Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Be Alone

What is being alone with the phone or Facebook offering perpetual connectivity? What is alone in a house full of children? For me, alone is a delicious escape into Coyote's country. If, on the other hand, you experience solitude as alien or frightening, Tanya Davis offers some advice on "How to Be Alone."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Hooping Body

Groovin Megz, founder of the Hooping Body, strives to remind hoopers that “we are athletes of the circle.” As athletes we have an obligation to strengthen and protect the bodily vessel that carries our dance. Megz has experienced first hand both the bliss and drawbacks of a life sustained by ecstatic dance. She’s rocked the stage alongside musicians like EOTO, Sphongle, Beats Antique, and Keller Williams. She’s traveled across the continent teaching and inspiring with her unique, high energy hooping. Unfortunately, for Megz, “January 2008 was a major wake-up call. My hip pain hit me like a bag of bricks... throbbing, stinging, jabbing, grinding pain in my right hip joint. I hadn't felt anything like this before.” She spent a year in search of healing. “I tried Yoga, exercise and lots of stretching but I was in so much pain nothing was tolerable. […] I tried various massage therapists and chiropractors, but no one could tell me exactly what was wrong or why I was in so much pain. I felt helpless and depressed.” Finally Megz found a personal trainer who “used several innovative techniques which relieved the pressure in my hip joint and taught me many basic exercises to strengthen my glutes and core.” Now a stronger, pain-free Megz hopes to pass her knowledge on to others.

Drawing upon her hoop dance history, as well as her training as a corrective exercise specialist, a certified personal trainer, and group exercise instructor  Megz launched the Hooping Body “to educate hoopers on proper hooping practices.” If you’re in the Portland area, you can attend her weekly classes. For global hoopers, you can access useful information on her website. She’s created a questionnaire to help hoopers identify their trouble spots. Perhaps even more immediately useful are two video guides that walk hoopers through a series of strength and flexibility building exercises. However, Megz cautions there’s no substitute for working with a certified healthcare professional. Megz urges hoopers to seek out a posture assessment “to make sure they are in correct alignment before engaging in practice. Also, hoopers need to be mindful of how they feel before they hoop, if there is any particular tightness or soreness, those muscles should be stretched before and after hoop practice.”

The Hooping Body’s message is simultaneously cautionary and uplifting. Megz celebrates all that is athletic, fierce, and beautiful within the hoop, while urging hoopers to never compromise their health. With more videos in the works and dreams of taking her program on the road, the Hooping Body is an essential resource for healthy hoopers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Macrame Hoop

Last night I hit the ¼ mark of a monumental macramé project: a hemp-covered hoop! This is going to be marvelous when completed. The macramé section has amazing grip and texture. Plus is has that sun-flower seed smell of hemp twine! I’m excited to soon spin an earthy, organic hoop into the Circle.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lighted Lifestyles Review

In the winter of 2009, with my one year hooping anniversary on the horizon, I began my search for the perfect LED hoop. At the time I was spinning a friend’s Heady Hoop and was less than impressed with the quality. I’d already sent it off for repairs after the lights inexplicably died. It was also large and cumbersome with a distinctive rattle. It broke a second time around New Years. So while I’ve known folks who have happily used their kindly priced Heady Hoops for years, I needed something different. I wanted the craftsmanship promised by high-end hoop makers like PSI and Harmony, but couldn’t justify that much money. Then I remembered some spinners I met in Columbia, Missouri, that fall. “Hadn’t they told me they made LEDs?” So after asking around online, I rediscovered Lighted Lifestyles.

My Lighted Lifestyles hoop is 38” with 24 LEDs in blue, green, and UV purple. I chose solid lights, because the strobe LEDs make me really dizzy. While the purple is a little dimmer than the other lights, the hoop as a whole is very bright. It’s still heavier than a regular hoop (of course), but feels very compact. There’s no pull caused by unevenly spaced, loosely packed parts. Nor is there any distracting rattle. I love, love, love, my hoop! Kurt and Misty (who no longer works with the company) were both very helpful. They answered my questions in detail and even drove the hoop to me so I had it for the holidays. My only regret was choosing an internal switch. Over time, the frequent opening and closing wore the connector loose and it became a challenge to close the hoop completely. Once it opened at the wrong end of the connector and pulled the hoop’s “guts” out about an inch. A couple days later--9 months into the hoop’s lifespan--it died.

I was seriously disappointed. After spending over $100 on tool, I expected at LEAST a year without problems. However, Kurt immediately offered to repair the hoop and explained he’d since phased out the internal switch design because of problems like mine. In about a week my new hoop arrived in the mail. I’d scaled down to ½” tubing to reflect my growing fondness for smaller, lighter hoops. The external switch is more accessible than the original switch and is actually sunk down into the hoop so it’s flush with the outer surface. Thus no switching off or breaking mid-spin--my two original worries about external switches.

Once again I’m happily slinging multi-colored light. I’ll keep everyone updated as my remodeled hoop ages.

Spinning a friend's luminous white Lighted Lifestyles hoop at Zenfest.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mandala Monday # 2

All along the lake yesterday I saw these wonderful signs. Attention: be alert to changes in flow. They spoke, of course, of the currents along the water. However, the dancer in me read them as a reminder that the flow of creativity is a barometer of spiritual wellness parallel to the physical flow of breath and blood. Thus changes are expected, but never without cause. Like rippling water, flow can be followed back to its source, rediscovered, and purified. Blessed be the water.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick Wick Review

I just started using a set of 5 Hoopdrum quick-wicks on my 1/2" hoop. I wanted more freedom for off-body tricks without hitting the ground, so I ordered the 5.5" length, rather than 6." It's CRAZY what a difference that makes! Having the fire just a little bit closer is super intimidating. They do, however, make a continual vertical step through possible, so I'm very pleased with the additional range of motion shorter spines offer. Now I just have to readjust to isolations with fire at my fingertips! As other reviewers have mentioned, quick-qicks very light, as well as reasonably easy to attach. The clear, step-by-step instructions helped me both attach the wicks and understand how they work. I was able to attach four of the five by myself, but needed help with one, as the ring was just a tiny bit bent and more difficult to get into place. All-in-all quick-wicks are obviously a well crafted, well design product. They're definitely a world of improvement from my bulky old fire hoop whose long, rigid spines severely limited my dance. Quick wicks have brought flow and versatility to my fire dance. I hope to use them for years to come.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mandala Monday #1

One of my summer goals is to create and share a mandala every Monday. These geometric patterns, inspired by ancient Tibetan artwork, are an act of conscious creation. They clear the mind and reaffirm cosmic order, unity, and transformation. For me personally they are meditative tools that resurface in my life when the desire to doodle momentarily prevaials over the need to write lists.

Today's digital mandala was created by Lori Beaty. According to Beaty, "Meditation on this mandala promotes clarity and ease of movement to and from different levels of consciousness. It is, in essence, a cosmograph of the path to enlightenment."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peace of Mind

Peace of mind, the student typed, drifts across my synapses like maple syrup. She stabbed the enter key twice and tried again. Peace drifts through the mind. Peace of mind drifted through my synapses like maple syrup. She read the sentences out loud, chose the last as superior, and then copied the line into a new paragraph.

Peace of mind drifted through my synapses like maple syrup, Microsoft word proclaimed objectively. She tossed second handful of words at the screen, savoring the narcissism of autobiography and the thrill of beginning. She was practical enough to realized her triumph was kinesthetic rather than intellectual. The fingertips, she reflected, are the seat of creativity.

In reality peace of mind skirted illusively through her synapses. Aaron wandered through the room strumming a guitar as she reread her paragraphs. “Am I too loud?” he asked.

“No,” she replied, “not as loud as my whispering.” She had already stopped to reread again, and then stare unfocused at the monitor. The music, like maple leaves, rattled her brain. She typed out a few lines of dialogue to reaffirm her task. Tonight she would write-- not spin circles, argue, or absorb the TV. As her rhythm returned, Aaron walked back to the porch to smoke. “I hope you don’t mind my playing.” He apologized again, brandishing both Kona and cigarette. “It’s been really inspired.”

She gnashed her lips. Did she crave inspiration or a cigarette? Rather than reply, she edited the fourth paragraph. By paragraph five, Aaron crossed into the living room without apologizing for the roar of Wii-channel propaganda. The student congratulated herself for writing my synapses. To suggest a planet’s worth of synapses experienced peace as maple syrup seemed ludicrous when confronted with Aaron’s alien habits. She imagined his peace of mind, like inspiration, streamed electric from cerebrum to tongue. She wondered if peace lingered in neurons equipped with modern conveniences. Did it shine brighter or peek longer in a mind inclined to zip, rather than drift? The maple syrup, she typed decisively, dripped slowly to the floor. Careful not to smudge the screen with her sticky fingers, the student pushed her laptop closed. She walked toward the living room. “Aaron, where can I find a towel?"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Between May and Midsummer the world buzzes with excitement. I find myself struggling to sleep. Though my body longs for a comfy spot and pillows, my mind would rather range through long conversations and vague meditations. This time of year sleep is for the uninspired...unless you're three. Three year olds are wise enough to enjoy a nap whenever, wherever they can.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Untangling Knots

As much as macramé is the art of tying knots, it’s the art of untangling them too. Carefully twisted loops and coils become necklaces, bags, and sandals, while snarls of misbegotten twine become a life metaphor. Macramé reminds me that parallel cords never tangle. They needn’t be bundled or even kept separate from one another. The longest strings can lay harmlessly side by side in what appears to be a completely chaotic mass of twine. Yet gentle tugging reveals each cord has its own path. They slide easily into the knot work.

The trouble begins when one cord wraps around itself. When I look at the source of the biggest snarls, I invariably find a tiny noose where one cord encircled itself and caught other cords in its circle. A person who’s “wrapped up in herself” enact a similarly destructive narcissism. She looses sight of others in the glamour of self. Their stories become merely an extension of her story. The naturally parallel, though still intimate and cooperative, threads are caught up in a loop of hurt feelings, ego, or fear. As more and more cords get snarled, the knot expands, until that first tiny noose is lost in the mess it created.

Yet macramé has taught me to follow the threads back to their beginning, back to the free end where change and tangles are made and unmade. All it takes is loosening that one circle to free the others. If I’m lucky, the caught cords haven’t formed their own snarls. They return easily to their original purpose. Other times, they’ve formed a whole series of interlocked nooses and tangles. Yet the most impossible knot forms when the other cords escape and the looped cord is pulled into a tight, lonely knot. Life, like a knot, needs space to uncoil. Though the circle may hold and protect, it can also entrap when I endlessly reenact my mistakes or replay my frustrations, rather than weave them into life’s knot work. Thus macramé is the art of tying and untying, repetition and innovation, tension and patience, making and unmaking, --the art of living.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Knotting Song

These little songs come and go: gifts from the spirits. When I leaped--or rather hobbled--back to my bead box, I was disappointed to realize the "knotting song" had slipped my mind. I remembered a bit about seeds and beads, but the words and rhythm drifted formlessly. After all, I hadn't made macramé in over a year. Only the lull after graduation and a sprained ankle freed enough time and inspiration to string beads...and dredge my mind for weaving songs.

Happily today, as I began the long work of creating a macramé hoop, the words returned. I'm writing them down in hopes they'll linger. ~Blessed Be~

Sort and gather, searching for seeds,
Sort and gather, stringing the beads,
Sort and gather my mother’s red thread,
Tangle and spiral, both form a web.

What I make, the hands give shape.
What I break, I mend,
What I take, I give.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hooping: The Gateway Drug

The moment I started spinning my new staff, I was amazed by the parallels to hooping. Weaves, the rising sun, passes, and spins all translated into mind boggling new patterns. I’m in love…all over again. I’m experiencing all the excitement and discovery as when I first started hooping, but this time around I have a foundation of flow techniques to build on. Yet the staff has its own flow and physics. I feel so much of my hoop-style being transformed into this new tribal-ninja dance. I’m in love with the staff’s long lines and freedom of motion.

Seriously, if you’ve been considering a new prop, go for it! Not only am I completely smitten with my new toy, but my hooping is reinvigorated too. Freed from the entire weight of my prop-addiction, my recent hoop jams feel more spontaneous and inspired. So in a way my hoop has a new lover too!

I don't have any pics or videos yet, so I'll leave you with a video from Linda Farkas, a spinner who embodies grace and technical skill with a whole host of yummy flow toys.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Co-Mo Hoop Jam

The Columbia Hoop Club will host an open hoop jam on Sunday, May 23 in Peace Park. Spinning starts at 3:30. Linger into evening to watch the LEDs and fire twinkle!

I'm so happy to reconnect with my riverside hoop family. Hopefully my kevlar will arrive between now and then so I can finish my fire staff!

Columbia Hoop Club - Come Together from Virtuous Luna on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Twinkle, twinkle in my mind,
Tiny baubles in tangled twine,
The thread, the knot, each woven row,
A word where rippling waters flow.
As sycamores bow to greet bright breezes,
The mind will twinkle as she pleases.

-Graduation day, May 14, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bead Box Bliss @ Midwest Hoopfest

Give your hips a break and learn some new knotting techniques with Tangled Macrame! Beginners will learn to make a half knot (spiral) bracelet. We’ll discuss methods for ending and tying off macramé jewelry, as well as some funky square knot variations for more experienced macramakers.

Materials will be available for everyone to make one bracelet/anklet with wood and poly-clay beads. If you have materials (beads or finished pieces) you’d like to use, share, show-off, or trade bring them along! Bring your kids too!

Midwest Hoopfest: June 25-28, French Lick Indiana

Be there or be square! LOL!