At this year’s Sacred Circularities retreat (my absolute favorite hoop event of the year!) I created my workshops in a very different way then usual. Ordinarily, I map everything out to the “T” weeks or months before and stick pretty close to the curriculum for each session. This is a very safe way to run workshops for me and always serves me well, but can also feel stale or perhaps even not fit the students as well as I would hope. This year I decided to just write the title and a short description and let each days content arise the night before or the morning of. A little scary at first and definitely outside of my comfort zone… which, as it turns out, was absolutely PERFECT since the theme of the workshop series was navigating challenges powerfully, stepping outside our “safe” zones and embracing our individuality. All accomplished through a series of hoop drills, exercises and tricks (of course). Let the games begin!
The theme of the first day was the importance of saying YES to ourselves and being aware of when we are resisting (or in other words saying NO) to the full vibrancy of life. Where do we cut ourselves off from the movements we would like to make and even the lives we truly want to live out of fear, self-doubt or self-consciousness? We all want to be bad-ass hoopers and live exciting and amazing lives, but if we aren’t willing to take a risk and jump in, then we will only ever wish and never truly LIVE. And so, we sweated, we laughed, we found places of growth to be explored on shoulders, legs and in angles, we danced and even hooped our hearts out breakdance battle style… I was amazed at how much the material flowed when I chose to get out of my own way and let the moment and the students guide me!
Bali always serves to keep me authentic, so of course the very next day as I jumped into a 5 elements dance experience with Malaika, I quickly became aware of how much I was resisting the experience. In the opening circle, while she outlined the class, I was such a big fat NO I could only laugh to myself. Rolling on the floor? NO! Shaking my whole body for an entire song? NO! Contact dancing at the end.??? HELL NO! As I felt this resistance I was reminded of my class the previous day and how everyone so full-heartedly jumped in and shook off their “No’s” with fervor. I thought to myself… “I very well can’t lead a Hoop workshop guiding people in letting go of resistance, taking risks and being oneself if I don’t take it on personally!” In this way, teaching lifts me up as much, if not more, than my students and I truly teach what I most need to learn. SO, thank you beautiful hoopers for inspiring me to LET GO! It is amazing how simple it truly CAN be. I just decided to say “yes” instead of “no” to the moment. Giving myself over fully to the experience then came naturally. What proceeded was a truly transformative experience and a pretty major shift in my body. I shook, I howled, I crawled around on the floor, I made eye contact in full kundalini shake down (or up?) and felt enormous waves of love, self-acceptance and aliveness wash over me. And, YES, I even contact danced… something I have long had an aversion to, and you know what? It was FUN… despite the sweat, the unfamiliarity and the moments of awkwardness, it served the important purpose of showing me that I CAN relax and allow myself to make contact and be connected with.
The next two days of workshop offerings came to me in an easy, and sometimes humorous, flow in the twilight between waking and sleeping. More on those days to come.
As usual, Sacred Circularities serves to break me down, open me up and heal ever-deeper parts of myself. Thank you Jaguar Mary, Thank you Malaika, Thank you wonderful hooper-beings and thank you BALI!