Be the Change You Want to See in the Hoop

Friends! Just a quick note to let you know I am currently blogging over here! I will return to my personal blog in the not too distant future but for now I am fully immersed @ Empire HQ. See you there!❤

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Haughty 40 Here I Come!


Feeling fine at 39.9 is quite divine i must say and so as I sit on the brink of turning 40 I honestly I have to say I so can’t wait! I feel like I am at an edge of a cliff preparing to fly… preening wings, sharpening claws, stroking my jaw thinking – shit! am I really? Last time I checked i was 25. It just goes so fast.

So on the eve of the day when I enter my fourth decade in this body on Planet Earth I sit by a window listening to the river rush over rocks at the third and last of a series of delicious Onsen Ryokans in Japan. My beloved has brought me here as a gift to say thank you for sharing life and being me. I feel like the luckiest lady on the planet! I guess because right now in this body I am. I am so grateful! We have traveled through the mountains and by the sea soaking in the most blissful of hot spring water, eating the finest of vegetarian Japanese food, walking through forests, sharing a love of photographic adventure and enjoying each other’s company in a way that we just don’t get back in our non-stop daily city lives. After 11 years of life together we are in heaven.

Image Image    

Turning 40 is no small deal ne. Some say I should expect to experience panic. Most people, and friends at that, have almost fallen over when I have told them my age. Maybe that’s because i have acted like a youngest of 8 brat for way too long… maybe it’s my eternal youthful aura… maybe just maybe it’s because hooping really does keep you young… I have a theory that your eternal age is the date that you were born on so I guess it’s just another round of 21 for me! Handy huh

In all truth, I love this transition into the next decade more than any of the others. Naughty 40 is not for me. Been there done that my entire life. I’m ready for Haughty 40. Look out world! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The real fun has only just begun! My sincere apologies do go out to any toes I may have crushed in this spinning dance of life. May I suggest next time you move faster fly higher or simply meet me fair and square… circular if you must. I personally prefer spirals so make of it what you will. We all have our own paths to journey. I’m spinning through mine – earned owned and on the way to mastered. Sugoi!

So. What next? 20s was one big party. 30s was turning that into a really fun job. 40s seems like a good time to get some serious work done… I’m ready to go further than ever before. In this I feel is a big chunk of story might get tapped out onto a screen, perhaps even paper… for this is one of my destined paths – to write. There could be some bamboo creations… more on that later. The hoops are definitely a feature although with a spiralling next level spin. Did somebody say Botox? I need to have a word about that right now.

Yes or No to the Bo? For now… I’m gonna say NO to the BO. It’s an interesting dilemma since many in my life and world of entertainment are a definite yes and have no qualms. I just can’t help but think about Samantha Stevens in Bewitched with her gorgeous magical nature and her visibly ageing face. It helped build her character. Why should I deny time’s effect? Is it wrong to be old? I can’t decide. I could change my mind at any moment. How is it different to bleaching my hair, drawing on eyeliner or getting tattoos? It’s just another hedonistic attempt to fulfil whimsical aspirations fuelled by vanity. Maybe it will simply take a few more lines before I start seriously challenging or falling for yet another of Western culture’s warped memes. Ultimately I hit this point each time I consider it – do I really wanna spend my hard earned cash on a never-ending road of concealment or do I wanna invest in something else… like truth? Or travel? AND… it’s SO toxic.

Turning 40 is a gift. I remember being 16 and thinking if I reach 40 alive I will be well impressed. I guess I just knew at the time how wild the ride was going to be. Many of my friends have not made it. I guess that’s part of living life on the edge – it’s risky. Sending love to my star brothers and sisters where they now reside watching over me with their sparkle and shine.

I dedicate this decade to living my deepest truth and striving to reach the fullest of my creative potential. I also want to hit a level of continuous calm that I am yet to discover. It’s been a stormy life thus far and maybe that’s just my destiny although I have been told clearly that it is not. I hope to learn from my greatest inspirations my family of friends who have been there through thick and thin, who have battened down the hatches and kept this BunnyShip afloat. Most of all I want to feel the peace that comes with having lived life long enough to know there is no other way. Life is precious and when we find ourselves with the karmic bonus of privilege and abundance it feels to me that the only true way to live is in giving back so we can all share in the joy of love and kindness. Namaste!


Saturday 20 October, Red Lunar Serpent, Shuzenji Japan

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Finding Your Self in the Hoop – Individual Difference and Collective Synergy

Diving into hoop world can be a pretty intense experience. Once upon a time it was about spinning a cane or plastic hoop around the waist or on the arm in the schoolyard and that was about it. If you dared to dream big the signup was for Moscow or Beijing and off to circus gaol you went where you were issued with stainless steel hoops, probably quite a few bandages, the likelihood of several pain specialists and a whole lot of chutzpah! Not for the faint hearted that’s for sure.

Now the choices are endless… Hoop Camp in California, Hoop Convergence and Hoop Path in North Carolina, Sacred Circularities in Bali and Sedona, UK Hoop Gathering, Spin Matsuri in Japan, New Zealand Hoop Fest, Hoopy Happening and Hoop Journey in Australia, the first ever Hoopurbia in Germany this year… these are but a few of the ultra hip and much sought after training destinations or hoopy holidays happening on the international circuit. You can take super serious technique intensives, fun and light-hearted camp adventures, deeply spiritual retreat journeys or plug into your local community for regular jams, performances and hoop-centred events. Not to forget World Hoop Day! You betcha… we’re serious!

Styles of hooping currently include traditional Circus hula, body rock hoop dance, magical vertical manipulations, thrill seeker fire spinning, burlesque sashaying, wonder twin hooper powers, mystical mini minors, therapeutic hoop yoga, creative hoop movement and relaxation hooping. There appears to be a very significant imperative on the hoop scene to continually innovate fresh moves, exciting events, thrilling shows, something nobody has ever seen before… are hoopers magicians? Quite possibly.

Then there are the types of hoops you can get your hands on and your body into – big heavy Power Hoops (aka Magic or Man Hoops) that get the newest of newbie’s spinning and also ideal for fitness and weight loss purposes; super light circus hoops that have become the latest hoop club craze as they are easy and fast to fling around as one spins and dances up a storm; minis for those who like to push the puzzle of hand hooping just a little further; LED hoops that create sensational visuals and an experience of dancing with light; and, fire hoops as the ultimate in spinning with the elements while staying nice and warm.

So how do we locate ourselves in this hooperific milieu, this “world” of spinning movement filled with fun, play, passion, even obsession and great variety? The notion of discovering your self in the hoop, and what most appeals to you in learning and sharing it with others, is one that can not only be applied to hooping as a practice and profession but that can also ignite an understanding of purpose in life within community. Who would have thought that the simplicity of spinning a ring around the body could offer so much?

In the year 2012 the international hoop community has established itself to a point of prompting some deeper questions about how we hoop, why we hoop and what each individual has to gain from it and offer back to the collective in return. For some it’s “just fun”, for others it’s an intentional discipline with distinct skill-based and performance goals and, for all, its effect is way more powerful than what we are generally willing to admit. Hooping raises energy, shifts emotion, heightens physical sensation, aligns the body/mind, taps into the free spirit, connects us to a space of concentration and focus, challenges coordination, balance, strength, endurance, creativity, mobility, play and the part of us that wants to criticize and congratulate all that we can and cannot do, i.e the ego. It also offers a very viable and exciting new career option for those who want to break free from the norm.

In training hoopers to become hoop teachers my first question is which style of hooping do you most enjoy and why? There are so many! The question, and training, seeks to initiate a journey or process of developing an acute awareness of the individual’s unique passion and purpose not only in the hoop but in life as well. Personally, I most love hoop dance because I love to dance in spin and feel that conscious movement and stillness of the body and mind are essential keys to tapping into personal power and a dynamic life that celebrates change and transformation. I apply this theory to students aged 4 to 70. When we move, dance and play we invite a shift, a change, a smile, a moment of full presence and joy. To me it’s soul food. For others it might be weaving seemingly impossible hand tricks, constructing a circus act, devising a post-natal program, hoop fitness, fire flying, creative and collective play, theatrical story telling or simply hooping for fun.  When we identify what we most enjoy as individuals we enable our selves to give back to the collective in a focused and dedicated way by accumulating specific skills and information to embellish our niche. We also serve the whole by owning  our part in this mysterious puzzle called life!

I feel this is the point really – understanding our part in contributing to the whole. When we know what drives us effortlessly to serve our selves, others and the planet, that has our uniquely defined and ever evolving imprint on it, then the rest simply flows as inspiration, dedication and joyful work. This knowledge also helps to create a confidence in what we do which generates performance and business practices that are complementary, possibly even collaborative, rather than competitive. Hooping does not fit into the old style paradigm of the corporatised market economy. It’s about community – a place where we can support each other.

The hoop community as an industry has been developing throughout the world for over a decade now. First the USA, then Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan and New Zealand… the speed and ease with which these communities are shaping commercial enterprises is dependant on so many factors including population, space, economy, climate, and cultural receptivity to communal activity, fitness, dance, performance, art, fun, play… If we want to transform our passion into a profession that cultivates community, culture and our own personal growth we need to be aware of these factors and consider how this fun little plaything that we have discovered and embraced can be of use to other individuals and humanity at large. In contemplating what our unique style or edge is, it’s perhaps useful to question – how can this project of mine serve the planet? Dream BIG! Honour the NOW. Know what you love. Love what you do. Create your own reality. Hoop ON!

“Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion, passion is the supreme elixir and renews all things. Let divine passion triumph and rebirth you in yourself.” Rumi

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Listening to the Body by Bunny Star

As the sixth girl in a family of eight and a survivor of an all girls education, I grew up with a heightened sense of what it is to be “beautiful” – thin, tall, long mane, clear complexion and big breasts. We were informed by television, movies, magazines and the omnipresent advertorial gods. It was the ‘80s where the cult of the Supermodel turned beauty into a lucrative machine – Elle McPherson became “The Body”, Cindy Crawford represented the blondes, Kate Moss taught us how to take bad girl waif to an extreme and Madonna made it all just too cool. The radical Feministic revolution of the ‘70s was met with a conservative backlash that made the F word not only undesirable but somewhat dirty and replaced it with an obsession with shoulder pads and Fashion. Labels that identified one as a person seemed less important than those worn on the body with size small as the mandate since thin was definitively in. So at the tender age of 11 I took my first diet as a rite of passage into the harrowing realm of the teens. I prayed for no pimples, wondered how to elongate my legs, refused to cut my long knotted blonde hair, got those chest exercises going on and adopted shopping as a hobby.

            I really couldn’t recall the different diets that I tried over the next ten or so years as they were way too numerous, tedious and to be honest, completely nonsensical to warrant a mention. Although I will admit, the thought of combining ice-cream, crackers and hot dogs (not in the same bowl!) to create a chemical reaction does make me laugh and feel very concerned at the same time. Suffice it to say I learnt the all-consuming power of addiction to negative self-evaluation at a very early age, hating what I saw almost instinctively.

            As I trawl through my memory of this early period in life I try to find a time where there was a focus on feelings rather than appearance – I simply cannot find it. To this day I still fall into the trap of telling myself, “If I look good, I feel good” as I continue to feed this obsession with fashion and body image. But as I step outside of such a perception for just a moment and observe, I am drawn to question, what is ‘looking good’ about anyway? If beauty lies in the eye of the beholder how can I expect to influence other people’s opinion of my aesthetic, not least my own given my view has been so skewed with negativity. Beyond that, as sentient beings, how does the powerful notion of beauty translate as a two or even three-dimensional visual image when the reality of our being exists predominantly in feelings and thoughts. Shouldn’t this benchmark of admiration and personal value come from within?

Amidst this passage of self-assessment one day I noticed a difference in the way people responded to my person. It was in my early twenties when I made a conscious choice to take a calculated risk with life. Like a game of 52, I threw my cards in the air and watched with fascination where and how they did fall. I dropped out of university, experimented with drugs, became a lesbian, shaved off my hair, owned the title Feminist, pierced and tattoo’d my skin and entered the 90’s as a member of the Generation X alternate subculture. Granted I traded one stereotype for another but it felt good to live life in a way that I had grown up to believe was not ‘normal’. I wanted to be different if only to know what that felt like and to gain some understanding of how a concept like ‘normality’ served me in this world, or not. Most of all it gave me the attention I craved from a very young age.

Any sense of body image was taken care of by radical fashion statements, leaning towards less is more, accompanied by yet another ‘no food’ diet (drugs eliminate the need to eat) and an over-inflated feeling that we were taking on consensus reality in as many subversive ways as possible, making us a force to be reckoned with and irrefutably hot. We had attitude. We partied, we danced the nights away, we made art between and of ourselves, we gathered as a community to connect and we hooped. If we weren’t wearing loud coloured rave gear and sucking lollypops you may have mistaken us for punks. We were mixing it all up – bellbottom flairs or super tiny hot pants, big heavy platform boots (long legs!), kid’s sized T’s or slinky silver singlets to show off well sculpted abs, funky jackets with spiritual motifs, big sunglasses (day and night) and the hair that we did have was either bleached, coloured or wigged up to suit the look of the moment. It’s an interesting time, coming of age, how and why we interpret it for our selves and our peers. Some go with the flow, others thrash against the current. I chose the latter – it wasn’t always easy, but it was fun… if I ignore all the angst and repercussions of taking extremism way too far.

It’s funny looking back at this time, 15 years on, remembering just how cool we thought we were and realising now how uncool it was to trash our bodies and minds with pollution of a different kind – the good girl’s evil twin, rebellion. As I have grown into my adulthood I have come to understand and appreciate the value and beauty of balance, moderation and equanimity in not only an individual context but as a reflection of, and injection into, the collective health and well being of humanity. I’ve also learnt that words like normal and abnormal, good and bad, obedient and rebellious serve no greater purpose that splitting us into a conceptual world of duality when the goal is surely unified and holistic living.

Before I take this story further into the future or current time I must rewind and hover over one very significant element that anchored and chaperoned me through the tide of wild times – the hulahoop. This was the first of several turning points that would change my life and my body’s journey into a highly attuned sentient being in its own right. It was 1993 and I was at a nightclub ensconced in the dance floor when a circus performer appeared spinning hoops. The awe that struck me was quite indescribable. The skill with which she whipped those silver rings around her body was breathtaking. I fell in love! For Christmas that year my friend gifted me a hoop – the addiction was instant. For a very long time the hoop really only did time on my waist, with the tricks of the trade yet to reach my world, but the joy of exploring how much you can do or, more specifically, how much you can move, with a hoop on the waist was phenomenal. It just felt right and my body and dancing took on a whole new journey.

When I moved to Sydney two years later a friend and hoop buddy told me of a woman called Hula who he had met out dancing at a club – she was interested in sharing her craft. Inevitably I met this goddess of the hoop who over time taught me all that I know about circus hooping. We met at Bondi Beach where we exchanged astrological information then she drilled me in learning hoop tricks. Still I can remember the intense difficulty, the frustration, the feeling of defeat, the tantrums and the thrill of all that it involved. I desperately wanted to spin fire from the very beginning but Hula assured me I might want to master a few of the essentials first… I trusted her instinct.

At the time, it was not something I took seriously and my interest in developing skills and routines was limited and sporadic. It was more about fun and hanging out on the dance floor with my hoop grooving around in a corner floating in that bubble that is the hoop. It’s an odd scenario because as you can imagine, hooping on a dance floor attracts a lot of attention but strangely I felt almost invisible – wrapped in a force field and completely untouchable. Few people believe me when I tell them that beneath it all I’m actually very shy. I guess I’m what you might call an introverted extrovert. This life has been a journey of coming out of a primal shell to own a positive sense of self as well as creative and spiritual power. Playing the role of rebel followed by disco dancing HoopStar has certainly helped facilitate this self-directed transformative process.

The second turning point came in 2004. I had shared my passion for the hoop with a number of friends and the rapport was instant and effortless. Sydney’s underground performance scene was in full force and we became inspired to do something more with the hoop so we trained, rehearsed and started to document in preparation for a well overdue show.  I was working a 9-5 office job at the time – an experiment in the mainstream which clearly proved I was not of this ilk but gave me the stability to finish my Arts degree, an insight into how to organise an office and a whole lot of tolerance, endurance and focus in simply getting done what needs to be done to actualise one’s life dreams. It also offered an introduction to a number of inspiring people, one of whom joined the first generation of Hoopaholica and another who opened the gateway for us to perform – the Director of the 2005 Surry Hills Festival. The Barbarella’s were born and soon morphed into The Hoopaholics – a troupe of whirling Intergalactic Space Babes.

I began to notice a lot of change within and around me. My body craved fitness and needed to be supple to support the arduous nature of circus hooping where more is more making full body multiple hoop splits de rigeur and the ultimate goal. Yoga became not only a hobby but also a necessity if I were to fulfill my vision of becoming a hoopstar. When you put the two disciplines of hooping and yoga together you pretty much have a marriage made in heaven. The body just says YES! The words core strength, rhythmic activation, balance, centred alignment and full power all come to mind. Yoga also mirrors the benefit of hooping’s ability to develop body consciousness as you turn off the mind and switch on the body. With my love of dancing added to the equation I had found my golden triangle.

Another element of life that didn’t change so much as it amplified was my diet. Thankfully, by this stage my use of the word diet refers to the presence of food rather than its absence. As a devotee of compassionate, or vegetarian, eating since moving out of home and into a space of developing my own modes of sustainable living, an awareness of how food, energy and consciousness relate to each other became highly significant. The focus was not only on preserving the rights of animals to live a life free from suffering but also on how we as humans can avoid discomfort in our own bodies by considering what we put in it. I simply started to listen to my body. It didn’t want animal flesh. It rarely craved dairy. It wanted fresh fruit and vegetables and mostly preferred raw or lightly steamed food. It responded with a feeling of lightness, high levels of energy and a natural physical slenderness that resonated with my sense of wellbeing. How can one ignore a biological system that speaks so clearly? I realised that the more we tune into our bodies, be it physical, mental, emotional, energetic or spiritual, the more information we are privy to which lives inside us like a library just waiting to be opened.

In 2006 I took a trip to the United States to explore the alternate art, music and cultural festival that is Burning Man. Held in the desert of Nevada this “experiment in temporary community” is also a mecca for the American hoopdance scene. What an incredible experience that was! Never have I experienced such an eclectic array of super creative people carving their individual and collective visions onto a blank canvas desert-scape at a scale that could only be described as massive and with an attitude of vibrant and positive energy. Apart from having connected with the rising international hoopdance community online, this was my first experience of hoop jamming. A hoop jam is a dance floor full of hoopers busting moves. Hello heaven I had found home! No more hiding in the corner for this lady, I had hit the land of extroverted spinners and did they know how to spin. It wasn’t posed like the circus or the catwalk (although the attitude was definitely out and proud), for the most part all that was required was a single hoop and the intensity of the energy required to move with such precision and intuitive flow anchored me on my path with a big red circle that indicated a third turning point in my journey with the hoop. I was sold on hoopdance. My interest in the more is more approach dissolved as I took on the simplicity of a single hoop and discovered a whole new realm of hooping that allowed my body to move freely and in a way that was conducive to its own sense of feeling and rhythm. On the fashion front (having earned my own self-proclaimed title of globe trotting fashionista by this stage) I have to say, when clothes were worn, and minimal they were, Californian desert fashion wins the prize with hoop wear coming in a very close second.

Burning Man and my continued interaction with the Californian-centred hoopdance community has taken me to spaces I could only dream of, including the experience of spinning with fire which propels hooping into a completely different league – purely elemental, thrilling beyond description and as a hooper, an experience not to be missed. It is with extreme gratitude that I thank each and every hoopy who has crossed my path and has participated in co-creating a cosmic family in which we all understand what it is to get your hoop on and own it. It’s about coming into your body, letting go of the mind, accepting who you are, loving who you are as well as who you are constantly becoming and being open to challenging your sense of self on a mission of physical, spiritual, emotional, energetic and creative expression that can be found in the hoop and the ultra fun community that forms around it. The hoop is a powerful tool. It is often sold as a fitness tool or a toy and there is no doubt that it well and truly fits both moulds. But it goes way beyond the physical. It is an opportunity to transform the way you feel which for me is the essence of beauty – feeling good. Correction – feeling amazing!

Having always been a highly active dreamer, I am a strong believer in listening to the subconscious mind, allowing the ‘higher’ self to guide and to listen to feelings rather than being dominated by thoughts. I believe we can take this further by tuning in and listening to what the body has to say to us. It’s fascinating to notice how the body and mind can direct the self with varied states of health and dis-ease. As a performer and teacher, this awareness has only become stronger and guides me in all that I do. As I move further into and through my work, I am continually inspired to keep eliminating what is not conducive to my holistic health and to increase what is. A big part of that is being present in the current moment – embracing the now as life’s essence. To not judge, criticise or compare but to simply be and enjoy what is. I find this space of inner peace when practicing yoga, meditation, dance and hooping. All of these disciplines are portals of self-discovery and growth in which to explore and play.

I still occasionally struggle with the ghosts that tell me I’m too fat, or too thin in those times when my extremism flips the other way, or that I’m not tall enough or my hair needs more shine (mental note – stop bleaching hair, the ‘90s are over!). I know those voices belong to an old way of living that has lost its relevance in a time where my heart and soul sings with a love directed first and foremost in toward my self and then out to all those I encounter. I still love fashion as a form of art and creative self-expression and probably always will even if it is ashramic style cottons or the bling or ink that inevitably adorns my naked body. What I am interested in is the process of understanding and re-habiting this internal dialogue into a constructive and positive conversation about how and what I feel. I know that sometimes I eat too many chocolate croissants firstly because they are delicious, secondly to reactivate my rebel and eliminate my strict inner dietician if only for a moment and thirdly to feel fat because this belief that I grew up with feels comfortable in its familiarity. I know that like everything growth takes time, awareness, focus and discipline. Most of all I know my physical body has a voice that aligns with my emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic spheres. It’s time to listen and respond with intelligence, understanding, forgiveness and compassion. When my bodies are all aligned I am in my highest state of connection not only with my self and with others but also with the galaxy that we live in and the universe beyond that informs our highest state of being through Source consciousness. At this point I become a speck of light, no less no more, whose radiance depends on all others living in synergy. Imagine hearing the sound of light as a beautiful symphony that makes our whole being sing in a state of true bliss – the reality is this is possible. Turn off your mind, turn on your body and listen.

April 25, 2010

Published in Amongst Sisters by Amanda Foxon-Hill, Deep Hill Media, 2011

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Clouds of Impermanence

I recently became tuned into the Cloud Appreciation Society and it’s Manifesto. It spoke to me on so many levels that i really had to sit with the philosophy for quite some time to let it drift through my consciousness until it shifted into a shape that i could recognise. And then i had some swirls etched into my skin.

 WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

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We think that they are Nature’s poetry,
and the most egalitarian of her displays, since
everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

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We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it.
Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.
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We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those of a person’s countenance.
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Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked. They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save on psychoanalysis bills.
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And so we say to all who’ll listen: Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!

As a kid i spent a lot of time gazing at clouds with my Nan. She had a pretty good eye for the many creatures that would appear and disappear then reappear as something completely different. Over time they continued to fascinate particularly when flying above looking down at what could only possibly be a vision of Shambhala.

So as i sat in the studio being tattood over several hours and weeks had gone by i asked the maestro, “what’s with all the cloud iconography in Buddhist art?” It seems only right to know what you are representing with and on your person. She said, “impermanence.” Sweet irony and life of mystery i love you when you turn and twist stories and images into symbols of awe. From dust to dust with a little sparkle and shine the stars twinkle as suns just like us. In this life i now permanently wear a cloak of impermanence… or at the very least a sleeve.


Tattoos are a trip! I have to admit that in my experience the visual element only scratches the surface of a ritual and a journey that runs deep into the core of what it is to be human. Most common question asked: “doesn’t it hurt?” To which i reply, “no more than life.” I’ve never given birth to a child and i can’t remember being born but i imagine both to be excruciating moments in the moment followed by a mixed bag of joy, sadness and hopefully a little equanimity along the way. In a way there is an element of rebirth in body art that changes the physical permanently. I believe we choose everything that we experience whether we are conscious of it or not. So when we choose to change the bodies we chose to be born with it’s kind of like renovating a house. A little paint here, a top story there, clean up the foundations, knock out a wall… which is possibly the only reason i would ever buy a house… to knock out that wall… and to hang my art wherever i like.

When i started writing this post, a while ago now, i was on the lookout for a sledgehammer to annihilate a big fat hinderance to its completion – the notorious writer’s block that every writer experiences at least a bazillion times in their life. How to flow when all else is shifting constantly and changing and swirling and driving you a little nuts because it’s ALL ON. I would say that’s an accurate description of my chosen path for 2011 – intensely full ON and populated with so many stars that my sight almost became blinded except for the saving grace of some apparently well stored karmic credits that catapulted me to the other side of the galaxy… not to mention a handful of incredibly supportive friends and my loyal cat husband. What we take on when we choose to explode like supernovas. The clouds helped too – they kept me off the beach and in the ever expanding hoop lab with an occasional wistful gaze for gazing’s sake.

Actually 2011 has been an incredible year. I’ve learnt more about life and my self and others in the past 12 months than possibly my entire incarnation as Bunny Star. We can thank Saturn for that with his staunch hard hitting lessons that pop bubbles and turn clouds stormy particularly when Pluto’s hanging around. That’s OK. As a Moon Pluto i need it to feel my way through intensely. The reward comes in the form of Neptunian veils that lift and float and fly like gossamer wings in the wind leaving visions that astound and perplex and at times even entertain, some might even call it reality. It’s the illusion that i’m interested in – the stories that we create for ourselves and project onto our selves and others. Like clouds they change in shape and size and intensity.

So on this day 24 December of Red Magnetic Serpent (if only i had have acknowledged that piece of information 24 hours ago!) we are diving into a very intense cycle for the next 13 days. Watch Vasumi’s space for the download on that one! On XMas day we will experience White Lunar WorldBridger ~ my very own natal kin. Surrendering to the life force that is, in the name of right alignment and a necessary grounding into raw primal essence (Sex and the Tsunami), these words by Thich Nat Hanh remind me to honour the Sun, that also blasts across my shoulder, and the stability of the sky which is the potential quality of our vision.  The stories of reality/s are being written all around us. It’s up to each and every one of us to pick up the pen and make use of our own ink. As ever, choose your own adventure! I know i’ve always been a fan. Namaste!

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Going with the Flow

Image by Nick Coppins

The guy who lives in the mansion next door is trying to prove a point about the inequality of resources in this world by building another mansion right next to the one he already owns… apparently he needs more. As this building project is right next to my bedroom window it is my alarm clock. Interesting theme. What’s with jackhammers at 7am on a Monday morning dudes?!* At least I have the privilege of waking up. They will predictably die down at 9am. So as I wake today on Kin 2 White Lunar Wind guided by the Wizard in the wavespell of the Dragon with a Pisces full moon to boot having dreamt of a dear dead friend and Xena the Warrior Queen I can’t help but think about FLOW! Isn’t that the key to dealing with the rigidity of perception in life?

First stop Google! What is flow? Wikipedia says:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]

According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task[2] although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.

Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be on the ballin the momentpresentin the zonewired inin the groove, or keeping your head in the game.

Components of flow

Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow [3][4]

  1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.[5]
  2. Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
  3. loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
  4. Distorted sense of time, one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
  5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
  6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
  7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
  8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
  9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
  10. Absorption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.

We use the term flow a lot in hoop dance. For spinners who want to hit the zone or find their groove, it’s all about flow. But how do we access this space in dance and life? Well, I suggest just keep on moving. When we move into the dance we pretty much have to start deleting thoughts (at the very least back burn them) as we invite a connection with our body’s consciousness which feels like a different kind of intelligence to that of the mind. Body consciousness is given a pretty bad rap in a book I am reading right now called Raja Yoga – New Beginnings by Ken O’Donnell. He is referring to the lusty mind driven desires of the body and the need for ongoing sensation rather than simply being in direct connection with divine Source energy. I am really enjoying this book and there is a lot of wisdom to be gained from it but I feel an opportunity was missed in discussing positive body consciousness and the way we can use it as a tool and a portal for tapping into that sweet source energy that a lot of struggle to find by sitting still in meditation. Body consciousness is important to develop. We are spiritual beings having a human experience in a physical body where it would be really cool to live fully rather than perpetually dominated by the busy mind. If we learn to use this vehicle of choice consciously and creatively we can switch on our own personal transmitters of universal intelligence and be connected as we regenerate our cells and pump pure joy through our entire system of being. Then maybe we will be inspired to sit still and chill out🙂

Some inspiration on FLOW – Beth Lavinder rocks it in her barn in South Carolina post Burning Man. And speaking of Burning Man, really cool flow mo with Mari…

I wonder what the Mayan Monkey Queen has to say about today’s Galactic Weather. Tune into her space for daily transmissions AND enjoy the flow!

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Reinvention is a Beautiful Thing

Time is… love is… and the wheel turns. It’s almost been a full year since I last blogged. To trace the journey in any detail would be challenging to say the least so instead, inspired by the transformation that is (and Google’s insistence that i remember all my passwords to streamline everything into one) I decided it’s time to start over again and simply anchor into the NOW. Fresh page. It is after all Kin 1 Day of the Red Magnetic Dragon (Mayan Dreamspell) and so the first day of a new 260 day count. New cycle, new time, new spin, new game! Memories can be found @ Hoopaholica and Beyond back at sorry Blogspot you made it all too confusing I’m now pressing the words here. Nothing like a good walk out to refresh.

Following the patterns and wisdoms of the Dreamspell has been a profound experience and has added a richness to the cosmological hologram in a way that has enhanced my understanding of life, the self, the other and consciousness itself. Not to mention tuning into the Asteroid Goddess mythologies which seem to amp up the astrological wheel in no small way. It seems the opportunities to deepen and expand our awareness at this amazingly dynamic time just keep on increasing and fast. We live in the information age with the tools and resources to tap in to whatever it is we wish to know at a hit of a button, but to what end? As the interwebs keep on developing and we experience what it is to connect with each other through time and space, leaving distance as a minor detail, the big question, on my plate in any case, is how does this constant out reach reflect our own internal experience of wholeness and where do we draw the line between hooking into each other’s lives and journeying into our centre where we need no thing and no one. Not to detract from the amazing experience of connecting with others! As a World Bridging Libran Rat i’m all for it BUT there comes a point where the only other that can really fulfill us is that part of our s/elves that calls to be seen, heard, acknowledged and respected – the divine within. Meditation party anyone?

Tom has some really profound insights on the planetary alignment right now and how it translates in the way we relate to each other.

As I experience the full activation of my astrological blueprint over an extended period of time that allows me ample opportunity to soak up life’s vibrant and at times very challenging lessons I journey the Zuvuya spiraling inwards and outwards and ultimately find myself in the hoop… over and over again. And on the mat. AND on the dance floor. It’s a golden triangle: hooping, yoga and dance. I need all three to balance the magic that is this life. Within all three practices is a space of calmness, bliss, excitement, fun and the knowing that this is what life is really about – feeling good.

It is no coincidence that in this past week three different people have spoken to me about how surprised they were to discover the meditative qualities of hooping. Beyond that, they also spoke of how transformative it has been for their emotions and energy. We all know how it goes – when you are having a bad hair day sometimes just nothing will ease the pain. Enter le hoop. With an ongoing daily practice of teaching and performing hoop dance as my full time over time job, I have been given a gift to offer myself and others an experience of immense joy, regeneration and gratitude that life can be this fun and playful. A student asked me in class last week, “does your boyfriend hoop?” A complicated question (see astro map below) but just imagining that my fully activated Libralicious life was that simple, in short, I answered – “I don’t date guys who don’t hoop.” It really is that simple. I barely see people outside of my hoop community. Snooty? Perhaps. More a practical issue of time really. I am on a mission and know what I want in life – to be happy and to feel good and to be creative and to move my body and energy constantly. Any detraction or distraction from these guiding life principles seems to get annihilated quite naturally (thanks Pluto!) and quickly (go Uranus) so I surrender – I was born to hoop and at this point in life am completely dedicated to spreading the joy as far and wide as possible.

So as the cosmic weather continues to roll the high seas of life I ride and watch and occasionally get wiped out and float back to the surface for a big delicious gulp of fresh air then go back for more deep sea diving and dreaming and spinning and swirling in what can only be described as a very colourful life. It’s intense! Would I have it any other way? Some days… every time i hang my washing out (about once a week) i fantasise that I’m a housewife. The deep dark fantasies of a hoopstar! And then i laugh at the unlikelihood of such dharma and bounce off to the next adventure. Fempowerment? Could be. I am open. To it all. But I will say… it feels good to be back on the page of venturing in through journaling and channeling it out there to those who wish to connect. Also, the new me has a few new guidelines and dare i say RULES in life and love (thanks Saturn) … keep watching this space for more colour and intergalactic transmissions. LOVE! XO

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