• Musings

    The Art of Saying ‘No’

    If you have visited my website recently, you probably noticed that it has been under construction, and either the posts are hidden, or the whole website was down for maintenance.

    That was intentional, and for a good purpose. I had begun noticing how so much of my time was spent taking care of other peoples’ or organizations’ needs. Meanwhile, my true desires, to provide spiritual care and intuitive-guided counselling and have my own oboe studio, were sent to a lower berth of engagement.

    In the autumn, these choices to serve away from my desires and purpose, came to the forefront of my attention. Ready to change gears and re-evaluate my choices, things began to drop into place. Being a highly sensitive/highly intelligent person, with particularly strong gifts of intuition and insight, I found a practitioner with similar traits and life experiences with whom to explore how I was attracting other peoples’ projects and not attending to my own.

    Just as we began this work, though, I was struck by a hit-and-run driver while walking in a crosswalk next to my home. The resulting spin around from the impact caused me to have a concussion. I was left simply unable to do anyone’s work, mine or others’. I decided to keep working with my career transition coach anyway, alongside the medical care I needed to recover.

    Here was an opportunity for change. My focus and attention were now expanded beyond my normal and long-held boundaries and patterns. Some things jumped out at me as being keys to my transition away from what other people do or want, to defining what I want. One of these items was an essay in the New York Times by a guest writer, about her ‘Notebook of Noes’1

    So began my reconstruction, or resurrection, of what my intentions were when I became an independent, freelance spiritual care counsellor, writer, and musician.

    No sooner had I engaged the services of my coach, when emails and calls started to come in, from people wanting my services. It was actually astounding to me, having found myself pretty much ignored for a very long stretch, but not knowing why. My coach and I had no explanation for this opening of the heavens and ringing of phone and email contacts. My becoming available was being sensed out there, some semiophoric pheromone or energy cloud was wafting through the ether, with a big empty channel leading toward my phone and email and ultimately, to me.

    Was I going to fill up this beautiful new space I had cleared out for myself, with others’ projects? With a lifelong history as a woman, and one who accommodates others for all sorts of personal historic reasons, I now had clarity about my own system for subsuming my needs underneath those of others’. Was it for praise? extra credit and good grades? fear of rejection or being fired from a job? Here is the spot where you can plug in your experience with this sort of relinquishing your goals to serve others’.

    It is one thing to identify this sort of dynamic: it is another thing to change that pattern.

    Starting with being mindful of my goals and how much I was now moving ahead in establishing their fulfillment, I could then ask myself, “Is this offer/request in alignment with my agenda and purpose, or will it take up time that I have now set aside to write/make music/set up counselling?”

    In the past, it would have been very hard for me to see the difference, but with a bump on the head and a list of Noes, I have the impetus and tools to choose the requests that fit, and politely say ‘No’ to the others.

    Enjoy my new website and its features. If you are looking for Spiritual Care Counselling, Intuitive energetic self-management, or music performance, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free 20 minute consultation.

    Wishing You the Best of Health and Personal Growth…Susan

    1. ‘The Mind-Boggling Simplicity of Learning to Say ‘No’ by Leslie Jamison ↩︎