Take Back Your Power of Yes and No

  • Written by admin
  • November 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm
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  • Two, one syllable words that have been debated over for centuries: ‘yes’ and ‘no’. These words have the potential to activate or diminish power in both women and men. Although there is an internal compass in each of us that is meant to guide the decisions we make and actions we take, more often than not we end up making our decisions based on the concepts we’ve been conditioned to accept from society.

    Socrates suggested that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’ He was speaking to the idea that all actions should have reason behind them—and if we do not question and examine the actions of ourselves and others, how can we truly understand the world we live in? An unexamined life is a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to societal conditioning.

    We must examine our patriarchal society and how we are all influenced by it. When the curtain of social conditioning is pulled back, we reveal how personal power exists without bias, prejudice or gender identification—and how power is personal and authentic when the source is the heart.

    Adults educate from personal experience, and that experience is influenced by society’s imprint. Which people are better at math, which write with eloquence and which will grow into leaders is sometimes pre-determined by the unexamined beliefs and adherence to socially accepted norms passed down from generation to generation.

    Men and women are subconsciously, through unexamined lives, teaching us who we are in the world. They’re teaching us who has power and who does not through sentiments like ‘throwing like a girl’ or ‘crying like a baby’. One of the worst and most common of these unexamined societal concepts is: Boys will be boys and girls will be girls—the implication that gender alone dictates our behavior, which removes us from informed and authentic power.

    The idea that boys are incapable of controlling their sexual impulses, and that girls are responsible for managing those impulses by tailoring the way they dress and how they behave has been repeated through history for so long that it’s ingrained in all aspects of our daily lives.

    At the risk of minimizing the complex answer to why sexual trauma occurs, we need to deconstruct it by considering the unexamined societally held belief behind boys will be boys and girls will be girls.

    With the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude, women are separated from their authentic power. After the added offense of sexual trauma for those who have been exposed to it, these women are further separated from their inherent connection to their life force. In its place, they are left with symptoms of anxiety, panic, depression and suicidal thoughts. Their behavior reflects self-loathing and avoidance of emotions through cutting, drug and alcohol abuse and toxic relationships.

    Sexual trauma impacted my life curve in this way. I was removed from the power of my own ‘no’. When I resisted being held down, I most certainly felt no, but over the course of my childhood and adolescence, I was separated from that power and grew with the mistaken belief that I had none. Experience taught me that saying no meant absolutely nothing. I was powerless. And the implication of yes to anything positive in and for my life, suggested I had power, creating unreasonable internal conflict in myself. In my mistaken and learned belief that I would always be powerless, I made choices followed by actions that recreated what I knew.

    To regain the power of my ‘yes and ‘no’, I had to focus on healing. Healing turns into a ‘know thyself’ conversation. It starts on this personal, rugged journey where we stop everything and turn into the emotions—that appear at first glance—to threaten to destroy ever knowing the gift of an authentic, powerful and purposeful life.

    Practices, like iRest/Yoga Nidra, Yoga and mindful breathing, Heart Rhythm Meditation and energy work are the navigating system by which we arrive and thrive. Clear Path Wellness of the Lehigh Valley lives and teaches, all of these practices.

    What if the power of ‘yes’ and the power of ‘no’ were equal? And what if our awareness of the energy that empowers both responses is what is actually communicated—to the self that is always listening and to those with whom we communicate?

    When asked, Hank Hayes, CEO of No Lie Blades, published author and US Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, had this to say about what is behind the forces of ‘no’ and ‘yes’: “When you decide no—to the people, to the behavior—yes is revealed. NO, opens the door to say YES, to other things.” Hank went on to explain that ‘no’ is a necessary force for boundaries however, if you spend the energy of no, adding to the list of ‘I won’t do this and I won’t do that’, without turning your attention to the ‘yes’, you’ll miss being in the forward motion of life.

    Every day my life intersects with someone who has experienced sexual trauma. My ‘yes’ is to share the message of joy. My ‘yes’ is to continue to practice. I build skill and resilience through the practice of breathing and moving and meditation. Sharing this experience is also part of my YES!

    You might begin or continue your own personal journey of healing by gifting yourself a few moments of quiet. You might settle onto a chair or pillow and notice breathing. Maybe you invite a breath that brings air to the base of your lungs followed by an even exhalation. And maybe you do that for several moments. Then, a question dropped into the space of the heart: What action do I take when I say ‘yes’ to Love?

    Wait for it. Notice that sacred tremor. I trust you will discover as I did. YOU are worth that moment of pause. This is not about waiting for life to happen to you. This is about pausing to listen to what life has for you.

    One syllable words that activate your power: Yes. No. Know thyself. Examine every aspect of your life and know that the decisions you make for yourself and your body are ones that you are comfortable with.

    With Love,



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