Wednesday, May 4, 2016



I hear a lot of permutations of the word.

You probably do as well even if you don't notice it at the time.  In fact the word "NO" has probably saved your life.  

What do you think a glowing red stoplight is telling you?  

Simply, NO...

Because of course if we ignored it, chances are we'd probably be involved in some horrendous accident harming ourselves and others and ultimately spurring a flood of negative consequences.  All of them ultimately telling you...NO!

The word will have its due one way or the other.  I suggest the path of least resistance...

So NO can be a good thing.  A guard rail protecting you from a sheer cliff.  An intuition about maybe not taking a stroll down that dark, sketchy street.

NO gets a bad rap for being negative.  Nobody likes to be denied something. Be it a favorite morning danish or tickets to a popular performance the last thing you want to hear is that there's just NO more left.  

There are other kinds of bad NO's too.  

NO, you didn't get the job.

NO, you don't qualify for the loan.
NO, you're not going to be a rock star
NO, she doesn't love you in "that way."

They say the trick to get through this mess we call life is to keep things in perspective.  Sometimes that's hard to do and even in an age of constant communication we can end up feeling alone even though it seems like we're in a crowd.

You may have 10,000 followers on Facebook but one careless quip can make you a pariah.

NO can be a lonely place.

A friend recently told me, "After awhile hearing nothing but 'NO' can take its toll on you."

We were talking about my recent difficulties in supporting myself and while what he said was true I also knew that instead of NO being a wall, I had to keep endeavoring to treat it as little more than a low hurdle.

To be honest, the word hasn't been kind to me lately but then there's that perspective thing again.

It reminds me of that joke that Garrison Keillor (controversy aside) makes about the Lutheran philosophy of life. 

"Things could always be worse..."

Which sounds kind of self-defeating until you realize that it's an admonition to appreciate what you've got.  

I often remind myself that you're never really at the bottom until somebody's throwing dirt on your coffin.

Which, by the way, is why I'm not a fan of zombie movies or Lazarus stories.

Zombies are gross and I'm more inclined to believe that Lazarus was less resurrected than  buried alive...  

Sometimes NO can be a guide.  It can show you the way when reason otherwise fails you.  Take the example of not getting that job you were after.

Of all the possible reasons that could be responsible the only one that matters is: Were you honest with yourself when you went after it?

Was it really what you wanted or just something to continue a lifestyle you weren't that wild about to start with.

NO can be the ultimate "tough love."  It's half of the equation when people talk about what's in their "heart of hearts."  

They say, "The heart wants what it wants." and there's NO denying it NO matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise.

You know my story.  I've always tried to spend my time doing things in harmony with my passions and interests.  Sometimes that works, most of the time it doesn't but it's worth the struggle.

I want to be a writer so I write.  Nobody much cares about my work and I've received no accolades doing it aside from a few kind words from my peers.  

The point is that I continue to do it because NO is a hurdle not a wall.  I believe in what I'm doing and hope it brings some value to someone even if it's only me.

That's the point.  Take the adversity, the denials, the denouncements and use them as tools instead of letting them define you.  

Life doesn't always happen on a convenient schedule as much as we'd like it to.  Bills,commitments and mortgage payments all try to dictate what we're supposed to be.  It becomes far too easy to live according to someone else's expectations.  It knocks us out of sync.

NO wonder everyone is so miserable....

NO can be a good word.  A guidepost that forces you to choose what you're living for.  

There's a natural flow in all things.  Throwing rocks in its path only causes disorder and destruction.  

That may seem a bit Zen but it's the simplest way to express what I'm trying to tell you.

NO is just a tool, not a character assessment, not a valuation, not a condemnation.  

Just a tool....