Thursday, August 12, 2010

In the crowd with PTSD

Recently I've started attending music festivals again; something I'd always enjoyed in the past, although at some point in my past my ability to socialize more and more became a slow fade. I would feel the intensity, the energies, the heart and rage in the people around me and I would begin to shut down. First my body would respond with flashes of sensation moving to the surface of my skin like a pulsation, and then my brain would start to withdraw from the conversations and I would become less and less engaged, less and less present. It was a shell of protection that my body's intelligence was performing with such precision, before I was even conscious to any stress. My body had started to perceive all kinds of activities as stress, including things I loved.
Hooping and Poi spinning have been such a gift because they have brought me back out of this shell and have given me the ability to be with people again. No one seeing me in public would ever guess that I have PTSD. You can't spot it from the outside.
I missed dancing and I also missed feeling genuinely safe. I wanted to be able to offer something from a place of strength and centeredness blended with the pure joy of being alive.
At Shambhala Music Festival this year I was dancing on the beach with my hoops and I was suddenly in a state of heightened awareness. I had my back turned to the crowd and I could feel some of their eyes on me, curiously watching me trace geometric patterns in the early morning sun with my hoops. I could feel how much I was clinging to those hoops to keep me centered and how at the same time keeping them moving was allowing the stress in my system to just evaporate into the morning air. It felt like I was free to be here or there, and that it was okay for me to be on my own when I needed to be, but that I would no longer have to disappear in order to feel safe. In fact it was the opposite. I could become even more more visible, more present, and keep sharing from my heart to those around me through my expressions in movement. There are no words to describe what that feels like except Gratitude...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hoop Healing

Hoop symbolic, claiming personal space, boundaries
no more guarding the body
being free in the movement
letting go
allowing tough protective layers to fall away, all is left is the hoop on my skin
no shame, no fear
you are safe
with me

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Once Upon A Time A Mass Of Fur Appeared- by the Yeti

Poi is a wordless book just blank.
Once you come and play, words appear with it to give out the expression. An empty book gives more words than a book that has words.
Do you once in your Lifetime or several times go to say something, but can't say it? It's bottled up inside and needs to express one way or another in a good way, on both sides. There is a lot of people that have a lot of problems inside of them--some are just too shy to talk about it, or just hide inside of themselves.
Everyone needs to express their feelings, their words.
Art, Music, or Poi, you are the story teller. Say it. Say it to someone.
Thank you.

Poi.... Speaking From the Yeti

When I watch someone doing Poi, after practicing mine I feel their Poi around me; their movement, pretty much a trance while looking at them or watching poi spinning videos.
You feel quite good after accomplishing a new move. It lifts your sorrow away and you feel excited afterward.
To free your mind, you must free your body. Through your soul you can accomplish anything.
Around you feels lighter, like an unknown foreigner. Then slowly but unlike it, you come back normally as yourself.
In Poi, you're not alone. You are with friends. Friends that do Poi just like you. It's a way to open up yourself to others.
I don't know. Maybe they have some Autism. They are just friends. Ask them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Me and the Hoop Came to BE: part 2

I keep looking at her phone number, taking it out of my wallet and reading her writing. Hoops. Hula hoops. Hmmmm. Part of me wonders if I'd be strong enough to do it. Would it hurt my back? I flash back to those legs. So slim; it must be good for exercise, but I'm guessing at this point. Inhale. Exhale. My instincts are with me on this. I dial her number. I leave a message. I want a hoop.

When my partner comes home I inform him that he's buying me a hula hoop for Christmas. A little raise of the eyebrows. I can tell he's wondering the same thing... Can she do it?

I order my hoop, and I still have no idea what's coming. My mind's eye can't make a picture of this wheel that is somehow going to work for me . I ask for a black and white color scheme, so it can glow a bit under black light. She assures me that she can do it, and promptly calls me back with her street address so I can pick it up after she's made it.. already! It's in her mud room, and she's leaving, so I can just leave the cash inside the door or something.

Each day that passes adds more longing and intrigue. I watch some hoop dance videos online, and wish and wish for a ride or someone to pick it up for me on their way back from the little city to our village. A loyal friend tramps through a blizzard with a cell phone in hand, searching along that dark stretch of highway for the house where my hoop is waiting; kids and husband watching from the car....she could hear my fretted wanting of this item and understood like a true girlfriend would. I could hear her traversing over snowbanks and tramping through people's properties, and still she can't find the place.

It's now December 24th, 2008, Christmas Eve day. The tree is decorated. Everything and everyone is calm, except for me. There's another snowstorm, and all I can think about is my hoop, in its respective mud room, all alone. We have no other reason to make the somewhat dangerous drive down the lake other than this.
"Well..looks like we'll have to wait till after Christmas to get that hoop..." This is my partner talking, not me.

But I want to start sculpting my body now.

I wait, I say nothing. Wait a little longer...
"Can we just go get it?"

An hour later we find the house, I throw open the door and there it is, leaning up against the freezer; a fabulous, sexy looking thing with black fabrics wrapping and weaving with white, bubbly yarn, and five sections of white, pure, fun-fur, expertly and evenly spaced around its circumferance. I hold it up as we walk back to the truck. It's BEAUTIFUL! And it's so huge....

How Me and the Hoop Came To BE: part 1

Sometime in November, 2008.

I never pick up hitch-hikers, unless they are young, desperate females who could be at the mercy of the guy driving behind me, so when I saw this girl standing in the snow on the side of the highway I put on my signal and pulled over. She climbed into the truck, thanking me as we accellerated toward town.
We exchanged names. I'm always so curious about people, so I said, "What do you do for work?"
"I manage a spa and give treatments," and I happen to know who she works for. Nice. Smile.
She was quite beautiful. Her hair was in a funky up-do and her make-up was skillfully applied; and she had a great figure and the kind of legs that make me think she must just not eat. Eyes on the road. It's not polite to stare.
"What about you?"
"Right now I'm teaching poi classes at the school..."
"Oh really? I make indoor hula hoops." (Poi and hooping are cousins related through the rave scene.)
"You make them??" (Indoor? Outdoor? What?!)
"Yeah..." like I've just come out of the last century, "from irrigation pipe, and I fill them with water and they're covered with fabric and fur and yarn," and described how she used sealant so the water didn't leak out.
I tried to conjure up some kind of image. A hula hoop with FUR? Now I'm really curious. "Do you sell them?"
"Yup. They're thirty bucks." So matter-of-fact.
I had a lot more questions for this girl, but we were now in front of her workplace.
"Can I have your phone number?"
She wrote hers down for me and said she was going away for Christmas, but if I wanted a custom hoop she could make me one. A custom hoop....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hooping- First Contact

Turning. This big, black, heavy hoop keeps turning with me inside it. When it comes around again I push against it, with my belly, with my back. This is wierd. This actually feels good. Outside of the hoop is a blur and the room's contents melt away and I feel like I'm disappearing into this rhythm. What's happening? Where am I? That rhythm keeps spiralling me inward.

I've arrived somewhere. I like this place. It's peaceful. My mind has become silent. Any thoughts travel outward from their origin, like little ripples moving across the surface and then dissolving into this nothingness. Thoughts suddenly have no consequence. They can't cling when the hoop keeps coming back and sluffing off layer after layer...of what?

What is going on here??