Monday, March 7, 2016

We're Going Around in Circles!

Today I went from shivering in my leather jacket over a flannel shirt dress, with scarf, hat, and gloves, to feeling free and breezy with my jacket unzipped, no hat or gloves! It's that time of year...too early to trust the weather, but when we get those early tastes of spring...it's glorious. It feels like a miracle! That's why I love living where there are four distinct seasons, including a cold, snowy winter (sometimes; not enough snow this year for me). Experiencing the renewal of the earth, and measuring time by watching the world change around me as we roll around the sun, keeps me grounded, connected, and so, so grateful.

This spirit of observation, coupled with a sense of awe, is something that yoga and meditation have helped me cultivate, and maintain. Of course, it's a constant work in progress to maintain that practice, and that spirit. Before I did any meditation, and when I was very new to yoga, I stumbled into hula hooping, and discovered another present-moment-based practice that enhanced my joy, and sense of connection to my body. It was powerful juju at a time when I was struggling to adjust to living in a new place, being in a new stage of life, being separated from my boyfriend (who later became the husband), and having to start all over building a social circle.
I spent many a happy hour in the Spring of 2007 (and acquired quite the reputation) hooping in the sun, blasting a playlist of jams from my university laptop, learning how to leave enough clearance for my cat ears (of course I was wearing cat ears, every damn day) when doing body-to-hand transitions. Fun times!

I have pictures of me hooping on front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, in the middle of second avenue by 9th street in NYC, and on stage at way too many local concerts. I took hoops with me everywhere, including into Madison Square Garden for a Killers concert, on the Staten Island Ferry, on every subway, so many airplanes...hooping was a way of life, a philosophy about trusting the rhythm of the universe, and the wisdom that everything is connected.

And then a few years later I discovered aerial arts, and my hoops started gathering dust.

It felt like a natural enough transition, but the few times I dragged my old collapsable hoop out to the park with me, I remembered why I loved hooping so much in the first place. When my silks coach reminded me that to work consistently, I needed a ground act up my sleeve, I wondered allowed if hooping counted. It did.

So now I have a hoop coach! Life is good. Except that having been self-taught for years, my hooping technique is, as my silks coach like to say, le poo.

Free-style hooping to dope tunes in the sun has been replaced with frowning at myself in the mirror as I will my body to move less and less while still maintaining a flat, fast rotation in the hoop, and counting off the beat when switching arms in an out while chest hooping.

It would be easy to get frustrated...but I LOVE learning new skills! Training in old-school cirque-style hooping feels like meeting the hoop for the first time all over again!

Just like the Spring feels brand new, yet so very familiar year after year...

There's a Buddhist expression I love: "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few."

Letting hooping feel new to me will open up so many possibilities as I re-conquer the basics and start building choreography.

And embracing my status as a newla doula is keeping me from feeling too nervous as I prepare to attend my first few births. Without a short list of techniques I've used again and again, I'm free to consult a whole list, and go with what feels right in the moment, and appeals to the birthing person. It's a powerful place to be!

What are you new at this spring? Anything you're rediscovering? If the learning curve is driving you up the wall, try legs up the wall! Or another yoga pose ;-).

Live Omily,
~em

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