Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The magic hoop

WHEW! This winter has been a difficult one for me, in both body and spirit. I have been fighting "demons" from both without and within, trying to stay present in this world in the capacity I have been blessed with up till now. Perhaps it is just "cabin fever", but I have been a prisoner in my own head lately....
I began making real changes in my life habits several years ago, beginning with retiring from my 33 year career as a professional smoker. I quit cold turkey on April fools day in 2005, and have not had a puff since. I can honestly say it was one of the most grueling, yet satisfying tasks I have ever accomplished. Since then, I have done everything I can to help those around me who want to quit, when they want help. This too, has been fulfilling, and helped a great deal to keep me on track; when I saw what others went through in their own struggle, it reaffirmed that I didn't want to repeat my own!
Now I have begun to examine my food choices (which are admittedly, not always the healthiest) and move in a direction that involves a bit less saturated fat, salt and sugar, to be replaced by more fruit and vegetables. Making this gastronomically appealing has been challenging to say the least. It's difficult if not almost impossible to make tofu seem as sumptuous as a cheeseburger and fries....... but I'm working on it. I have been implimenting some taste sensations that were formerly abscent from my palate: hot, spicy sauces, more onions, horseradish, and garlic, and recently, I have discovered the joy of curry. Weeeeeehooooooo!
In addition to my food overhaul, I have been snowshoeing, as I mentioned in my last blog. I replaced my 25 year old tried and true snowshoes with ones nearly identical (and almost extinct in the retail arena) and have been happily hitting the trails.
A couple of weeks ago, after I came back from the trails, I dragged out my giant hula hoop from it's "storage" spot where it leaned against the house. I had to bash some ice from it first, but then I rolled it out into the road in front of my house, where I had a one woman hoopfest for over an hour. I had forgotten how good hooping makes my body, mind and spirit feel. I wear headphones while I'm out there, and I dance while I hoop, whirling around clockwise and counterclockwise and swooping my arms, in a kind of grouse-like dance. A friend of mine from Red Cliff commented on my "good hoopdancing", and I was very honored. I always assumed I look like a total dork but it's fun, so I don't care.
Now, my favorite time of day is just before sunset, when I go out to the road to hoop. I watch the sunset (and this week, moonrise-at the same time!), dance and even take pictures! Just to up the ante, I hoop-walk up and down the road, which works even more muscles. Some people swear by yoga (which I also want to try) but I can't imagine anything that feels as good or is more fun than hooping. There is just something magical about that hoop revolving around my body.....
I have two hoops: one is 5'5 --as wide as I am tall, and weighs about 7 lbs. My other one is smaller--about 3'5, and weighs mabye a pound, if that. The big one was the one I learned on. I had never hooped before, so my body was not familiar with the motion. It reminded me of when I was learning to ride a bike or waterski--i was SURE something must be wrong with me, because I JUST COULDN'T GET IT!!! But then one day I tried this big hoop which seemed suddenly easy by comparison and I couldnt' get enough of it. I discovered over time that the big one is like lifting weights with your torso. It tones EVERYTHING from the chest down. I could even feel it in my FEET. I got smaller very quickly that summer! The smaller hoop requires a much faster movement, and is a good cardio workout, thus burning calories like an incinerator! Between the two of them, I hope to be in MUCH better shape by spring!
Aside from that, I'm painting like mad, as usual, and I've been making a little jewelry. I'll be posting some pieces here when I get the photos taken.....

Happy days to all~~ Diane Marie

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