The Choice to Say No As An Invitation

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Do you remember the last time you gave a very firm, clear NO to someone? How did the person react? What was the felt tone between you both? And, what crazy thoughts started churning in your head?

If you’re anything like me, having to say NO, especially if I have to repeat it several times, raises a sort of excitable energy in my body. Like everything inside sort of flares up and feels overfull or stuck at the same time. And oh the stories and shadow boxing that goes on after when I’m alone!

We’re pretty conditioned to think of NO as rejecting the other, not just the thing we are saying no to.

But what if a clear NO could also be used as an invitation to explore something different? Something else that feels right.

Two weeks before I was about to start an intensive certification in equine facilitated learning, I was having a jumping lesson on our horse Echo. She loved our coach. In fact, as soon as she heard her voice in the barn, she would get so excited she’d literally power up and soar over jumps.

Not this lesson. It started off well and then quickly took a turn, well actually, a flip to the ground. On my part that is! We were coming around a corner and Echo stopped suddenly in front of a jump - I flew over her and landed on the ground.

What the heck?!!! Maybe it was a bit of sunlight hitting her eye. We tried again. This time I barely hung on but didn’t quite hit the ground. Now I was pissed. We tried again. The third time was a charm, for Echo. Laying on the ground, again, I looked up at her as her big, quiet eyes looked down at me.

I felt it. My heart cracking open (in addition to pounding). She was looking into my soul, as if to say, “We’re going to do things different now, NO more riding. Now tell me if you’re serious about this equine learning thing.”

The choice to say NO is important. And how we come to our NO is even more important.

The Courage Herd literally wouldn’t be if Echo hadn’t said NO with all her love-filled firmness, and I hadn’t realized it was an invitation to something much bigger.

How can you use NO to open up more potential and deeper connection with family, friends, partners or work colleagues? What would it take for you to come to your NO in service to a bigger vision?

Christina TurnerComment