I write from my heart…
06/18/2018 hmmmmm…it is a good morning. All is quiet except birdsong and gentle rustle of leaves. I get the feeling it might rain soon. However, I refuse to allow this possibility to “dampen” my intention of biking to the main library downtown. I have eagerly waited 5 summer days to receive a message from the library that several books I had reserved are now available for pick-up. Yeah, a little water ain’t stoppin’ me from cracking open every last one of these books: 101 Circus Games for Children-Juggling-Clowning-Balancing Acts-Acrobatics-Animal Numbers (Paul Rooyackers), Clown Skits for Everyone (Happy Jack Feder) and The Most Excellent Book of How to Be A Clown (Catherine Perkins). That’s right, my fellow citizens of glorious Mother Earth, I have decided to explore a detour. Spazzy Jazzy is going on an excellent adventure, and I’m not going (Han) solo.
“Your circle should want to see you win. Your circle should clap loudly when you have good news. If not, get a new circle.” Wesley Snipes
A Circle is Born: When I announced my decision to incorporate Hoop Dance into my professional Health and Wellness repertoire, I received a variety of reactions which landed on both ends of the social support spectrum. During the 3+ years since putting the booze bottle down for good, my Self has grown to truly understand that I simply must ACCEPT the nature of dualism in that there cannot exist good without evil; light cannot be without darkness; happiness cannot exist separate from suffering. In this case, successes cannot be gained without failures, preconceived or not. I immediately realized that if I was to attain any “success” at all, there was no choice except to use all the disenchanted “are you really sure this is what you want to do” negativity and transform that into something useful, a fuel to create an explosive momentum for this brand new dream. As long as I continued to focus my efforts and energy on nurturing these “ridiculous” pursuits, I believed with all my heart that I could do anything, including taking all the necessary risks and ready to embrace the failures.
But let’s be real. It has been 6 months since I began this journey, and during the hundreds of hours developing my professional and personal hoop practice, I have literally and metaphorically fallen down, hard, bruising the sassy Ego, creating my own suffering. Yet, every single time I am down I can look up, and the handful of humans who have, from the beginning, provided unconditional, non-judgemental support stand strongly rooted to create a magnificent circle of positivity, encouragement and community. Thus, the first circle was born!
07/16/2018: And They Overlap Like A Layered Cake: Good Sweet Day. Yes, the date shows that it has been about one month since spilling the above thoughts, and I must admit that I am so thrilled and eager to report ALL the beautiful and rewarding experiences that have occurred in the days between these writings. I’ll start with this:
Until 06/18/18, I focused many, many, many hours and days and energy toward assembling, rearranging, torquing and twerking :0) an ideal Health and Wellness program which would/could appeal to a specific target population, primarily humans of the Adult variety. Well, I’m here to write, as I listen to Dave Brubeck, that the Gifford Park Neighborhood Market has served as the catalyst for a significant shift in Spazzy Jazzy’s Incredible Journey into Clowning! There exists an inexpressible, beautiful energy during Market time, and I have the privilege to witness one magical miracle after another. And yes, I credit all the children for igniting the spark!
In just 6 markets, children from all over the Omaha community and beyond have helped me reach several realizations and fresh perspectives, including the ability to discover my inner-clown (not to be confused with inner-child). I will not deny that reaching such a state of silliness that is required for clowning has been increasingly difficult as I move through this life. Yet, week after week it goes on like this: the kids approach the hoop rack in uttermost awe and curiosity, 3-year-old hands reach out for the 41″ hoop, a 10-year-old grabs a few leis and the Uncle Sam hat from the toy box, then quickly grabs the largest hoop available while his older sister, in a more reserved manner, chooses a hoop more suited to her size and concentrates her focus on waist hoop technique. The children come and the go; some can only hold their attention for 2 minutes of explosive hooping, some for the entirety of the Market (3 hours)!
3 hours are over in a blink of an eye…
However, the joyful feelings linger long after the Market and flow into the next. Yes, there is much to be learned and gained from these incredible, young members of our community. “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on Earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child.”- Thich Nhat Hahn
These children, the families, vendors and community that are the foundation for this Market have and continue to teach me the value of living NOW. So, in very much the same way I discovered my first circle, a second circle exists to bring me back to where I need to be. And for that, I am so truly grateful.
Among other MAGNIFICENT events in which I have been honored to witness such joyful successes and contribute my experience, strength and hope have included: the FUNdamentals of Hoop Dance Classes held at the RS Fit Squad Studio (aka Get Fit) and Gifford Park’s Youth Garden Movement event held at Community Garden. I never, ever, in my entire life envisioned hula hooping with our community’s youth surrounded by nothing except thriving, lush garden plots, Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars, the Earth so alive, colors so saturated…
Okay, so here’s my Take it or Leave it Advice for Hoopers #6: oh my gosh, hula hoop with some kids! This is a Win-Win situation for everyone involved for many reasons, for example: all bodies are participating in a fantastic mode of low-impact cardiovascular exercise and it is an incredibly FUN way to connect with one another. I will not go off the rails by commenting on our Nation’s current situation regarding the lack of physical activity and poor nutritional habits experienced by our youth. However, I will write that, upon reflection, I believe children are like sponges, they truly absorb all the moments; moreover, they’re watching US, they’re looking up to US for guidance, assistance, love, tolerance and trust. I believe with all of my heart that best gift we can give these souls is the gift of healthy, loving and compassionate behaviors that they, in time, will develop and transmit to another precious life.
Last but not really: Jasmine’s Hoop Dance Song Suggestion for the Day: “Green Onions” performed by Booker T. and the M.G.’s.