Letting Go of No!

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

Isn’t it amazing how good questions lead us naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that matter every day.

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If you could hear the word No whispering itself to you in the back of your mind, you might be shocked at the ways you’ve been cancelling your own life.

This week, we’ll ponder those No’s and what’s on the other side of them that is always available to you. Stay with me.

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There are ways of saying “No!” that are altogether appropriate. In fact, there are ways that are healthy and life-supporting. That’s especially true when we’re saying No to things or people or ideas that are harmful or not good for us.

There are also No’s that keep us negatively in check, that keep us from being fully alive and fully in the present. These are the No’s that silently cancel what’s good or healthy or nourishing or pleasurable or life-sustaining for us—the No’s that keep us in pain or at the very least, keep us from feeling good.

We usually find those ways of saying No parked somewhere in the back of our awareness. Often, we’re not even conscious that we’re saying it or believing it.

Think about some of the times you’ve consciously or unconsciously denied yourself in one way or another. More than likely, you’ve silently told yourself No in ways that prevented you from being calm or happy or relaxed. You’ve said No to good things because you didn’t believe you deserved them. You’ve quietly whispered the No’s that denied you prosperity or financial success, even putting you unnecessarily in debt.

Or what about the No’s that have kept you from trusting yourself or someone else and having a good relationship with them. Or the No’s that cancel your positive sense of yourself, or the ones that keep you from enjoying the true freedom that comes with being human.

Those No’s come in so many forms and not one of them is natural or innate to us. Not one of them is healthy. We learned them or acquired them from someone else. I’m guessing some of these may strike a resonant chord with you. You may even have said No to yourself in ways I’ve yet to consider.

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While I’m generally happy and content and living well, I had a nagging feeling that somewhere in me was a “No” that was cancelling particular parts of my life. When I allowed myself to be still and sit with the feeling, it became quite clear to me that an insidious form of “No!” had been at work in my unconscious mind since I was quite small. But I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I’ve said repeatedly that every counselor needs a counselor, so I went to see one of mine with the goal of discovering what was at play in me that was holding me back. What was it that was cancelling things are that are essentially good for me? What was keeping me from breaking free and living meaningfully and authentically?

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Sitting in the quiet and the soft light of his office, it took no time at all for me to drop into a deeply relaxed state. He asked only a few questions when my “No!” not only revealed itself to me but showed me how I first acquired it and what its unhealthy purpose was.

I won’t go into the details of how and where I acquired it but suffice it to say that it came after a traumatic event for which I falsely felt responsible and took the crushing weight of it onto my small shoulders. Its purpose was to keep me feeling guilty and to deny me real and lasting happiness. Its purpose was to make me suffer.

To be sure, I’ve received no small amount of counseling over the decades, and I continue to be quite intentional about growing into the best and most authentic person I can be. Yet for all the work I’ve done and for all I’ve learned, there was my internal “No,” as clear as day and staring me in the face.

“No! Scott. You don’t get to be truly happy. You’ve incurred a debt you’ll never be able to pay off.” “No, Scott, you set things in motion as a child that will never go away.” “No! Try as you may, you’re not permitted to fully reach your goals in this lifetime.” “No, you don’t get to fully relax and be happy.” “No, you don’t get to be personally or financially successful.” “And No, you never get to let your guard down.” “When it comes to being fully alive, the answer is always going to be “No!”


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I can’t say I was particularly surprised when I realized what had been quietly smoldering in the back of my mind to cancel my life. Nor did I feel stirred up when I finally understood what had been taking place. Instead, there came a quiet “Ah… There you are.” Followed by, “You can leave now. I’m done with you.”

As my counselor asked insightful questions over the next half hour, a shift took place that I had never felt before. The closest way I can express it is that I felt a relaxed sense of personal freedom I hadn’t known since I was two or three years old. Then came a confidently whispered and liberating “Yes!”

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The “Yes” didn’t really surprise me, either. You see, every No has a Yes on the other side of it. They’re the opposite faces of the same coin. When we say No to being happy, we’re saying Yes to being sad. Conversely, when we quietly say Yes to being happy or peaceful or successful, we’re saying No to pain and unrest and suffering. We’re inviting every good thing to show up.

Without having to do some exhaustive form of mental or emotional archaeology, imagine yourself saying Yes to yourself and Yes to your life as you let go of the No that’s been sitting in the back of your mind. As you imagine it, what happens next?

Let’s find out.

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This week’s Beautiful Questions are about the resounding Yes of personal liberation as we release the No’s we’ve been holding. I invite you to sit with the questions and notice what naturally arises.

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Question One: In what quiet or obvious ways have you cancelled or denied good things in your life?

Question Two: What happened when you did?

Question Three: What negative thoughts are you willing to release that have been restricting you and keeping you from being fully alive?

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As you ponder these questions and the answers that come to you, I would love to hear from you. We’ll sing Yes! together. That’ll be fun.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light!

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I’m happy we can engage this way as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at thebeautifulquestion.com, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world. It’s a great way of spreading peace.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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