A friend and I decided to ring in the New Year by going on a 2-day yoga retreat. The workshop we signed up for was advertised as an experience appropriate for both singles and couples. It promised to teach us how to “create fulfillment, joy, and pleasure within ourselves and our relationships” and learn “ways to receive and trust with an open heart.” My dear friend and I walked into the workshop with an open mind, dancing our hearts out to Michael Jackson in a room full of people we didn’t know. We trusted our instructors to teach us what they knew about intimacy and holding our space with another.
Yet unintentionally and almost ironically, the workshop taught us another lesson: it reminded us that just because people are doing something (in the world outside of this yoga retreat, this might be: online dating, getting married, staying in relationships that don’t work) doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it too if it doesn’t feel right. And when there’s uncertainty or ambiguity about what to do, never let the notion of being “alone” scare you. The truth is: being alone–and learning to be in a relationship with yourself–can be the most healing and rewarding thing to do for one’s soul.
During the workshop, there were three distinguishable moments when the words “No, I will not do that” came out of my mouth. I knew it wasn’t because I wasn’t being open-minded to the teachings of the instructors; rather it’s because I know myself and my boundaries. At 35 years old, I am confident that my gut reactions to things are not hyperbolic; they are the TRUTH.
My friend and I were able to walk away from our yoga retreat knowing that the journey isn’t always about saying Yes. To have an open heart and be able to trust others, sometimes we have to say No in order to maintain the love we have for ourselves.