My feet haven’t really touched the ground in the last two weeks.
Anytime anyone asks me how I’m doing, I grin (almost maniacal) at them and practically yell “Great! I’m AWESOME! Never better!!!” Then they back away slowly, wishing they hadn’t asked… Since we’ve been in the middle of second winter here in Edmonton (hit with a blizzard on the first day of spring) a lot of people are getting pretty grouchy, and sick of the snow. My joy has been a little confusing to the winter haters in my life.
Not me though, I’m loving it! I frolicked in it. I may have also sneak-attacked my husband with a giant icicle.
It’s not because I love snow per se, but I’m loving the fact that in two weeks I’ll be flying to Bali, Indonesia (aka, paradise).
Not only do I get to escape our 3 feet of snow to spend a week in the tropics, but I get to do all my favorite things while I’m there too! This is no ordinary vacation.
I’m attending the Sacred Circularities Hoop Dance And Movement Meditation Retreat as a blogger, so I will be participating and then sharing my experiences everyday here with you!
Healing and Transformative Movement through Hoop Dance, Trance Dance, Meditation, Nia, Yoga, Sacred Sound, Personal Empowerment Practice, Shamanic Dreaming, Theta Healing and More!
YES, YES and MORE YES to all of that! This is the stuff that I live for, the stuff my dreams are made of!
Writing and dancing are my two favorite things, not to mention traveling nd explore new places (especially creative, sacred places). To be able to fuse them together life this is such a wonderful opportunity! It actually came up right after the hoop workshop with Baxter (HoopPath: EarthQuaker), where we spent time shaking up our untruth, so our Truth could rebuild our lives with more stability and beauty. Throughout that weekend, I felt like the energy was transformative, and I talked about how life changing it was, but I had no idea that the magic would work so quickly.
This website is dedicated to my own personal journey of transformation through dance, meditation and listening to my body’s wisdom and this year (my 30th) is dedicated to deepening my connection to my body, mind and spirit…. I had always been excited about turning 30. I felt intuitively I would be stepping into my own power. Little did I know how much fun I would have along the way. Definitely living the dream!
I’ve already completed a few personal challenges since I started this blog:
There was No Junk Food Week (successful!), the GET OUTSIDE challenge (partial failure) and the daily Movement Meditation Challenge (life changing-epic-awesome turned into daily practice). I’ve also committed to do a sober year. No mind altering substances, including coffee for me till 2014. So far so good! The strongest thing I have imbibed in has been green tea, although I will admit I took some decongestants to keep snot from dipping down my face while I was serving tables with a cold two weeks ago, but that was really a practical matter. I tried going without and the result was…. unsanitary.
Anyway, these have all been my own personal challenges, but the one I’m starting today was thrown my way via facebook by several friends who are also participating.
Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have put together a 21 way meditation challenge called Perfect Health.
These Guru’s of self help and wellness state: We will be your guides each day as together we discover how to recognize our body’s natural perfection and leverage its inherent wisdom.In our interactive online program, we invite you to meditate and journal with us to embrace the vision of your best self, expand your understanding of your miraculous body, and achieve greater balance and wellbeing.
It’s a free program and requires a 15-20 minute commitment every day.
It also happens to be perfectly in line with my own goals and belief system. I have nothing but respect for these two people, especially Dr. Chopra, who have been responsible for bringing the idea of wholistic wellness with a balance between mind, body and spirit into the mainstream.
I did my best Barney Stinson impression and accepted the 21 day challenge!
As an offside, the character of Barney on How I Met Your Mother has actually shared some profound spiritual wisdom which I write about on my old blog here: http://wp.me/p12dXx-J
Anyway, we started today with an intro by Oprah and Deepak, explaining that Perfect Health is our natural state.
Today’s Centering Thought was: I commit to living perfect health.
Our Sanskrit mantra: Om Bhavam Namah
Which means: I am absolute existence. I am a field of all possibilities.
I sat with my headphones in a chair just in front of my living room window. Feet grounded, hands palm up in my lap, eyes closed… Deepak brought us into the meditation gently, explaining the mantra and how repeat it in our minds, allowing all other thoughts to drift away. As the soft meditation music played and I repeated the mantra, I was privy to a glorious light show. As the sun shone behind my closed eyes, warm colors of red, orange and yellow softly rippled and waved through my field of vision, peppered with cooler tones of purple, green and blue…
The mantra instantly resonated with me, and I felt a oneness… A quantum awareness of infinity… My body was alive- tingling and buzzing with energy. I had tears of gratitude flowing down my face, and while I was elated and , I simultaneously felt some sorrow in my chest.
When the bell chimed to end the meditation, my brain cried out NO! I didn’t want to leave that state, so I sat for quite some time, eyes closed, just bringing my awareness back into my body. Now I feel energized. I can’t wait to do it again tommorow!
I am also incredibly grateful to have a fair bit of meditation experience under my belt. It certainly gets easier and infinitely more rewarding with practice.
I think I started practicing on and off about 15 years ago. I have never had a daily practice though, outside of my movement mediation. I’m stoked to dive in deeper!
This weekend Jonathon Livingston Baxter taught his fourth Hoop Path workshop in Edmonton. You can see him hooping in the background, blissfully unaware he is being stalked by the T-Rexing Snowzilla behind him.
Baxter has been hooping for over 10 years and maintains a daily personal practice where he hoops for about 2 hours.
2 hours a day for over 10 years, plus countless workshops and festivals. Now I haven’t done the math, but that’s a lot of flight time. Oh, I should also mention, he often hoops blindfolded.
Suffice it to say, he’s a hoop ninja.
During opening circle he posed the question ” Why did you come this weekend?”
Honestly, I didn’t have a specific answer like to improve my technique, or spend time with the community. It was just that I couldn’t imagine missing it. I had been there for the last two workshops (Open Air and Deep Water) and both were epic. I know that’s an overused word, but really, they were epic. Transformational. Mythic, even.
Spending a weekend in your hoop will always improve your hoop dance, but this is a different kind of leveling up. Baxter not only gives techniques to work on, but he introduces us to ideas and forms that you can play with and explore, including very personal and archetypal concepts.
The technical focus of Earthquaker was footwork and folding (two of my favorite things)- which you can get a little taste of here:
The meditative focus of this tour is Earthquakes and rebuilding. He sees our Truth, the deepest, most authentic parts of us shaking down the aspects of our lives that no longer serve us (UnTruths) and destroying them! This may create momentary chaos, but allows us the space and freedom to rebuild a more stable and beautiful structure. He used the silly but apt metaphor of our Truth as The Incredible Hulk to explain it further on his website: http://www.hooppath.com/cms/2012/12/01/the-earthquaker-tour-details/
The EarthQuaker theme builds on the previous two themes of introspection through movement meditation and opening to our own personal truths. It’s also perfect timing considering the global shift in energy consciousness. Truth with a capital T is tearing down all sorts of old systems in the world right now and we have the chance to rebuild with integrity and far more awesome.
Another focus of the workshop was to build openness and trust. On Friday night, we were all having a great time in flow (dancing our hearts out) but we were all looking down, lost in our own little worlds. He wanted us to engage with each other, so he had us make two lines facing one another and had us each stare into our partners eyes for quite a while. A minute or two at least. It was amazing and I know for many people, it was way outside of their comfort zone. I personally loved it. We switched partners three times and each time the beauty and peace in my partners eyes was astounding. I felt as though I could see the universe observing itself through my own eyes reflected in theirs. After that, the energy in the room shifted to suddenly being so much more open, free and trusting.
This is the kind of life changing stuff he throws in to the weekend as he whips us into baddass hoop-ninja shape.
This is why the thought of not attending didn’t even cross my mind!
All weekend, he kept mentioning that this year had the best vibe and energy of any Edmonton workshop to date and we could definitely feel it.
Our community has grown so much over the last few years, both in numbers and in sheer awesomeness. So many friendships have developed. When I looked around the room, I felt surrounded by love and awesomeness.
But it wasn’t just our community that has grown (both in size and awesome).
I mentioned in closing circle that a big part of why the vibe was so great this year was due to Baxter’s own growth as a person and as a teacher. The energy he was holding for us felt so grounded and centered, light and responsive (It was ninja energy really). He created a sacred container where we all felt safe enough to open to our own authentic personal expression and spirit through movement meditation and hooping. He said that someone had said the same thing to him, in similar words at every stop on the tour so far. That’s so rad, and such a beautiful thing. I’m glad that other people can really appreciate the energy he brings.
When I teach classes or facilitate movement meditation this is exactly the kind of energy I aspire to hold for the room.
I could go on for hours about all the inspiration at the workshop, and all the breakthroughs I had hooping, but I should also mention how much fun we had after class too! We’re pretty social creatures and love any excuse to party so we definitely took advantage of the weekend and spent a lot of time together: going out for dinner and drinks on Friday, there was the house party on Saturday night that featured Youtube videos of baby sloths, and our little pizza party on Sunday while watching Ace Ventura Pet Detective. We capped it all off with a trip to the pool where we did a some hot-tubbing, and splashed about in the pool. No one even noticed when I almost lost my bikini bottom after diving in.