Moving, Afterschool, Haiti, Convergence, Peace & Gratitude

February '08

This may be the most *all over the place* blog I ever write. But here goes....

I am moving....AGAIN...Sunday
For 7 years I *nested* in a townhouse in Carrboro, but now I am on my fourth move in 3 years. My second move in 3 months! For some reason, the owner of the kickass apartment we moved to selectively dismissed the info we discussed about Scott being a professional drummer and me being a professional dancer - the whole conversation about our lives revolving around and to music. Understandably, none of us would anticipate the enormous 3 car garage underneath our place filled with antique automobiles vibrating so violently and amplifying the sounds of the drumset, as if the drums were being played in a giant bass drum. Basically, the drums can hardly be heard on the other side of the apartment, but sing/pound (depending upon your perspective) through the hood and most disturbingly through the walls of the closest home filled with an anxiety ridden set of twins. Two approx 45-50 year old ladies, twin sisters, moved in next door who seem to hate - well, a lot of things. I was EXTREMELY angry at first when our landlord said "there can be no drums here. PERIOD". But now, I suppose I'm relieved that we don't have to live next door to these two as I'm sure they will find more to complain about. I can make a pretty safe guess that outdoor hip hop on the Ion will NOT go over well.

This wouldn't be AS BIG of a deal if it weren't for the Convergence in April. I've never spent so much time, energy and thought on one project in my entire life. I've learned so much about planning, interpersonal dynamics, excel, google docs, legalities and organizing - everything going on in my mind. That is HUGE for me! I wish the move didn't have to be before the Convergence, but 'tis what is. So, I continue to ride and try to maintain peace despite the bumpiness. Really, its all wonderful. Everything is coming together beautifully and my "to do" list doesn't feel that crazy. I mean, geez, I'm sitting her writing the first blog entry in forever when I've hardly been able to hang on tribe lately. There are beautiful individuals taking on various pieces of the project and its going to be a blast. I am grateful for the opportunity to get together with everyone and trust it will be an incredibly fun and enlightening time.

I started to "panic" about packing this morning, but then I remembered that "this too shall pass" and went to pick up the new keys with gratitude and excitement. It is a sweet place that has been renovated with someone with GREEN consciousness. It is already efficiently insulated and painted with low VOC paint and has other environmentally and health conscious details. No vaulted ceilings, but a huge yard, a nice porch, ample space, a good view, option to buy and AURAL FREEDOM for jams (including hoop jams for several outdoors!)


With my re-discovered good attitude and sense of surrender to the flow of the universe, I drove a few minutes from the new home to the afterschool program I visit once per week. My friend Natalie hooked the principal up with a hoop. She fell in love and decided it would be great for the kids there to have a hoop group. Natalie passed on my name and I have been going there since last spring. (Thanks Nat) I have been taking my system out to the school grounds for jam time and just hangin' and hooping. I feel for them b/c they have pretty rigorous days of sitting and studying and then go straight to doing homework. By the time I get there, they often run for the outdoors like a race has begun.

It's been interesting to understand my role as a hoop teacher in this context. I am finding that each age group, each individual and developmental stage has a different need for hooping. I teach a group of four & five year olds who are discovering their hips and building coordination with the help of the hoops. I bet they are the most "hip aware" group of youngsters around. You'd think the middle schoolers would be ready for choreographed pieces and basketball game appearances, and it could be that way if maybe I were more demanding. I have taught middle school classes during the school day where they learned a lot of moves, concepts and choreographed pieces. But, in this context, I have found that what they seem to desire the most is the release from structure, a time for embodiment, play and occasionally some good one on one.

There is a girl who is - I'm not quite sure, but I think -high functioning autistic. Last Spring and Fall, she seemed so scared and was definitely uncoordinated. One day, early on she hugged and thanked me for spending time with her breaking down a cartwheel. I remember a lot shifting that day for me. Today, i was struck by how different she is now. She is perhaps the best hooper of all the kids. She is lifting the hoop and linking moves and jumping. It's pretty remarkable, especially considering how hesitant she was about any movement just a few months ago. She refused to even try hooping on the core for quite some time. Now, I truly think she's talking more articulately, confidently and expressively. I'm amazed and wish I knew more about her history & her special education to know how much/ if any impact the hoop is having. I have really appreciated the days I've gotten to spend some one on one time with her. I know she doesn't have a lot of friends. She says I'm her favorite teacher.

I have found my role at this after school program to be a counselor through movement, which I embrace with openness. For the past two years, in an attempt to supplement the unstable hoop income and deepen my understanding of movement through various stages of development, I have worked at after school programs, designed home school programs, camps etc. This has give me an opportunity to be around kids; lead them through the natural world; teach them various movement arts; learn from their insightful simplicity and astute observations; remember how to play; attempt to communicate more clearly; respond to "situations" or conflicts when they arise; and offer an ear or conversation when needed. I enjoy that when you're "playing" with someone, they are more likely to open up about whatever they need to express/process. There's no pressure, so things just happen naturally and there's an established trust through shared play and movement. Today, while we hooped, my autistic friend/student talked about witches, magic, healing, properties of peppermint, her desire to have a job and her worry about moving away this summer. She expressed being sad b/c she wants to keep hooping with me. She says I'm like a sister and she's sad to not see me anymore. I wanted to cry...want to cry. She lamented how hard it is/will be to make friends. I suppose I must just be grateful that we have touched one another; that the hoop has facilitated a relationship and possibly something therapeutic for her. I will send her off with a hoop and the knowledge to make more. Who knows what doors the hoop will open for her in her new home and social situation. It may be much needed companion, or the unique thing that helps her make new friends.

Not much before that, Kathie - my friend who is the Director of Family Health Ministries, the org who sponsors the orphanage I visited in Haiti - came to pick up her son who was also hooping with us. She told me she has just returned from Haiti and had visited the orphanage in Fondwa. According to her, the kids pulled out the hoops and really impressed her with their skills. They asked her when i would return to dance. I can't wait to go back and visit.

I have such deep gratitude for these experiences, connections and relationships. I have such gratitude for the hoop and the other individuals who helped to facilitate the experiences. So many folks helped me to get to Haiti so I'd like to share that warmth with them as well. The entire community - local businesses, friends, family, local and global hoopers, spinners, hoop pathers - came together to send me and a stack of hoops to Haiti. Many thanks.


OK...I've wandered through this blog for quite a while now. Luckily, I've been told that "all who wander are not lost."
Maybe just tired...