Sometimes an opportunity arises that scares you... that seems the stuff of dreams and therefore cannot really be meant for you... that, if you were the truest version of yourself, you would gladly accept and know you deserved. But somehow your shame and inner critic and voices from the past come careening in to respond with a resounding "No"... "No, this cannot be for you" "Who will do all of the important things you do if you accept this opportunity?" "You don't deserve this" "It wouldn't make sense/be wise/be safe"
And then there are other opportunities that come where you feel you are suppossed to do it, it just makes sense, it is what everyone thinks you'd be so good at, and yet... it's not what you want. There's a twist in your stomach that isn't about excitement, it's about... something else. If you trusted your wise self you would gracefully decline, but instead the voices surge again with shoulds and layers of guilt laden submissions... "You have nothing better to do" "Isn't this what you've said you wanted?" "Everyone will be let down if you don't" "Don't be rude/hurt their feelings/be so selfish"
There is such power in the yes, and such power in the no.
Two years ago I received the following advice within the span of a month, both with regard to starting my own business:
"Say yes to everything"
"Say no to anything and everything that isn't your one thing"
The seemingly obvious reply would be that it isn't that simple, life isn't black and white, the answer lies in the middle. And yet so often we feel torn between these two responses, these two seeming extremes. How are we to know which way to go, which path is in line with our goals? Our values? Our purpose? Our highest self? Our deepest soul's calling?
When do we say yes and when do we say no?
I believe there is a part of us that knows this answer, but maybe we haven't let her hold the mic in a long time. She has been covered up by social expectations, by fear of what others will think, by what her family taught her to value, by her previous hurts. We don't let her speak and so we have forgotten her language.
And yet when we go to the Earth, to the natural world where the noise and distractions fall away, her voice is not so overshadowed... her voice finds companions in the sounds of the breeze, the water, the animals calling. When we find a place in which we can ground ourselves and listen, we know when to say yes, and when to say no.
Yes to the adventure, to the life fully lived, to dreams that seem risky compared to days filled with commutes, groceries, and tv. No to distracting voices that cloud out the self. Yes to loving, and losing, and crying, and rising. No to being misused and abused and martyring ourselves for others. Yes to giving and receiving. Yes to believing "I can;" no to fearing "but what if."
p.s. If you want to say YES to starting the year with Purpose in Patagonia, click here.