Fertility Path - When No is the Most Unselfish of Answers
Reclaiming the Power of No on the Fertility Path
I am hungry for food that is not good for me - quoted from a Facebook friend. It made me think about that in a broader way, past the obvious of chocolate or fried foods. What foods do we hunger for that are not good for us, in terms of behavior? What do we say yes to doing that almost certainly should have been a no?
When we don't take that walk, but watch three hours of the "Biggest Loser" (yes, me, I've done it; how embarrassing to confess!), what are the consequences?
Fertile Yoga Lessons: Even Upside Down
Sometimes when I teach Fertile Yoga, and we stand with head below heart, releasing the vertebrae in the neck by nodding our head yes and then shaking our head no, I talk about the word no. It has such negative connotations. LOL. Right, obviously. No means no. In some contexts like food, no means denial: it means "I won't, I can't". In others, it means the possibility of something left undone; it means unhelpful or selfish; it can even mean rejection, all the way down to the sense of who we are.
Ah, but I LOVE the word no. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm not much for using capitals as a way of making a point. This is important to me. I do love the word no. It opens up a whole new realm to most of us.
Here's my thought process around this: when I say no to something, what am I saying yes to? The first time I read about this concept was in a book called the Yoga Sutras, the classical text of Indian philosophy, written in the second century, BC. Then I started to hear my teachers talk about it in class. It affected me most powerfully one day in class, upside down, in headstand. It took literally being upside down (a fairly different perspective), to hear what my teachers were saying.
This is what I got. We pride ourselves on saying yes, we even use it as a benchmark to prove how willing, generous, compassionate we are. We feel helpful when we say yes. On the flip side? We feel guilty, selfish, limiting when we say no.
Except, let's look at it upside down. (That is what it took me to understand the part that I now feel like I have absorbed...) Every single time I say yes to something, I say no to something else. When I decide yes, to spend time, money, energy, I am deciding no to other things. Yes, I will do another chore in my home; no, I will not spend time with my partner. Yes, I will take on more work at my job; no, I will not have time to work out. Yes, I will volunteer at the youth center; no, I will not have time to spend with my nieces and nephews.
I have noticed that very often the yes's are for other people, and the no's are to ourselves and our families. But mainly? The no's are to ourselves.
Our time and energy are resources. Use yours wisely. When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. When you say no, what wonderful world of yes's are you opening up?
Fertility Treatment: A Perfect Time to Say No
And last, if you are in fertility treatment, this is exactly the time to take a peek at this: When you are "upside down". When caring for yourself can help you achieve your goal.
This is the day that we are going to reclaim the word no as a positive force. As a way of seeing the choices that become available when we say no to something. What can you say no to today that allows you to say yes to yourself?
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.