Every year in May there’s a night full of arts in Liverpool: LightNight. There are exhibitions and workshops, there is live music and live performances. After delicious street food at the Bombed Out Church we wandered over to the Baltic Triangle to experience a tribute to the late Donna Summer. On the way there an iconic building next to Liverpool’s Chinese Arch caught our eye: the former Great George Street Congregational Chapel. One of those buildings that always seems to have closed doors, building intrigue of the hidden treasures inside. But this night the doors were wide open. Some christmas lights drew our attention and our curiosity drew us in.
We were surprised by the presence of a youth circus that was hosting circus workshops. Young members of the Black-E Youth Circus were hanging in silk ropes, riding unicycles or hula hooping. And the best bit was: they were hosting workshops and inviting us to join in the fun! I’ve made a hula hoop for myself in the past, so seeing this bright collection of hoops on the floor made my heart beat faster. I got onto the floor, grabbed a hula hoop and started hooping. But… Nothing was happening.
The hoop wasn’t hooping. I gave it a good forceful push and spinned it around my waste and all it would do was to fall flat to the ground. I tried again. Push, spin, fall. Push, spin, fall. I started trying harder: PUSH, SPIN, FALL! It just didn’t seem to work. And to be honest: it got me so confused. I could do this. I knew I could. Then why wasn’t I succeeding?
Then a friendly gentleman from the circus came along and put some larger hula hoops close to me. “Here, try these ones, they’re a bit bigger”, he nudged me. Some ancient knowledge crept back in to my working memory. Something about hula hoop sizes and the importance of the right diameter for a better hooping momentum. My eyes lit up, I dropped the hoop I was using and picked up one of the new ones.
Hoop, hoop, hurray, I uncovered a new rhythm: push, spin, spin, SPIN! I could hula hoop for minutes again, even walk while spinning, and do other tricks I had forgotten about. It seems that the problem wasn’t my technique. The problem was that I was chasing something that wasn’t mine to have in the first place. One of the oldest pitfalls of our human existence. How lucky are we when we listen to the people around us that try to point us in the right direction. It’s just like that Rolling Stones’ song: “You can’t always get what you want / but if you try sometimes / well, you might find / you get what you need”.