June 3rd, 2013

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LJ Idol Exhibit B - Topic 3 - "Oh, Lord, we're not talking hooping again, are we?"

I mean, yeah, you knew we were going to talk about hooping. In case you haven't noticed, all of my posts have been stuck in a loop recently, going in circles if you will. Why is that, you say? I'm so glad you asked, gentle reader. You see, I'm coming up on five years in the hoop, and a lot has happened to me in that time. For one, I don't (despite current evidence to the contrary) obsessively talk about hooping like I used to.

And oh, how I used to. After a while, you begin to recognize the telltale signs of glazed-over eyes at the mere utterance of the word "hoop", because the poor soul at the other end of the conversation knows they might be there a while, and hopefully they'd remembered to TiVo Biggest Loser. I even had a filter on my LJ for people to choose whether or not they wanted to read the four hundred posts I made about hooping.

I've had obsessions before, mind you. And I'm sure all my friends had grown accustomed to just waiting them out. But this one stuck around. Hooping legitimately changed my life. I would certainly not be where I am now without it. Hooping brought me my husband, as well as my main source of income: making hula hoops.

I'm sure a large part of my devotion to hooping stemmed from it introducing me to the concept of "flow". Depending on who you ask, "flow" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There's a whole entire book about it, even. For the sake of clarity, let's go to Wikipedia (the source of all true knowledge), which defines flow thusly:

"Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does."

Energized focus. Complete absorption. Two very apt descriptions for the way my hoop dance made me feel, and I loved it. You put on some good music, throw on the hoop and start moving. And ten minutes later you'd realize (or actually, not realize) that thoughts like "I should move my arm like this" had become a thing of the past, because your arm would just move on its own. Everything just moved. No thoughts, no need for thoughts. All the hours of drilling tricks and training your body to keep the hoop going at all costs paid off in those moments of total bliss, absorbed in frenetic dance where you weren't at all sure who led whom; you or the hoop?

And in that state I began to realize that I had control over more than just my body and my hoop, but also my life. I learned that I could choose which "rules" to buy into and which ones to break. I began to develop a strength that allowed me to follow my own path, to live life on my terms, to see through the bullshit of, "You must do it this way because that is how it has always been done." And all from the center of a simple plastic circle.

I found magic there. Clarity. Happiness. Passion.

So why wouldn't I want to tell everyone about it?

This was an intersection with mythingperson, whose entry is over here!.

Many thanks to roina_arwen for taking the time to beta read and provide useful feedback!