I've been taking them with me everywhere I go since they arrived on Thursday.
Getting my hooping game on feels like getting back in touch with an old friend: hooping was the thing that gave me joy when I struggled to fit in as a college freshhuman on her own in NYC.
But I'm approaching hooping so very differently these days: instead of buying kids hoops at wal-mart, or making them out of irrigation tubing, I bought properly sized and weighted circus hoops.
Instead of making up things to do, or challenging myself to learn something I saw on youtube in the courtyard of my building, I'm meeting my coach once a week to be led through a progressively more challenging set of skills with proper technique.
My self-taught background gives me somewhat of an advantage, but I've also had to relearn how to stand, how to hold my arms, and how to simply hoop around my waist. Apparently the pros don't look like surfing chickens.
There is something inherently meditative about hooping, even when you're wacking your knees, hands, and head in an attempt to get the timing down for moving the hoop up and down your body. The drive to keep the hoop moving feels strangely deep and instinctive. When it clatters to the floor, I feel like I've let it down figuratively as well as literally. I think that deceptively simple and rhythmic activities like hooping, or drumming, tap into something rooted deep down in our humanness.
This makes it easy to keep practice, especially on a nice day when I can be outside. But it also can bring out my disciplined-to-the-point-of-masochism side in a way that aerial work just doesn't, especially when I'm re-learning an old skill with a new, more challenging to work with hoop.
After several attempts, the "WHY CAN'T I JUST DO IT?!?!" monster comes out, followed closely by the "*##&$^@^*#&@^*&#^@% I HATE EVERYTHING" monster.
There's definitely irony in an activity that feels so innate, so soothing, so joyful, and so peaceful also being a source of frustration, and self-flagellation...sometimes literally when I keep hooping over giant bruises in an effort to force myself to conquer a new skill for good. But I'm not surprised that my hoops have more to teach me than just kick-ups and splits.
I'm finding that when you pursue something with your whole heart, it demands that you rise to the occasion, not just in terms of your skills, but as a person. Finding your passion means finding your path, and one thing all paths have in common is that they lead to growth, and giving.
Learning to balance a burning desire to improve my skills with a sense of love and compassion for the journey will enhance my ability to balance the deeply giving work of being a birth doula with the necessary strong self-care practice to avoid burn out.
I'm grateful to my hoops for the lessons they have to share. What lessons have the things you love had for you? Your teachers are all around you. Take a listen! :-D
P.S. I'm hard at work preparing for my hooping debut at Big Sky Work's Prince Tribute Cabaret on June 9th! I'll show you no mercy, but I'll sho' 'nuff show you how to grind! ;-D