I spent many years of my life saying no to opportunities that felt like too much of a stretch. It was a protective mechanism leading me into the false belief that I was managing my anxiety. If I just didn't put myself out there, or take on that role, or do that thing that triggered the anxiety, then all would be well.
The problem was that this way of thinking and acting in the world led me down the road of isolation. The anxiety and my fears only worsened and I eventually realized that instead of feeling better, it was only getting worse. Cue Ellen Hendriksen's book on healing social anxiety. The understanding and wisdom offered in this book, combined with my ACIM study and practice, helped me see where I needed to do things differently in order to heal.
On January 1st 2020, after a Course-inspired New Year's practice, I spent some time in nature to pray. I started off with my usual "Dear God..." and then the only word that came into my awareness was "yes."
Dear God, yes.
That was the prayer that formed in my mind. That's it. On January 1st 2020, my only prayer was a big fat YES to God. I had no idea what was in store for me, I just knew I would say yes.
And I did. I said yes to things that have pushed me, stretched me, made me face my fears and grow beyond them. To things that have deepened my sense of spirituality and faith through rising through and above the challenges that came along with them. To things I have grown to love.
And yet, maybe I said yes to too many things.
I'm thinking this year is the year I learn to say no. But not from defensive protectiveness. I think there's a different kind of no. A no that comes from a place of loving kindness. A no that still recognizes my holiness and the holiness of my brothers. A no that comes from being in stillness, asking and listening for guidance. A no that allows me to say yes to the path God is leading me on with clarity and devotion.
A no that holds within it a deep and resounding yes.