just say "no"

Cultivating self-love and a stop-doing list

I encounter so many women and men who have a tendency to overdo; their pattern is to over-extend, again and again, only to find themselves completely depleted physically, mentally and spiritually. I was one of those women and I still fall back into this behavior from time to time if I let my guard down. We cannot do it all! To get to those activities that mean the most to us, and often mean the difference between success and failure, we have to let go of something

The royal road to creativity eruptions, and physical, mental and spiritual radiance; and of course overflowing business success, begins with those dips under the surface of our day-to-day lives to daydream, journal, paint, compose music, meditate or just enjoy a cup of tea. 

Self-love first and learning to say “no” are two practices I embrace and emphatically tell you, Dear Reader, will help you achieve beyond your wildest dreams.

Let’s begin with self-love. It’s the core of where all love comes from. The Divine, Universal Source, is the wellspring of all love that emanates through us. We are a miracle of love. When we love ourselves, we are loving God/dess and all of life. Perhaps I can get more philosophical about this, but I want to try and keep it simple. Always remember that you are Love in action.

Self-love is not conceit, selfishness or narcissism, as many often misunderstand it to be. People filled with self-love often are a lot more helpful and ironically more loving than someone who thinks they are selflessly helping others while their own needs are completely overlooked. We know these people and perhaps have been them from time to time (yep, I’m raising my hand here). The overworked, unappreciated bedraggled mother; the friend who says “yes” to everything, even when they feel a “no,” and then gets rundown and sick; the girlfriend/wife/mistress who squelches all of her own desires and goals to make sure her boyfriend/husband/lover succeeds, and vice versa. 

That is not being of service or being loving. That’s self-sacrifice. Actually, it’s self-murder. You’re telling yourself, the world and the Divine that you and your dreams are expendable. True love comes from a place of overflow, enoughness, plentitude and joy! 

Sometimes we need to help someone at an inconvenient time because of an emergency. However, this should happen once in awhile, not daily, not even weekly. You know that person in your life who always has a drama, is like a whirling tornado that seems to suck the life energy from you even when you see their name show up on caller ID or in your inbox. Love them enough to say “no” when you need to and you will be more helpful than you realize.

When you show up for anything, show up with love. If you can’t do that, then stay at home, have a hot bath, drink a soothing cup of tea. Nuff said.

One of my favorite practices each quarter is my “stop doing” list. It’s also the first or second project I assign all of my one-on-one clients. At first they groan. (Maybe you will too.) You will learn to love this project. No kidding. Your stop doing list will become your best friend. 

When you do your first one you will write it, scratch things off the list, then realize how much you can resist letting go of things. You have to clean out your closets at least once per year, right? You declutter your home daily, weekly and monthly. You declutter your mind with meditation. Your priorities and schedule must also be decluttered.

A stop doing list is a sacrificial ritual: it tells you what you need to let go of so you can do the work that you were born to do.

You may cry when you see this list, or laugh. Both have a cleansing and releasing factor. The more emotional you are about your stop doing list the better. It’s a sign that you are now going in the right direction.

So what’s on your stop doing list?



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