The Hula Hoop concept came into my experience while sitting in an Al-Anon meeting. I had a specific reason for going to Al-Anon. My intent for being there was to understand addiction and other people. What I soon realized is that I was there to learn more about myself.
I forget how many meetings I have attended, more than some people, not as many as others. One thing I can claim is that I came away from each gathering with a new tool to incorporate into my life. The idea that resonated with me and is now an integral part of my everyday life is the hula hoop concept. I was invited to embrace what was shared at these meetings by the closing address each time. The closing of the Al-Anon meetings I have attended goes something like this:
"The thoughts and comments shared tonight are the opinions of whoever shared them. What you heard here, let it stay here. Take what works for you and leave the rest". In other words, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. You don't have to share the person's view or even agree with it. We were also encouraged to protect the anonymity of meeting attendees and what they contributed. Thoughts and ideas that appealed or spoke to you. Keep them, save them, and use them for your own best good. Leave the ideas behind that didn't appeal to you. I invite you to use the same discernment with this blog post.
The hula hoop tool resonated hugely with me. It made perfect sense and empowered me, almost begging me to incorporate it into all aspects of my life. The concept is not so much a concept, as an analogy, a straightforward way to visualize the areas in your life that need work. Let me explain further.
An average-sized hula hoop is between 38 and 42 inches across its widest point. Here's the visual part or not so visual. These hula hoops are tangible. It doesn't require much imagination for this.
· Take your hula hoop
· Set it on the floor in front of you
· Now step inside it
What is inside the borders of the hula hoop? You are.
The concept shared in Al-Anon is that whatever is inside that hula hoop, you have control over. All of the feelings, actions, reactions, decisions, and personal improvements are yours, and only yours. The person inside the hula hoop is the one you can make changes for, choose different people to be around, and help create new goals. You have ultimate control over everything inside your hula hoop.
Now envision everyone else in your life, your adult children, parents, siblings, other family members, friends, co-workers, life partner, etc. They have a hula hoop too. Who is responsible for what's in their hula hoop? You guessed it, they are.
Your hula hoop is your responsibility. Their hula hoop is theirs. It's not your job to take care of what's inside anyone else's hula hoop. That's their job. You have a responsibility to the hula hoops around you, but it's not to jump in and fix anything.
Your responsibilities to the hula hoop of others can be complicated, or you can simplify with these easy steps:
Support - We can be supportive of how others choose to handle their situations in life. We may not understand how people decide to work through things, but it is ultimately their choice. Being supportive remains our obligation to them.
Encouragement - It is so beneficial to have encouragement as we go through life, especially during particularly difficult events. Encourage others to make wise choices and focus on progress. And then let go of the expectation for a particular outcome. Remember, it's their hula hoop, not yours.
Love - It's our job to love other people as they travel through life. Life can sometimes be challenging, and a little extra show of love feels good. I'm not talking about romantic love or the love you have for your children. The love I'm talking about is more of an acknowledgment that we are all born on this earth to learn, grow, and make progress in life. Showing love to your fellow man is Namaste' - the light in me sees the light in you, may we all continue on our life journey with grace.
Faith -We must have a little faith and trust everyone around us with their hula hoop. They may approach life's decisions differently than we would, and that's okay. Having the freedom to make our own choices is one of the gifts that make the experience of life so unique. Trust the individual to take care of their hula hoop. Trust that they know what is best for them. Trust that your hula hoop needs your attention and leave their hula hoop in their hands, whether you think they are capable of taking care of their hula hoop or not.
Sometimes it's difficult to be diligently working to improve things inside our hula hoop and watch what's happening in the hoop of another. We can see from the outside looking in, improvements that appear obvious as potential changes. If you practice showing Support, Encouragement, Love, and Faith, where everyone else's hula hoop is concerned, you have now given yourself the gift of SELF to work on healing within your hula hoop while allowing others to do the same. If you didn't create the situation and it's not yours to fix, it doesn't belong in your hula hoop.
I am grateful for this fantastic, simple tool that arrived in my experience. I use it regularly in all areas of my life. It has become a tool that has absolutely nothing to do with why I went to Al-Anon in the first place.
Note about Al-Anon: Al-Anon is the 12 step program support group for individuals with alcoholism in their circle of friends or a family member. There is no quiz on why you are there, or what life event led you to your first meeting. It's all about you and what you need to get your life gathered back up and start thriving again.