Saying No as a Path to the Soul

I've been reading along at Tweetspeak. So much to consider. Today's bit is about saying no.

It's been a long time since I've felt like saying yes to blogging here, and it amuses me that the very thing that has inspired me today is a small trail that Whyte opened up with these words...

"The via negativa is the discipline of saying no when we have as yet no clarity about the those things to which we can say yes.... In the continuous utterance of the no is a profound faith that the yes will appear."

Just this morning, I'd been thinking about how the Church sometimes sucks up the life of its people, to the point where they no longer live. They simply "do church," and this is the sum of their existence. In other words, the Church does not necessarily teach us the via negativa, any more than any other organization which relies on our ever-presence to make it keep running. It is not the Church's fault per se, but it is terrifically difficult to step back and exercise the via negativa when we're wrapped up in its culture.

Maybe I could say yes to blogging today, because I've been engaged in my own form of via negativa, whether it be in relation to Church or just a night on Twitter. I don't expect anybody to understand. A no can be incomprehensible when people are so used to hearing you say yes. But I do look forward to this possibility, in the words of Whyte...

"We guard the richness of our interior hopes and imaginings even when there as yet seems to be nothing in the outer world that confirms them. When we finally do blossom, we may bear fruit in the most surprising and astonishing way."


quotes from The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

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Blogger Lyla Willingham Lindquist said...

You don't expect anyone to understand. It seems to me that letting go the expectation that others understand my choices (whether yes or no or maybe) is pretty essential to being able to utter a necessary no. Because sometimes, it can't be adequately explained. And other times it can be, but it won't matter. I'll stop there... You're singing my song. ;-)

Blogger Megan Willome said...

You're allowed to say no. Even to me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo, Laura.

I think absence has made you fonder in this place.

Aren't our expectations for understanding often times an appeal for yes from others?


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