Happy Humbling Hoop Happenings!

January 23, 2013 Caroleeena hoopdanceHoopingUncategorized

The universe is showering me with so many blessings my knees are trembling under the weight of them! I am honored and humbled and awed. (Which makes it hard to write. Awe takes my words away.)

I’ve just learned I’ve been nominated by my peers around the globe for two Hoopies! Hoop Instructor of the Year and into the Hooper Hall of Fame. Thank You!!!

Each of these blows me away in a myriad of ways. Again, I am fishing for words… I am humbled that people nominated me for either of these awards. Instructor of the Year! Hooper Hall of Fame!?! What!?! I look at the other people nominated and….again…struggling for words… These people are my personal inspirations! To be considered in their number… It takes my words away.  I am just gobsmacked.Trying to write a blog post in this state is hard!

To be nominated for Instructor of the Year is an affirmation that bolsters a part of me that needed bolstering. I have developed a Hoop Instructor’s Training that I like a lot but which I clearly have lacked the confidence and managerial skills to promote. It draws upon my studies in learning and development, coaching, and psychology. I am proud of it. It’s awesome and it helps people. The world is better for it and I know that. So what is keeping me from traveling around the country, or even the world, sharing this!?! Clearly other people think I’m good at it too. I mean, look at this! So what gives? I think it’s the organization stuff but also the confidence. To share it like I’d like to share it, I’d like it to be part of an entire weekend of classes for every level of hooper. It would require a big space, like a gym, that was free or really cheap, a local person willing to coordinate (find space, register people, organize locally), and organizing travel, which I am terrible at! (My car is unreliable and I don’t have cash to front for plane tickets.)  It would also require a free or cheap place to stay and a way to get around. Most of all, though, it requires a degree of confidence on my part. That has been my biggest stumbling block. I let self-doubt get in my way. That is why this nomination is both a blessing and an affirmation for me.

To be nominated for the Hooper Hall of Fame… Whoa. Trying to grock that. Hooping.org created the Hooper Hall of Fame last year “to honor the trailblazers who helped make this movement happen”. The five other nominees are Mat Plendl, who has been hooping since the 70’s and still hoops internationally today (Here he is in a Whamm-O commercial from 1977:

Spiral, MY hoopspiration! (I will always remember seeing her and saying, “That. I’m going to do that.”), Baxter, my friend who has built one of the most prolific and oldest hoop communities in the country in Carrboro around a unique and spiritual take on hooping, Babz Robinson, whose tutorials and skill, both as a teacher and a hooper, blow me away, and Philo Hagen, whose dedicated service to the website Hooping.org nurtured me and tens of thousands of hoopers around the world, many of us who were the only hoopers in our communities.  I mean, these people are freaking LUMINARIES! To call them my peers makes me feel like an usurper or something. It’s so strange. I remember a few years ago Philo asked me to write a bio for Hooping.org. I couldn’t do it. I was like, “What do I have to say? And why would anyone care?” I never did do it. I just couldn’t. Then, maybe a year ago, I was asked to be on the Hooper Deck of Cards for the Hooping Life premier. I couldn’t get my stuff together to send them a picture but, when I am honest with myself, I think it’s because I thought I didn’t deserve it.  I can’t keep telling myself that story though, not when the world is clearly trying to tell me a different story.

And these two cases aren’t the only shakes by the shoulders I’ve had this week. On Sunday, my friend and one of the most amazing and creative performers I’ve ever seen, C.C. Stevens, brought The C.C. Show to Raleigh. The C.C. Show is her powerhouse one-woman show (now accompanied by master and internationally acclaimed pianist, Roddy Barnes.) Her show consists of three different characters who sing, dance, joke, and story-tell their way into your heart. It is a roller coaster of feeling, like Carol Burnett meets Bessie Smith…with some Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler on top. Completely captivating. Her characters are crazy funny too. One of them is a gnarly piece of bacon you will laugh with, cry with, and fall in love with! Really unusual stuff. So, this past weekend, I was excited to see the unveiling of Bella the Bacon, PLUS, Roddy Barnes was going to play one of my favorite songs and he’d asked me to hoopdance to it live! It was almost too much. I felt like I’d swallowed about five gallons of bubbles I was so excited. So she did Bella and knocked it out of the park and then, while she was changing into the next character, I danced to Suicidal Animals live with Roddy Barnes and managed not to hit anyone or throw my hoop at him (whew!), then I returned to my seat and waited to see who would come out next. And who came out next was me!!!

You read that right, me. C.C. had created a character based on me — Cackling Caroleeena. It was all about laughter and resilience and courage. It included my poem Happy Dance, which she performed while hooping! (That is a long and complicated poem about how laughter can sweep into a room and have her way with everyone in it.) Another piece of it was about self-acceptance and drew from the very first hoopdance I ever filmed of myself. (This, right when I was struggling with self-acceptance.) It even included Mulder! It was incredible. Pulling off this new character so that it was a surprise to me required the conspiring of a lot of people. My heart bursts to think of their machinations. And what an honor! To be represented in such a way…  It was such a hugely humbling and flattering and eye-opening experience for me, like seeing myself though other people’s eyes. This telling is not doing it justice. It was amazing.

And THEN, when it was over, a woman from the audience came up to me and said, “You may not remember me but a few years ago, you gifted a truck-load of hoops at a picnic for pediatric AIDS patients and their caregivers at Duke. You made such a difference to all of us that day. A bunch of us started hooping and we keep hoops around the unit now for play breaks, both for the kids and for us. We watch and learn from your videos. I just wanted to say thank you.” I mean, can you believe it!?!

And all these things have happened in the past three days. It feels like an avalanche of love and blessings. I feel so honored and also so humbled. I feel inspired to be worthy of these accolades. I am having all these feelings!!!!! But mostly, I am feeling gratitude…for each and every person who nominated me, for the people who inspired me, for those who learned from me and went on to share with others, for this little plastic ring that changed my life and made me braver and happier and healthier and more creative, for the web of love that has spun from that plastic ring to cover the whole entire world! I am just so grateful. So so so so so grateful.

Thank you.

With tears in my eyes,

p.s. Oh yeah. If you want to vote in the Hoopies, you can vote here:

Rock The Vote! – Hoopies 2013


2013 HoopiescaroleeenaCC ShowCircles of JoyHoop LessonsHooper Hall of FameHoopiesHooping.orgInstructorInstructor of the YearraleighTeacherThe C.C. ShowThe CC Show

3 Responses to “Happy Humbling Hoop Happenings!”

  • Rhonda Bangert says:

    Dear Caroleeena, my jaw dropped when I read this because I have a hard time imagining you with insecurities or self-doubt. I have watched you hoop for years and learned more from your tutorials than anyone else (live teaching or online)!

    I want to chime in the chorus of “You Deserve This! You Are Amazing!” that you are experiencing and thank you for sharing that you struggle too. Girl, you’d never guess it!

    I used to watch your videos and think, “who does she remind me of?” Then I learned you were also from the piedmont of NC and you remind me of a lot of people know!

    While I’m singing your praises, I’ll add that one of the most important lessons you’ve taught me has nothing to do with hooping. I used to drive around and see other people’s flowers and think I’d like to steal them and replant them in my yard. I did this a lot! Then I read that you buy flowers and plant them in the yards of strangers. The complete opposite of my inclination all of a sudden seemed very desirable. Now other people’s flowers remind me that I have a choice of whether to envy or to give. Huge for me.

    You are so valued and loved by your community. 3:35 on today’s video would make a great playing card, “I’m just sayin’!”

  • Jacqui Becker says:

    I’m reveling in the beauty swirling in, around, and through you. Thank you for sharing your triumphs of living a life of joyful intention. SO happy for you! x

  • Martha Forsyth says:

    Dearest Caroleeena – you so fully deserve a.l.l. of these honors! Take that self-doubt by the neck and FIRMLY usher her out your door – life is too short for you to spend time with her! You have inspired and solaced more people than you will ever, ever know. And I can’t wait for that biiiiig hug we have coming up – can we make it a hooping hug?!

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