I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Mark Lawrence's tiled art.
I recently shared with a client and friend the importance of No.
“I learned that in order for me to say yes to everything,” I explain to her on a sunny Thursday, “I had to say No. Without boundaries we really cannot be boundless.”
I know. It’s pretty esoteric, yet if you think about it — it’s true. For instance, you want to be helpful, because, you know it’s the right thing to do, but if you are helpful to others in a way that you are hurting yourself - are you being helpful?
If you say, “No, I cannot go out to dinner with you tonight because I really need to take care of things at home, but next Thursday or the following Tuesday would work and I would love to see you!”
That is awesome. Not a big enough example? I know.
That was on purpose because I have watched countless people simply say “yes” because they think it’s the right thing to do even though they don’t feel the yes. Passive aggressive company does nothing for no one. It’s truly a double negative.
I was in a steady stream of Yes’s last Thursday. It was unreal + probably uneventful to anyone but me -- and that is what made it magical. Practical Magic. I was on my way to car shop - but I really wasn’t feeling it. So I rerouted and created some errands (literally) near the car dealerships to get me in the vicinity physically in hopes that I would emotionally catch up. It’s a pretty neat trick. Set up your mind-space, especially before a large commitment like that because if you are a mess, your decision will be too.
Here's the short-listed magic: I stopped in REI to complain about my not-old-enough to be broken Chaco’s and I got a new pair, which was completely unexpected. At the register the cashier told me to it would cost $6.50, until he chuckled.
“What?” I asked.
“You actually have a $6.50 credit with REI. Your shoes are totally free.”
We both stared at each other in disbelief.
“I mean -“ I shrugged at him feeling totally guilty and wrong, and stunned.
“Enjoy them,” he laughed, “they are clearly yours.”
Then I went to Barnes & Noble and bought this book, which I posted about. Next stop was Target where a woman who is hired to “help people find what they need, but no one knows I exist,” found me a great e.l.f cruelty lipstick.
The spree of help was small, and it still deeply altered my mood and propelled me from one joyful task to the next. I shared as much at the Sit in Your Center’s circle of women that night, who all helped me see myself easily traveling ahead, leaving me giddy with tactical support.
Saturday came and as I waded through paperwork, loan options, and what have you I had a mini-galactic melt-down, but my boyfriend helped lift me back in to sanity. Eventually, all the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. I knew exactly which car I was off to buy — and I drove off to buy a very specific car. Magic.
“Hi, I’m Allan.”
“Kate,” I respond with a firm handshake. “There is a 2013 Honda Fit on your lot that I would like to see.”
“Okay, we are on stop sell, but let me confirm that and I will be right back.”
A what? I thought and braced myself for a ridiculous stop sell campaign upgrade to a whatever was out of my price range apparently now called a "stop sell."
“Yes, we are on stop sell,” he said as soon as he sat down.
“I cannot sell you that vehicle.”
“What? You won’t sell me the Honda Fit on your lot?”
He looked me in the eye, crossed his hands on the desk, and said, “No.”
“What about the 2014?”
“What about a used CRV?”
“No. I cannot sell you a CRV from 2007 - 2011.”
“But across the street — where all those new Fit’s are being sold — they confirmed you had two, and sent me over here.”
“Well they shouldn’t have, and I am sorry they wasted your time. If you were my sister, I would tell you not to buy anything until May. We at Conicelli have to be responsible for our customer’s safety and the integrity of our name.”
“This is a recall?”
“Yes, on the airbags.”
“Yes, things,” he clears his throat, “happen to people.”
We talked for a few more minutes. He shook my hand, apologized and told me he would follow-up. I walked out befuddled and sat in my borrowed car to google.
Indeed, things happened to people: they died.
I was shocked.
I was shocked ready to buy a car, and now I wasn’t.
I was shocked that the used car salesman wouldn’t sell me a car.
I was humbled that the used car salesman wouldn’t sell me the car.
I was grateful.
I don't know what to do next - still working that out as I type - and I have to trust the No.
Sometimes that is all we know: We just have to trust the No.
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