Enabling Circumstances

hot-air-balloonI have loved this time of year since I was a child.  There’s something magical about the quality of the light, the smell in the air, and the crispness of the leaves as I walk. It’s a time of harvest, and also a time of facing the dragons within. These dragons would like to keep us from harvesting the fruits of our development, ripened from the Spirit Seed planted within us during the previous year’s Sacred Nights of Winter.

As these dragons rear their ugly heads, we often find ourselves challenged by the “too little” (inadequacy, impatience) or “too much” (overwhelm) of something. These challenges bring rising emotions that are often neglected.

The quality of listening to the emotional messengers of our soul is often reflected in how we do or don’t enable others in our lives.

An enabling act “empowers a body or person to take certain action.” The question we must ask ourselves is, what is the action we want taken, and how are we responsible for enabling or not enabling that action?

When we’re experiencing challenges of “too little” of something, be it money, time, connection, self-care, sense of purpose, etc., many times, we go straight to resignation.

“I simply don’t have time for self-care.”

“I’ll just have to make due.”

“It’s too difficult to make that happen.”

While it may seem that these statements are true in the moment, they are only true from the perspective with which you make them.

In other words, if you want to have a different truth, you must change your perspective.

You can begin to shift perspective by opening to possibility. What if instead of going to resignation, you paused for a moment and asked one powerful question:

How am I enabling this experience to happen?

Yikes!

That question might trigger a part of us that wants to stay in resignation to get down-right angry…”How dare you imply that this situation is my fault!” we might hear ourselves saying.

Considering how we might be enabling  a situation is not about placing blame. It is simply about taking a look at our perspective, and considering our personal responsibility for our circumstances.

For example, if you find yourself feeling isolated with little connection and lots of loneliness, asking the question of how you might be enabling that experience can help you to see new possibilities. You might typically think that no one cares, or that you aren’t worthy enough of someone’s attention. If you notice that you make little effort to call a friend, participate in communal activities, or dedicate time for social interaction, then you now have the power to adjust your behavior or actions so that you enable a different outcome, rather than placing the power in the actions of others.

Seeing what is not working in your current circumstances brings the opportunity to create a different future.

The same is true if we are experiencing “too much” of something. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with too much stress, too much weight, or too many commitments, you may discover that you are enabling these situations by not setting boundaries for yourself, managing your expectations, or communicating your needs.

The magic in the question of “How am I enabling this experience to happen?” is that it opens us to new possibility, assuming of course that we can move beyond blaming ourselves for the situation, or feeling indignant about considering the question in the first place.

When you begin to ask yourself how you are enabling circumstances in your life, you also start to see how powerful you truly are.  

You begin to see the thoughts, behaviors and attitudes that contribute to your situation. You begin to notice where you’ve made choices that didn’t work, and how you can begin to choose differently.

This is one of the most powerful modes of transformation I use in working with my clients. Once they see where they have the power to shift their circumstances, it’s as if a whole new world opens up for them.

A word of caution though….once we see this enabling or non-enabling behavior in ourselves, it can be challenging to adjust it. Consider for a moment how you might enable your children in certain ways. If they’ve been accustomed to certain patterns of behavior from you, they will resist like crazy if you try to change them. The same is true with your friends, and colleagues. If you usually allow a friend to take advantage of your generosity, and then start setting boundaries so that you are no longer enabling the result of being taken advantage of (and perhaps no longer enabling that friend to relinquish their own responsibility by turning to you all the time), that friend may choose to walk out of your life.

There is risk involved in standing in our truth, connected with our values, and our soul is calling for us to take that risk for the sake of its freedom.

These same ideas apply on a larger scale. I remember hearing a story about how people in Europe (I can’t recall exactly where) adamantly protested the idea of banks charging them ATM fees for taking their own money out of an ATM machine.  As a result, the banks eliminated the fees. Here in the U.S., for whatever reason, we all just accepted these fees. Collectively, we have enabled tremendous injustices through our silence and passivity, often without even realizing it.

Think about what we’ve enabled or not enabled over time by not speaking up, taking responsibility for ourselves or being stuck in our fear-based ways of thinking. Consider the recent statements from employers about millennials and the sense of entitlement many of them have. How many parents continue to do everything for their children, thus enabling them to expect this from others, or worse, not be able to meet life’s challenges with their own courageously directed will? How many of us continue the negative self-talk, perpetuating our belief that we can’t try something new and realize our full potential?

It is time for each of us to take responsibility for our lives and our future.

We can do this one moment at a time, one choice at a time. We don’t have to protest in big ways. We can simply honor the protest we feel in our soul toward doing things differently, and allow new practices and choices to slowly work to free our souls.

The first step in honoring your soul is to clear away the noise and clutter, and remember who you are on a deeper level.  You are strong. You are powerful. You are creative. You are capable. Trust in yourself, and in the support, spiritual or physical, that you can call upon at any time to guide you.

May you enable your soul to take flight!

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