Our children can be our greatest teachers. Many of us grown-ups suffer from a form of ageism in which we believe that unless someone's a certain age, they can't be wise, or thoughtful, or aware. The way I look at it, kids are much closer to Source Energy than I am, having just emerged into this plane of existence. I, on the other hand, have spent nearly five decades here and occasionally forget to squeegee my third eye. (Thanks, American hero Bill Hicks; and please note that I employ other methods from what he recommends—not that I object to his methodology :).
Anyway, Cisco blew me away a couple of weeks ago with his pure-hearted, spontaneous, and utterly direct response to a question I posed. So refreshingly original was his response that I had a real sqeegee moment, smacked upside the head by the idea that you can just say "No!" to something you don't want to do.
What if we all did this? What would that look like?
In talking this over, a friend commented, "Well, if John does something for me, I HAVE to do something back for him. It would be rude not to."
Isn't that a nutshell version of our conditioned thinking so much of the time? And, uh, raise your hand out there (moms, I see you!) if you have a wee bit of resentment simmering (boiling?) constantly in the background as you force yourself through yet another day of doing things that you imagine will "make" others happy—even as your own soul dries up like an autumn leaf.
My response, in a precious, brief space of bright awareness (remind me I said this later, please): "Well, what if John did something for you because he wanted to? Because it brought him joy to do it? What if his gift to you was its own reward? Would you still feel obligated to do something for him even though you didn't really want to? How does that help him or you?"
So next time someone asks you do something that doesn't "light you up," just say "No!' (Optional but almost always appreciated: give them a hug and tell them you love them.)
Cisco's expertly rendered "No!" á là YouTube star Smosh will crack you up, crack up your "No-ee," and generally remind everyone involved not to take everything so damned seriously.
Let's repeal the unspoken prohibition on "No!" that has caused more misery, misunderstandings, and general chaos than the colossal failed ban on alcohol in the US from 1920 to 1933 (or, I might add, the perennially stupid War on Drugs).
Let's resolve to remember that it's the ultimate responsibility of each and every human being to make themselves happy from within, and to quit looking to others' actions and behavior for it. Because guess what: as Cisco would put it, "that's an epic FAIL!" Every time.
We hope you like our video this week. Please tell us how your own "No!" practice is going! (Also, see below vid for a quick note.)
PS: Parents, lest I be misinterpreted, the Joy of No! technique applies neither to chores nor homework at our house. However, as a side note, I do believe strongly in providing incentives for children to do what you require of them on a daily basis, rather than demanding, criticizing, and bullying. (Do you like being treated that way?) With incentives, the chore- and homework-doer is empowered to achieve something that he or she wants (TV or game time, special event with family, sleepover, etc.) and thus has an active role in the outcome. Then the child has a chance to transform a "No!" moment into a "Yes!" one all by himself. Yea, sighs of relief for everyone. :)