Before I dive into the magic of the word no, I want to take a moment to celebrate my one year blogging birthday!
One Whole Year!
One year ago this month I began blogging with the intention to help others struggling to create habits of self care. I made the commitment to do this by sharing my own journey, once a week. A year later after having had posted every week through many interesting situations : summer vacations, transitioning from SAHM to working mom, the holidays, mourning the deaths of 3 loved ones since this past January, last minute out of county travel, volunteer work, nursing fevers and a bout of strep throat, organizing and cooking for my sons birthday party and many more character building experiences 🙂 …I’m still here.
With palms together, eyes closed and heart full of reverence, I honor the growth and connections made with amazing people, that has resulted from staying the course…happy dance, happy dance! 🙂
Stretch to Be Of Use
The process of sitting down at my laptop, pushing myself every week to get out of my world, dig deep to find what I have to offer that is of substance and work at this craft of writing, has been a surprisingly expanding, enlivening and grit strengthening experience.
Growing In Grit and Light
A phrase has been floating in the back of my mind now for months leading to today…to grow in grit and light. In exploring it, I realize that to grow in grit means to grow in resilience, resourcefulness, adaptability, fortitude, bounce back and roll up your sleeves-ness’. Grit has a growl to it. To grow in light is that aspect that is dear, soft, vulnerable, open, receptive, pure, joyous, effervescent. The light has a higher octave hmmmmm to it. Both are important in keeping our humanity as the world goes about speeding up its dizzying pace.
Mamma Bear Time
Just as mamma bears use their weight, speed and razor sharp claws to protect their sweet dawdling cubs, we must be our own mothers in protecting our own inner light, along with everything that gives us light. Every day we are faced with situations that ask of us to act from a place that holds these two aspects in delicate balance. It’s a slippery slope to the land of angry, embittered, apathetic and cynical towards all that looks noble and decent, when the pendulum stays little too long in unmeasured aggressiveness.
The Naivete Of Walking Around Exposing That Underbelly to the World
I also survived a season of naivete in my life when I was waiting for the people in my world to speak up for me and say “ You know Lorena, you have given so much to me, you really need to do for yourself and shut me out for some time, no really, no offense taken, go do your thing and enjoy yourself unabashedly and ignore me for a while, no hard feelings”. I gave everyone who ever asked anything of me the benefit of the doubt and believed that at heart they had my well being in mind.
Granted, if you have developed the life skills needed to develop those quality relationships, there are those people who have your highest good in mind, love you and have your back, it’s just not EVERYBODY.
As you could expect, this season was followed by a massively painful, reality biting season that sent me down the land of embittered and chronically angry for some time.
What is true for me, is that the more time passes that I’m regularly investing in silence and solitude, the more my discrimination grows. The discernment blossoms with which to see when it’s appropriate to show my mamma claws and say “No, that won’t work for me” and when it’s appropriate to be my Jungle Book bear version and back stroke down the river of ease and say “Yeeeeees”.
Speaking to my women readers, I think it’s common as young girls to have our natural, protective instinct tamed and domesticated right out of us. We become fluent in the etiquette of “being nice” as we grow into women and it bites us when there are situations when we clearly have to say no, sometimes even “Heck no!”
High Stakes No’s
Gavin De Becker covers this nicely in his famous book The Gift of Fear. He speaks of how strong it has been conditioned into us to be nice over being in tune with our surroundings. This is in the light of our physical safety, as he explains in his book when “A date won’t take “no” for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help.”
Everyday Sanity Saving No’s
This instinct also helps us in the subtler, not so obviously high stakes situations. Has your work ever asked you to stay longer for bonus pay after having promised your loved one you’d be home early for a coveted appointment of something fun? How about watching a stranger drop a 100 dollar bill that you could really use? Ever come home tired and tempted to anesthetize the stress quickly with junk food? What about you finally coordinating your life to muster up some much needed refueling time and just as you’re about to dive in, a person in your life calls you needing your urgent help…again?
Accruing Violations of That Defenseless Light
These may not seem high stakes, yet over time they carry just as much weight as those more obvious examples.
With every “yes” to appease, get ahead, be liked or reject the high road that holds our decency, that soft joyous light is whittled away piece by piece. We receive the bland vanilla seal of approval from those that need us or the fast and fleeting enjoyment of instant satisfaction and reject a more exhilarating, deep in your bones aliveness that comes from having spent your time doing what is truly in your heart of hearts very important to you.
Being Famous Does Not Exempt You from Being Uncomfortable With NO
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” eloquently shares in the very beginning of this interview , on the Paul Holdengraber Show, her experience of saying no to even those things she enjoys, in order to give life to what is her deepest calling. I revere how unequivocally, unapologetic she expresses her devotion to her craft.
Even the famous Tim Ferriss, known for his wildly popular “4 Hour Work Week” bestseller and Cheryl Strayed author of the bestseller “Wild”, find it a challenge to say no as they share in this podcast interview at 1:02.
The more you discover what you absolutely love with all your heart and soul, I think the more flexing of the saying no muscle has to be done.
What Are You Willing to Give Up?
Finding this mamma instinct in myself for myself, after having decided that writing was something I treasured enough for me to devote myself to it regularly, seems to have been an increasing theme in my life for the last 2 years. As if the universe has been asking “HOW precious is it to you dear…show me?”
Getting to Know You
In light of this one year birthday and a growing hunger to get to know those of you that have followed me, I am sending out as of today a newsletter I have duly named “Of Grit and Light”. This will include my weekly post and offer more goodies I have up my sleeve
Wheres Your Growl?
In closing, what is the state of your mamma bear instinct? Does she need to be found and resuscitated? Is she alive and well? Does she come out to the light only to protect your actual kids and is buried alive when you want to voice your own preferences? Is she strong at work but not in your love life?
I’d love to know
As always if you found this post useful take a sec to share like or comment. Thank you for making me part of your day!