About rosehiphoopdance

I am passionate about healthy living, hoop dance and having fun and I love sharing my passions with you. Check back often for inspiration and motivation to live a happier, healthier life. Visit http://rosehiphoopdance.com to check out my blog.

2019 – On Softening

2019. What can I say? It was the hardest year to date, yet on the last day of the year and decade, I am full of gratitude for all the beautiful lessons that have come from the challenges.

My word for the year was soften, because 2018 was hard and I wanted to soften in 2019. I got there, but not in any way I could have imagined.

By February Scott’s mental health crisis was under control after a really rough 16 months that impacted us all. March was glorious as we were all well and able to enjoy life again. We took a family trip to Jasper that is one of my highlights of the year! Beautiful weather and scenery was just what we needed. However, work was getting very busy and I was feeling pretty burned out, probably because I didn’t have much time to properly recover from the crisis mode we were in for so long. This continued into April and May. Even me hitting my head and sustaining a concussion in April didn’t slow me down as much as it should have, at least not right away. I took a few days off work, but still tried to push through and do it all, even though I had no energy, was extremely irritable, unable to concentrate and was extremely sensitive to light and sound. I also experienced dizziness and nausea regularly then too. Still, that didn’t slow me down and I wasn’t anywhere close to softening.

Finally in June, I couldn’t deal anymore and decided to see my Doctor, who immediately took me off of work. I’d previously seen an emergency room doctor and was being treated by a physiotherapist but after 6 weeks of getting worse I knew I needed to do something different.

I started off with being off work for a week which ended up turning into two and a half months before I felt ready to try working again. Those two months were when I finally began to soften. I was finally starting to be gentle with myself, allowing myself to sleep when I needed and giving myself permission to do nothing as that is what my body needed to heal. During this time I began to stop judging myself if I had a negative thought about where I was in the healing process or what I was experiencing. I offered myself so much compassion, and that was softening.

In August, I finally felt well enough to try to go back to work. By that time I could go through my day fairly symptom-free and even do things like go for walks and handle being at social events without feeling extreme fatigue or other symptoms. Working was a whole new challenge that required even more softening because my healing didn’t continue on an upward trajectory like it had been while I was off work. We had originally planned for me to be back to full time hours in four weeks. Now it has been nearly four months and I have not managed more than five hour days yet.

I’ve had to soften my expectations of what I can realistically do in a day at work. I’ve had to let go of the very high expectations I had of myself to manage working, my condition, my self care, my medical appointments (1 – 3 a week), being a wife, being a mom and being a friend. I’m so grateful for my husband Scott, who is being able to pick up a lot of the slack around the house because honestly most days after working I’m so exhausted that I don’t have much in me to give. The only way I can manage all of those responsibilities is to lower my expectations, prioritize my healing, and to soften.

While I’ve had to give up so much because of this – like hooping, going to social events, visiting family, watching Aurora learn to swim, and countless days spent in bed resting, I’ve also gained a lot too.

It is far easier for me now to ask for what I need. That may be as simple as asking for the volume to be turned down or bigger things like asking for accommodations at work. This has been a big lesson for me and I am grateful for how it will serve me for years to come.

I have also noticed that I have way less judgemental thoughts about myself, and when I do my immediate reaction is to shower myself in compassion, rather than double down and she myself for thinking a negative thought. This has helped a ton with my nervous system. I feel like this unwinding the mind is literally removing anxiety from my body as those thoughts created instant anxiety.

While I can no longer do one of my favourite things ever – hoop, I have deepened my meditation practice more than I ever would have if life continued as status quo. I have journaled more than ever and my spiritual practice is at an all-time high. I used to experience bliss only through movement, or movement had to come first. Now I can find that state through stillness and that is a gift.

I am far more likely to rest when I get tired, rather than giving up in frustration. Of course some days are more challenging than others, some days I do feel mad or upset that my life has change so drastically and that it feels like I’m just living to manage the post-concussion syndrome symptoms, but more often than not I just allow myself to be where I am and trust that one day I will be better. That is truly softening oh, and that is a gift

Softening is also knowing that I wish big things for myself in the future, but hold no expectations of when they will happen. I continue to take each day as it comes, one day at a time. I try not to put too many expectations on my healing process. I enjoy each moment that I’ve got. I am more present in the experiences I do have and I appreciate moments when I’m feeling well much more.

To paraphrase Ram Dass – “I don’t wish you the stroke, but I wish you the grace that the stroke brought”. That is how I feel about living with Post Concussion Syndrome. Out of the darkness has come a lot of light.

And now as I’m move into 2020, I hope to stay soft and to hold space for living in alignment so I can continue to heal.

If you got this far, thank you for reading. I hope you’ve got something to be grateful for from this year and I wish all the best for you in 2020.

Maiden to Mama

My blog has been severely neglected over the past year. It turns out that getting pregnant and becoming a mom doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, but now that I’m starting to get a handle on this parenting thing  (for today, anyways) I noticed I really missed writing and expressing myself creatively.

It’s hard some days to do much else than nurse my little bundle of joy. It’s been nice to spend the winter indoors, cozied up on the couch, watching  Netflix by day and hockey by night, but today I felt a call for more. I am feeling inspired to create again.

Pre-baby I had so many ways to express my creative energy on a daily basis. For fun I hooped, I danced, I taught classes and workshops, I created costumes and wrote blogs. At work, I flexed my creativity muscles all day long writing emails, newsletters and event invitations. It didn’t hit me until today just how much I missed being in that creative space where inspiration and ideas just flow out of me. One of my core desired feelings is flow, and while I feel like every day as a stay at home mom is all about going with the flow, I’ve missed the creative outlet of being in flow that my soul desires. Expressing that creativity is what helps me feel alive!

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Standing in the gateway, from maiden to mother

When I envisioned my 2017, I had a hard time being specific because I had no clue what it would be like to be a parent. My normal lofty goals for the year ahead were put aside and all I really wanted was to be able to become a parent while not completely losing myself. I wanted to maintain some form of self care. I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with having limited time for myself, but I’m doing pretty good I think, better than I thought to be honest. The time I do have for me is so special, even if it means writing this post on my phone at 1am while nursing my baby, or practicing yoga with a noisy baby in an untidy room and a husband clamouring away in the kitchen (making food and cleaning dishes so I’m not complaining at all!). Before baby,  I’d need to have complete silence and a clean setting to practice yoga at home, now I take what I can get and I’m completely ok with that. Life looks a little different but taking the time for me is that much more valuable since I can’t pour from an empty cup. So I guess this whole post is about me filling my cup so I can be there for my little Aurora Jade.

In one of my many pregnant freak out moments, I worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing when the baby arrived. I eventually realized that while I likely wouldn’t know what I was doing, I have spent years gathering all the skills and self awareness to help me be able to raise this tiny human the best I can. I didnt know exactly what I was preparing for when I invested in countless workshops and retreats, but everything I’ve learned up to this point has helped me get through these first few months as a mama. I’ve learned to trust myself, I’ve built up my confidence, I’ve developed strategies for coping with stress, I’ve learned to take care of my body physically and I’ve discovered what forms of self care are non negotiable. Without all this, I don’t think I’d be able to cope as a new mom. I’m so grateful for all the years of self discovery as a maiden.

It’s time to discover who I am as a mama. The moment I birthed my daughter, I birthed myself as a mother, but I’m just as much as an infant as Aurora and everything is new. Now I’m going to have to figure out who I am all over again, and I’m ready.

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Aurora and I, moments after birthing her into this world

Freedom, flow, bliss!

This year, I’m on a quest to feel free in every aspect of my life – in how I communicate with others, in my body, with how I show up in the world.

I find ways daily to feel free, and every day I celebrate all the ways in which I feel free. Often what comes up is that I feel the most freedom in my hoop. When that freedom arises, I know I’m in flow, an oft sought after state by hoopers. It’s that sweet place where your mind isn’t even thinking about what you’re doing, yet you’re spinning around the room, looking all badass like a hoop ninja. Those freedom and flow moments inevitibly lead to bliss and that is the theme I’ll be working with in the next series of classes I’ll be teaching through Infinity Hoopdance, starting March 3. I’m super excited to share my nearly 8 years of hoop dance practice to help my students find their own freedom, flow and bliss in the hoop. If you want to deepen your practice, find out more about the classes here.

p.s. I found this cool chart about flow, not to be confused with a flow chart, when I was in some professional development training recently. To be in flow, we want to hang out in the centre zone. To get there we just need to match the level of complexity of the task to our skill level and that is what hoop class is meant to do!
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Csikszentmihalyi’s diagram of Flow (Source: Conflict Mediation Coach)