically get from clients?

Toby: The response is typically a big, “WOW!” Because of the energetic shift that occurs, most people have very little to say after the session has concluded. The usual response after the “Wow!” is, “I have no words to describe how I feel right now.”

This is usually followed by profound life change and a re-alignment with one’s life purpose as it relates to the issue we worked on in the session. I can’t tell you the immense joy that I feel watching people change so dramatically and so quickly.

Stayed tuned for part three of this interview: The Healing Drummer Discusses Influence, Children & Healing Rhythms.

Thank you to Nechama Robinson, MA, director of KinderWorld Tracks.

Inquiries about Toby’s services can be made to Keep in touch with Toby’s events at or sign up to receive Toby’s newsletter!

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