by Theresa Rose
Last weekend, I had the incredible privilege of attending a weekend hooping workshop led by the gorgeous Ann Humphreys of Line and Circle. Like her mentor Baxter, the golden goddess from the HoopPath tradition holds a safe, trusted container whereby students can learn deeper aspects of hooping, exploring greater realms with our sacred circles while exploring our own inner spaces that are calling out for healing and empowerment. (We also learn mind-blowing techniques that refine and strengthen our hoop skillz, making our flow flow like butta.)
At the beginning of the workshop, we all sat in a circle within our circles to share our love affair with the hoop. As any hooper can affirm, there were lots of passionate exclamations of previously-undiscovered depths of joy, stories of dramatic healing, and diatribes on the profound spiritual transformations that can take place within the hoop (and that was just me talking).
This is not news to me. My Facebook feed is chock full of hoopers of all ages, shapes and sizes extolling the virtues of the hoop. One only need to take a peek at the posts from Hooping.org and local hoop communities like my homies at Hoop Twin Cities to see that the hoop has a powerful effect on those who are blessed to dance with her. (Sorry if I am offending any masculine hoops out there – I always see my hoop as a female. The staff can be male.)
But one comment from a participant in Ann’s workshop stuck with me long after the hugs had ended. She was a relatively new hooper, about a year into her practice and had characterized herself at the outset of being “just” able to waist hoop (JUST?! Hey, it’s a huge deal that
you are doing that! Congrats, sister!). She summarized her relationship to her instrument like this:
“I’m not shy in my hoop.”
I get that. I understand what it’s like to step into that sacred space and finally, finally, FINALLY shed the cloak of insecurity, fear, doubt, shame, and self-hate, replacing it with unbridled joy and kick-ass chest hooping. I understand how spinning can become addictive because it is the only place where one can feel truly beautiful. I understand the freedom that the flow brings.
But I also wish that my hoop brothers and sisters would feel more of those feelings when they are OUTSIDE of the hoop too.
Like it or not, we cannot live our lives solely within the confines of the hoop, or anywhere else that is our safe haven, whether it’s the gym, the office, the yoga mat, the basketball court or the house of worship. At some point, we must stop the action that is brings us infinite pleasure and rejoin the real world of jobs, bills, commutes, and dinner. Blech. The key isn’t to ignore those less-than-hoopy activities, but to find the hoopiness within them.
My advice to the schizophrenic hooper who is blissed out in the hoop but miserable outside of it is this: Just as you learned how to become an amazing hooper by constantly drilling your isolations, breaks and paddles, you can also become an amazingly powerful, joyful, and
successful person by drilling your confidence, belief and gratitude.
When you find yourself afraid to take the next move at work or in a relationship, ask yourself, how would your badass inner-hooper respond? Would she or he shrink at the opportunity or go blazing forward as if all five wicks were lit?
When you find yourself feeling insecure because you aren’t the hottest, skinniest or richest babe in the bunch, ask yourself, what would your badass inner-hooper think? Would she or he tell herself that she should just pack up her gear and go home, or would she decide to highlight the tricks she knows and do it with gusto?
When you find yourself wanting to shrink away from your power, ask yourself, what would your badass inner-hooper do? I don’t know what yours would say, but I have a feeling I know what Ann Humphreys would suggest: she would challenge us to engage the opposite, or the anti-point, in order to fully express ourselves.
The anti-point of our fear is LOVE. If we want to live just as joyfully outside of our hoop as we do on the inside, we need to see fear as our emotional contact point, and the love of ourselves, each other, and the earth as the anti-points of that fear.
To live happily and hoopily ever after, each one of us is invited to acknowledge our fears that pop up moment by moment and activate the anti-point by choosing to show ourselves genuine, authentic love and gratitude for the many gifts we offer the world.
My hope is that my new hooper friend will someday say,
“I’m not shy in my hoop. Or outside of it.”
As hoopers, we know what bliss is. Now it’s time for us to live that bliss whether we are spinning or not.
Theresa Rose of TheresaRose.com is a nationally-acclaimed inspirational performer, award-winning author, and hardcore hoopdancer who is passionate about helping others to live, work and move in joy. Thanks to the hoop, she lost over 50 pounds; more importantly, they didn’t find her again. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.