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    Just Say No To The No of Yes

           My buddies and I at Villanova had this saying. The rock band Yes had released an album, 90125, during my junior year. It was actually a really kick ass, somewhat intricate but relatively straight forward rock record. But all the other progressive mumbo jumbo stuff they had done for most of their career before that didn’t interest any of us. About this same time, the saying “Just Say No To Drugs” was getting very popular. Well somehow, we married our distaste for most of the music of Yes with that silly slogan. Whenever the band’s name came up, one of us would say, “Just Say No To Yes”. It’s a running joke between all of us that still has milage today when we get together.
           For some inexplicable reason, our little saying came to me during meditation this morning. That’s one of the great things about meditating first thing. Not only is the brain less cluttered that time of day, but the mind is closer to the subconscious, having just awoken from sleep. Now, I admit,  some pretty wacky things float through my mind all day, but a lot of the wackiest shit hits me early in the morning and later at night. Which is probably why I do most of my writing at those times. It’s kind of my own personal “Magic Hour” for writing.
           This morning, “Just Say No To Yes” made me laugh aloud, and took me out of my meditation for a moment. But when I was through, my mind started riffing on the phrase, and something else hit me: how often in life do we say no to yes? Meaning, how big a role does resistance play in our lives? For most of us, a pretty significant one.
           This theme of resistance came up for me at Omega this summer during yoga, and I wrote about it my piece I Hate Yoga. I know that the more I’m saying "yes" in my life, the richer my life becomes. That doesn’t mean an indiscriminate “yes” to everything, meaning I can’t say "no" because I’m a people pleaser or don’t take care of myself. But it does mean that I pay attention to my own resistance. It means that I’m aware of the nature of my resistance. Is my resistance born from fear, and if it is, what is that fear? Most importantly, I examine where I am coming from. Am I coming from fear? Or am I coming from faith? Which really means coming from love.
           If there is a piece of me saying yes to something, and a piece saying no, which is not uncommon in many life situations, I want to know what’s running me. If my fear is running me, I’m in resistance mode. It’s important that I be able to discern my resistance. What am I afraid of, and is that fear blocking me from something I may want?
           Fear is a motherfucker. Most of us are fear based in at least one major area of our lives. Career, self image, money, physical security, sex, appearance, and the big one, intimate relationships.
           I can have fear in all of these areas. That’s normal. But how big a role does my fear play? Again, am I running it, or is it running me? Fear will not usually stop me from say, wearing something I want to wear because I fear what people will think. Fear will rarely stop me from writing about something I want to write about because I fear people will judge me. But I’m practiced at both of those. I take risks in both areas all the time.
           With intimate relationships, though, there can be an awful lot more at stake. Our hearts. Our beautiful, tender, precious hearts. I get that. But the principles are the same here as they are with what I wear or what I write. If I want something real, I have to take risks. I can’t let fear run me, or I will not be able to assess what’s my own voice, or voices, and what’s the voice of fear. And fear is an easy default, because it keeps me safe. There’s a saying that goes “A ship in a harbor is safe. But ships were not made for harbors.” The same is true of our hearts. Our hearts were not made to be closed, or fear based, but that’s how they get through the years because of all the hurt.
           How do we break this cycle of fear? We keep taking risks. We keep coming from faith, from love, instead of coming from fear. We practice. We never get it perfect, but we gradually pry open the grip of fear.
           It’s a lifelong process, this unraveling of our hearts. But it’s the only way to get to what we all want more of. Love. In all its forms, incarnations, and manifestations. A closed heart will never be able to give or receive love in a way that serves our soul.
           Today, I practice coming from faith, coming from love, instead of fear, in any and all my endeavors. I don’t do it perfectly, but I’m always at it. Relentlessly. Fastidiously. Open heartedly. I really want to radiate love to the world, as much and as often as I can.
           It’s risky, it’s not always easy, but it is the way I want to live my life.

    ©2014 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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