Learning When to Say "No"

I knew there was a good chance I would get soaked. It had been raining off and on for the past 24 hours, and some heavy storms had blown through. In the 3.30am darkness, I struggled to find my leggings, my sneakers, my headlamp. I finally made it out the door (almost forgetting my key) and started up the music. First song? "Closer to Fine." I knew I had made the perfect choice. This morning I woke early, unable to find rest. I'd been asleep for just a few hours, but between the unexpected silence between rainstorms and the emptiness of my bed, I realized it was just better to get up and run. I'd been missing the feeling of wind against my face, of pushing my body further and harder, up the hill, around the corner, a little bit faster. So up I got, and out I went, into the thickness of a humid, black pre-dawn morning.

And then I came home. Four and a half miles later, wet and cold and sweaty, I came home.

And I slept.

It isn't every morning that I willingly get up and run. It isn't every day I admit that I am exhausted, and sore, and would really be better served by staying in bed. It isn't every night that I turn off the computer and quiet the radio, confessing that I'd sleep better in silence.

But today, a tiny piece of wisdom, something I could finally hear, dropped into my world from Amy Palko. It said:

"[T]his is a call to respect the void. Take some time to connect to the silence and don't fill it full with activity and noise. Just allow it to be. Some fallow time.

For this void is where everything is born, and you may just find that when you open up space in your life, the universe will fill it with precisely what will feel delicious!"

Finally. Finally I could listen, could trust that sometimes it is okay to say no.

In the saying "no," we create space for the "yes."

For so long, I have been obsessed with the filling up, the cramming in, the hoarding, the collecting, the perpetual gathering. It seemed the only possible way to achieve my dreams (the ones I was actually strong enough to work toward) was to keep going, keep collecting, keep fighting. But what if all this fighting, all this pushing was really a pushing against, not a pushing toward?

These days, my world is filled with obsessing over my law school application. Something I no longer have any control over. And I mean, obsessing. As in, every waking moment I am not occupied with the task-at-hand, I am thinking about how I could have re-written this sentence or included that on my resume or perhaps taken the LSAT one more time before applications were due. Obsessing to the point of near-insanity.

And then I went running this morning. And somewhere between the second and third mile, the rubber-band of obsession snapped. I stopped, dead in my tracks, and exhaled. There is nothing more I can do. There is not another "yes" to be said in this moment. And, just like that (haha), everything shifted.

Today, I asked for support around being accepted to law school. Support from friends, family, lovers, strangers. Anyone who will hold the intention of my being accepted to law school at UW-Madison and beginning classes in the Fall of 2012. And now I let it go.

Setting the intention, doing the very best work I can, and then releasing it to the Universe. This is my work right now. Accepting when there is absolutely nothing left for me to say "yes" to. And being okay with that. Making space for the fields of possibility to rest, for the seeds to sprout, for the potential energy to build and burst forward (when it's ready).

How are you learning to say "no" today? And what "yes" does it create in your life?