In dance, I always want to try something new. Maybe I’ll attempt to do as many turns as I can without hurting myself (or others) or I’ll try a different kind of leap. I always have to work my way up to what I am imagining in my head.
Doing things differently requires strength. You need core strength to do just about anything in dance. If you don’t have that foundation, it is difficult to leap or turn. Emotions drive the movement, but you have to have strength if you want to truly express yourself.
Sometimes, I’m just not ready to try something new. Maybe I feel intimidated by experimenting in front of a big class, or I just feel like I can’t do it yet.
In the end, I just have to trust that I am strong enough to let go and see how it works. Often, it does and just as often, I still have work to do to make it look the way I want.
This reminds me of my relationship with a beloved relative. I knew I was enabling him, but I couldn’t stop myself because I felt the stakes were so high. I wasn’t strong enough emotionally to let go.
So I would continue behavior that I understood was wrong, because I thought the consequences of not enabling were way too scary. Underneath this was the realization that I had to start saying “no.” And just like building up my core, I had to reinforce my inner strength.
What happens when you are an enabler is that you think, “OK, I’m really only doing x, so if I only do x, it’s not really that bad.” That’s a lie I used to tell myself. It was like thinking you could give an addict only one drink, or a single pill, and it will stay at one drink or one pill forever.
Enabling is like an addiction—you do more of it and the person needs more of it. So you need to give more and more until the situation is even more dangerous and out of control.
What I now understand is that even though I knew I was wrong, what I did, I did for myself. I was not ready to be tough and change my own behavior. Then, when I was ready, I put up some boundaries that I could get behind and stick to. Over time, I built a stronger core. It was from this hard-won foundation that I was finally able to stop the enabling.
Looking back, I believe that I couldn’t stop my addictive behavior until I was ready. I had to get to the place where I knew there was nothing more for me to do, realizing that I was hurting my loved one -- not helping. In a way, it was a selfish thing. I couldn’t tolerate my fear of what would happen if I stopped helping, so I “helped.” I don’t believe that’s wrong. I couldn’t let go. And maybe my relative wasn’t ready for me to let go, either.
Who’s to say what might have happened had I awakened sooner?
The good news is that my story has a happy ending—miraculous, really. Once I hit the wall and stopped “assisting,” the person began to express who he always was beneath the crazy. And he did it himself.
I am grateful every day for this. And I try to remember that letting go creates the space for miracles to occur.
When you’re ready.