[Hooping.org's Editor Philo Hagen is hooping a path to love.]
by Philo Hagen
The first night that I discovered hooping, I was at a party I didn’t want to be at. I’d recently had a break up and I just wasn’t feeling festive. Feeling obligated to be there, I spent most of my time hanging out on the back deck. And then, someone handed me a hoop. Within minutes inside of it I felt transformed. All of the negative chatter in my head suddenly silenced. I felt present in a way I hadn’t in a long time. A DJ was spinning a great song and I found myself focused on the immediate, the here, the now. Hooping brought me into myself in a way that left me truly present. All that seemed to matter was the beat, the music, my body, the rhythm. And all I needed to worry about was what was going on inside of my own hoop.
As children, many of us are taught to recognize our boundaries with others in just this matter of fact and simple way. Others of us learn these life lessons as adults via a therapist, a support group or a twelve-step program, but the message is still the same. When I worry about what is going on inside of my hoop, I don’t feel the need to fix you or change you or have you be anything other than the perfect creation of a human being that you are right now, right where you are, on your own perfect path. When I concern myself with what is going on inside of my own hula hoop, I am forced to take a look at the things which are, in fact, my business – my reactions to life and what is going on around me, recognition of my true feelings, being as present in my own hoop as possible so that I am truly able to hear you, see you and support you in spinning your own as well. While it may be an attractive idea to climb inside of your hoop with you, ultimately we can’t do that very well and expect both of our hoops to keep spinning. It seems that we all need to be the ones to learn how to keep our hoops spinning for ourselves.
In my independent, casual and random surveys of those who have found love and are in successful, happy, healthy relationships that work, I’ve learned that each partner needs to take responsibility for keeping their own hoop spinning, although those hoops do not necessarily need to be of the exact same size and weight. One may be taking on a larger share of the work in one area such as paying the bills, and the other a smaller share in a number of areas. Conflicts arise when the areas agreed upon aren’t being followed through as promised, whether it be a large responsibility or many little ones.
When we are learning how to hoop we willingly take responsibility for keeping our own hoops spinning. We often give ourselves the time, focus and attention that the process deserves. If we want to learn a new move we might find a tutorial on Hooping.org and watch it a few times, breaking it down into smaller and more manageable pieces. Holding our palm open, we keep our arm straight while turning in the direction the hoop is spinning, and in doing so we find that we are capable of creating a beautiful movement that is much greater than the sum of it’s individual parts. This same willingness, open mindedness and attention to detail in our learning process inside the hoop can be cultivated in our love lives as well.
Before we try something new, we have to be willing to walk through the fear. We all did it the first time we picked up the hoop. Worried that we would hit ourselves in the face if we tried that trick, we did it anyway, and proceeded to do just that. We lived, and we learned by experiencing how not to do the same thing next time around. When the hoop smacked us in the face, our body memory clicked in, whether we were aware of it or not, recognizing that our head would need to be a little lower next time. Our bodies want to support us and it is often by doing and making mistakes that we are able to truly learn the most.
All too often these days, many are cut off from their physical selves, rarely recognizing that that even have a body of their own unless they are in pain. Hooping changes that in our lives. By spending time inside of the hoop we awaken our physical selves in a way that is most wonderful. We feel the hoop meet our body in the spin and we meet it back. While many have had reasons to ignore our pelvic areas as a result of abuse or assault, ultimately viewing an important part of our physical selves as somehow detached or separate from us, the simple act of waist hooping – using our pelvic area to keep that hooping spinning – helps us breath new life and feeling into every aspect of our cellular being. We create a safe space for ourselves inside the circle and the more we are able to learn, the more we become physically involved with ourselves again and with life. We become more willing to explore our hoop dance as a physical expression of who we are and we often become delighted in sharing this gift with others.
When you stand in a public park hooping, you will find yourself standing on a path toward love. While we may worry a little about what others might think of us, we recognize that it is more important to be ourselves, to have fun and to embrace life, than to simply let it pass us by. As a result of our hooping lives we expand our capacity for love with every spin, we become more willing to take risks with ourselves and with others, sharing who we are with those we care about and the world at large. Hooping truly spins a path toward intimacy, knowing one self so we can truly know another, and when love requires us to walk through the possibility of looking foolish and doing it anyway, we hoopers are already in good practice. Love is a never ending circle. May it spin beautifully around you in the wonderful life you live.
Philo Hagen is the Founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He lives in Los Angeles, California.