"No" Is A Complete Sentence

by Suzanna Drozd-Kowalski

If you are a light worker of some type you have probably taken self-improvement courses. For years I had journeyed to Lily Dale, NY each summer for what I would term food for the development of the soul. Then one year my step-daughter, Deanna Kowalski-Archer, surprised me with a weekend at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY for a Debbie Ford seminar, “Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” It was a silent weekend, except when you were in the class, and then it was an intense, knockdown, drag-out experience that left me spent, but wonderfully cleansed. I thought I had unearthed every part of my shadow self that weekend.

Well all that changed a few weekends ago when I took Karuna Reiki® Master training with William Lee Rand. During the training we were led in a deep Shadow Self meditation. A little girl appeared to me during the meditation and said, “No is a complete sentence.”

This surprising statement was the catalyst for my contemplating life in a new way. Prior to the class I was having experiences I really didn’t want to attract. At one point the tension in my office was so great that co-workers asked me if there was a way to clear the area and get rid of negative energy. It’s a fast paced office, and I think of myself as a Radar O’Reilly from “M*A*S*H.” A number of bosses funnel work down to me, and I often feel pulled in many different directions at once. At times I have needed all of the arms of Avalokitesvara to manage everything I needed to do. Stress was always the word of the day. Every morning I would do the following rituals, hoping to reduce my level of stress:

  • Ground myself by visualizing roots coming out from the bottom of my feet and going deep into Mother Earth.
  • Place crystals and minerals from my Medicine Bag on correlating chakras and using prayer wands in each hand.
  • Greet the six directions (East, South, West, North, Father Sky and Mother Earth), Grandfather Sun, and Grandmother Moon.
  • Say the Reiki Ideals.
  • Send distant Reiki to my past, present, future, my thriving and successful Reflexology and Reiki Practice, my book signing tour (it doesn’t matter that the book isn’t written yet), my husband, parents, children, grandchildren, both present and future, friends, work, and healing for the Earth and the Universe.

Nothing seemed to help. With hindsight, I know it was because I was focusing on stress and not on peace. Then during that Shadow Self meditation I had a profound experience. I was given a key to unlock a secret door to reclaiming a part of myself. A part that I had willingly handed over to other people. I had a vision of a bear, a lion, and then the girl. Having worked with shamanic ways I knew that bear is the keeper of the West and is powerful healing medicine. Karuna Reiki® is also powerful for “fine tuning” Reiki. This was to me a validation of the path I was on. So was the lion, which symbolizes the sun, courage, strength, healing, protection, and life energy. The lion also represents the mandala, a circular mystic symbol representing the universe.

The girl represented the part of me that had been trying to be heard since I was little. I asked what she needed. The reply was for me “to set boundaries and to say no. To be able to tell people what I needed from them to make things work more efficiently.” She wanted me to be able “to speak up for myself and to say no.” And here is the clincher: “not to worry if people don’t like it. That is their issue and not yours. This is what she needs. Not to be the one to solve others’ problems or to enable them to continue an unhealthy pattern of action. No is a complete sentence. It doesn’t need an explanation! It’s okay to say no when your limits are stretched to the max or less for that matter. It’s okay! You need to put you first. Your needs, then others will follow suit.”

This was profound for me. I was born under the sign of Libra during the solstice at dawn and was raised in a military family. I worry about what everyone thinks and try to keep the peace no matter what, even if it means sacrificing a piece of me. When someone would say, “Jump,” I would say, “How high?” You get the picture. So this was a whole new concept for me to digest. Wow, take care of me first. An empty nester with a blended family of eight, humm… this was definitely something for me to ponder. I imparted this newfound wisdom to my step-daughter, Deanna, my Shadow Training buddy. Her response was that I should deal head-on with my troubles; if I didn’t it wouldn’t matter what the next situation was, it would repeat itself.

It took her to remind me that the Universe will keep giving you lessons until you learn them. What I really needed was to learn this lesson. I could see that it had been easier for me to show people things than to have them experiment and learn on their own and then call me if things went awry. I was actually depriving them of their own learning experiences. No matter how time consuming it might be to learn how to un-jam a copy machine, learn where things are kept, or the alphabet in conjunction with filing and mail-drawers, it was information others needed to have. I could now see where I had enabled co-workers, my family, and others to continue habits and patterns of action that were not useful to their success in life. Why count on themselves when they could rely on me to do it better or quicker?

It occurred to me that my throat issues, including laryngitis, strep throat, swollen glands, and asthma may be somehow tied to my inability to say no. I remember at a Crystal Conference in 2004 I purchased what I thought was a Heart Chakra Crystal Singing Bowl, only to discover later that it was a Throat Chakra Singing Bowl in G. The Universe had arranged for me to get the bowl I needed.

I began to apply what I had learned from my Shadow Self meditation at home and at work. When I used the word “no,” I noticed that people in general expected me to elaborate on it. Here it was a neat little sentence all by itself. When there was nothing else to follow, it threw them for a loop. They would inevitably come back with a “Why?” I would shrug my shoulders and continue what I was doing. It left them stumped. They would walk away shaking their heads. It was all right that I didn’t have an answer for them—or one that they liked. Co-workers would still talk to me, the world didn’t come crashing down, my family didn’t disown me, and life continued. I began telling others what I needed from them and why, explaining the reasoning behind my requests. They would then try to comply with my wishes. Go figure. Imagine all this profound wisdom from one small, complete sentence. “No.”

Try it sometime. You just might be surprised at what happens.

This is an excerpt from the complete article that appears in the Summer 2008 issue of the Reiki News Magazine.