Coming Home Embodying Flow/Love

Hoop Path Flow/Love

Baxter hoops it up during the Hoop Path Flow/Love tour stop in Edmonton.

A week later and I’m still smiling after another amazing Hoop Path weekend with Jonathan Livingston Baxter, or Baxter (or Bax) as we know him in the hooping world.

These weekends are always magical for me. I love taking a whole weekend to delve into the subtleties of hoop dance. Baxter is able to share so much of himself  and the message he shares in these workshops are much deeper than just hooping alone. Every time I’ve taken a Hoop Path weekend, I feel like Bax is telling me exactly what I need to hear. This year’s theme was Flow/Love, something I can get behind for sure considering my word for 2015 is Flow and my last Halloween costume was a Love Bot.  Plus, there’s all the hooping too!

While many past Hoop Path weekends have spoken to me more on a deeper, spiritual level, I found what impacted me the most this year was the actual act of hoop dance. Who would have guessed? We played with techniques that I finally felt like I got after working with them here and there over the past few years. These techniques felt so foreign the first time Bax shared them with us. Off body stuff with no hands? Whaaaaa? This year I really felt like I found my flow with it though.

Baxter talked about embodiment over the weekend and while I know what that means, I feel like I didn’t really “know” it until now. I started off the weekend incredibly tired, still trying to recover from jet lag after returning from Thailand (or 14 hours into the future if you want to look at it that way) only a week earlier. My body was back in Canada, but my mind was somewhere else. My rhythms were all messed up. I don’t recall having such a difficult time adjusting last time I returned from the future, but I think age may have something to do with that.

What I found over the weekend though, was that the more I hooped, the more I arrive back in my body. My brain fog cleared up, the extreme tiredness I was feeling began to cease and piece by piece, I slowly arrived back home – in my body.

As I arrived in my body, I began to open and expand, which was my intention for the weekend. My body began to move more freely than ever before (in my life ever!), I experienced a state of flow where my hoop and I were so connected, there were no mistakes, even though I dropped my hoop. Instead of letting the hoop fall to the ground, another limb magically caught it, or bumped it and I moved in new ways that I never have before and may never move again. I felt as though I became flow and that I became love. I felt that I didn’t need to intellectualize what Baxter talked about, because I was experiencing it in my body.

What I love about hooping is that it has this way of bringing me completely into the moment. What I love about Hoop Path, is that throughout the process of the weekend, Baxter creates a space for us to be present in our bodies and from that state, flow emerges. That dance of mistakelessness only arises during true moments of embodiment, of pure presence.

Somehow, I have fallen in love with hoop dance even more. It is such a gift to use movement as an embodiment practice. So in addition to hooping meeting 7 needs I didn’t know I had, I now see it even more as a tool to bring me home, into my body and into my heart.

Thanks Bax, for delivering on your theme of Flow/Love. I can’t wait for my next Hoop Path weekend. To my readers, if you get the chance to take a Hoop Path workshop, do it! You won’t be disappointed.

A Letter To 14 Year Old Me

April 9 marks an important anniversary. On that date 15 years ago, I attempted suicide. This is one thing I’m so glad I failed at in life because man, I love to be alive! I posted that on Facebook yesterday and was overwhelmed by the response of my family and friends, there are so many people who love and support me. All that love and support inspired me to write a letter to my 14 year old self, sharing all the wisdom I’ve gained in the last 15 years.

14 year old Nicole, why u so sad?

14 year old Nicole, don’t worry, everything is gonna be ok. More than ok actually, everything is going to be awesome!

Dear Nicole,

This is future you and I want to get right into this and say that you’re awesome and I love you. It may seem strange to love yourself, but you’ll learn that it’s very important to love yourself.

You have so much to live for, I promise! Did you know that you’ll get to ride an elephant in Thailand? Bet you wouldn’t have imagined that would happen. Guess what else? In just three years you’ll meet the love of your life, eventually get engaged in Hawaii and get married in Mexico, surrounded by all of your family and friends. Even before that things will get better for you, you’ll have a pretty good time in high school. Believe it or not, you’ll join the running club and complete the 12 km Bloomsday road race two years in a row, you’ll love art class and be part of the swim team and cycling club too. At age 21 you’ll decide to play soccer for the first time in your life and will love it! You’re not going to believe this, but you’re going to fall in love with hula hooping and start teaching it, to girls who are your age right now, so you can instill in them that they’re awesome and help them get through the same things  that you’re feeling. I don’t want to give away all the awesome details, but you’ll spend a lot of time dressing up in costumes, playing with goats and dancing under the stars. Your life is worth living, trust me. Please know that other people’s lives will be negatively impacted if you aren’t around.

Sure, there will be some hard times, but don’t worry because you got this! You’re strong and smart and you have so, so, so many people around you that love you. You have more cheerleaders than you know of. Always remember that when you’re feeling alone.

Nicole, you are so beautiful, inside and out. I know you don’t see that, but you truly are. I know that you just want to be accepted, but you know what? The only acceptance you need is from yourself. Everyone else is just as self conscious as you are and they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think. Be confident in who you are, even if you don’t feel like you know who that is yet. I know it sounds silly, but if you tell yourself every day that you love yourself, you’ll start to believe it. What’s attractive in others is confidence, so strive towards that. You are talented, you are smart and you are not fat! In fact, you have a perfectly curvy body, learn to love it! You may find that some people act out towards you because they are jealous or because they don’t feel confident, but that’s ok. You have my permission to love yourself, so start faking it until you make it.

I really just can’t stress enough that what you’re going through right now is like a small blip in time and you’re so close to the next chapter of your life. You have so much to live for and so much to look forward to. Even as I write this, I can’t fathom what our life will be like in another 15 years, but I can guarantee it will be awesome because we will make it that way! And don’t worry about getting old Nicole, when you’re 44  your husband will  be 49. You never have to worry about getting old because he’ll always be older and you will find that very amusing.

Another thing Nicole, it’s ok to feel sad or depressed or mad or angry, just find some way to express what you’re feeling. Write in your journal, write a poem, paint a picture, bang on your drums, talk to one of your friends or one of your cheerleaders. Are you surprised to find out you’re still friends with your junior high buddies 15 years later? Well, you are!

14 year old Nicole, I leave you with lines from a poem called Desiderata that you will grow quite fond of as you grow up.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

and

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Love you so much, more than you could ever know,
29 year old Nicole