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    • #16638
      Bailey Vincent

      I am sitting at a coffee shop outside (because, pandemic) with both of my daughters on either side. My laptop is in my… well, lap, and I’m prepping 31 Days posts while worrying about my neck. I wrote about it in a column that runs next week, and probably many times more after that.

      “I have that ‘Stop what you’re doing or something is going to blow’ feeling again,” I told my Rehearsal Director and friend, knowing we are meeting at a studio later today to prep a 6-minute dance piece for a few weeks from now, “The same thing happened before I blew out my lower back for the final time before surgery.”

      That feeling is here again. As I write this. I know that the disc has herniated more and that something doesn’t feel right. You know that feeling?

      Even though today is a busy work day- my daughters doing school outside in this beautiful coffee shop courtyard… studio sessions and subbing for my dance boss later…and on and on- something isn’t right, yet I can’t press pause and back peddle because I’ve already agreed to the working, and subbing, and helping, and on.

      So here’s my question:

      Is there a time in your history when you couldn’t say “no” to something, but you knew it wasn’t for the best?

      (For most of us, we can probably think of many times.) Did you regret it? Did you learn from it? Do you repeat the same patterns now?

      I know that many of us don’t have the privilege of saying “no” when it comes to finances and survival (or at least for me that’s often the case?), but I’d love to know: How often do you allow yourself to say no?

    • #16643
      Paul met Debbie

      As often as needed. But the thing is, if you are true to yourself, you don’t have to think about these things at all. If you honor spontaneity, the “no” just pops out as soon as it is appropriate. And if it doesn’t, it is okay too. Things will have their way in any case and it will be fine. You will possibly learn from the experience if things turn out for the really worse, but not even necessarily so. Because every situation will be (or feel) new. Perhaps only when some patterns arise of you stubbornly saying yes to many things that turn out badly, you might try something else. And this will be okay too. It is always just how life works out. Don’t try to predict, plan or think it through too much. No matter what you do, it will be that what needs to be done in the grand scheme of things. You have no clue what is supposed to happen. As long as you don’t take personal anything that happens to you, you are fine. Don’t overemphasize “doing”, it’s an illusion of control. Most of life is being done to you. Life happens and you will be it. With or without blown-out discs, sitting at a Coffee Shop, writing your next forum post (or not, as the case may be).

    • #16641
      Timothy Bransford

      I know the dilemma. Just title this little ditty “Achilles meets Icarus”.

      My way of coping with the realities of CF in the workplace 26 years ago was to start my own business with the aim to create a more user-friendly work environment. I determined to be overt with all aspects of CF. As I hired employees, part of my interview process was “the CF talk”. I assured them my frequent huffing, puffing, and sputum production was not contagious. If that was problematic, I assured them another job opportunity existed somewhere else. It is normal for my employees to observe me at the office with a Tobi bomb tucked into my shirt pocket and a PICC line in my arm. If they are uncomfortable with CF, they hide it well. I do my best to control this environment.

      The downside of this arrangement is (pause for the obvious) I own a company…it is a 24/7 thing.

      True to my OCD personality (hello Achilles), I grew the company significantly in the first 10 years (good day to you, Icarus). We had offices all over the US and Canada and I had to keep up with them. I experienced too much air travel (a real challenge because it is pretty much impossible to normalize huffing, puffing and sputum with strangers on a plane), too much time in major cities with air quality issues, and I missed too many treatments due to the travel and meetings. As the company grew, I found myself failing physically. The company was successful, but I was not.

      One day I found myself in the emergency room due to a serious episode of hemoptysis (can you relate?). I was hooked up to all the usual medical devices. At the same time, I was constantly on the phone dealing with several pressing company issues. I was still coughing frank blood, I had an elevated fever, and sweat on my brow. I felt that familiar mental shift to a cloud. Not totally sharp. The IV kept getting in the way of the laptop. The nurses kept interrupting my phone calls. At the end of the day and after a “come to Jesus” conversation with my partner, Sandi, I finally admitted this was not sustainable.

      Upon arriving back home, I was reminded of the biblical discussion. “What does it profit a person if he/she gains the world but loses his/her soul”. (I know, that sounds extreme, but I was raised to be an extremist…). I considered the present situation (stress, lack of solid sleep, physical exhaustion, untreated infection due to inadequate preventative measures) with the desire for quality of life (longevity, growing older with my partner, potentially living to see grandchildren, etc). I also considered ego and the need to excel in everything regardless of consequence (though that tendency had served me well in some areas it had been utterly destructive in others). Ultimatly, I reached the obvious conclusion. I needed to reorganize my priorities–again.

      As mentioned above, I tend to extreme. As such, over the ensuing 6 months, I shut down all non-Seattle offices. I made it a point to prioritize my treatment routine. I substituted a 12-hour work day with 8 hour days. I targeted 10 hours sleep rather than 6. I stopped working on the weekend. And yes, the growth of my company was compromised because life is always a trade-off. However, I was still successful enough to raise the kids and live a good life and experience 4 grandchildren and enjoy have a loving relationship with my dream woman.

      By abandoning the race to the top, I was able to enjoy the priorities of my life. One of the best decisions I’ve made.

    • #16650
      Jenny Livingston

      I’m in a position to say no more now that I was for years and years prior. The duties of motherhood and financial necessity were always stronger than my desire (need) to say no. There is a time that vividly sticks out in my memory when I finally said no and it was life-changing. After years of constant struggles with my health, frequent hospitalizations and emergency procedures, and declining lung function, my doctor looked at me and said, “Something has to give, and it can’t continue being your health.” That day, I called my boss from my hospital bed and told her I wasn’t coming back to work. I had no idea how my little family would survive. I was terrified. But it was the first step I took toward making my health top priority. I feel so fortunate that it did work out. I know not everyone has that option (at the time, I didn’t feel like I had the option either, but it had to be done). I learned so much from that experience and truly believe it saved my life.

      • #16660
        Paul met Debbie

        Sometimes life presents a situation like this, where there is not an option to decide otherwise on the one hand (for your own good), but on the other hand taking this decision does not feel like a feasable option either.

        So far, my experience is that after taking the decision anyway, options present themselves that you could not have foreseen in your wildest dreams. It is like embarking on a new journey you didn’t imagine possible. To a certain extent, we (i.e. our minds) are always blind for many of life’s surprising solutions. We only have to give life a chance to come to the rescue, and it will. That is why it is so important to trust our intuition, because it has a direct line with life’s own wisdom and compassion.

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