I am writing this on my Two Year Hoopiversary. It was on August 10, 2009 that I bought my first hoop, a blue and sparkling purple portal to a whole new way of being and seeing and relating to the world. I had no idea of the transformative power of that seemingly simple circle of plastic, though it was the first time in my life that any inanimate object thrilled my soul every time I looked at it.
Once I got my hoop I was a different woman. The self-conscious, anxious Jodi I’d become over too many years of putting myself into situations that didn’t serve me, gave way to a truer expression of who I am that is naturally curious, courageous, grounded and happy. Happiness was something I’d lost track of along the way. I did experience it fleetingly, now and then, but regardless of what I did, the feeling of discontent would soon overtake it and I was back in that emotional hole once again. When I started hooping, though, I was automatically uplifted and felt more like myself than I had since I was a kid. I was content to turn on some music and roll the hoop around my waist for hours. I didn’t care how many times I dropped it or how many bruises I got those first weeks of hooping. The joy and passion I felt overrode everything else, the hoop worked its magic and before long everyone I knew was asking me what I was doing that I looked so good.
Once I started hooping it I just couldn’t get enough. There is something about the hoop that moved me from moment I watched that first hoop dance video. My eyes saw something that my soul recognized. I had no context for what it meant or the power it wielded–as if it were an enchanted spinning machine that in hardly any time at all would spin the straw that was my life into rich, shiny gold.
Almost everything in my life has changed in these two years. My body loves hoop dance so it seemed effortless to get into shape and stay that way. Thanks to all the core hooping my posture is better than ever. My jeans always fit… even the skinny ones. After decades of obsessively weighing myself every morning, these days it is a rare occasion when I take the trouble to step foot on the scale. My clothes all fit and I feel comfortable in my skin, which was what I was really after, during all those years of bathroom scales and measuring tapes. (Compared to the way I lived most of my life, since puberty, this in itself is miraculous!) I am now part of a global community of hoop dancers–people I can relate to on so many levels and in so many ways, though it was our shared love of the hoop that brought us together. Hoop dance has connected me to my own core in a way that nothing else has. All of this happened so naturally that it was some time before I realized just how profound the changes were.
Looking back, I see a journey that I could never have imagined. I looked and searched and sought out countless avenues for transforming my life. I watched and waited for decades to be called by something that felt exactly right and expanded my experience. If someone had told me when I was 20 or even 30 that the answer to my questions and the answers to my prayers would be conveyed through a hoop I would have laughed in their face. Some things you just have to walk through and live before you can know.
I am awed by the grace that has entered my life by way of the hoop; the angels who have appeared on my path by way of the hoop; the miracles that have happened in all areas of my life by way of the hoop. I remember one day before I discovered the hoop going out for a run. It had felt like an effort to get dressed and stretched and ready to go and it felt like I had to spend so much time doing it in order to get any benefit. I thought, I want exercise that is integrated into my life and feels natural. I want it to be fun and look forward to doing it. Guess what? I got my wish. I’d rather hoop than almost anything else. It is such a part of my life that I haven’t thought of it as exercise ever, really.
I still have no words to explain how a simple hoop can be so life-changing, I just know from experience and observation of countless friends who have likewise been bitten by the hoop dance bug. The hoop is powerful medicine. If you are as fortunate as I, when it speaks to you and you answer the call your life will never be the same. And to all of you, I say, Hoop On!