Without a future, it’s a YES or NO right now, not a MAYBE.

This week:
  • Facebook Live 4 pm Tuesday–it’s a regular thing! Write me by replying to this email if you have a concept you’d really love me to take through inquiry on the show
  • Year of Inquiry Information Sessions. We have THREE this week (all Pacific Time). You’ll need a device where you can view slides for these webinars.
Year of Inquiry brings you to The Work for an entire year with a small group. Let’s question our thinking, and change our world.

Well, it happened.

The thing I prefer not to ever happen. Someone got very upset with me.

I said “no” to a friend (also an old flame) about getting together. I said I just couldn’t go through with it, something felt off about connecting live and in person.

He got very upset and sent me a note.

“You’re a flake, you play games, I liked you long ago and you’re punishing me for it–you can’t let go of the past. You’re completely unreliable. I have no interest in this anymore. Self-inquiry is so boring. You’re absurd.”

Everything in the note, I noticed, had truth in it.

The sadness and recognition of shame, along with sorrow, along with humiliation and seeing how I had hurt someone came crashing in like Niagara Falls.

Plus here’s the kicker: I’m the one who had said “yes” about getting together for a meal in the first place, then I cancelled and offered a new date for a reschedule (several times).

This whole maybe-get-together thing’s been going on for a few years. Yes, that long.

I kept noticing I’d imagine a meeting, think it would be fun and pleasant and perhaps a way to renew or start the friendship over (there are quite a few things I liked about this guy)….

….I’d feel ambiguous, or hesitant, then override the hesitancy, then override the hesitancy to override….

….then when the time would come to make more of a clear meeting date and time, I’d feel very anxious and make excuses that now wasn’t good, but maybe later.

I’d hear a huge “no” inside and say things to myself like “you shouldn’t be afraid, it’s OK” or “what’s the problem, is there something wrong with you?” or “This is only lunch! It might be interesting!”

So I’m sooooooo not surprised with this waffling and mixed messages and ambiguity and fake yeses and dragging on….

….that this man was as confused as I was.

I realize now how much not saying “no” in the present moment when we mean it can hurt others.

Or really, can hurt ourselves.

What was I so afraid of, when it came to saying No?

The reaction I just got.

It was probably worse, however, because I didn’t say it several years ago.

So in this inquiry today, I wanted to find out more about why I’ve refused to be clear about this relationship, and look more closely when I’ve thought “he’s so needy” or “he’ll be hurt if I say no” or “I’ll lose something if I say no”.

I’ve inquired in the past and found clarity around his neediness. My neediness. My judgment of neediness. I’ve inquired about his being hurt. My being hurt. A beautiful connection we genuinely share.

But I had not inquired fully about my own inner ambiguous feeling of sadness when I thought about saying no, saying goodbye, and what I’d lose. 

This can be a very helpful exercise when you feel frightened about saying goodbye to someone, even as you see their beauty, the qualities you love, the happy times you’ve experience with that person that you refuse to admit have ended.

We believe ‘to part ways is terrible’. Friends, lovers, family.

What will you lose, if you part, say no, change it up, when it comes to a relationship?

I’ll lose: humor, laughter, wit, someone sharing creativity and spiritual contemplation, the fun banter and conversation, love. I’ll lose the respect of my current partner. I’ll lose security. I’ll lose a fantasy, a dream. I’ll lose someone who takes care of me either financially or emotionally. I’ll lose attention, kindness, generosity, adventure.

See what it is you believe you’ll have to go without, if you say “no”.

You’ll have to go without it…..is that true?

In my situation, I choose to take a look at the shared laughter and wit. I’ll lose that. I’ll lose his appreciation.

Let’s do The Work.

Is that true that I’ll lose that quality of entertaining and funny dialogue in my life?

No. I have one other close friend who has the same mega-appreciation for laughter-in-all-things and the beauty of entertainment and theater. She’s amazing. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, it’s fabulous. I laugh and laugh, and can talk about anything.

I could bring this more into my life, come to think of it–whether in the company of this lovely friend, or with other people I know.

If you’re following along with this inquiry, and you’ve identified something else you think you’d lose–like security–can you absolutely know it’s true you need it the way it is? Can you absolutely know you’d miss it, if this one person was no longer in your life as much, or they were upset with you for saying “no”?


How do you react when you think by saying “no” you’ll lose something very valuable?

I don’t say it. I’m afraid.

I grab. I hold on tight. I have pictures of what it would look like to lose this quality, this person. I don’t look for it elsewhere. I see my own company as inadequate–not as good alone as I am in the company of the other.

Who would you be without the belief you’ll lose something when you leave, say no, part ways?


I’d sigh with the deep, deep relief of being without the thought of imagining loss.

I’d notice people coming and going, doing what they need to do–including me.

Turning the thought around: I will NOT lose anything if this person is less in my life, or I say “no” to them, or I don’t meet them for lunch. I will GAIN something if I say no. Or, I will neither lose, nor gain, anything I don’t already have.

I will lose my own humor, attention, security, joy, laughter when I say “no”. Isn’t this how I’ve been acting? Like all that fun is over there, in that individual, rather than right here with me?

I suddenly remember I’ve had this belief that I’ll lose out if I say no….about money, work, my kids, my husband(s), my family members.

There’s no freedom in worrying about how someone will respond, or dragging on the “yes, maybe” when the answer at the moment is “no”.

There’s no freedom in worrying about how I myself will respond, if I follow the honest “no”.

It’s sweet in this moment to notice that I’m the one who has been anxious about my own “no”. So I haven’t said it. I’ve also been anxious about my own “yes”. So I haven’t said that, either.

What if yes or no are all OK and there’s no possible way to know what will happen next?

“You are the beloved, you’re the closest one to you. You’re the one you want, the one you need, always there for you. Someone comes into your life, or they don’t.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


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