Monday, November 2, 2009

No

Leaves illuminate, sparkling in the sun, marigold and crimson flashes of brilliance before they turn brown and crumble as they are blown in the breeze. Dampness, the flavor of the fall air, hangs heavy from last nights rain. Gravel crunches under each footfall, drawing me closer to the car and the waiting bags of groceries.

Slipping handles of the bags over my fingers, like rings, until they tremble under the weight of the load, I begin the journey back to the house...crunch, crunch, crunch.

One handle pops loose, starting a chain reaction, dexterity failing before the awesome might of gravity. Cans pirouette and roll into the grass, boxes whumph as they flop on the sidewalk. My fingers clench into fists of frustration pulling at the hands of time, trying to turn back the clock on my decisions, while I stand among the mess I have created.

Why do I try to carry so much at once?

My calendar lays open before me and I wish this story was just about groceries. Why are we always adding more...like more is better? But we are obligated. No one else will do it, at least not right. They expect me to. It makes me feel important.

Until we are standing there with groceries scattered across the ground around our ankles.

There will always be someone to tell us what we should be doing. We get to decide what is most important, to us.

No doesn't just mean no, it means yes to something better.

No.

54 comments:

Daniel said...

It takes a long time to learn this lesson. I am getting there, but still reek at it. Loved the flavor of this post. I sensed your frustration and anguish and knew right where you were.

Poetikat said...

That last line should be everybody's mantra.
I do try to keep the load as light as possible, but am one to sometimes push it. Very good reminder and well-expressed.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Very nice Brian. This is a good example of when 'no' can mean 'yes'. Of course, we know the other example where 'no' means 'no'.

Just took a belated peek at your halloween photos. A pretty scary family!

:)

An Open Heart said...

Good job! sooooo sooooo true....I have a seriously hard time saying no...and meaning no to something I don't really want to do or do not have the time to do.....learning, that I am....


S

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Great post. Saying no usually leads to saying yes to something else - bigger and better things.

Alix said...

THIS ONE I understand! Yay!

You are so right Brian. You are so right.

blueviolet said...

I love looking at no as a choice to do something better!

Wings said...

Great post! No is sometimes the hardest word to say, isn't it? So much easier to just say yes.

willow said...

It took me a while to learn this simple lesson, as well. Just because someone throws you a ball, doesn't mean you have to catch it.

(WT carries the groceries in for me, too, btw.)

JeffScape said...

Maybe?

Try grocery shopping through Amazon!

Yeah, yeah... bad joke. I think I'm starting another rut today.

BeautifulWreck said...

I know this well, but have a hard time following it.

Excellent post.

Leah said...

Gosh, this is a timely one for me. Perfect metaphor.

Barb said...

I have such a hard time with "no". And people know it all too well. Thanks for a great post.

Ronda Laveen said...

It's not just you...they are simply making inferior bags these days. Those tabs they call handles won't your groceries let alone all those other things life requires.

I have a hard time remembering that it is okay to make three trips instead one A little bit of laziness in there for me as well.

Ronda Laveen said...

That should read carry your groceries.

g-man said...

I have this thing about carrying everything in one trip....

Tom said...

...you need to use those recyclable/fabric bags...instead of leaving them in the kitchen. Oh wait, were you going a little deeper with this?

only a movie said...

Love that last line.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You were reading my mind today. Time to slow down a bit.

Great post.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Choices - ever a "bag" of choices - and when we choose a "NO" over a "YES" it is simply another "YES" that we have chosen...

I have a large wall sculpture that is simply the letters that make the word
Y
E
S
It was a commissioned piece. The word/letters are an acronym for:

Y=Yield
E=Eternal
S=Spirit

To bring our awareness to why we may choose one YES over another YES.

Betsy said...

Ah...one of those lessons I've had to learn over and over again!

Eddie Bluelights said...

I no longer try to carry things all at one time - the load is too heavy! And something may break! maybe me!
I do it in two or three and try to slip out of the fast lane of life - it's sometimes hard but necessary as I get older! ~ Eddie

Hilary said...

It seems you spoke to many today.. myself included. Wonderfully expressed. Thanks.

Protege said...

I simply love the first sentence, as that is to me the essence of fall.
Superb writing (as usual) about the burdens of modern life.
:)

Nessa said...

Ain't this the truth.

Book Review #5 - Merle's Door

Brian Miller said...

rose, love the acronym...

bonnie, yes i know too well when no means no...

alix, just for you...smiles.

MomsJournal said...

Say yes to a more relaxed life. ;-)

smiles4u said...

It's taken me years to learn this and still I forget until I am reminded once again.

Love these lines...."There will always be someone to tell us what we should be doing. We get to decide what is most important, to us."
And
"No doesn't just mean no, it means yes to something better."

I need to print these off as reminders!! Thank you!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I know exactly what you mean!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is bizarre, Brian - I just posted an e-mail to some friends today about this very thing. Priority setting, and not taking on too much until your groceries break.

(No, I didn't use the grocery analogy.)

I hope you can find a lighter load soon.

Pat said...

I lived a lot of my life not knowing how to say "no". Mostly volunteering at my kid's school. You know the old adage, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." Now that I'm "living the vida loca", I don't come upon this problem very often. I have to say, it's pretty nice!

Very nicely written of an every day problem.

Beth said...

I need to take a few lessons from you. My calendar is going to be the death of me... Saying NO is so much harder it should be.

Jill said...

"No doesn't just mean no, it means yes to something better."

Amen! AND Amen again TO THAT!!!
Excellent insight!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I love this. Absolutely love it.

tattytiara said...

Yup. I can hear my mother's voice saying "for heaven's sake, just make two trips" so clearly it's like she was in the room with me. Definitely an innate tendency in some of us.

bernthis said...

NO is a complete sentence. I've had to practice that over and over again. Thanks for the reminder

Oh My Goddess said...

It's true. We are in charge of how we feel. And how much we carry.

kys said...

I may cross stitch that last line on a pillow. And send it to my MIL. Or air-brush it on a t-shirt. I can't decide.

Chief said...

you are a very talented writer! thanks for commenting over at my bloghouse!

staceyjwarner said...

Exactly! I have nothing else to say. You said it perfectly.

much love

gaelikaa said...

Well.....that's one way of looking at it!

Candie Bracci said...

Brillant!

Laszlo Brown said...

It's a skill to figure out what that something better is.

- Laszlo

Ocean Girl said...

That's what children are for!

Cinnamon said...

Like you say, saying 'yes' makes us feel important. Saying 'no' is accepting our limitations- a difficult lesson to learn :)

TechnoBabe said...

Your post is the crux of the major attitude hubby and I share. We want peace in our lives. We do what we have to and live in peace and quiet. I spent so many years being what others required and trying to be what others thought I should be and trying to fit in. This year I finally can see that I am okay. And it is okay to be myself. It is suggested in your post that you expect so much of yourself. Ah, the freedom to finally put that aside.

Lorraine said...

If I had put my break on sooner, I'd be wise and carefree...This is splendid, as always Brian!

buffalodick said...

I see your point. We should only try to have as much as we can hold..Greed, once overcome- frees you quite a bit. On a lighter note, buy a couple of reusable insulated bags..I have three of them, and all hold 40+lbs. easily! Cost is about $5 bucks a piece..

Gaston Studio said...

This so resonates of me, knowing that to sometimes saying "no" is important to do the other things on your list right. I'm still learning.

Brian Miller said...

gaston, me too...smiles.

...mmm... said...

A full, too busy life is better than an empty one with no one to help, o one needing you and so on. We find meaning in our interactions, as overloaded as we may well be.

Nicely written post, Brian.

otin said...

I have the hardest time saying no, even if it drags me down, I will always try to help someone.

The Retired One said...

You nailed it, Brian.
I felt exactly the same as you so eloquently expressed a few years ago.
I finally started saying no.
It has relieved me of SO much stress.
Now it is rare for me to say yes, because I am stingy to give up my new-found freedom.
I used to be on about 10 different boards, clubs, etc.
I gave them all up without guilt and spend more time with my husband.
I am loving it.

Hit 40 said...

"Now doesn't mean no" Just yes to something better!!! Very nice!!