Let’s talk about how important it is that we lift one another. Now, you’re all probably thinking I mean lifting one another figuratively, or spiritually. But no.
Being the ballroom dancer that I am, I’m going to speak to you about actually physically lifting someone. As a ballroom dancer, I have practiced a dance style called “Cabaret.” In this style, there is a partnership, or sometimes a team of partners, performing various lifts and drops throughout the dance. These lifts are not just a few inches from the ground, but all the way above the head: higher than one would think possible. There is a process and rules that help the dancers performing the lifts to have the most impact and to ensure the safety of all of the dancers.
When someone is lifted, they are taken from a lower to a higher place.
There are both physical and spiritual lifts; the principles for a physical lift also have a spiritual application. When applied, we, too, can lift others and help them rise higher than we first thought possible.
Cabaret lift rules and spiritual applications:
1. We must have someone to lift.
Though we may try, we can not lift ourselves.
When the Lord completed His creation of Adam, Heavenly Father told Him, “… it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we shall form an help meet for him” (Abraham 5:14). For now, let’s focus on the first half of that statement and add a couple of words: “It is not good that the man (or woman) should be alone.” Diving into this subject, I was interested to see what happens to people who are left alone for long periods of time. In a study of prisoners put in solitary confinement for days, weeks, months or even decades of their lives, Dr. Stuart Grassain found that “these people were very sick.” Those with whom he spoke exhibited symptoms such as “hallucinatory tendencies, paranoia, delirium, hypersensitivity to noise and touch, insomnia, PTSD, and uncontrollable feelings of rage or fear.”
It’s amazing that in a world of 7.6 billion people, we can still feel so alone. We all feel it at times. How can we avoid it? We need to be wise about whom and what we surround ourselves with. Be picky about your friends. Well-known actor, Robin Williams, once said, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” Being accepted by the world will never make you feel lifted.
Russell M. Nelson said, “if you are sometimes called ‘weird,’ wear that distinction as a badge of honor and be happy that your light is shining brightly in this ever-darkening world.” When the Lord was on the earth, He told His disciples, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15: 18-19).
Satan has devised many ways of making us feel lonely and depressed; one avenue he uses is social media (which I like to call “anti-social media”). In a study published in the medical journal “Behavioral Brain Research,” researchers conducted MRI scans of 85 active Facebook users. Higher daily frequency of checking Facebook on the smartphone was robustly linked with smaller gray matter volumes of the nucleus accumbens. Nucleus accumbens are the pathways in the brain that activate during pleasurable experiences. Apparently, Facebook doesn’t make those little guys do much activating. This study says it’s not just that you feel bad, excessive social media use can, in effect, re-wire your brain in a bad way. There’s even a formula for it: for every 1% increase in the number of likes, status updates, and link clicks, happiness levels decreased by 5-8%. People using 5-7 or more social media platforms were three times more likely to be depressed and anxious, compared to those who used two or less” (5).
President Russell M. Nelson recently challenged us to disengage from a constant reliance on social media by participating in a seven-day social media fast. It’s almost as if he already knows all this information. Now he didn’t say it’s bad or don’t use it at all. He said, “Much of what appears in your various social media feeds is distorted, if not fake. So give yourselves a seven day break from fake” (6). We need people and people need us. I challenge you to see if lifting someone makes you happy. There is a Chinese saying that says: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody” (7).
2. You must be dancing on a solid foundation.
It would be extremely difficult to balance someone above your head say, on a trampoline. Even if the floor is solid but has small cracks or holes, it can put both dancers at risk.
Our spirits are no different.
We cannot lift someone else if we are not first rooted to a strong foundation.
We’ve all seen the movie where there’s a big bully and the whole movie you are just hating that bully and wishing something bad would happen to him. Then at the end the truth comes out: that bully has a terrible home life. He’s being abused and has never felt loved. How can he show someone love or lift someone when he’s never learned how? He has no foundation.
The same goes for us. We have been given the ultimate example of perfect love in our Savior, Jesus Christ. He not only showed us countless examples in life, but He gave the ultimate example in death. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I also love the next verse, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:13-14).
If we don’t have a foundation, there is nothing to ground us to a purpose in life. If your foundation is shaken, go to the source. Don’t trust one person who has lived at one time upon this one earth. If you are wondering if God exists, ask Him. If you are wondering if this gospel is true or not, ask Him. Thomas Jefferson said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear” (9). In other words, if there is a God, reason would say that He loves us, because He created all of this for us. And if that God loves us, then why would He not want us to come to Him with our questions? I promise you, if you truly believe, He will answer you, He will answer you! And that testimony of Him will be your foundation.
3. Be strong.
This strength doesn’t come overnight. Lifting a human being is different than lifting a weight or a box. It requires core strength, balance, muscle strength, coordination, and endurance.
We’ve been given the gospel as our spiritual workout. The church is our gym. But as with a physical workout, in order to build and maintain our spiritual muscle mass, we must be consistently “hitting the gym” or attending our meetings and activities. Each time we skip a class or skip church altogether, our spiritual muscles lose strength—and we experience spiritual atrophy. Let’s get the definition of atrophy from NASA: “Without regular use and exercise our muscles weaken and deteriorate. It’s a process called atrophy. Studies have shown that astronauts experience up to a 20 percent loss of muscle mass on space flights lasting 5 to 11 days. The loss of muscle mass means a loss of strength that can be potentially dangerous if an astronaut must perform a strenuous emergency procedure upon re-entry into the Earth's gravitational field. Astronauts on the International Space Station spend 2 1/2 hours per day exercising to combat the effects of muscle atrophy” (10).
Just as these astronauts must keep building muscle every day while away from the Earth, we must keep building spiritual strength while away from our Father in Heaven. We need the gospel to keep us strong so that when hard things happen in our lives, we can maintain hope and lift each other.
4. Team up.
In the cabaret style of dancing, some lifts require more than one person to be the “lifter.”
A team of people will often be assigned to lift someone higher than any one person could on their own. These lifts require complete unity on the part of the lifters. If one person lifts sooner than the rest, the person being lifted can fall.
I was out in my backyard and I noticed a long trail of ants climbing up and down our basketball post. Normally, this wouldn’t catch my attention too much, but this time I noticed something interesting. There were many small groups of about 4-6 ants and each group was carrying something much larger than their own bodies down the pole. I watched in amazement as these small groups of ants worked together to move quickly down the post with this large object. I noticed one ant would join the group and another would leave. They did it with such swift fluidity that I was mesmerized. It was a testimony to me that when many work together as one, amazing things can be accomplished.
Look to your church. In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed by many groups of people to help uplift us and strengthen the weak: The Relief Society, Priesthood, youth groups for the teenagers and Primary for the young children. What a blessing it is to know that there is always a group of loving friends, ready to carry us up the “spiritual basketball pole” to greater heights.
Perhaps the greatest group of all is our own family. Regardless of your age, please know that there is no one in this world who loves you more than your own father and mother. There is no one who wants you to succeed more in life than they do. They’ve carried you, changed every diaper, fed you every meal, provided every needful thing in your life. Please don’t turn your back on those who love you the most. Friends will come and go, but your parents will always be there, waiting to lift you higher.
5. Your partnership must move as one.
A cabaret couple is almost never performing the same movement, but every motion is synchronized and every lift has perfect balance and precise timing.
The girl must jump at the exact same time as the man lifts. This propels her up quickly and as soon as the man locks his arm in place, the lift is set. If they are out of sync with each other, the lift will fail.
The Lord said, “… if ye are not one, ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). Does this mean the Lord expects us to get married and all of a sudden be exactly like each other? No! So stop expecting your spouse to think like you, show affection the way you do, discipline the way you do, and give back massages as good as you do. I’m going to confess something to you all right now: my husband, Hayden … is the perfect man … for me. Hayden and I could not be more different. He is super non-emotional and would rather work than do anything else. I, on the other hand, am a basket case and want to play all the time. For some reason, when we speak to each other, the one always hears the exact opposite of what the other is trying to get across. But although we are so opposite, these differences help us become better people, and overcoming those differences brings us closer. Hayden has taught me to dream! Well, he is still teaching me, actually. I have a hard time dreaming it if I can’t pay for it. He has taught me to have faith and not fear, which is hard for a mother in this world. I think Hayden would say that I’ve taught him patience, to stop and smell the roses, and that work can be enjoyable as long as you don’t expect to get three months’ worth done in one day. I would not be as strong and as good as I am today without Hayden. We are so different, but we’re moving in unison, lifting each other toward the same goal.
Linda K. Burton tells us, “In a chapter about families, the Church handbook contains this statement: ‘The nature of male and female spirits is such that they complete each other.’ Please note that this does not say ‘compete with each other’ but ‘complete each other!’ We are here to help, lift, and rejoice with each other as we try to become our very best selves.” Sister Barbara B. Smith wisely taught, “There is so much more of happiness to be had when we can rejoice in another’s successes and not just in our own. When we seek to ‘complete’ each other rather than ‘compete,’ it is so much easier to cheer each other on!” (12)
6. Before you can lift someone high, you must first get below your partner.
It’s impossible to lift someone from the side. Our dear brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, bowed Himself below all things, below every filthy creature to live upon the face of this earth, to lift us to eternity. He was lifted up, upon the cross, to suffer for all of our downfalls. I testify to you that He can lift us out of whatever pit we have fallen into, if we will only let Him. He has provided the way.
I know that we will find no greater happiness in this world than when we are following Christ’s example and lifting one another. A famous proverb says, “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”
My name is Kami Orr and I am a wife to an amazing husband and a mother of three beautiful children.
I grew up on a dairy farm driving dump trucks and digging ditches, and ended up in the glamorous world of ballroom dance and photography. I have been making up dances since I can remember. I’d make my mom and dad come watch my performances that I’m sure were more than comical. But that love for dancing perpetuated me into a life of dance, touring the world, competing in national ballroom competitions, teaching at BYU-Idaho, and starting my own ballroom dance academy here in Texas. I’ve learned that dancing is such an incredible avenue to teach the gospel and am so grateful to have had the incredible blessing of having it in my life.
Kami runs her own business, "Kami Orr Photography and Design." Check it out by clicking the link below.
John 15: 18-19