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We’re doing some epic purging at the homestead. This weekend, I connected with Big Brothers Big Sisters and arranged for a large pickup of Stuff That We Can Live Without in early May.
We talked about holding another tag sale, but let me lay a truth bomb on you. We had two last summer, and I disliked them both. While we made lots of money, and I did meet one very cool person who bought tons of my books, the events were 99 percent grappling with professional tag salers, curmudgeons, and self-described ‘antiques dealers’, all who were ruthless in their haggling. Some were just unfriendly and graceless. It was distressing and left me feeling drained.
So, this time, we’re just giving our stuff to a charity whose mission we support. All we must do is box everything and leave it at our garage entrance, and BBBS sweeps it away, sorts through it, and sells it for funds to support their work. Done.
While we were doing this weekend’s clean out, I came across my two hoops. Suddenly, I had the urge to hoop, and a minute later, I was barefoot on the grass hooping to my heart’s content.
It’s been almost 5 years since hooping was a regular part of my life. Hooping, or ‘hoop dancing’, is a different twist on the childhood or modern festival pastime of straight-up Hula hooping. Hoop dancing takes hooping and weaves in slow, graceful, circuitous body movements.
It’s a full-body workout that doesn’t feel like one. It promotes lymph flow and gently tones muscles. It’s not competitive at all: it’s completely inclusive. It’s an unraveling of infinite possibilities of self-expression. It’s meditation. It’s endlessly beautiful. It mimics the nature of everything is the universe, all of which spins. Best of all, it makes you happy, especially if you do it with other spinners.
Hooping is like riding a bike; you may not have done it for years, but once you try it again, it all comes back. In a couple of minutes, I was back to my old form (or at least I hope I was), and having the time of my life. My husband stopped cleaning, pulled out a chair, had a seat, and watched. We both relaxed.
The next day, my body was pleasantly sore. I’d used muscles that I hadn’t worked in nearly 5 years – hamstring, biceps, and intrinsic back muscles. My body started waking up.
Why did I stop hooping? Another truth bomb: right after we married, my husband became very sick, and had 4 surgeries (one was an emergency, two were major, and the last was not major) over the course of 18 months. He was slow to recover from all of them. He spent weeks at a time in the hospital.
These were trying times. He was suffering in body and mind. Just when it looked like we were going to make some headway, another complication took aim and fired. For nearly two years, life was little more than making sure we kept a roof over ours and our dogs’ heads.
It was rough, and I had to shift focus from things like hooping to making sure bills were paid and he was getting well. And eventually, he healed, returned to work, rediscovered joy, and life was a blessing again. But for whatever reason, some of the things I love that I let go while in survival mode I didn’t pick up again after the storm passed. Hooping is one of them.
This epic purge we’re doing is also reintroducing me to parts of myself that got lost on the battlefield. This is such a joy. Pieces of me are coming back together.
Funny thing though: photography never came back. I had no time or energy for it once my husband was ill, and to this day, I still have no interest. Photography was a huge part of my life – it was my livelihood and my love. Now, I neither make a living with it nor do I have any urge to do it recreationally. I’m not interested in analyzing this. Things change. We evolve. It’s all good.
But hooping? I realized this weekend how much I missed it, how beautiful it is, and how great it makes me feel. There are hooping events in places like Sedona, Arizona, Portland, Oregon, and Bali, Indonesia, spirit-festival-type gatherings where hooping is given the respect it deserves. Because, in case you haven’t guessed yet, hoop dancing is an elegant art form that completely feeds the body and the spirit.
As we press on with our purge, we’re discovering all kinds of things: that we live happier lives by owning a LOT less; that there have been times in our lives when we’ve fallen prey to compulsive consumerism, just like everyone else; that we can reverse this and reclaim freedom, sanity, peace, and joy; that we’ve evolved and continue to evolve; that we’re strong survivors; and that, after the storm, we can rediscover ourselves and the things we cherish.
For more on hooping, check out www.sacredcirularities.com. This is the organization that hosts the Sedona and Bali events. I have yet to see any hooping collectives close to our home in Connecticut.
There’s a hooping collective in nearby Boston called the Boston Hoop Troupe: they seem like a very cool group. Google ‘hooping’ and you’ll probably find tons of websites where hoop dancers gather and spin. Hoopers are awesome people.
Live in peace.