Saying “Yes” to NO in order to say “Yes”

One of my teachers once said, “By saying NO to something, we are inherently saying YES to another.” I’ve been around people who have this Just say YES mentality. In fact, if I had said NO…they got pissed. So, maybe I didn’t want to try THAT particular meditation. Or so what if I’m not into cars?

My sentiments EXACTLY.

My sentiments EXACTLY.

Maybe, by saying NO to things, I’m creating space for something else. Is there an area in your life where You need to say NO?? If you say NO, you’re lying. Well, probably. In fact, I’ll say you are definitely lying–just so I feel better about this post.

Ahem.

Anyone who knows me (or has read my blog) knows that I have been struggling with depression for the majority of my life. (Please, don’t give sympathetic comments…that’s NOT why I’m stating this.) And, most of you know that I’ve been working extra super stupidly hard on my life–essentially trying to feel good about living. This determination led me to yoga…which led me to therapy…which led me on a heart wrenching, embarrassing and joyful journey. Throw in any pair of opposites and I’ve experienced that too.

Eventually, about two years into this, I found myself in a place where things were going well. I was feeling full just by living. But…if things were going well on the inside. Let’s get real…life doesn’t cater on silver platters. (Usually, it’s some sort of dish composed of turds and twigs one moment, and golden tigerlilies the next.)

Everything was unfolding as I had worked hard for it…except for one area.

No, really...everything's perfect.

No, really…everything’s perfect.

Not that I wasn’t working hard…Actually, I was working hard. Working hard at suffering and bottling emotions up. Working hard at forgoing my own needs for that of another. Working hard at lying to myself; if I just give a little more, this will turn out how I want it to. Working hard at lying to my friends and family; Things are going GREAT!! *Smiley face* *wink* *giggle*

There came a tipping point. I needed out. And finally, I was able to get out. I said NO to the person in my life I cared most about.

When he finally was gone, I cried. I wandered around my apartment looking at how EMPTY it was. I could barely fill up a third of the space in my home…what the fuck?

A couple days later, there was a shift. I became happy. Really happy. No, seriously. I mean, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t depressed. I didn’t realize it was even possible. I wanted hugs (which is a big fucking deal if you know me) When I was with my friends, I just wanted to hug them and tell them how much I love them. I thought my heart was going to burst open. Where did this abundance of love and joy come from?? My only conclusion is that it was there the whole time…lurking beneath the dank and dark layers of childhood, personality and giving up my power to someone else.

So, saying NO can literally create a space to say Yes. Yes to love. Yes to tenderness. Yes to joy. Yes to life.

Karma ain’t no bitch, it’s a law

Yeah, that’s right!  lol…

But seriously,  this has been on my mind recently.  Everything in this world is ruled by the Law of Causation–which simply states that every action (be it physical, emotional, psychological, chemical, biological) has an effect and vice versa.  On a very simple level, for instance…if we exercise and eat a balanced diet, abstain from smoking and partying, we will have a healthy body.  If we are lazy and eat Taco Bell everyday, we probably will have an unhealthy, diseased body.

Now, let’s segway to karma…the Law of Karma states that not only are we a product of our past, but, we have the opportunity and freedom to control the outcome of our future.  That first part seems so disheartening…and yeah, it’s really hard.  It’s really hard to take an accurate assessment of who we are and where we are and admit that it was us who got us here…(maybe “here” is a complete and total mess…I don’t know!) 

A real trainwreck

Is this your life?

The awesome part is, that we can fix it if we want!  That’s right folks, I control my future!  If I want a certain person as a romantic partner…I can act presently on that…what I mean is, I can act in a way that is honorable and will help me to attain that goal.  I wouldn’t decide who I want to be with and then end up fooling around with other people…because if I did that, then the person I want to be with probably won’t want to be with me.  (So simple,yet sometimes so complicated!)  If I want a job that’s going to satiate me, I’m not going to switch from working at MacDonald’s to Ruby Tuesdays…get what I’m saying here?  It’s tough to examine these things.  And, it’s tough to implement these changes because we are so set in our ways of doing things.  

Every action I make is meaningful and has an effect (or consequence).  If I say something mean behind somebody’s back, and somehow it gets to that person…their feelings will be hurt by MY ACTIONS.  Even if my intention wasn’t to be hurtful…that action of gossiping IS hurtful, no matter what.  And even if it meant “nothing” to me (hello Ego! how are you doing today?), it surely meant something to that person.  Which, by default renders it meaningful.  Now, the tricky part is, is to truly understand this and take the time to THOUGHTFULLY decide if what I’m doing is right for me and who I aspire to be.  If I do not take the time to consider my actions, negative effects are sure to follow.  And, I have to ask myself:  Am I the type of person who is willing to sacrifice someone else’s feelings in order to gossip, cheat, steal, lie, whatever, etc??  Is what I want worth it?  Or, do I want something better than that?  Whatever the answer is, is ok…as long as I am honest with myself because that’s who I have to answer to when all is said and done. 

We can think all we want, which is wonderful…we can have the best intentions, which is wonderful…however, if we are unable to implement them into action, which requires assessing ourselves and the action at hand from all angles we cannot guide ourselves to change our futures for what we deem best.  I know it’s hard, but…

How empowering is that?!

What to do when your (and by your I mean my) entire foundation is shaken

Don’t get too excited about this post.

I don’t have the answer.

That’s right…I don’t really know what to do, but I have some ideas:

Idea #1:  Just because my foundation has been shaken so hard that some pieces have broken off and the entire thing is brimming with cracks, doesn’t mean everyone else’s is in the same shape.  With that being said, I can ask for help or an opinion or a thought from somebody who is a bit more grounded than I.  (Or even just to spend time with…because time spent with someone who has strength and kindness and good intentions will ALWAYS be time well spent.)

Idea #2:  Even though I am forced to question everything…and I mean everything.  (i.e. beliefs, values, rights, wrongs, purposes, meanings, friendships, familyships, spaceships…ok, so I got a little carried away with the spaceships) There are still some things in my life that are consistent and a safe place to go for refuge.  For me, this is practicing yoga on my mat and curling up on the futon with my cat.  Maybe you have something like that?

Idea #3:  Don’t judge or criticize myself.  This can NEVER be a bad idea.  And, if I all of a sudden have no idea (but clearly I have at least 3 so far) about who I am or what I stand for or what I should be doing…it’s inevitable that I might do something out of character.  Afterall, I have to test these things out and I’m a hands-on kinda girl.  So let’s say I do something that’s “bad”…well, I can brood over it and tell myself how terrible I am for committing such an act (even if we just think of committing such an act…let’s be honest–we can be really harsh on ourselves for the littlest thing)  Or, I can learn and grow from it. It was either right for me, or it wasn’t.  And, if it wasn’t, the last thing I need right now (or anyone for that matter) is to shame my behaviors and defecate all over my self-worth.  I can cut myself some slack.

Meanwhile, it’s normal and ok to feel out-of-whack, like somebody has whacked me or completely whack-o.  I think the trick is, is to let time be on my side.  To be ok with not being ok…afterall, no emotion lasts forever (a comforting thought!)

And I imagine that as I sift through all these broken pieces of what was once thought of as an unbreakable/unshakeable foundation, I can decide which pieces to put back into place and which ones to leave in the dust of my old-ways-of-doing-and-thinking.  As I examine closely and carefully all the tiny cracks and all the large cracks at the base, I can figure out not only how to fill them in…but with what I’d like them to be filled with–creating a better, brighter version of the girl that you guys know…(or don’t know, whatever.  But I’m pretty sure there has been only one person I don’t know who actually took time to read my blogs.)  Don’t worry, I definitely do not base my esteem on something like that!

Dharma!

Dharma…or simply put (meaning in english) our individual calling, duties or principles.  We each have our own truths.  What is right for me is not necessarily right for another.  (But wouldn’t life be amazingly easy if we all had the same truths to live by?!) 

Should I take this new job?  Is my current lover right for me?  Is how I acted/interacted/reacted right for who I am? 

Maybe that last part is key: Who am I?

As if answering these questions aren’t hard enough, the physical equipments we have to work with are NOT designed to go metaphorically deep sea diving into the layers of our core personality.  Think about it…

…We have eyes that see brilliant colors and shapes, as well as the pain and suffering occurring everyday.  Ears hear the murmurs of conversation, nature, music both nasty and sweet.  The tongue tastes all the nutrition we put into our bodies.  And skin feels the soft, gentle touch of a lover or wind; the physical pain of abuse or an accident.  Our noses smells scents from armpits to dinners…from hot, smoky fires to the rain that washes them out.

Don’t get me wrong, these are WONDERFUL things…our five sense.  However, I cannot decide which job to take by sniffing daffodils and I cannot decide to stay with or to leave my lover by licking lollipops. 

And…just to further complicate things:  What about what I WANT?!  Can I want the same things I need??  (oh, I think life would be grand if that were so!)  Can’t I have my lover…even though basic communication skills are lacking?  Can’t I have the lucrative job even though it exploits those less fortunate?  Can’t I eat all the cookies in the world and still get all the vitamins and minerals I need to sustain a healthy body?

So.  What happens when we’ve searched long and hard and deep into the darkness of our souls and find out (to our horrid disdain and fear) that:  No Julie, you can’t sustain a healthy body on cookies alone.  Or:  No, you need an intimate partner who can communicate his needs effectively as well…otherwise you’ll just be miserable.

Here it comes:

But…But…won’t I be miserable if I have to eat all those vegetables EVERY DAY?  and won’t I be miserable WITHOUT that guy who can’t communicate?  and…won’t the money make me forget that my job is causing others to suffer?  

Finding out our truth is haaaarrrrd work.  We have to go beyond the physical layers of our bodies…work through the trickiness of our emotions…to discover something that we might not want to admit.  Then what? 

Then, we have a choice.  And this choice is so very hard.  Emotionally jarring.  We might think we’ll be scarred for life.  But the amount of courage it takes; the strength we can muster to actually live our truth is what makes us the GREAT human race.  The ability to do what’s right for us.

I’m shaking my head right now thinking:  Man, life is freakin’ hard sometimes!  But totally worth it.