By far, the most popular post on this blog is "How Can I Follow My Passion if I Don't Know What it is?" That is likely partially due to the fact that is the first article listed under "popular" at the bottom of this page and it has a funny picture of Oprah next to it - but, I like to think it is also for another reason. It is a question not only I have wondered.
This question ended up being my frame of reference this weekend at Hoop Path V. Friday afternoon, after orientation and discussion of the myth of hoop path we stood up and began to sway. An established Hoop Path warm-up, 'sway' is where we move back and forth building and growing from the movement in whatever way we feel comfortable. The last time I had to do this activity was in '09 and I remember feeling so damn awkward the whole time. "Is this the right way to move?" "What is that person doing?" My body felt uncomfortably stiff - I could feel the tightness in my shoulder blades and the discomfort with possible eyes on me. But at HPV I just swayed. I listened to my body and not my mind. I was so isolated in my bubble of perception of the self that I simply did not notice nor care about anyone else in the room.
Finally. My mind finally had let me be.
This first four hours were the most grueling at Hoop Path and the class kept sitting down between the 4-5 minute songs, which surprised Bax a bit. Where he thought we were losing energy we were actually so intensely throwing ourselves into the dance that as soon as we could break we practically fell down. It was a dark, loud sea of music and movement and I was finally able to be lost in it. No eyes mattered. The whole class could have been staring and I would have felt just as free. After this event, my hoop kindred spirit gave me the best compliment I could have ever hoped for, "When you hoop, Kym, you don't even notice what else is going on - you didn't even see anyone else in the room."
I was able to go from zero to flow as soon as the music started. I was finally feeling confident.
Bax and Ann were the speakers of that first night, and where I credit Bax for helping me reach the state of mental calm that I did, Ann's lessons were the ones that have stuck with me. She explored 'wrapping' and 'tracing' with the hoop. The next time you are practicing with your hoop - try flailing your arms big and wide, throw them around your body, almost like you are giving yourself a hug while hooping, and you will being to experience wrapping. It is all about understanding where your body and hoop are in space at all times - and - it can make for some very innovative pinch breaks.
Her lessons were hard both to understand and to attempt. But you know what. I did it. I was tired as hell, drenched in sweat, and dehydrated but I was not afraid. Did I do everything right? Hells. No. But I didn't even worry about failing for one minute and tried everything even though there was a room of people watching. Anxiety did not enter the room. Thank-you hoop. Thank-you - for, in allowing my mind to shut up while inside the hoop, you have allowed me to feel that way even when not inside.
The next two workshops on Saturday and Sunday had Rich and Khan showing us some truly badass hoop techniques. Rich's precision with creating illusionary spheres always makes me search for the wires that must be assisting him. A super helpful activity was when partners worked together facing each other holding their hoops as a frame, while one moved in a straight line in one direction the other tried to make a perfect isolation in front of them despite the movement. Rich's moves all have a mathematical underpinning to them - which, though beautiful, is not for me. But again, whereas before I would be frustrated by my 'just not getting it' now I was free in my movement and not constrained by the directions. Nothing scary will happen if you break the rules.
Day four was Khan's turn. Khan brought the shit. The best part? He was so humble and accessible the entire time - showing genuine surprise and humor when the class gasped in awe at one of his new moves. I certainly don't have the language to explain all he taught, and I also think it would be disrespectful to give away something that so many paid and travelled for - but he covered some wonderful moves like the behind the back weave, fish tails and variations on rolls on the arms.
Out of everything we learned, I think my heart belongs to 'folding.' Folding is where you use all parts of the body as axes around which the hoop bends and twists in folds blending the line between on and off body hooping. It's fast paced and best performed without gripping the hoop. Instead the back of the hand, the wrist and the crooks of the body 'grab' the hoop. This was when I reached a new state of flow. I felt nothing but the movement, in a true state of 'mistakelessness.' And for the first time ever, I realized that those platitudes were not just words for me - I was finally (OH GOD FINALLY) one of those clear-minded, smiley-faced folks that was free to simply experience.
And this brings me back to my original point. The entire weekend I was overcome with gratitude and joy about getting to fully explore and embrace my passion. "Wow," I thought, "there was a time when I didn't even know how to find my passion, let alone fully explore it." What changed?
I gave myself time.
I stopped trying to find "it" and started just living. Stage one - having no freaking clue what I wanted to do. Lots of Netflix and TV and internet futzting. But, this is an important stage! That is where I always freaked out - "Ohmigod I am boring and have no passion gahhhhh!!!" But, for the first time ever, after I quit my job (maybe that was stage one) I just allowed myself to 'be.' Because after the initial joy of not being trapped in something I hated, I naturally found myself looking at certain things, doing certain things and being more open. I was finding my passion. If you are sitting around in an empty room doing nothing, evenutally you will find a way to occupy time - and what you choose should send you a message. There is a reason behind that choice. Could it be passion?
Hoop Path V was one of the most memorable and best weekends of my life. In every workshop there is a 'mingle' wherein the entire group moves in a circle hooping together and trying to mirror each other with generous eye contact and connection. I strongly dislike mingles.
At this stage in my hoop journey, hooping is about connecting to myself not to others - and that's just fine. And that was the real lesson. Whoever you are, whatever you love, where ever you are is okay. You are only responsible for yourself so let the rest go. After Hoop Path V, I realized that I am closer to being in a state of flow in life, and not just in the hoop. It takes a lot of 'meh' to reach 'ta-da!' and acceptance of that was what I realized I had reached at Hoop Path, and how, I now understand, passion is found.