I spent the last two weeks of December saying no and it was perfect. I said no for more space to rest, to work emails and teaching, to my anxiety about the whole holiday in general. I find myself saying no to it all now: new inspiration, new paths, new goals for this new year. And no to feeling any guilt about it.
Feeling lackluster is not new to me. I love feeling disgruntled by my own role in this slightly dysfunctional industry and I love investigating ways to rekindle my passion for why I’ve chosen this as my life’s work (not just a ‘job’). So, when I have a few extra days over the holidays to fill my own cup but then am happy to slide back in no more uplifted or spiritually insightful than when I was in the daily grind, it’s weird. It’s weird that I’m not struggling to be different than this. I am a 36 year old woman, teaching yoga, raising a family, I took time for nothing around Christmas time, wrote this little piece, I have pretty good days on most days.
Here I land at a place that is uneasily different from what I thought I knew. This place where I’m ready for the future of my yoga life and also this place empty of guilt, of the need for validation or affirmation.
This new level of indifference has spawned from my recent flurry of no’s. Yet, however I got here, it’s feeling too negative and stagnant. Is NO becoming my new protocol as a way of setting boundaries (and should NO be the only to establish them)? Or am I just taking this self-care kick really far? And if no is my new modus operandi, then how will I stay motivated?
My primal drive to be accepted and the best is dissipating, and it crept in slowly as I transitioned into motherhood. And now navigating these waters of right and wrong, good and bad, yes and no lead me to the same thing every time: it doesn’t matter, what goes on in my head isn’t such a big deal after all.
If my perceived dramas and days where my words are not revolutionary aren’t as important as I once thought, then what? … then I must re-evaluate and find a YES. Yes is a nice balance to that. As I reflect, I realize that beyond this state of coasting, of simply living each day, of lacking creativity and a mild indifference about it – I do notice a deep and subtle throb within – whispering to me that it’s time. Time to create, time to LISTEN UP, time to re-commit to whatever my practice is, time to fine tune my offerings.
I’ve been saying no to so much for a long time now – not just the holiday hustle. And it’s beautiful how my body and heart have been thriving along with the ease and spaciousness felt with my family. I have fallen in love with the power of no. Even if now I’m stuck on how much further I can really go with it. It’s time to start saying yes for a multitude of new reasons. I want to say yes to the new quieter callings because they arise from ME, from something much more real and lasting than the ‘shoulds’ or for approval. I want to say yes because my light will eventually dim if I fight my natural course of action for this life with more hiding, or resting, or simply as a pushback.
I’m going to start saying yes to life (ya girl, I’m that girl right now), to learning, to creativity, to people. Even amidst the no’s I declared last year, I still managed to align more deeply with family and intentional projects, lead new trainings, connect with all types of people, trust unconditionally in my loved ones. Within this list, my bold no’s clearly led to a finer attunement of priorities and passions. So in actuality, my life is filled with yesses.
Saying yes has come on as slowly as the no’s trickled in…
No to yoga events that don’t align with me.
No to the parties.
No to the small talk.
No to new collaborations.
No to anything that drains my daughter’s energy levels.
No to my own thoughts or emotions about other people’s judgments in how I care for my family.
No to holding grudges.
No to anger.
Thank you for teaching my heart and my physical body how to draw boundaries and how to let go, you wise old NO. Through you, I have touched upon freedom and my disposition feels balanced. The confusion and drama I allowed before are somewhat less pronounced.
It was tedious, it was a long time coming, this new way of being, of discernment, of no. And equally so is the process of accepting and embodying this YES within. I’ve been making excuses against listening to all that is a yes: I don’t have time, my family is more important, I can’t connect to my instincts right now, making money trumps the energy needed to listen to my passions, I’m too distracted by daily tasks such as social media promo, class planning, travel prep, house chores, volunteer events. Now, atop this plateau where my excuses no longer bear any weight, I’m disappointed in them for being so feeble and also impressed that they fooled me for so long. The wind is shifting and I’m no longer toiling with the stagnant inner discourse of self-loathing or confusion about where this ‘lifestyle’ will lead me or if I’m suited for this career. Perhaps what keeps me going now is simple contentment, gratitude for the uncertain moments and feeling ok with uncomfortable phases in limbo that we all experience. I want to say yes to plain old regular rituals simply for my own satisfaction (not to compare or compete with others, not to be more fit or attractive, not to be more spiritual, not to make more money).
There’s no other way. This lives in me. Always has. I just couldn’t see this pure and quite plain type of YES.
The thing is, I don’t know what I’m saying yes to. I know it’s a combination of what is ideal for my own healing, learning and creative process, for the classes I lead and for my loved ones – family is everything.
I’m hesitant to write a list or to call anything into action or being. I sense that the minute I try to verbalize it or pen it to paper, it loses its authenticity, it loses its safe and dark home in the depths of my soul. And anyway, why rush such a sweet and innocent practice of listening? No one needs my answer, everything is fine and good as it is now.
I am listening, I know I must. And the voice inside is urging me against trying to resolve any of what I have shared here. I’m wary of letting silly old habits and insecurities motivate my every word, my every move, my every thought. Leave it blank, leave it open, leave it messy, leave it hanging. Every yes will arise within these spaces.