I spent New Year’s Day at Yoga at the Ashram in Millis, Massachusetts with my dear friend Jayne. In addition to being a Kundalini Yoga instructor, Jayne is a talented healer and owner of Living With Ease. She suggested I come up and visit and that we attend the “Light Up 2023” event there.
I love doing Kundalini yoga. Whereas Yin and Vinyasa yoga ground me in my body and reconnect me to my physical form, Kundalini moves energy through me. This was going to be an afternoon of reflection, prayer, chanting, yoga and sound healing with gongs. It sounded like the perfect way to start 2023.
As we sat in a circle in the Ashram, honoring each other and honoring ourselves, Hari Dass Kaur said something that stopped me in my tracks. It was one of those moments where it felt like the universe gave me a slap upside the head.
“Your yes can’t mean yes until your no means no.”
I sat in the resonance of that statement. I let the words vibrate through every cell in my body.
How many times have I not stood in and honored my no?
I have always admired people that could firmly say no. Their boundaries are very clear. They have the ability to hold and even assert them.
I was raised as a people pleaser. I was taught by my mother that I had to be responsible for her feelings. I had to say yes because no was perceived as defiance, lack of loyalty and a rejection of her. It’s been a life long journey to understand that I get to have boundaries and that no is a full sentence.
Sometimes saying no is easy. It’s very clear that what you’re being asked is beyond your capability or you’re able to make an excuse to say no.
What about when it’s more fuzzy and grey? You love the person and want to help, but you’re not feeling that it’s a solid yes. It won’t take that much of your time and after all, they’ve been so great to you.
Hari Dass Kaur said that too often we jump to yes, without feeling into if it’s truly a no. That raises the question, how do we really know that our no means no? There are often complicated feelings that come with saying that word. In order to navigate those feelings you need to take time and space away from the situation.
It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I need to get back to you”. This gives you the time to be alone to explore what the impact of saying yes is.
Depending on your astrological placements, it’s easier for some signs to do this than others. Libra and Pisces Suns, Moons and Ascendants have a particularly difficult time saying no. It’s a practice that we can all embrace to learn if our no really means no.
An Exercise for Understanding and Strengthening Your Boundaries.
For a deeper exploration, sit in a quiet place. If you like to journal you can. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can speak into a voice recorder.
With your hands over your heart, take three full breaths and feel your abdomen expand as you inhale. Feel the love fill your heart as your breath moves in and out of your body.
Then think back to a time when you said no to someone and then gave in. Maybe you wanted to say no and didn’t. How did you feel after you said yes? Was there a particular feeling? Do you have any sensations in your body as you think about it?
What was the outcome of the situation? Did you feel resentment? Did it impact your relationship? How did it make you feel about yourself?
Write or speak the answers to these questions.
Put your hands back over your heart. Take three more full breaths. Now visualize yourself in that same situation. Imagine that you said no. What feeling(s) came up for you? Where do you feel them in your body? If they are really uncomfortable, continue to breathe through them.
Speak to the feelings and the areas of your body that are activated. Listen with curiosity and non-judgement. What are they trying to tell you?
Keep breathing through the discomfort. When your ready, journal or speak about what you’ve discovered.
Saying no is an act of self nurturing and self love. As you breathe and hold your heart, repeat:
“I love myself enough to know my limits and boundaries.”
“Saying no is an act of self care.”
“In saying no, I am honoring myself and my relationship with this person.”
“My no is coming from a place of love and compassion.”
“I am loved for being true to myself.”
Now go back to that situation again. Visualize yourself saying no from this place of self love and nurturing. As you say no, feel the love and compassion pouring out from your heart.
Reflect on how you feel. Do you still have uncomfortable feelings? It’s ok that you do. It simply means that you there is some more exploration that needs to be done.
Do you feel empowered? How do you think saying no from this loving, nurturing place would have changed the situation? How do you think it would have impacted your relationship?
Tying it All Together
Saying no from a place of love and compassion is powerful. We get to decide how we give of ourselves.
We are raised in a world where it’s admired when you give of yourself until there’s nothing left. There is no self love or self nurturing in that action.
We get to decide what’s healthy for us. Saying no is an act of self care and self love. It’s not selfish, it’s self preservation.
When you learn to say no from this place of self awareness, it makes your yes more powerful.
Your yes will be a meaningful gift when your no really means no.
About the Author:
Susan Amy Hunter, MBA, ACC is an Evolutionary Astrologer, a Certified and Credentialed Holistic Coach and a Reiki Master. She has a thriving practice in Willimantic, CT and is currently accepting new clients.
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