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Discernment and saying no to almost everything

Updated: Jan 10


My word for 2024 is discernment.

Discernment is important for me this year, as I am dizzy with freedom.


I have worked hard for to purchase this freedom currency. I don’t want to spend it all in one go on some impulse buy, or too quickly on the first shiny thing that comes my way. I want my freedom currency to be stable and steady and blessed with longevity. So I need to be discerning.


Discernment is also very important if freedom is a limited currency for you at the moment, because you need to be deliberate and mindful about how you spend your limited freedom.


I just went to a creative expression workshop here in Thailand where the facilitator had us practise over and over how to say ‘no’ to people, which was great. I think we should all regularly practice saying no. But then she concluded by saying that it feels horrid saying no, so just say YES to everything in life! LOL


I think the absolute opposite is true.


The more we say no, we step a little closer to our truth.


The more we say no, the closer and closer we get to our YES.


I think we should say no to ALMOST everything.


I use the word ‘almost’ for two reasons. The first is that there are infinite possibilities in the universe so the way you spend your time by default means you have decided not to spend your time in millions of other ways. The second is because ‘almost’ leaves just enough space for your intuition to guide you towards your truth, like truth is slowly gently shuffling itself into your driving seat.


To be clear, saying no to almost everything, is not the same as not being open to new experiences, or being spontaneous, or putting ourselves outside our comfort zone. All these things are growth medicine for our souls. I just mean that we should make room to say yes to that which creates the truest and the most beautiful reality of our lives.

If your truth, like mine, is very different to the normal functioning of our society, then being able to say no-on-repeat is an essential life skill.


For example, in the UK, it is relatively normal to have a full-time job during working age and to pour almost your entire life force into it. But the system is relentless and will take every drop of what you have to give, and more, if you are not careful. It takes a good hard look in the mirror and a lot of big bold decisions to decide to say no to giving-away-your-precious-life-force-to-something-that-is-not-in-complete-alignment-for-you.


As a second example, it is very easy to eat food that causes great suffering to beautiful sentient animals. Exploiting animals for human gain is simply the premise on which our supermarkets and restaurants operate. It takes millions of ‘no’ decisions over a life-time to decide not to conform to societal norms that make you feel uneasy.

And as a third example, it is quite normal in the UK to measure the success of your day/week/month/year by how productive you were. One of my teachers Colin Campbell says that ‘productivity is the disease of Western people’. It takes a huge effort of unlearning to cure this disease. It takes a lot of ‘nos’ to cure the disease of productivity:


  • No, I do not have to achieve something to feel good about myself.

  • No, I cannot attend that event, lovely as it sounds, because I refuse to diarise all my free days.

  • No, I will not sit on my phone writing back to 100 messages while the sun is setting, I choose to watch the sunset with my full presence.

  • No, I don’t want to travel at 100mph because it is good for my CV, I would prefer to bathe in the glory of the slow, of the present moment, of the beauty and pleasure of what some might call the mundane.

  • No, I don’t want to have all my time controlled rigidly by other people, I would prefer to kneel at the altar of the mystery of it all (Jeff Foster) and follow the golden threads of the universe.


Can we be curious to see if we can sit or walk quietly somewhere in nature not trying to achieve anything (e.g. no need to aim to ‘meditate’ for a set period of time). Just wander aimlessly, or sit there empty and open and even bored, but in active conversation with the natural world. Maybe there is a message in the bird song.

Can we let our day unfold with complete surrender so that we can actually hear our own intuition and so that there is space for whatever might bubble up from the deepest depths of the body…


You see, when we say no to ALMOST everything, our deepest and truest YES starts to crystalise.

Like a quiet, tender revolution.


The murky waters start to clear.


The uniqueness of our fingerprints start to become visible, like the old ink pad for our fingerprints (where our essence was almost invisible) is replaced with a brand new ink pad (which makes our fingerprints so damn obviously distinct).


Saying no to almost everything is saying yes to our life force. Our uniqueness. Our creativity. Our soul’s work.



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