Most of us are a bit like ants marching through our busy days: ignoring, but hopefully not forgetting what is really important to us.
But it doesn’t have to be this way—we can reclaim our lives and, in doing so, return to a sense of self expression, personal presence and sensuality.
These are the four ways I have been able to do this in my own life. Maybe it can be of help to you, as well:
1. Learn to say “no”:
Freedom is the ability to say yes or no.
When we can’t say “no” to sex, we become sex slaves.
When we can’t say “no” to taking on more tasks, external pressures or internal urges we aren’t free. To regain our freedom, we simply have to learn to say “no.”
No is a very powerful word—and it isn’t a bad word. In fact, learning to say “no” invites others to make more requests of us, because they know we will say “no” when we mean “no.”
Saying “no” to sex makes when we say “yes” all the richer, sweeter and more welcoming. The best sex and friendships are sponsored by the word no. Because being able to say “no” to someone inspires trust, intimacy and honesty. Say “no” without guilt.
Saying “no” when the answer is really “no” opens the door to a whole new, powerful yes.
2. Learn to say “yes” more congruently.
Knights of old used to wear armor to protect themselves in battle. We armor ourselves by saying “no” defensively and saying “yes” unconvincingly.
When asked a question or considering committing to go to that party, to that project at work, to dinner out or passionate sex, we often submit: complying in the absence of a full-bodied yes.
That kind of yes is a hollow, empty and tired attempt to please others or avoid confrontation.
The alternative to caving in with an unconvincing “yes” is to pause. Pause and take notice that while part of us is up for just about anything, other parts would like to stay home alone, light a candle and pull up the covers. Pausing offers perspective, it refreshes us, offering a neutral, powerful place from which we can say “no” or “yes”: this place is presence.
There will always be dissenting parts of ourselves. Most people ignore those parts. Instead embrace them, seduce them and make it worth their while to endorse whatever we are up to. The more fully we can say “yes” and mean it, the more present and available we will be.
3. Call-in well.
A friend of mine owns and runs a bustling resort. She is busier than most of us. At my suggestion, she took a day off and remained in bed. At first it appeared that she panicked thinking of all the things she ought to be doing. But then she relaxed, realizing that sometimes doing nothing is exactly what we need. Her time in bed offered offered brand new perspectives, rest, relaxation and the desire to work the following day rather than the obligation to do so.
Everything is more fun, joyful and rewarding when we want to do it, and way less fun when we have to do it. That one day in bed inspired my friend, making what she did the next day optional instead of compulsive.
4. Give freely
I bought bird seed the other day, $19 for a 40-pound bag. A burly young man carried it out to the car for me. I tipped him $5. It felt so good.
Yesterday, cuddling with a new friend, guilt reared its ugly head. Was it really okay to spend two hours smushed up against loving company with a few dirty dishes in the sink and a to-do list not yet complete? Hell yes!
Business teaches us that we have to give something to get something, which is fine. But love invites us to give without seeking anything in return. And when we can do that we give freely.
Generosity is its own reward, whether it’s with our time, money or sexuality: it reminds us that there is more than enough to go around. This is a rich, bountiful planet and each of us in our own way is rich beyond compare.
Carry a few one dollar coins or two dollar bills around and when someone makes you laugh reach in your pocket, pull one out and offer it to them just for fun. Be free with your hugs and occasionally measure a day by kisses given and received instead of tasks completed. Spend a few extra moments, lingering longer, watching the sun rise, the moon set or people you love just being themselves.
Open your mind, your hands and your heart, reminding all in your presence that this is a bountiful wonderland.
This is how we reclaim our power.
Being able to say “no” opens the door to a new, much more full-bodied “yes.”
Making time for what matters to us reminds us that we are important and here to play.
Giving freely inspires us and the people around us to enjoy all that we have without guilt relaxing into the overflowing current of love.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Travis May