[Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn connects the dots.]
So you’ve got 1,532 hooper friends from seven different countries in your Facebook feed. Or maybe you’ve got 23 from your own hometown. But how connected are we, really? It’s on my mind because I’m participating in Hooping.org’s Hooper Valentines and, today I’ll be mailing out a real-deal snail-mail envelope to an in-the-flesh hooper somewhere in the world. I am completely enamored by this. It has become a special “event” in my mind. I am crafting a heartfelt, genuine message. I am carefully decorating the envelope. I am imagining the recipient’s excitement at opening it. And it strikes me how smitten I am by it all, the thought of my little envelope of love traveling over hills and valleys to land in the hands of another hooping human being.
I can’t help but chuckle at how nostalgic and charming it all seems compared to my update-by-the-minute, status-liking, fly-on-the-wall online world. There, I’m grateful to be able to view, like, and comment on the photo of one of my fave hoopers, even if I haven’t actually seen or hugged them in over a year – or two. I love being able to let someone know in a split second on their page that I’m thinking about them. I love chatting with hoopers that I’ve not even met yet. I even dig being invited to 16 hoop jams a week that are 200 to 1000 miles away from me. I like to know everything that is happening. It makes me happy, giddy even, to feel the pulse of the global hooping world beating beneath my laptop’s scroll pad.
But it’s different from the feeling I get as I seal up this tangible Valentine and send it on its journey to some one’s refrigerator door, staring lovingly at one fabulous hooper each time they reach for the OJ. That’s something else entirely. Something that makes me think about how many of my hooping friends I could pick up the phone and call if I wanted to. It makes me think about how many of my hooping friends are on my Christmas card list. It makes me think about how much effort I have or have not put into maintaining the friendships I cultivated at hoop gatherings. But mainly it just makes me want to deepen every hooper relationship I have, online and off. And make more of them!
For a moment, I’m tempted to think that I want to nourish this sense of camaraderie because we all value the same thing. But that can’t be the truth of it for me. Technically, I have no idea what another hooper values about hooping. Because what each of us treasures about hooping is something that happens when we’re inside the hoop, alone in our own worlds, something that takes a different form for each of us. The depth of my hooping friendships comes from a kind of knowing that is not-knowing. Even though what happens when I’m hooping is ultimately unique to me, it’s hoopers that understand there’s a special kind of magic in my life because there’s a hoop in it. And that’s magic, too.
For Valentine’s Day this year as I send out one message of hoopy love by mail, with dozens more to come online to hoopers I “know,” and still thousands more in my mind to hoopers I don’t know YET, I invite us all to think about this magic connection we all have to one another. Whether you’re participating in the Valentine exchange or not, step into your hoop, spread your arms wide and feel the affection. Then spin it right back out sending it to hoopers everywhere. Six degrees of inspiration. One million hoopers. One big love we all can share.
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. Beyond commenting here, you can also discuss this and other topics related to the Hooposophy for living in Hooping.org’s Hooposophy Group and Forum. Lara is also the planting and gardening force behind discovering our hooping community roots at The Hooping Family Tree Project.