The Blessing of Saying No

At heart I’m a minimalist. I love the “zen” look. I like simplicity.
However, I also love doing lots of things. Lots. I have a multitude of passions that I try and weave together into a beautiful lifestyle.
And I often think I can do it all. But it’s not completely true. I can’t. There is only so much energy and it’s wise to use it efficiently.

I’ve been reading a book by Greg McKeown called “essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”. It was recommended. I liked the title. In fact it says it all really.

He says, there are three core truths for the essentialist:

“I choose to”
“Only a few things really matter”
“I can do anything but not everything”

In Carlos Casteneda’s books he talks about how we have a finite amount of energy given to us at birth. He proposed that it doesn’t really increase. How we manage the energy we’ve been given determines whether we maintain a high level of energy in our lives by using it wisely, or foolishly depleting ourselves by not choosing wisely.

It really boils down to energy management.

Some of the ways our energy depletes are

• when we focus a lot of attention on our mind’s internal conversations about past or future stuff

• believing thoughts without examining them, especially the negative ones that loop around

• worrying about things we can’t control, etc.

• multi-tasking without single-pointed attention to the task at hand

• thinking everything is a priority and important. (it’s not)

There are tools like yoga and meditation that help us master the mind’s conditioned responses and change them. When left unacknowledged and unchanged, they will drain our energy often without us knowing it.

We all have our unique ways of leaking energy but using our power of awareness, discernment and choice can help us liberate more energy in our lives.

This is where saying NO is a powerful tool in energy management … and a blessing for you and others.

Have you ever found yourself saying YES to someone, or some situation and you kinda knew it would drain you but you said yes anyway because saying “no” didn’t feel like an option, or maybe it would feel horrible to say “no” because of some old ideas and beliefs you’ve got tucked away around saying no? Maybe you tend to say YES all the time because saying “no” would make you an unlikeable selfish person (I’ve been in that wave, believe me).

Our minds can make everything seem important and urgent. There can be a lot of “shoulds” in our mind. And this mindset can push us to say yes to everything. But if we’re honest, on closer examination only a few things really matter.

This month why not try out a few essentials:

• Become your own detective
Practice bringing awareness to where you are putting your energy throughout the day (this will help you see the choices you are making)

• Pause & Consider before answering yes or no.
No one notices the delay in answering as much as you think they do, but who cares? Don’t rush to answer until you feel clear about your decision.
When you are asked for help give yourself some space before responding. Take a few deep breaths and ask, “Is choosing to say yes the best use of my energy right now?” This means having to sometimes say “no” instead of YES to people, places and things. It might feel a wee uncomfortable at first, especially if it requires answering someone’s urgent request, but most people will respect an honest “no”.

• Discern and Align
Use your capacity for discernment and practice choosing to do only what’s essential that aligns your energy in the most beneficial way for you to be able to share your gifts, expertise, in a bigger way (and often it will benefit others as well).

• Ask is this essential?
Let go of the non-essentials when you are scheduling your day.
Remember that we can do anything, but not everything.

I think we all have a deep impregnated desire to help, to serve, and to connect with others. We’ve been born with that soul-seed to help each other.

It can be challenging to say no sometimes, because our very nature wants to say yes to being there and helping others.

Remember though, that in this scenario saying no is saying a big YES to something else. YOU. Quiet time for contemplation is essential to connect with source and make choices that align to our being so that we can fill-up and offer support in a much bigger way.

By making the choice to focus on what’s meaningful we make a larger impact that not only benefits us, but also benefits our loved ones and colleagues. They’ll get it, and appreciate you more for it.

So here’s to “once in a blue moon”.
Letting go of the non-essentials and choosing to focus on what really matters.

I’m making that one less of a rarity. How about you?

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg Mckeown

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