There's love in every "no"
As an experiment with modern tribal ways of living, three of my friends and I decided to live together for a month during their egg freezing. I was there to support them.
On our first night, we pushed together two couches, and deemed it “the hot tub couch” where we had opening circle to align on living agreements and dream about how to spend our month together.
We agreed not to have visitors to minimize COVID risk around their surgery.
We set up “pod checkins” each morning to share what’s going on in each of our lives.
We thought of a book club to read “Unbound.”
We dreamed of retreat activities we each wanted to lead.
And the list goes on...
Then the resistance hit me, and I thought...All of this commitment limits my freedom.
I can’t see any of the people in the bay I’d hoped to see.
I hate being told what chapter I'm supposed to read in book clubs.
I don't like committing to a time every single day that I’m normally in creation mode.
I'm already leading a 4-week program and don't want to overcommit on a retreat too.
And the list goes on...
I felt constriction in my body, and I knew that was my signal to speak up.
I shared all my “no’s” and braced myself for their attack.
I’m a no to book club. I can read it on my own timeline.
I’m a no to 11 am every day. I’ll show up if I want to.
I’m a no to pre-planning the retreat days. I want to see what unfolds.
I’m sad I can’t see people I love because of our COVID agreements. And I’m choosing to say yes to them anyways.
Instead, the ladies rejoiced at my “no’s”
I felt relief.
I noticed that we felt closer.
My body felt softer the more I was clear in communicating what I wanted.
We all agreed to follow the things that felt really good in the moment.
We felt full permission to take care of our needs, to cancel plans, and to let each day flow.
Throughout the month, I’d hear “I’m a joyous no!” from Tasha as she’d follow an impulse for solo time. And it’d remind me to go on a solo hike among the Redwoods.
I felt inspired by this way of living.
They all viewed saying “no” as an act of self-love.
This created a safe space to ask for what I needed.
It permissioned me to let myself off the hook from needing to be in a support role.
I could cry and process my egg freezing memories for the first time.
I could have a grumpy day.
I could ask for support.
I could take all the solo time I needed.
And I could trust them to ask for what they wanted and to say “no” as an act of love towards both of us.
The 30 days that followed were some of the most impactful moments of my entire life.
When I was expecting to be attacked, I was loved instead.
We rewired neural pathways.
We rewrote our conditioning on what friendship among women can look like.
And this is just the first glimpse of my learnings.