Saying no and snow

Two or three inches fell. It felt like a surprise but it shouldn’t have.

It was a week of honoring my basic preferences and screwing up the courage to say ‘no’ in order to do so. One small ‘no’ helped me say a much bigger ‘no’ a few days later.

Both refusals created a feeling of spaciousness and relief. Confirming feelings.

Itchy ambivalence can usually be resolved in favor of one’s own need, experience, and felt sense of the world. To not do so is to stay itchy.

Pretty basic, especially for a sixty year old, but it’s amazing (and common?) how quickly clarity can be clouded by others’ needs or by anxiety about self assertion.

I don’t need to say more now. Just this: it was a week to remember that I bought my first book from Shambala press in 1973. I still have that volume (by Chogyam Trungpa) 43 years later, which is really saying something — do you know how many books didn’t make the cut?

What happens to you when you don’t honor your basic preferences and how do you course correct?

Bitterly cold here again today and I hear that more snow is on the way.

Have a great weekend!

6 thoughts on “Saying no and snow

  1. Mo Crow

    is that a tulip covered in snow in the first photo? good to hear you are giving yourself space, I say no these days to just about everything- art commissions, new gardens, parties that don’t interest me as my friend Glenda said so well when I asked her along to an Old Man Crow gig;
    “I will not get to see Crow man pluck his stuff.

    In another life I would, but in this one I’m an anti-social bitch who
    uses every waking moment (when not teaching) to paint or think
    about what I’m going to paint next.

    That’s my idea of a good time.
    Pathetic though it may sound.”
    she’s a fabulous artist!

    1. deemallon

      That first photo is indeed a tulip head. It fell from a bunch I was carrying to ease the second ‘no’. Later, the snow on it was so stark in contrast that I had to snap a picture. I am so so much better about turning things down than I used to be. Embracing my antisocial self (er, I mean my “introversion”) is easier, but these two situations kinda caught me. Thanks for the story about that artist. My kind of gal!

  2. Michelle in NYC

    Being ‘retired’ REALLY, and despite living below the official poverty line, I’m so full of no’s it’s hardly even an issue. “Old age is not for sissies.” Betty Davis said that and I say it too. I do get out but just to the necessary and the occasional delightful. My body suddenly requires a whole lot of attention and so I’ve really no choice but to give it, to sleep when prompted, and to just be most of the rest of the time. I’m just grateful to the ‘enth degree I can. For working artists like you and Mo, the ability to claim your space is crucial to your well being and continuance. Even the great and generous Pema Chodron teaches that before you can effectively give compassion to any other, you must give it to yourself!

    1. deemallon

      And please do give your body the attention it needs. I understand the pace you describe but honestly it surprises me a little because your photo essays of NYC give the impression of someone who gets out quite a bit. Have a good Sunday!

  3. Nancy

    Thank you Mo and Michelle for such thoughtful contributions. Mine is far simplier, I believe. As I said to a dear friend the other day, “More and more, I just hate people”. Not true of course. But, in truth, I’d rather just be home with J. doing whatever we want, which is usually nothing much. I have an almost invisible circle these days, so I rarely have to say not as not much is asked of me. I’d love to say no to adult things that I seem to be done with, but one must get oil changes and do their taxes, mustn’t one?! If I could say no to the One Big Thing, well, maybe I’d stop itching, literally.
    Stay strong, carry on

    1. deemallon

      My “social life” is near to nonexistent and it’s pretty much okay with me, too. Is the one big thing work?


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