"I honestly don't know how I would have made it though the transition of
Two weeks before Ali's world came crashing down around her, she had been transfixed and awed by the sight of a graceful, anonymous hooper. And perhaps it was that very
vision that inspired her to finally make the tough decision to remove herself and her children from a situation that was already "in shambles." This is her story.
It was at Bonnaroo 2008 during a Pearl Jam set. Of the beautiful hooper she saw, Ali writes, "She was so obviously blissed out, in such beautiful flow; her hoop looked like molten metal encircling her in the lights. She never faltered or dropped the hoop. And
when I think back now, I wonder if I actually held my breath the entire song. When the song was over I said out loud to myself, "I'm going to learn to do THAT."
Just months later, Ali would be facing a heart-wrenching decision. She writes:
See, my husband was addicted to prescription narcotics. Oxycontin became his 'everything' while his children, his wife, his home, his family fell by the wayside. He did detox; he did in-patient rehab; we did counseling, both individual and couple's. He had three beautiful children with bright, shining eyes that crawled over his chest while he laid on the couch trying to forget he was part of this world, and he still was unable to overcome his addiction.
In February 2009, I chose to leave my home of 10 years, where I had lived with my best friend until he became unrecognizable, where I had brought 3 babies home to raise, where I had dreamed and played and laughed. I left with my 3 children and a few belongings, and moved into a 2 bedroom apartment whereI vowed my children (who, unfortunately, would surely face disappointment) would know they were a priority for me - would know that they could count on me.
It was difficult and lonely and my mind would often drift back to the last time we were all happy together, at Bonnaroo. And, of course, the hoop girl. I got online, learned how to make a hoop, went to Lowe's to buy supplies and made my kids and myself our first hoops. I practiced in the living room, at our local parks, in the spot of grass beside my building. I devoured youtube videos. Hooping was my friend when I didn't
have anyone else.
I could hoop when I was happy. I could hoop when I was sad. I could hoop when I was angry. I could hoop! My skill level grew. I learned tricks. I learned confidence. I felt empowered. I became aware. I became curious. I read about flow, conscious living, and what in my area of East TN are considered alternative lifestyles. I finally found home.
What had the hoop given me? It didn't judge me and allowed me to let judgment of myself go. It made me laugh. It spun me til I was dizzy and high on life. It took me to places of ecstasy. It led me to find out more about myself, to learn new things, to
explore new ideas, concepts, philosophies.
It introduced me to new people and an incredible sense of community with the group who I now consider my family. It made me a better woman, a better friend, a better partner, and most definitely a better mother. It has given me a sense of fulfillment and freedom that I never knew existed before.
Opportunities are opening up to me everywhere. I know that is due to not getting in my own way and showing up ready and with rapt attention to my life. The hooping is growing with me now selling hoops, teaching private classes and performances left and right. Yay! And I feel it has given me confidence in pursuing my goal of becoming a lactation consultant and advocate for maternal/child health issues. Exciting times!
I owe so very, very much to the hoop and through the difficult and painful times I wouldn't change a thing. I love my family. I love my hoop. I love myself. I love my life.
It feels GOOD to be me.
She performs with Biz'Cirque, Tennesse's Transformative Community Circus of the Arts.
Hooposophy articles authored
by Lara Eastburn
All Rights Reserved