The Art of Living Attuned

When to Turn “No” into a Big Fat “Hell Yeah!”


Have you ever been met with ‘no’ when you were going after something you really, really wanted?
Times like this ask us to get crystal clear about our desires and the motivation behind them. 


What’s Driving Your ‘Yes’?

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friend’s sons turned a firm and repeated ‘no’ into an incredible, soul singing, heart lifting ‘Yes!’.

Finn was denied participation in the Whistler World Whip Off Championship this year because he was only 14. To give you an idea of his passion for sports – he has been riding seriously since he 5 was years old, and he’s been a provincial champion in each of these disciplines: hockey, ski racing, BMX racing and downhill mountain biking.

He snuck into his first Whip Off Event when he was 12 and was doing great, but got spotted by someone who knew his age and ousted him. Last year his sights were firmly set on officially entering because 13 year olds were going to be allowed in, but he got injured the day before and was devastated that once again he would miss the opportunity to compete.

So he was determined that this year would be his year – until he found out 2 weeks before the event that they had changed the entry criteria this year and only World Pros who were 18 years and older would be invited to participate.


Nope, No, Not Gonna Happen

The problem with this particular no is that it was strictly based on age, and did not take into account Finn’s considerable ability and maturity as an athlete.

His Dad called the event organizers on his behalf, asking them to consider letting him ride, and they said no.

His Mom called and asked if they could adjust the liability waiver as a one off for him. They said they would consider it – and came back with a no.

Finn called them and poured his heart out asking to be allowed in, and they replied, “As hard as this is for us to say – no.”


Turnin’ It Around

Despite all the no’s, this yes kept gathering steam. The local downhill biking community and industry, fully aware of Finn’s gift as a rider, rallied on social media – creating the hashtag #LetFinnIn. And that’s when the tide began to turn. The hashtag started gaining serious momentum, putting pressure on Crankworx to reconsider. This was becoming a bad PR scenario, and ultimately they caved and allowed him to compete.

As awesome as it was that Finn now had the opportunity to ride with all of his heroes – the coolest part is this:

He totally kicked ass and took 1st place in the competition. Uh-huh.

And here’s the thing, his competitors were as happy about it as his fans. The whole experience is a testament to the character of these riders, as well as their respect for Finn’s talent and his right to ride with them.


The Cues Are There if We’re Paying Attention

There were the clear indicators that this ‘No’ was meant to be a ‘Yes’.

The energy behind the ‘no’ was coming from rules (it’s the way it is), protection, ass covering, and keeping things ‘clean and simple’.

The energy behind the ‘yes’ was coming from a place of enormous peer, friend and family support, deep appreciation of this natural athlete’s skill and talent, and a real desire to see his potential expressed and realized. No brainer – it was absolutely wanting to be a yes.

So what do you do when your ‘yes’ is not unfolding the way you want? What’s the best strategy when doubt gets triggered? It’s interesting how a ‘no’ can start to mess with your momentum and clarity of purpose.

How do you know when “No” means: “Stop moving toward this…”- and when it means:
“Lean in and keep going for what you want”?


Curiosity and Courageous Looking

When we’re feeling denied or shut down, and it’s unclear whether we should bow out gracefully or keep pursuing what our heart wants – there are tools that can help us navigate skillfully forward.

Start by getting clear about the energy of what you want – the ‘yes’ – and the energy of the ‘no’ that’s meeting your yes. Does anything feel rigid, closed, limited or somehow “off”? If so, get curious about why that is. 

Here are some places to look:

  • Will this ‘yes’ compromise any of your top values? Integrity, health, and friendship are just a few to check for.
  • Will anyone else be negatively impacted as a direct result of you getting your yes? If so, could that impact ultimately be in service of them?
  • Do more things seem to be lining up to support the yes or the no?
  • Are you feeling compelled to trust and let things unfold, or does it feel like you’re pushing back hard against an immovable force?
  • What is motivating your ‘yes’? What is the deepest ‘why’ behind your desire?
  • Check with others who are either supporting your ‘yes’, or trying to convince you to accept the ‘no’. Are they truly committed to your best interests? If so – that’s important information.
  • On the other hand, is it their agenda, what they want for you? Or worse, is their ‘advice’ (or your own inclination to back down) coming from a place of fear? If so, don’t let this confuse your vision. Trust your gut first and foremost to tell you if the ‘no’ is a red light or a green light.


When No Really Means No

There are times when the ‘no’ is filled with signs that this is not the way to go forward if we are honest with ourselves and really listen. It can be a subtle and rich dance to push up against the ‘no’ and feel into it for this information. Often it takes touching it several times to know for sure, but the energetic info is always there if we pay attention.

Open your heart to the ‘no’ and ask why it might actually be in service of you.

Sometimes it means you’re getting sucked into tunnel vision, and the universe is wanting you to stay open to the possibility that what you want may come in a form you never imagined. If you’re intention and motives are true, no often just means ‘find another way’.  

And if you’re aiming for the wrong target, then life is simply doing some error correcting for you.


When to Shoot for the Stars

On the other hand, there are times when your ‘yes’ is so deeply authentic and true in your being that what is being asked of you when ‘no’ shows up is the passion and commitment to keep the faith, find creative ways around the obstacles, and stay your course.

When your ‘yes’ feels possibility focused and full of life force – then put a few miles of distance between you and the naysayers (both inner and outer), powerfully align with people who support your desire, and be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to keep making your dream a reality.


Check out Mindspark Cinema’s great 5 minute video of Finn’s story:


Good to ponder:

“To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.” – Martha Beck


How to Become a Conflict Resolution Ninja

You know the feeling that comes over you when you’re out of connection with someone you love? 

It’s that place where everything feels a bit off in your world. It spills into every area of your life and in general just messes with your peace.

Then the inner dance begins.

You go back and forth in your mind debating how to approach the other person, asking yourself what the right words are, how to start, how to speak your truth, and how to hear their’s without becoming defensive.

You’re afraid that you might hear, or say, something you’d rather not.

You run through endless conversations in your mind – creating responses to (defenses for) everything they might say. Or maybe you don’t even get that far, because what you really want is to avoid dealing with this altogether. (Can we just move past all this and get straight back to harmony, thanks?)

Relationships naturally lead us into these places, and the desire to cut and run is strong. So how do we stay and find our way back into authentic, loving connection?

With the right approach, you can leapfrog over what you thought you were afraid of (not being loved), and land firmly in the truth that you are love, that you matter, and that everyone is swimming in the same turbulent water.  We all want to move out of conflict and back into connection.

Play with these 3 steps – and watch your relationships transform:

Stay, Trust and Listen With an Open Heart

There is a sense of safety that comes when you lean into your relationships and trust that you are loved unconditionally, and worthy of being heard. Once you decide this for yourself – it becomes a given.

From here you are empowered to draw on your courage, and stay with the discomfort of difficult conversation. If you keep your heart open in this place, your healthy relationships will deepen, and you will naturally move away from the ones that don’t serve you.

Connect with Your Inherent Goodness

Okay, so what about when we don’t like what we hear? When we feel judged, or begin judging ourselves?

Try this: “I am inherently good. Even when I’m getting it wrong, I am fucking amazing.” Because you are.

The goal is not perfection, it is love. For self, and for other. If you decide to love all of yourself – including your shortcomings, others will trust you to hold them that way as well, and your connection with them will become sacred, safe and sure.

Creating intimacy from this place becomes a natural creative process that allows you to sense and respond together as the conversation unfolds, rather than trying to predict and control it before it begins.

Stay Focused on What You Want to Create

It is so tempting to get sidetracked in conflict when buttons get pushed. So easy to get pulled into past hurts, blame, judgment, anger, fear, defensiveness. And the oh-so-seductive need to be right.

Like moths to a flame, we’re drawn to the shields we use to protect ourselves.

This is where it becomes critical to keep your eye on the ball. What is the ultimate intention? What’s wanting to happen? What if this is an opportunity to:

  • deepen your understanding of yourself
  • deepen your understanding of the other
  • build your capacity to be in powerful conversation
  • choose something richer than self-protection – the liberating kind of connection that happens when you bring no bullshit authenticity and vulnerability to the table
  • restore harmony – on a new level that is only possible when you are committed to growing in the conflict
The more you practice meeting conflict in this way, the more you will become a love wielding, demon slaying conflict resolution Ninja!

Come and Get Your Relationship Superpowertools

Let us know if you want to be notified when we’ve set the dates for our next Art of Connection workshop. The focus of this amazing workshop is to help you expand your range in the realm of connection, and equip you with a rock solid relationship superpower toolkit!


Get Rid of Your “To Do” List and Get Things Done

What’s your relationship like with your to do list?

Up until recently mine has been a ‘kinda like/mostly hate’ thing, born of necessity and obligation, an entity that is always growing and never done. And then I had a shift in perspective – one that has really changed the energy around it, made it infinitely more manageable, and dialed the motivation factor way up.

The Problem With ‘To Do’s’

‘To do’ is a head thing. You decide what ‘needs’ to be done, and then you strategize when and how you will approach the task. For example if cleaning your closet is a ‘to do’ thing – you think of how the task looks, how much time it will take, and what needs to happen to get it done. There is very little (if any) heart in this approach – it just feels like one more thing on your list you have to get to.

How to Turn it Into LOVE/LOVE

I was talking with my coach last week about wanting to get into more action in my world, and mentioned I was feeling stalled and unmotivated. As we explored the areas I was looking to get creating in, it occurred to me that a much more compelling perspective than ‘what do I need to do?’ is ‘what’s wanting to happen?’ As I played with this idea I noticed that my whole attitude shifted. I started to light up at the prospect of honouring all the things that were really wanting to happen in my world – they felt like a magnet pulling me forward.

‘What’s wanting to happen’ is visceral – you feel it in your body, and it’s captivating because it is focused on the juicy, awesome ‘why’ of the thing instead of the ‘need to/have to/should’ aspect of it.

When writing a blog post becomes ‘what’s wanting to happen’, I am focused on the feeling of satisfaction that doing the task will bring. What’s wanting to happen is connection with my audience, bringing value, having a beneficial impact, dancing in the creative process of writing, and the fun of sharing my learning!

Because my focus is on the compelling ‘for the sake of’ reason for diving in, I am pulled forward into the task by my heart, instead of pushing forward against the resistance of ‘have to’.

It becomes a  joyful process, because I feel a huge desire to engage in creating what I want.

Clearly Connecting the Want to the Task

It’s important to really connect with the want, and then tie it to the task. When you think of the thing that needs doing, take a moment to settle into your heart and get clear on the why – and then be sure to write that down beside the item on the list. For example – on today’s list is organizing a kitchen cupboard. The why is that I want to honour the space that holds the food that nourishes me, and I want to honour myself by living in order rather than chaos.

This is the wind in my sails that keeps me moving forward when the doing starts to feel uninspired, or I am tempted to put it off for another day.

I started playing with this perspective 3 days ago, and so far have cleaned and organized 4 different areas of my home that have been on my ‘to do’ list – undone – for over a year. It was easy and efficient – and my heart is happily scanning for the next thing on the list.

Applying it to the Bigger Picture

This perspective also weeds out anything on the list that is not truly aligned with what you want in your life.

When you start your day with a “What’s wanting to happen today?” list – and then look at it again and ask,”What’s MOST wanting to happen?” – it quickly becomes evident where you want to prioritize your time.

When you apply this approach to the bigger goals in your life – you get clear on a deep level if the thing you’re pursuing is actually a fit for your heart and soul.

If it’s not, then is that really where you want to spend the precious moments of your life?

Good to ponder:

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” – Milan Kundera


What if it was this simple?

Good to ponder:

“Obstacles cannot crush me, every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci


What Do We Want More Than Money?

Have you ever asked yourself if money belongs where you have it on the priority list?

Money has an enormous cultural influence in our lives. It is a rare day that goes by without it passing through our minds, usually in terms of how we’d like to have more than we do.

It’s also true that much of what we believe about money – and who we are in relation to it, is so deeply ingrained that we rarely question it.

For example, most of us assume making more money will lead to greater happiness. Period.


Money Can Distract Us from the Treasure

In my alternate career as a fine artist, I found myself becoming less and less satisfied with doing the work in exchange for money. Since it has been my primary source of income for several years – this realization felt like somewhat of a problem. Like any good problem, the solution lies first in fully understanding what’s at the heart of it.

It is a commonly held perception that money is a key incentive that motivates high levels of performance. But there are other factors that compel us more strongly, and are mandatory for us to feel truly fulfilled and successful in our work. More importantly, the quest for money can greatly inhibit our performance – and mess with our happiness.

This talk given at the RSA by Daniel Pink gives some great insight into why money is not the incentive we might imagine:

Forget the Money and Bring More You

Turns out what really turns us on is being on purpose, expressing who we are, honing our skills, expanding what is possible for us to create in the world. Making a difference. If our primary focus is on getting the money, it is easy to lose our connection with this important truth and take a detour down the wrong road.

Even more interesting is the current trend in business to give value, lots of it, for free. Why? Because giving, of ourselves, of the value that we uniquely have to bring, is the best kind of getting there is. When we focus our energy there, on what amazing things we personally have to add to the mix, and get busy sharing that, it naturally leads to greater success, well being and abundance in our lives. There’s no way it can’t.

Good to ponder:

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” – Bernard Meltzer