AWAI Writing Challenge Winning Entry:
My Hip-Shaking, Tummy-Tightening, Super-Secret Workday Guilty Pleasure

Today is a perfect day to indulge.

My desktop is dotted with projects that need completion and I'm ready to dive into work. I love my writing desk. It sits in front of a sunny window on California's Redwood Highway. Every glance out my window gifts me with a view of green hillsides, lush gardens and the valley wildlife enjoying the bounty. Tourists to the Sonoma Wine Country stroll past my home, in awe of this paradise.

Knowing my blessings keeps me hard at work. It's a beautiful cycle. My work enriches my life and my life inspires my work. I know I'm blessed with The Writer's Life! Except sometimes with that comes the writer's neck, the writer's shoulders, and the writer's lower back. After a couple hours of power writing, I'll have to stand up and stretch. That sound? No, it's not applause, that's my spine cracking!

Yes, my lifestyle gives me the luxury of morning jogs through acres of cabernet vines. My yoga mat is always nearby for a relaxing stretch. I'm only half an hour from a hike along the Pacific Ocean. These are all super diversions, but none is my true secret indulgence.

When I really need to unwind, when I have to stretch my back, when I long to awaken my child-like wonder and imagination, when I just gotta get into the groove, only my hula-hoop will do!

This is no kiddie toy. Ok, so it's pink with purple stripes, but it's made for a grown-up. My hoop has a 38-inch diameter and is made out of inch and a half thick garden tubing (decorated in my pretty colors). I set up my living room especially for hooping space and my hoop hangs on the wall behind my desk.

Remember the old Madonna song that goes, "Only when I'm dancing can I feel this free. At night I lock the doors where no one else can see!" That's the feeling I get in anticipation of "hoop-time." Let's go back to that stiff body I mentioned. After a couple hours at the desk, my body starts to feel it, and so does my brain. It's definitely break time.

First, I save all my files, then pull up a YouTube video mix with a beat. Today, it's She and Him. Yesterday was Franz Ferdinand, and before that, yup, Madonna. These mixes will play for a long time, but I only need six songs. That's about a half hour to twirl that hoop in one direction for one song, and the other direction for the next song, repeat, repeat. I just listen to the music and move my hips. My mind wanders, my body relaxes, and I'm as free as a little girl, barefoot on her back lawn. If that were the only reason to enjoy this guilty pleasure, it would be good enough.

My slimmer waist tells the story of how it is so much more! Whoops, am I doing amazing waist reducing exercises while I'm twisting to the beat? I am. I stand straighter. My pants are two sizes smaller. The entire center of my body benefits from a half hour massage. At the end of my half-hour of hooping, my heart is pumping. I'm flushed, a little breathless and I feel sexy, and motivated to get back to writing.

My hula-hoop is my guilty pleasure, my secret indulgence. Yes, I definitely keep my habit a secret. I'm not willing to perform! But I'll sing the praises of all my "grown-up kiddie toy" does for me. As long as that song has a good beat!

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Average: 4.8
Published: November 18, 2010

9 Responses to “AWAI Writing Challenge Winning Entry: My Hip-Shaking, Tummy-Tightening, Super-Secret Workday Guilty Pleasure”

  1. Shannon I hear your spine cracking in unison with mine. I too have a hoola hoop...but unlike you I've lost the knack of keeping it twirling around my waiste. Any tips?
    Kathy from Down Under

    skippyNovember 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm

  2. Great secret indulgence! Mine is Dance Trance, Jazzercise, Zumba--anything where I get to move to the music. I might have to give the hula-hoop a try, in my garage of course.

    Donna KaluzniakNovember 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

  3. Congratulations, Shannon. You make me want to dig up my daughter's hula hoop. (Do we still have it?) I enjoyed your California landscape (seacape). Wish I could be one of your tourists walking by.

    Marianne FoscariniNovember 19, 2010 at 10:59 am

  4. Thanks for the great idea!

    Guest (Lydia)November 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

  5. Brings back great memories of my hula-hoop days, way back when...
    I didn't need the waist whittling then, but now I do, so I'm off to buy one. Great idea Shannon and great story.

    Guest (Penny)November 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

  6. Love it! And, your secret is safe with me. Think I will see if I can borrow one from one of the grandkids and give it a whirl!

    BrendaNovember 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

  7. That is soooo cool! YOu make the picture of 'Life' worth pursuing!

    Personally, I've never could hula-hoop. I use to be sooo envious of folks that found that certain 'twirl' to keep that thing going!

    Congrats on the win!!

    Lady JNovember 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

  8. Hey, in case anyone is interested, there are videos on YouTube that are strictly for working out with a Hula Hoop. Bought me one today and will watch them while I hoop. This I think I CAN do with minimal damage to me or my surroundings.

    Oh, and in the January Martha Stewart Living magazine on page 134 at the bottom. No kidding.

    If we all get started on hooping and writing, we'll all be fit as a fiddle and smart as a whip!

    AmyODonnellDecember 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm

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