I think it’s time that I share something with you…
I want you to understand why I do what I do and I want you to know where my passion for hoop dance stems from. So, I’m getting a little personal in today’s blog… I’m discussing how hooping heals and how it transformed my life.
Hoop dance entered my life at a time when I was in a very dark place. I silently suffered from depression for many years, but I hid my mental illness from those closest to me. Part of the reason I did this was because I lost a loved one – a family member – to suicide and I was afraid to admit that I shared those same feelings. I didn’t want to scare my family or open up old wounds, so I suffered in silence for a long time. In those days, I carried Visine in my purse, in the event I had a breakdown in public.
I needed help but I didn’t know how to ask for it or where to find it. The year was 2007.
Then, out of the blue, a hippie chick in a tie-dye skirt moved into my neighborhood and a fast friendship ensued. Kacey, a traveling nurse and festival vendor who made and sold hula hoops, invited me over for happy hour one day. This is where it all began. When I saw her dance with her hoops for the first time, I was completely mesmerized. She appeared to be so free and zen-like. So peaceful. So playful.
Kacey must have sensed something in my appreciation for her art because she gifted me a hoop that same day. It was huge and decorated in retro aqua glitter, purple vinyl and pink grip tape. The craftsmanship and beauty of it touched my heart because I could tell she put a lot of love into creating it for me. But I was no natural. I spent more than two hours just trying to get the darn thing to spin around my waist to no avail.
Kacey only lived in my neighborhood for a short while before moving on to her next destination. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, she’d left me with one of the greatest gifts I could have ever imagined: a healing tool.
I started practicing in private. I moved the furniture in my small apartment against the walls so I had room to hoop dance. At the time, there were no You Tube tutorials to follow or classes to take, so I taught myself as best I could. Eventually, I conjured up the courage to bring my hoops to the Treasure Island Drum Circle, and I danced to the rhythmic drum beats every Sunday evening. It became my ritual.
I wasn’t hooping because I had grandiose visions of being a great performer. I hula hooped because it got me out of my head and into my body. I found freedom in the dance and in this form of movement. The flow part didn’t happen for me immediately, either. Truth be told, I remember many moments of frustration as I learned new moves and tricks… but even in those experiences, the skill practice kept me focused, and I began to refer to it as “my healthy obsession.” Sometimes, I videotaped my practice sessions so I could make corrections and teach myself new techniques. We all start somewhere…. Here’s a peek at one of my very first practice videos:
Hoop dancing helped me to connect with the present moment, and I got to experience the beauty that I witnessed in Kacey’s dance. As a result, I finally started to break free of the mental feedback loops that caused me so much pain and heartache. Hooping helped me to heal. And this is the reason why I’ve made it such a big part of my life’s mission to share the art form with others.
Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to witness similar transformation in so many of my students. It’s beautiful to guide people into this zen place and to discover the power of movement meditation through hooping. This is why I teach and why I work so hard to empower others to do the same.
So, this is my story and the reason why I’m on a mission to create more hoop dance educators. Thank you for taking the time to read… and if hoop dance has helped you in a similar way, I’d love to hear your story too. Please comment below…