Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Intergalactic Space Babes in a Trans-Galactic Landing: Hoop Camp 08 - California
Its hard to know where to begin as the adventure has been just so full and incredibly mind blowing too. It took me 24 hours to reach San Francisco from Sydney (instead of 12) due to a cheap airfare that hit Tai Pei along the way. It wasn't until I found my new beautiful camera in SF that I could truly appreciate the saving as the leg to leg journey became rather trying. Zen bending techniques essential. Upon touchdown I felt that familiar feeling of coming home. It's an interesting sensation as I have felt it only in a few places in the world but always from the very first instant and beyond - Sydney > San Francisco(/Harbin) > New York all do it for me - a golden triangle perhaps. Europe is just gonna have to wait for this Intergalactic Space Babe's trans-galactic landing. Already I am re-plugged into the vibe that is the United States... West Coast style.
So Deanne of Tokyo's Hoop Lovers and I pretty much cruised the town over the few days we had before Hoop Camp started and soaked up a lot of the Summer of Love vibe that is The Haight and camped out at the Red Vic. Needless to say there was extensive bling expansion in already bulging luggage! If ever in need of a little going beyond the beyond of bling, this is definitely the strip of strips. God bless the Haight! I don't think I've ever talked so much as we did during that passage. Deanne had come from Tokyo and I from Sydney so were jetlagged and exhausted from our frectic lives back home but when we met it was immediate and infinite download upload reload of it all really - vegetarianism, love of the hoop, love addiction, love love love, past present future, visions and dreams, the style train, fashion, jetsetting and the all-essential bling-O-rama. In Deanne I have discovered my cosmic twin. Many others saw it too so it was without surprise that we faced an onslaught of questioning as we walked the streets, hooped the forests and flew through dreams - sisters we are! Much love to Deanne x
Time to tune into the local vibe as we were were picked up by JenaLuna, hooned down the 101 and off into the forest to arrive at Hoop Hot Spot #1 : Kennolyn Retreat near Santa Cruz.
It was non-stop from the moment we arrived. The Hoop Path crew were raring to go so after all 90 of us introduced ourselves one by one and filled the prayer hoop with goodness and love we settled in for a journey within - a blindfolded guided meditation through the legend of the Maidan. Baxter is a true master. What a present spirit! As we listened to the story of the orphans who were gathered by the female warriors known as the Maidan we explored the internal space of the hoop as we rocked it in our first and second currents. The hoop became a vortex and our minds shooting stars as we created visions of what it is to rise to the higher self in a space that I found blissful, confronting and Utopic. Ann and Beth co-taught the 90 minute workshop as around 90 of us flowed with the technique and the meditation of the Hoop Path. Together the Hoop Path team initiated a powerful level of intention and consciousness that kept spreading throughout the weekend and well into the Harbin Hoop Jam in the following week. Baxter's blog on the Hoop Camp weekend is worth a read. He is a wonderfully spirited writer and wraps the workshops up ever so eloquently, including a review of yours truly! Blessings to Baxter - such an inspiration and a definite magnet for my hoop journey... those martial art style paddles and breaks and the ethereal yet powerful philosophy of the Maidan really hit a deep spot within me. It literally brought me to tears.
So the next morning I was ON. 90 of us were organised into 3 groups of 30 that rotated around 3 sessions of 50 minute workshops. I taught Multiple Circus hoops so splitting, coiling, controlling and a few hand tricks with twins (two hoops). It was exciting to present this material as a definite shift has occurred in the US hoop scene in that the big mamma cadillac style hoop is no longer the only way. Pathways have diversified and hoops are becoming smaller and smaller right down to the super mini guys of which Christabel, Shakti and several others are embracing in a way that I can only describe as American Indian Hoop Disco. The days of one hoop wonderment have also passed and have been joined by an interest in adding hoops to the ever evolving groove. Put this all together and circus style hooping and hoops have definitely found their place on the American scene right now.
Like Baxter, I felt strangely very comfortable with the large groups of hoopies. I thought I would be more nervous, I don't know why but I guess the Hoop Camp had a pretty rokn line up of teachers so the benchmark was high. I entered the space with a feeling of deep gratitude that I had been invited to teach amongst the bad-ass hoopers in town. It was like (dare I say) my ego simply disappeared the moment I was on and as Hunter (Harbin astrologer) echoed yesterday - it was a case of the message being more important than the personal feeling so everything other than bright light, clear instruction and joyful energy just fell away. The classes were received really well. It's interesting because I didn't really pre-plan my lesson plan too much as I knew I had to actually be there to know what was needed. I had a very general idea of what material would work best for several months and kept letting that shape shift as the time drew nearer and into the now. This is pretty much how I like to prepare for performance as well - loosely and spontaneously allowing for flow in the moment. Given that twins are now a not so new part of the scene I kept hand-hooping as an added extra and focused on splits, particularly getting the downward split (butt and waist) on the hoopdance map. It's one thing to be able to split hoops, it's very much another to dance with it.
I feel grateful that the Australian hoop scene pushed me out of the small pond searching for more as it led me to these incredible people who have a real craving to share and learn as much as they possibly can from each other with positive intention. That's not to say there isn't politics or issues as there always is everywhere but the vibe about the Americans seems to be an acceptance that the more you give the more you receive and a knowing that if they shut down from each other it doesn't work for anyone. What comes out of that is a focus on unique essence - the defining element of my teacher training program and life. Let's complement each other not compete!
Back to the workshop - so as I have come from the more is more circus style of statuesque multiple hoop spinning and the Americans more from one hoop rock the rhythm hoopdance we merge in the middle. Let's get the multiples on and lets shake it and break it and reverse it and work it and funk it right out. Our missions are aligned. I have to admit, I was deeply humbled by the recurring positive feedback on my workshop as I am sure my fellow teachers are in the knowing and acceptance that each of us blew that camp away. We all taught such different styles and from different philosophies, both personally and transpersonally. As Baxter said in his opening words in reference to 'stealing' moves and grooves - "nobody can steal you." And to that I can simply say, WORD. It's about your unique essence - hooping, life, love... find it, work it, own it - its yours and nobody elses. LOVE IT!
After finishing my workshops on the first morning I felt ready to relax into the weekend and play. The afternoon started with Spiral - of whom I could definitely be tempted to remain speechless. Precise and concise description required as this journal could quite well be overtaken by a Neptune style poetic dance of awe and wonder about the incredibly AMAZING beautiful, talented, otherworldly Spiral. One need only utter the name to watch the collective breath be sucked up into the cosmos then exhaled right out in gratitude for the presence of Spiral on this planet and in this community. When she knocked out a demo at the end of the class there wasn't a single person who was not awe-struck and completely captivated. Spiral has an awareness of movement and flow like no other - her workshop was called Rhythm Form and Flow. She drew awareness to rhythm of the body, the hoop and the music; form of the hoop's shape and movement using the hoop as a dance partner; and flow incorporating it all using the masterful energy that comes through when we are completely engaged in blissful presence and awareness. Thank you to the Universe for bringing us Spiral. For those of you who have not seen her dance get your booty over to YouTube right now and be prepared to be amazed
Sharna Rose from England was next with her workshop that focused on Intuition and Play. Such a high vibe! Sharna demanded the inner child in us all to come out and play. Her choice of diverse music, insistence on high energy playfulness and her own ability as a hooper all totally hit the spot. Stop start, jumping around, happy accidents in the hoop, all of it I just loved. I don't think I have ever been worked so hard in a workshop - she is unrelenting and really understands the energy requirements of the child: to be exhausted through wild bursts of exhilirating movement, play and frequently changing diverse mental stimulation. Not only did she inform me on how to get my little hooplings in more of a spin but also the bigger kids too, including myself. Thank you Sharna!
To finish the day was Shredder. What an inspiration she is in so many ways! Another 20/12-oid. My collection is really expanding. Shredder embodies an energy which I have identified in American woman as the full Shakti warrior goddess. On the first night at Hoop Camp there was a performance zone for those who wished to take the stage in a log style auditorium under the stars. Most people who got up on that stage did not hoop - they spoke. Poetry, song, stories. Shredder shredded the stage with her acrobatic super flexi hoop routine in a style like no other and the fairies of the night got their tiny twin hoop akshun on but mostly it was voice. What struck me was how powerful the American female voice is - its strong, direct, clear and often deep. I'm into it. Shredder is no exception. Deanne describes her 'tood perfectly as "get it on bitches". Yes ma'am! Her workshop was on acrobatics and getting flexi with the hoop with some added funky helicopter passes as well. Shredder inspires me with her strength and agility. She also has a presence as a performer and a presenter that is soul-splitting - it's a no shit sherlock here I am love me for who I am because I am HOT! Again - word ya'll.
The night was filled with more bliss. Its worth highlighting that this trip from beginning to end has been anchored in presence and flow inspired by the intense amazingness of each and every experience. It's also been filled with awesome costumes... the heavy slog from portal to portal has been well worth it! So on this night of nights, who came to the party but Bunny Bardot... inspired by the secret rokn disco that Anah got going on in the schoolroom above my cabin and a Barbarella siting amidst the play. She was pretty well behaved I must say that Bunny Bardot, but she did want to dance and dance she did! I have felt that throughout the journey it has been essential to put down my hoop... if only occasionally to let my body express outside of the circle. Some fire hooping went down of which I did not partake as my jetlag had really kicked in and my hair was just too damn big. So I gladly watched my boundaries and floated down to Merlin's PSI hoop heaven and joined the fireflies in their frolicking. Unfortunately I didn't last too long as I had worked it that day on four hours sleep, the tail end of the lag and an early morning yoga class so by the time I reached Ground Zero I was well past my limit. Nonetheless I enjoyed watching and grooving it sans hoop with camera. There is life outside the hoop too!
The next day was spent with Christabel, Anah and Shakti. Christabel aka Hoopgirl honed us right in with some core groovin sexy style. That girl is such an inspiration and wonderful to observe in her teaching essence as she has definitely got it down. What an instructor! Just full of beaming light, juiciness, energy, intention, detail and real connection with each and everyone of her students. Those eyes! And again, what a voice. Hoop Sexy was the name of her workshop and let it be known, no one could have facilitated this better. What a sexy lady! The word "mastress" crossed my reality a few days ago... I think Christabel can try that title on. She is both ferocious and delicate all in one. Hunts like a tiger and plays like a kitten.
Anah aka Hoopalicious - just WoW. Yet again. What always strikes me about Anah is her pixie like features and yet her hard driving dance style. I adore her androgyny and her power, her gift at moving within her hoop with full control and rhythm. Anah is known for initiating much of the hoopdance on the West Coast hoop scene. Much respect and kudos to her for inspiring and birthing such a community! As the hoop size trend is now to go down, Anah has remained in her chunky Cadillac style hoop. It suits her. Watching her rock it is like standing on the side of the road seeing a timeless (yet of a distinct time) piece of beauty glide along the road in all its stylised glory. By this I mean I can see that she is driving it from the 90s and yet there is solid 70s disco there too and a dance of no time as she is so unique in her groove with a range of flexibility and funk that is just 100% nOWness. Awareness was drawn yet again to the core as we learnt to put the dance back into the hoopdance. I identify with Anah's core foundational focus as this is where I also drive from and have been anchored in for a very long time in my own hoop journey - rokn it from the centre. Circling the upper body while locked in the core - now there's a practice I'm gonna be working on. Thank you Anah! Check out this hot video of her rokn it at Hoop Camp.
Finally we collapsed with the beautiful women of Kaivalya Hoops - Shakti SunFire and Ali Cat. We talked business. I was deeply grateful for this discussion as it has been a back burned discussion for many years now. We talked about group dynamics, how to mix hoop biz with friendship, leadership and delegation, ownership and opportunity. To be honest we could have spent a whole day or even weekend nutting out the nuts and bolts of what we do as professional hoopers and I don't think it will be long before we do. We need to. Forum to discuss is essential and when we are working in such bliss states it is no exception. It is essential that we protect our passion and our joy that we find in hoop biz otherwise the downward spiral can be tempting. Having left Australia literally spent and with very little energy left I think it is safe to say that I often over-work myself into a state of complete exhaustion which detracts from the experience of being a hoopi. A yogi wouldn't do it that why so why would a hoopi. This is my greatest lesson and the forum really allowed me to explore this and the wide range of issues that we confront when working in such an unconventional industry. Delegation and acknowledgement of limitation are essential.
I really want to explore this journey in a literary sense to historically document this exciting time in the hoop world. It feels like we are birthing an incredible community of fully embodied light working entities who know how to play and have fun. I think we all are aware of how we elevate the collective and personal vibration in what we do creating an upward spiral of higher consciousness. We aim to inspire and share and gift the world our talents and we are joining forces to spread the joy. It is needed right now, particularly in the USA at this time of intense financial strain. It is needed on this planet as we have gone beyond the collective limit and are exhausting our own resources on a massive scale. I also want to explore this personally and hopefully beam out some insight to others so that we can inspire each other to become more in tune with our inner realities and connect as conscious sentient beings. It will take another entry to follow this latter path and it will be the story of Harbinia - the Goddess of Harbin.
In case it hasn't become apparent already I am totally inlove with my hoopi family. Every single one of them. The presence and high vibrational clarity and light that each of us have found in the hoop sits within the essence of our practice. I felt so many of my Australian friends' spirits come through me throughout this retreat particularly in Harbin. But one particular transmission sits with me - a message from the beautiful Darinka:
"I am inlove with Love and Love is inlove with me. My body is inlove with my soul and my soul is inlove with the body. I open my arms to Love and it embraced me like a Lover." Rumi
This poem instantly filled my breath - it was love at first sight. It blew out into the sky one stunning morning in Harbin after the tempest the night before in the form of a luminous rainbow that arched over the valley. The cellular vibration was intensely blissful and I knew in that moment that all love that ever was is and will be, is so completely universal transpersonal and cosmic that the transferal to the third dimension of human personal reality is but a piece or two or three or more of the holographic way in which we can live life through our own individual perception. The mer-ka-bah comes back into view: mer - meaning spinning light, bidirectional, an energetic force that surrounds our bodies and planet; ka - the unique essence of each individual; bah - the interpretation of our own reality and a space to shift dimensions.
Through hooping we can truly and fully embrace this notion of cosmic movement and flow. We can shift our bodies and our multi-dimensional selves from space to space while sprinkling the cosmic bling that comes with the hoop. We can connect with ourselves, each other and the universe. We can love like never before - infinitely and unconditionally. The hoop represents our integration and completeness as spiritual beings having a human experience.
More HOOP CAMP pix