Can I just say that hoopers are all incredibly beautiful people? I did not meet a single person this weekend who didn't embody a completely amazing spirit and energy. I do not have enough adjectives for how incredible it was to spend four days in the company of people who so powerfully believe in hooping and its benefits. I camped with three people who provided me with a constant stream of positivity, even when we were away from the workshops. I have to admit I'm having something of a tough time being out of that energy, but I'm working on it, one day at a time. To say it was life changing would be cheesy, but also true. It made me want to clean the fuck out of my apartment. That's how intense this energy was, you guys.
The city of Carrboro, NC was unbelievably awesome. I'm thinking that instead of spending all of next year in California, I will spend some of it in Carrboro and take some more classes from Baxter. (And probably also spend some time in Portland where they have another pretty big hooping community.) I don't know if it was due to the large amount of hoopers, or if this is the way the city always feels, but everywhere we went seemed to pulse with the joy of being alive. The Weaver Street Market alone is almost enough of a reason for me to give up on my lease and move to Carrboro right now*. So much incredible food (Salads for cheaps! EVERY flavor of Naked juice!), live music on Sundays, friendly people, AMAZING.
The retreat taught me so much about hooping and myself. Baxter is an amazing teacher with the self-stated goal of making us all "bad-ass hoopers". One of the ultimate bad-asses himself, he takes his job seriously and it shows. I learned so much. I've been at a place where I felt like improving my hooping was going at a snail's pace. Now, I realize I have so much to work on, so much to practice and learn. The workshops humbled me more than once, which was exactly what I needed, and I couldn't be more grateful. My goal is to continue to hoop every day, even if it's only for twenty minutes, and to continue taking those baby steps.
I absolutely loved getting to meet so many hoopers I admired, and share hooping space with them. It was like YouTube had come to life right in front of me, all at once. During the first night's dinner and meet and greet, we all busted out our hoops and played for at least an hour (if not more) before the food ever went on the table. I spent the entire time in my hoop, staring in awe at all of the amazing people around me, sharing each other's energy and creating a completely magical space. I could have gone home the next morning and felt I'd gotten my money's worth.
I got to meet Christabel (aka HoopGirl), and I had her sign her book for me. I'm not going to lie, I had some preconceived notions of Christabel before I met her. I kind of felt the whole HoopGirl company was a little too commercial for my tastes, I didn't know how I felt about Christabel herself, etc. Well, I do not feel that way anymore. I got to talk to Christabel several times over the course of the weekend, and also watch her hoop. Her spirit is radiant and beautiful, and upon meeting her, it is so apparent that everything she does, she does out of love for the hoop and her desire to share it with others. She performed a dance on the very first night that brought tears to my eyes. If you ever have a chance to meet and hoop with Christabel, take it, you will not regret it! I would love to take classes from her some time.
I also got to experience my first time hooping with fire! That was a TON of fun. I wish I had a way to do it more often, so that I could practice with it. It's intimidating and scary, but also a huge rush. For a moment, I forgot everything I knew about hooping, I was too busy going, "Holy cow, there's fire on me. It's freaking spinning around me. I'm going to catch on fire and die," while simultaneously thinking, "This is so cool. This is so COOL." I got to spin fire twice, and watch a lot of other hoopers spin and do things that, were I to attempt them, would surely take my limbs off. SOMEDAY.
My mom put up pictures from our Cleveland/Cedar Point/Indianapolis/Alamosa trip on her Facebook, and eventually I'm going to post about that, too. But I wanted to get everything out from this weekend while it was still fresh!
*Disclaimer: I'm not going to.