the power of the word “no”

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Sunday was my one day for rest and recuperation. I took the day to refresh myself and although a bit self-indulgent, it paid off later on in the week. I used Sunday to spend personal quality time and connected with my spirit. The writer was restored. Nevertheless, this rest, recuperation and restoration came at a price. I have tapped into the power of the word “no”.

“No” is a simple, one syllable adverb generally meaning not at all, used to deny, refuse or disagree. “Nay”.  The power of the “no” is in the use of the word. For a writer, it is the gateway to freedom because I stick it strategically in front of the word “time”. Time is this writer’s most precious commodity, as there is never enough time to write, to think, to observe. So when the dedicated writer refuses distraction by the ordinary things of life–family, work, school, other unrelated people–it’s use is very powerful.

About a year ago, i began to observe the Sabbath on Sunday. it was a struggle at first, because i found immediately that i had crammed so many things to do on Sunday that it took a while to push these chores and tasks on to other days.

Mother marveled at how much stuff i accomplished (as if i don’t notice) . I gently explained to her that it was because i worked so hard Monday through Saturday that i was able to spend time with her on Sunday. She doesn’t get it. She told me i need to rest, i work too hard.

Perhaps mother, after all, is right. Yet I came to understand the importance of harnessing the power of the word “no”.

Another opportunity to exercise my “no-vote” came recently. On a “writing day” I began the ritual of settling in to work on a writing project when the telephone rang.

On the other end was a wobbly voice, weakened no doubt from the intent of the call. The caller wanted to know if I would be interested in joining a ladies group that met once a week during the day. The caller was familiar enough with my schedule to know that there was flexibility, insensitively making presumption of my time.

I listened carefully to the elaborate details of this 11th hour, last-minute, hail Mary proposal. I lingered in silence on the phone for a  heartbeat. Then i simply said  although i would love to join her in her [madness] project, I had to decline and say “no” to her request. I tried respect and diplomacy to no avail; when the no was evoked, the gloves game off.

immediately she began to pull out her tools of manipulation, especially the tool that used to extract just enough guilt juice to make me slide into the plan without my consent.

However, this time the guilt extractor didn’t work.

I had a newly found resolve, an afterbirth of my Sharpsburg experience, and i was not compromising on my writing time.

I had played my perseverance card, and won a round.

I politely ended the conversation, gathered my stuff and went back to writing.

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