Do Your Thing

We are part of the wheel, part of the circle.

Let me begin somewhere in the middle,

if there is no end and there is no begininning,

maybe I belong somwhere in the middle – that might be alright for right now –

continue on –  don’t stop you, stupid girl.

when will she let it go –

not today, not in this soft snow –

do your thing and do it well –

it swung around once, twice,

till it fell –

but she picked it up –

her orbit, her circle, her whole.


A story I heard once.

It is true that I believe in circles. If I can believe in nothing else, I can believe in the roundness of a circle. It’s not that I can exactly touch the roundness, but I can understand its curves. It makes sense. Maybe it makes sense because I believe in circles or maybe it’s a circle because I believe. But I believe the earth is round. I believe my eyeball is round. My head is round, and even Santa’s belly is round. I believe in the roundness of circles. So from what I know about the round earth, sun and moon, I believe that the circle can sometimes be in darkness and sometimes be in light, and that too much of one is not good for the other. So when I heard this story from a gypsy at a bar in Spain, I imgres-4knew it was probably true.

The woman who never told me her name said she had seen me dancing on the streets of Barcelona. I am a hoop dancer. I perform with hoops and spin for tips. I had spent the afternoon impressing tourist for euros, but the gypsy had said she saw me early that day, dancing on shores of the sea.

“I watched you dance,” she said, “when you thought no one was watching.” She pushed her lips together and tilted her head. I could see her green eyes searching mine, uncovering me with a suspicious ease. “I wondered if you are Scalian or Aro.”

She dropped her chin and continued to search my face.

When I told the gypsy who had eyes so green that I had never heard of either an Aro or Scalian, she pushed her long brown hair off her shoulder and laughed.

“Of course,” she said and asked if I would like to hear a story.

She moved into the seat next to me, ordered a drink for herself and this is what she said…. click here: 

From the hoop files: Cadillac.

Eclipse_FAKE_PIC_3239175cI’ve been hooping for six years, spinning a hoop around my body so I can burn calories, tone muscles and occasionally, get lost in myself. I try to hoop two to three times a week, and usually with a combination of different hoops. I have quite the collection. JaMocha is my main hoop and Junior like a sidekick. When I want an arm workout I lift AquaBlue, a small 30 inch hoop that I filled with water to make heavy. The Twins are identical except one is purple and one is white. They are thin and strong and move like nunchakus and weigh as much as a feather. If I’m feeling especially lazy, if I wanna rock in my hoop like a Sunday morning drive, Betsy and Cadillac are always happy to take me for a spin. I hang these big gals from the ceiling above my bed, and I’ve promised like an old timer who parks rusted cars in barns that I will never get rid of them. Betsy is 52 inches, wrapped in the same maroon tape as JaMocha and Junior. She hangs inside Cadillac who is a huge 64 incher. There are more wrinkles in her tape-job than any other hoop.

Every night, I fall asleep looking into Cadillac’s center, realizing my body lies in her middle, like I separate her yin and yang, but maybe she separates mine, I’m not sure. I am sure in what goes around comes around, action and reaction, cause and effect, a push and pull. When I close my eyes, sometimes I think I understand the world through light and dark and time and force, through the movement of the hoop with me as its axis. I am the sun and the hoop my moon and earth.

But Where Was I?


So at the end of my hoop workout yesterday, I started thinking about a few friends who have found their way to the hoop. nothing makes me happier than to hear that someone has just recently picked up a hoop and fell in love with it. I have been trying to put into the words why I love this practice as much as I do. Hoops (hula-hoops that is) have been in my life for six years and I can’t seem to really put into words everything it does for me without sounding a little mental. I started playing for the circle team in 2009 and my entire life has change. The circle has become my protection, my voice, my sanctuary, my understanding of the entire world and life. Circle of life, people. No beginnings and no endings. These are not small lessons. These are not insignificant understandings that have trickled down to what some people think of an insignificant thing.

But where was I? Oh yes. So at the end of my workout, I started thinking about the ladies who have come to the hoop, and I told myself that I would hoop (which you could insert the word ‘pray’ for hoop,) I told myself that I would hoop for my friends to whatever song came on next. The next song happened to be Human Family by Maya Angelou, my favorite poet. (If you have not heard this album, Caged Bird Songs, do yourself a favor and buy it.) I hooped it up for them and guess what? I made a video. (insert eye roll) *I have not made a hooping video in quite some time because my computer is full. Seriously, this little ole mac had to work extra hard to make this video. seriously, i had to take a break because i thought my computer was going to overheat.

Welcome to the hoop, ladies.

happy hooping.

An Open Letter

An Open letter:

To my “hula hoop” with love (sorry for the “hula hoop” part)::
Dear JaMocha,
I want to write about you for class.  I’m getting my MFA in Writing Creative Nonfiction and I’ve have tried for days to write about you, tried to find the balance of language, but isn’t balance just so easy it’s hard because balance needs simply balance. You taught me that. You taught me lessons in rhythm, lessons in flow, in time, in femininity, and of course I’m not talking about you, and you know that.  I’m talking about your power, but I’m not talking about power because you are not powerful. You are just a toy, just a Wham-O trademarked “hula hoop,” though you are not the Wham-O Hula Hoop, and you are not the hula. I do suppose you could be some distant cousin to the hula-kahiko, somehow related to the dance that early Polynesians used to perform for their king because sometimes, you are my king. You are my sacred chief, and you are my morning ritual. I bring you o
ut to my driveway, I drag you out and spin you around, and sometimes, I’m only doing it because you look so good when you spin, and I am honored to honor you, and isn’t that power?

artBut sometimes, I have not been honored, sometimes, I have not been oh, so delighted to spin you around. Some days I curse you because you don’t understand death or ends. I scream at you, let my voice get raw, scream that there is an end, and I’ll figure out an end to your lack of beginnings and endings, but I never do, and I never will, and you’ll flip my force and bring force back to me, make the circle bigger and stronger, and let me throw myself in. 

I was in you when I prayed to the universe, to the gods, to Jesus, to anyone who would care. I prayed to you and you prayed with me and we prayed together, and we cried together and we came unhitched together, and I threw you into the air where you would spin and spin, but always come back to me and scoop me into your vortex, and I know I gave you power. You are nothing but irrigation tubing connected with a plastic insert, wrapped in pretty tape. I have made you, dear hoop, but you have made me. You made me with the force I put in you. I fling you, push you and it’s you who pushes back, back at my hips, my hands, my shins, pushing back on my back. Everything bruised with repetition and time, and I feel a since of pride because I think for a second there is no end, and I do get it, but just as quickly as it comes it fades. Open and close.

I couldn’t fit your robust 42’ inch diameter into the overhead. I couldn’t bring you to my brother’s funeral, couldn’t bring you to the church or the cemetery, but you didn’t need to go.  You were already there. You are my father and his grandson. You are the circle, and you are unbroken.

I will write about you dear hoop.

It’s Been Good to Be Back in the Hoop.


I had a nice hoop workout today. It is the third or fourth workout that I have had since I started crawling out of my wallowing hole. After my brother passed away, I allowed myself to wallow, bring the TV into the bedroom wallow, and I let myself be okay with being sad.  After a hefty number of days of wallowing, I am getting back to my set point. I heard on a TED talk that on average it takes a person three months to get back to their genetically set happiness point after a traumatic experience. Just a statistic, it’s true, but one I’ll hang on my hat on. It’s not so much that everything is all better, it is the fact that the smoke has cleared, and my path is coming back into view, and I’ve always liked how my path looks from inside a circle.  It’s been good to be back in the hoop.

Sometimes My Hoops Just Sit in the Corner


Sometimes My Hoops Just Sit in the Corner

General JaMocha is my go-to hoop, strong, and durable, a two-pound maroon circle with a strip of silver shimmer.  When he spins, he reflects light like medals on a maroon lapel. He is the general, being called to duty more times than any other hoop, seeing more battle than the rest. He’s been scraped up on pavements, nicked on cement, wrestled in the rain.  He’s skimmed every body of water, skidding across oceans, lakes, and rivers, leaned against patios, beds, curbs, and left too close to fires. JaMocha has been through it all, my Archangel, my guardian and keeper of all things I balance in life, but he is sitting in the corner. All my hoops are sitting there, leaning against the wall, waiting for me.  Any of them would be happy to get attention, and more than thrilled to give it, but I’m unready, unprepared to be reminded that the world is round, that the cosmos are round, that time and circle of life is real and moves with rotations like spinning tops on a kitchen linoleum. Maybe today I say, let it swing around me and soothe me like I know it will.