Tag Archives: hoop dance

Dancing On The Red Rocks

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Well, I’m back from my Arizona adventure, which seems to be turning into an annual pilgrimage to Sedona. My husband put it best when he said last September, you know you’ll never not go to Sedona!

It was over the top inspiring as usual. I feel a peace and contentment as soon as I see the desert. It feels like home out there.

It actually is home to a dear chunk of my family, so I’ve been visiting once every year or two my entire life, which probably helps with that feeling. Sacred Circularities in Sedona is the perfect excuse to travel down and visit them and then head out for a dance, mediation and personal renewal retreat in my heart’s home, the land of the red rock, where all the vortexes swirl.

I’ll share more about the retreat later, but for now here’s a clip of some hooping on Bell Rock. I shot 2 minutes of video on our hike, and this is what happened. You’ll notice I’m a little conservative. That’s because tossing the hoops would have been a very big problem ūüėČ

Medicine Hoop Retreat Review: It was AMAZING!

By Jen Cookson
By Jen Cookson

I spent last week in a jaw-droppingly gorgeous part of the Kootenay mountains,halfway between Nelson and Revelstoke, in a little town called Argenta for the Medicine Hoop Retreat hosted by Jen ‘Cookie’ Cookson. We were basically in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere quite so remote… I drove for hours without cell service out (which definitely makes it seem like the middle of the wilderness). After taking a Ferry, I turned onto a secondary highway which was a little more rustic (ie- twisty, turny high mountain dirt logging road) that I expected. It was so gorgeous it took my breath away (it wasn’t the heights or the fact that driving off the road would mean instant death, I swear!).

Fortunately it was early in the day and the weather was clear, so I just slowed down and enjoyed the view coming with all the hairpin switchback turns. The lake, the forest, the mountains with the clouds nestled gently into them, the wild flowers, the random waterfalls. It was unreal. I couldn’t even listen to music, all I could do on the drive was drink in the gorgeousness of the landscape.

When I reached my friend Cookie’s house (an adorable log cabin, next to fields with cows and bulls), she was shocked to see me. I made great time she said. Apparently, most people take the main highway, and it takes at least an extra hour (and it’s paved, and goes through some beautiful towns instead of the wilderness). I, however, trusted google maps, and honestly, I’m so happy I did. It was totally worth it.

I spent the day with Jen, who gave me the tour of the property, taking me through the forest, by the river and through the fields. It was so peaceful, yet invigorating. I hadn’t seen Jen since Bali last year, so there was a lot of catching up to do and hugs to be had. We talked about life, love, food and the retreat we were hosting that weekend while we wandered.

The next day, as we were waiting for the retreat participants to arrive, I decided to dislocate my pinky toe by slamming it onto her staircase landing. I popped it back in place and thought it might not be so bad… It didn’t really hurt (yet), but all I had to do was give it a minute. I rarely take over the counter medication, but I always travel with some pain killers, so when I realized that yes, it was going to be incredibly painful I popped some ibuprofen with a muscle relaxer and asked Jen to make some coffee so the caffeine would kick it ASAP.

Bless her, she made me some rocket fuel and set me up outside, under a gorgeous tree in a zero G lounge chair with coffee, ice for my foot and the book ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’. I sat there, under the blue sky, looking at the trees and the mountain with the hint of cloud dressing it up like a fluffy fascinator and I felt no pain. Just peace. I was so well taken care of. If I had to injure myself, this was an ok place to recuperate.

Two of our guests (friends Cookie made in Bali, my new friends) arrived after driving up from the States, and we spend the afternoon getting to know each other, exclaiming at how beautiful it was and then heading out to a farm to pick out some veggies for the weekend. Later that evening, when our party was complete (just five of us that evening), we sat down to an incredible, mostly raw vegan dinner we made together, (Ok, Cookie did most of the work, I just cooked the green beans with summer savory and coconut oil), drank some wine and talked until we all crashed.

We had planned on camping, but the retreat turned out to be intimate enough that we could all crash in Cookies home. The bonus of the sleepover was waking up to fresh coffee brewing and and homemade spelt bread toasted with coconut oil and almond butter as well as each other’s company.

It took us some time to get going in the morning, but that was beautiful and relaxing. Once the 6th member of our tribe arrive, our Sacred Dance instructor, Bernice Raabis, we headed to the Argenta Hall. Another log cabin, this one with a wide open hall for hooping and with a kitchen, eating area and a lounge area for couches. It was perfect.

After a short and sweet opening circle that created this beautiful energy of connection and intention, we started our movement practice with my Hooping with Wild Abandon workshop, which was hilarious. I thought it would be the perfect addition to a retreat focusing on sacred play. The intent behind this one is to play with movements that don’t need a lot of technical expertise or flight time. I want to give new (and experienced) hoopers some ways of playing with the hoop to music that are easy and fun, but also kind of badass. Spoiler alert, there’s a lot of pelvic thrusting involved. It was a great way to start the day and everyone was a great sport when it came to all the silliness. I think they had a good time.

After that we sat down to some lunch, more amazing deliciousness courtesy of Cookie and her magical sunflower seed pate. We digested our food by taking a walk outside, looking at some property for sale behind the hall. My toe was black and blue at this point, but it only hurt when I had shoes on, so I got to walk through the field and forest barefoot, feeling the softness of the dirt, grass and pine needles under my feet. So good to connect with the earth like that.

While we were out walking, Bernice was preparing the hall for our sacred dance journey into the shadow side of Sacred Play. We moved and danced together releasing and honoring the blocks that we had about play and opening into the joy of movement and play for it’s own sake. Her music was so perfect and evocative.

After all that dancing, we were so ready to go on the shamanic drum journey with Cookie. We were able to lay down on the mats and couches, journeying together, finding our animal allies and totems and then sharing our experiences with each other.

Spending the rest of the afternoon jamming and drinking tea, we wrapped up early and headed back to Cookies abode to chill and relax. Everyone it seemed was just as interested in spending time relaxing outside and getting to know each other as we were in hooping. It was like reconnecting with old friends, even though we had just met and we were never at a loss for words.

The next day, we changed locations, to the Meadow Creek Hall, due to the Argenta Hall being needed for a celebration of life for one of their community members who was finishing his Earth Walk. I was so happy we were able to juice up the space with all the gorgeous energy the day before, so they could send him off in style. The Meadow Creek Hall was even more perfect that the last one. A larger, brighter space, complete with a two lane bowling alley!

We opened with movement mediation I facilitated, where I offered a guided meditation to bring love, light, appreciation and healing into each part of the body, then created space for free form movement, dance, stretching and an exploration of whatever our bodies’ needed at the time. We drew energy from the Earth and the Cosmos and reveled in our movement, honoring our inner child and the way it wanted to dance.

Breathless afterwards, we shared our experiences and the feedback from everyone, hearing what the experience let them tap into moved me to tears. There is so much power and healing in moving in whatever ways our bodies crave, I love it so much and creating a safe space for people to do that is one of my favorite things in the world.

After some snacks, we made our way back to the hall to experience an 80’s music driven journey through the chakras led by the hoop shaman and healer, our host Cookie. This was quite the sensory experience. I grabbed a huge hoop and spent the first few songs body rocking and giving my lower chakras a hoop massage as Cookie guided us through some dance driven chakra clearing. It was so good. As we moved up the chakras’s I picked up progressively smaller hoops, interestingly, and once we were in the head, I found I was off body hooping exclusively. Very interesting how that happened. I couldn’t always tune in to what Cookie was saying, as I was transported by the music and dance into another realm of existence. I really didn’t want to stop, but by the end of the hour, I was spent, sweaty and so, so happy. I felt clear, and light and ready for a shower, but we just had a late lunch instead.

Eating on the incredibly comfortable couches sucked the energy right out of us, and we realized that we were all quite spent and decided we would wrap up the hooping part of the retreat and do some exploring of the land instead. Best. Idea. Ever! I’m so grateful we had such a small group so we could be flexible with the schedule and respond to everyone’s energy levels and desires. It was so perfect.

We headed out to Duncan Lake, this crystal clear mountain lake that was almost as smooth as glass. It was cool, but not cold. Just borderline for skinny dipping, especially since we didn’t have towels. There is something about being buck naked out in nature, in a forest valley, surrounded by the elements. I felt completely safe and unguarded, like I was being cradled in mother nature’s arms. That’s the feeling I had the whole time in the Kootenays. The Rocky’s are so tall, wild and exhilarating, with this masculine, exciting energy. The Koots felt softer, far more feminine and gentle.

The whole time I was there, I was planning my return trip (next summer, but for longer, there’s so much more to explore). We closed the retreat by having dinner at Drifter’s, the only local restaurant around. The food wasn’t quite like the amazing local, organic food we’d been chowing down on all weekend, but the cook did mention she infused Reiki love into each meal she cooked (after asking us if we were having a goddess weekend!).

Cookie surprised us all with gorgeous handmade accessories, hair pieces and eyelashes, each lovingly crafted to suit us personally. This woman is so full of love, compassion and talent, it blows my mind. I learn so much from being around her, and I felt the same way about each woman I came to know and love at the retreat. Saying goodbye was hard, but it really was just so long, until next time my friends, because I know we’ll all be back to play and dance under the stars (Oh my, did I mention the stars??? You can see the starry bowl, with more stars that I’ve ever seen in my life!). Next year, I know there will be more of us, and it will be different, and amazing in it’s own way, but this intimate little retreat, which was just as much connecting with the land and each other, as well as our hoops, was perfect in every way.

Photo by Jen Cookson
Photo by Jen Cookson

 

 

Emotional Oneness: The Inner Sacred Marriage

Matt Khan, my guru, inspiration and favorite champion of the Love Revolution has done it again.

He always manages to take concepts that I have been working on, working with and teaching, and take them to a whole ‘nother level. His most recent video on Emotional Oneness distills everything right down to the root it all.

Take the time to watch this video. It might be the most important thing you ever see. It basically boils down all the essential components to peace, joy and oneness in one hour long orgasm of awesome.

The main teaching is that emotional oneness (a precursor to the cosmic oneness that so many people on the spiritual journey are chasing) comes from a sacred union between the mind and the heart. If the heart and mind aren’t on the same page, he says you’re basically in the middle of a battlefield. The way to get reunite them is actually by deepening your relationship through your inner child, which is your soul’s innocence.

He goes through more of it in the video, explaining how you can reconnect and deepen your relationship to your inner child. He also explains how our shadow side is just our inner child acting out when we haven’t given it the attention it craves… He notes hilariously how it can turn every bit of spiritual wisdom you’ve ever learned against you so nothing separates¬† you from it.

The crazy part of it is, your inner child, your innocence, is the guardian of your soul.  Once you do this healing work and your inner child feels listened to and trusted, it starts to open up all the doorways to abundance and cosmic oneness that were closed to you before, which is the real secret to creation and manifestation.

All the inner child wants  is honesty and self love. Oh, and to play. It needs to play, to express, be and be loved!!!

This is the what I’ve been working and saying for the last couple years, but I always couched it in terms of my body¬† and my soul. I’ve done a little inner child work, but obviously not enough!!! The exercise we did together halfway through the video had tears streaming down my face and I felt something in me shift and I’m so grateful to have experienced this teaching. It really is the most important thing. The thing that will help everything else dance gracefully¬† into place.

Matt is a master, who is here to guide us with revolutionary ideas about spirituality. He breaks down old paradigms and old ideas and replaces them with new, simple tools for the new energy and paradigm we’re in. It all starts with loving yourself, one ‘I love you’ to your heart at a time. It’s the love revolution!!!! Please join us!!!~

 

 

 

Medicine Hoop Retreat!!!!!

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I have somehow neglected to mention a super exciting upcoming event in my life…

I will be co-hosting a Medicine Hoop Retreat: Sacred Play For the Divine Feminine with my good friend Cookie (Jen Cookson) August 16th and 17th, 2014 in Argenta, BC (which happens to be in the breathtakingly gorgeous Kootenay mountains!)

We will be honoring the divine feminine through movement meditation, dance, flow arts, shamanic journeys and all kinds of other fun activities. We’ll be connecting to the Earth as we camp outside, ¬†spin fire and dance under the stars. We’ll be nourishing our bodies with healthy, delicious food. We’ll be feeding our souls by taking some time to step out of our daily routine to dance, play and make new friends!

I’m excited beyond words to share the weekend with all of the beautiful beings who are going to be joining us.

This is a fantastic opportunity to really take some time for yourself to refresh your soul and fill up your cup before the end of summer.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to hoop dance or use a flow wand, this is a perfect opportunity in a serenely supportive environment. We’ll also have multi-level classes conceptual classes designed for newbie hoopers and baddasses alike to grow and challenge themselves.

I’m stoked to share my Hooping With Wild Abandon workshop, as well as lead a movement meditation class. I’ll also be offering private hoop dance or energy healing sessions if you’re interested in a level up for your practice, and your life!

Today is the last day for Early Bird tickets, but we still have spots available and we would love to have you join us! Come to the Kooteney’s and play with us! I can’t wait to dance with you!

 

The Hoop Priestess and The Hoop Shaman together again!
The Hoop Priestess and The Hoop Shaman together again!

Sacred Circularities Sedona 2013

My Sacred Circularities experience in Sedona was so jam packed with amazing transformational experiences, I don’t think it can be properly conveyed with mere words. To give you a real sense of¬† how I feel about it would require enthusiastic hand gestures, jumping up and down and a few funky dance moves thrown in. Maybe some fireworks and an orchestra playing in the background as well. So, as I share the experience with you,¬† imagine a symphony accompanying my words and maybe a choir of angels, or castrato altar boys. Maybe some explosions too, just at the dramatic parts.

Ok, now I feel like maybe I’ve built it up too much. Instead of the symphony and chorus of heavenly host, imagine Djembe and Hang drums with African rhythms, Native American Flutes, sacred mantras sung in harmony, the crackle of a roaring bonfire and the whoosh of a fire hoop. Oh, and coyotes cackling in the not so far off distance.¬† Also, imagine being in the Arizona desert in the fall, so the air is cool but the sun is warm,¬† on acres of incredible desert terrain, surrounded by the stunning red rocks on land dedicated to meditation and spiritual enlightenment, surrounded by vistas like this:

Mago Retreat Center, photo by Beth Lavinder
Mago Retreat Center, photo by Beth Lavinder

The Mago retreat center is gorgeous!¬† About half an hour from any other developments, down a red dirt forest service road, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere.¬† As you drive in, the first thing you’re greeted with after the gate is a figure like this friendly Taoist master, who I keep thinking of as a wizard. Definitely sets the tone for the magical feeling¬† you get from this land.

Taoist wizard staff spinning statue at Mago. Remind you all of anyone we know?
Taoist wizard staff spinning statue at Mago. Remind you all of anyone we know?

Everything about the retreat center exudes peace, serenity and healing. After checking into my casita, home for the next week, I wandered the grounds to find my bearings. I came across the swimming pool and a very epic tribute to another Taoist master.  The weather was perfect and I was so happy to be there with a little time to myself to soak it all in before loosing myself in the upcoming spiritual shenanigans.

As I approached Earth Hall, our venue for the week,  a giant globe popped up out of the desert, surrounded by statues of children playing. In a half circle around the kids were giant golden statues of spiritual masters; Jesus, Mary, Confucius, Chief Seattle, Mohammed, and a Taoist master, all beatifically looking down upon the children and the earth, holding space for all of our work this weekend.

Photo by Beth Lavinder
Photo by Beth Lavinder

Our first official event was a meet and greet which of course turned into a hoop jam. Just seconds into playing with my Synergy hoop I fell into the absolute bliss that I had been longing for. The swirling vortex energy coming from the earth had been calling me to dance in it for years.

After a delicious first meal together where we may or may not have honored the mindful speech posters peppering the dining hall, we returned to Earth hall for a Sacred Cacao  opening ceremony.  The energy within our circle was so vibrant and alive! Looking around at all the bright shining faces I knew some radical transcendence was going to transpire over the week. Our night was punctuated by the laughter of coyotes outside the hall, and many of us could feel the presence of something bigger than us descend into the room. Perhaps it was the Sacred Circularties oversoul, along with all our guides, ancestors, spirit animals, totems and friends, along with all the elementals, devas and nature spirits, the energy of the divine source, and all other beings of the highest vibration who were there to support our journey. We called it all in.

There were so many amazing classes, and moments after that I’ll have to just share a few highlights, but every class was worthwhile and appreciated. I loved starting my mornings with Qi Gong with Shelly White Light. The first session I went to was great,¬† but it was the second day when we had a smaller, intimate group journey with the same warrior’s breath exercise that was really incredible for me. The emotion and energy that moved through the group brought us individually and collectively to tears. It felt like a deep lineage healing and clearing on behalf of all women, as well as a profoundly personal healing.

The dream workshops with Jane Carlton were also incredible for going deep, deep within yourself. The shamanic drum journeys were vivid and wild.¬† First I journeyed into a wolf’s den with my spirit animal, where he accepted me into his pack, only to play a horrible prank on me (spirit has a wicked sense of humor). Then I wound up shifting my perspective to several other creatures’ points of view,¬† from the wolf, to an ant walking between giant blades of grass, all the way down to an amoeba.

On a second shamanic drum journey in a subsequent, more intimate workshop with Jane, we journeyed to find our healing pools. I found mine in a different, very exotic dimension. That was another journey with aspects shared by our small group, many of us seeing elements of each others’ dreams, like phosphor-luminescence, canopy beds and a representation of our divine masculine consort. So much fun to know you’re traveling as a pack in dream space.

The Theta Healing with Jocelyn Gordon was another profound group meditation journey. We connected up to divine source energy and came back down together, healing and downloading new programs of thought and belief systems to upgrade our lives. I’ve done many of these journeys alone, but I find the energy of the group really heightens the experience. After our journey, I could feel how we were all vibrating at a higher frequencies.

There were of course, many great hoop classes over the week. I learned some super badass new breaks from Ann Humphreys  and appreciated core hooping all over again with Anah Reichenbach (Aka Hoopalicious). Anah also had us plank, do jumping lunges and dance as weirdly as we possibly could. Fantastic fun was had by all (except during the lunges, those were hard!) Rainbow Michael blew our minds equating Anti-spin to planetary movement and cosmic alignment. Jocelyn Gordon kicked our butts and reminded us that LIFE IS AWESOME! (Oh yes, it is!) in her HoopYogini classes and Julia Hartsell unlocked some amazing spiral movements in her sustained spinning workshop.

A major highlight of the week for me was playing with texture and possibilities in Beth Lavinder’s workshops. She equated hoop dance and movement to textures in fabric, saying when she watched someone hoop, she could feel the texture of their dance. Such a beautiful, apt metaphor that I completely understand as a very tactile person. Watching Beth dance feels like silky smooth satin, and dancing with Beth feels like magic.

There were a couple workshops that really combined spiritual and transformational aspects with active movement, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Julia Hartsell’s ecstatic spin jam was the first, and it was so easy to drop in and bliss out with her spectacular play list. Khan Wong’s two movement classes involved deeply witnessing a partner’s soul essence through movement and art. I feel as if you can’t help but fall in love with the person you witness when you see them move authentically. My partner (whom I was so deeply moved by and honored to witness) said we need to get the whole world to do this with each other. Imagine that… to see the authentic soul essence of a stranger would be to suddenly know them intimately. How different the world would be.

The Five Elements Ecstatic Dance and African dance classes with Malaika were so incredibly wonderful and powerful. In all of them she created such a community feel, inspired by African villages… We danced, sang, laughed and moved together as one tribe, one entity. I also had the privileged of booking a Lomi Lomi massage with her, a Hawaiian spiritually based body work modality that was one of the most wonderfully holistic healing experiences I’ve had to date.

There were also two amazing Yin yoga/sound healing classes lead by Rainbow Michael. The first was so relaxing, we were all puddles of blissfully resonant ooze at the end. There was a spin jam scheduled for afterwards, but I think we all just went to bed instead (at least my wonderful roommate and I did).  The second class was just before the  closing ceremony. Rainbow was careful not to melt us into puddles again, but the long, relaxing poses stretching all the fascia, ligaments and connective tissues in our bodies was the perfect way to end the retreat.

It wasn’t until the last full day that I wandered into the healing garden, but I’m sure it was perfectly timed. I may have spent too much time there if I had known about it earlier in the week. It’s a vortex site with a beautiful lake, with many a spot to sit and meditate and soak in the energy.

My blissful waterfront meditation. Photo by Beth Lavinder
My blissful waterfront meditation. Photo by Beth Lavinder

That might have been the most relaxing part of the week, although our trip out to Boyton Canyon and dinner at the Chocola Tree were right up there as well. Did I mention they provided a smoothie service to us in between classes? YUM! Then there was also the divine Hoop Kirtan experience and the ridiculously fun talent showcase where we saw talents of all kinds explode from our friends (SO MUCH TALENT!) I also can’t forget our full moon fire ceremony where we popped quite a few fire hooping cherries! I had the opportunity to briefly double fire hoop for the first time, to live drumming. It was indescribable to have the chance to play¬† and dance under the full moon in ceremony with¬† my Sacred Circularities tribe.

I want to give huge props and a million thank you’s to Jaguar Mary, the Divine Creatrix of Sacred Circularities.

Her royal purpleness, Jaguar Mary. Photo by Jessie HoolaHoops McGee
Her royal purpleness, Jaguar Mary. Photo by Jessie HoolaHoops McGee

The schedule was absolutely perfectly made and she was able to hold such a safe, peaceful container for all of us to shed our skins, open ourselves up, be transformed and taken to the next level. I can only begin to imagine the intricacies of throwing such an event, but she handles it all so gracefully. She also had a few wonderful, radiant volunteers who I thank deeply, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you’s also go out to every single person who was there. Thank you for being so profoundly authentic and willing to share your experience and transformation with us all.¬† You each have a piece of my soul and I will hold space for all your hopes and dreams in my own heart.

Photo by Cadencia Photography
Photo by Cadencia Photography

Dance. It Makes You Better.

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This awesome stencil that I found somewhere on facebook really says it all. I don’t know where it came from (if it’s yours or you know who I can attribute it to, please let me know). But it’s so succinct, I had to share.

‘Every time I dance, I turn into a better version of me’.

Here’s an example:

A couple years ago, two days before my wedding, I was getting a little stressed out about the details. I was snappy, defensive and felt like everything was a looming disaster.¬† My husband and sister couldn’t talk me down, so they just handed me a hoop and said “Dance! We’ll be back in an hour or so. Just dance it out.”

Of course after 15 minutes of moving to music everything seemed right in the world again. An hour later, I couldn’t even remember what I had been upset about.¬† (BTW, I wasn’t a bridezilla at all. That was one of only two times I kind of freaked out. I was a chill bride, I swear!)

Anyway. Some people run to blow off steam, some people knit. I love to dance, with or without my hoops because it makes me better in every way, every time I do it.

It’s great exercise obviously, and it gets all your endorphins going, so you feel good doing it (and afterwards), but unlike just running or doing yoga, I get to be creative. It’s easy to drop into that beautiful flow state¬† that sends my conscious mind to the back burner while my body and spirit take the wheel. I feel a sense of peace and oneness that transcends the personal experience I’m having and puts me in touch with the greater picture.

Dancing makes me happy. It feels celebratory. Or, it can feel incredibly emotional in other ways; sad, angry, lonely, scared… But dancing out those emotions is so cathartic that it swings back to happy. Or at least peaceful.

For years, whenever I’ve asked for guidance (from above, from my inner self, from the universe, which ever), the message I almost invariably receive is ‘Dance!’.

Not only does it make me better, it makes the world better. Every time you dance, you make the world a better place. Even if it’s a dance of sadness, of pain, of anger or frustration, it makes the world better.

Dancing is the expression of your essence. As you move, you let yourself be known.

“Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made.”

Ted Shawn

This art, this essence expression makes you a better version of yourself. Every time you move authentically, you level up at life. You are here to be you. Every time you dance, you let your soul qualities shine through. Through dance, you  allow your most radiant self to shine through.

‚ÄúAs we let our light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.‚ÄĚ- Marianne Williamson

 

Imagine a world where everyone allowed their most radiant inner light shine through.

What would that look like?

What would that feel like?

Imagining it gives me  warm fuzzies and chills all at the same time.

Our joyful movement raises the collective vibration and illuminates the world.

Our dance is revolutionary.

“Just Dance.”

-Lady Gaga

I’ll leave you with a great hoop dance jam I had the other day.

I found some music that moved me, almost to tears and I had to hoop it out.

Adventures at Hoop Convergence!

How was Hoop Convergence you ask?

Epic.

Here in a shiny example of it’s epic nature is our cabin’s awkward family photo:

photo by Carla Snow
photo by Carla Snow

We were given two sets of instructions for this:

One was ‘Stare off into the distance, with dreamy, pondering eyes’. Then someone else said ‘Now pretend you see a Pterodactyl!’ Only a few of us listened to that last instruction, and I think that makes it better!

I wish I had more time to get to know these wonderful, talented ladies, but they were great cabin mates. For some reason they put all the folks from Canada, Wisconsin and Massachusetts together. Perhaps they thought we’d bond over snow and prairies… Turns out we bonded over hula hoops and acro bunk bed yoga. My travel companion Carla Snow from http://www.flowlab.ca

Speaking of Carla, I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion. We always have so much fun together, and she’s been my biggest support on my hoop journey. She gave an incredible Hoop Talk on Thursday night (recovering from Laryngitis in the nick of time!) She spoke passionately about feeding the community through intentional business practices and my heart swelled with pride as she had the whole audience nodding and agreeing with her the whole time.

We had the chance to take in loads of workshops from some of the world’s greatest hoopers. My favorite hoop classes were taught by Beth Lavinder, Nick Guzzardo and Kenna Hoops, but they were all amazing. I think the most memorable class for me was a dance/movement class with Khan that involved dancing for 10 minutes for your partner, who was a silent witness, with no music. Then taking 5 minutes each to talk about the experience.¬† It was a really powerful hour for everyone in the room, and it brought up a lot of interesting feelings to work through. I needed a good cry afterwards, and another¬† class participant said she wouldn’t need therapy for a year! Healing, transformative movement!

It was really incredible how open and accessible the teachers were, and so many of them were right there in the thick of things, taking workshops with us. Carla captured a moment where Emma, Brecken and I were being a little disruptive during Spiral’s class, after I realized you could do some rebounding crotch thrusting inside a mini hoop (which was definitely off topic). It was ok though, cause we turned it into¬† a combo working in the class material. Here is our crotch rebound into¬† a corkscrew!

Photo by Carla Snow
Photo by Carla Snow

As much fun as the classes were, the jams and showcases were the real highlights for me. There was a real showcase (flowcase) where our incredibly, jaw dropping-ly talented instructors performed ridiculous routines. Here’s Nick Guzzardo’s piece, which was second only to his topless fire hooping the night before:

Hoop Convergence also had a renegade showcase the next night, which is a tradition from juggling conventions. This was probably my favorite activity all weekend, and not just because SaFire, Carla and I taught a renegade Finger Flow workshop wearing onsies. Most of the acts were dirty and hilarious and the few that weren’t were downright beautiful, like Caroleena’s piece with her gorgeous cockateil Mulder. There was everything from uni-cycling while hooping, butt jumping with¬† skipping rope, hooping, dooping, vooping (don’t ask) and a ukelele sing along.

I’m already counting down the days till next year.

Hoop Convergence and North Carolina have stolen my heart.

Photo by Carla Snow
Photo by Carla Snow

Living My Dream

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!

Here is their description of the retreat from  http://www.sacredcircularities.com:

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!

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