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  • There is the Creative YES! and the Creative NO!

    For years, in my extreme shyness, wanting so much to be loved, I said yes to almost everything.

    Well, almost.

    “No” was a word I dared not speak, for fear of hurting another’s feelings, losing their approval, and alienating them altogether.

    I also dreaded confrontation, and only got over that years later when I worked in the Litigation Department of a law firm.

    Now, I confront. Often, and with no apology. With a smile, of course, but no apology!

    Now, I confront with glee and good humor whenever it is necessary. When you are clear who you are, what you believe, and what you want, deserved confrontation can rise to the level of sport.

    But back then, my inability to say “No” got me in a lot of trouble, and on many journeys to Abilene – that classic example of what happens when everyone is afraid to speak up and say what they really want or do not want to do.

    I’m not sure exactly when I woke up, and who woke me up, but at some point, I realized that I could speak the truth of my feelings, and decline invitations, refuse offers, and gracefully follow my inner intuition of rightness and wrongness – that this was OK!

    I realized that I could just say I was busy. Busy!

    As in “occupied with something I want to do more than what you want me to do, like being alone with a book, or writing a poem, or playing in the woods.”

    And I realized that if someone tried to push me, or find out what was more important than their request, I could look them right in the eyes and say: “Excuse me?”

    I could actually identify the pressure and respond in such a way as to end any further invasion of my privacy and inner knowing of what was right for me.

    LIke those ancient maps, I marked out my boundaries, beyond which it was not a good idea to venture:"There be dragons here."

    I may write a book one day titled: “The Freedom of NO.”

    To know I can say “No,” to know I have choice, to know I do not have to explain myself, to know I can make decisions from the heart and listen to my feelings - to know these things is a Divine blessing.

    I am even getting bolder with my “No.” Recently someone with whom I have most definitely finished any business we may have done together, or more accurately, tried to do together, asked me if we could set a time to talk on the phone.

    I felt immediately nauseous, and made a note of this. My body was overriding my brain and giving me some important information.

    I most definitely did not want to talk to him on the phone. I wrote him an email and said I am trying to phase phone calls out of my life (true!) and would appreciate it if he would put everything in writing, in an email, and that I would get back to him. I further explained that this would give us a paper trail, and create clarity.

    Best practice, as they say. Best practice in any case!

    Damn, but it felt good to say that! Two days later, I did it again, with someone who is pushy and who makes me uncomfortable. “Please put it in email and I will get back to you when I can.”

    Why should we put ourselves in harm’s way, just to be “nice”?

    I think I left the Nice Station awhile ago, and Nice doesn’t live here anymore. Love lives here, for those who love me and treat me with respect, but I am unwilling to suffer fools who would exploit my good nature and waste my precious time.

    In saying these kinds of “No’s”, I am taking care of my soul, and I am quite sure that others will be the beneficiaries of my honesty in some way. Maybe they will realize that they have a God given right to say “No” as well.

    My sincere and honest “No” can be a gift, and who knows what good for all may flow from it. It helps to realize this.

    Winston Churchill gave me permission to be myself, follow my intuition, and take care of myself when he wrote: “Never explain. Never apologize. Have it done and let them howl.”

    I can see more and more that the Creative NO is a Sacred Path and a Practice, like yoga or a martial art, because I must always be alert to the imposition of others, and possible bullying by them to get me to violate my peace and joy, when I will be derailed and diverted from my purpose and passion.

    A New Yorker cartoon shows a little girl and a little boy talking. He says: “I want you.”

    She replies: “And I want myself.”

    The Creative NO in action! Long live NO!
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