“Jaime, you might actually be getting smarter,” said my mom when I informed her that I’d declined a request to volunteer on a rather ambitious project. And by god, she’s right - I am. I’m getting smarter by being more selective and discerning about how I want to spend my precious life force. I used to say yes to damn near everything - down for whatever, a team player, your go-to gal and involved in more things than I could ever successfully manage.

If I could be a full-time philanthropist and volunteer, I’d be proper-stoked, but until I become someone’s little trophy-wife baby-girl, I’ve gotta play the game like everybody else. Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki said, “Don’t waste a good mistake… learn from it.” I wholeheartedly agree, which is why I’m refining the magical, mystical and fantastical art of saying

NO!

I’m a bit surprised by how much I’m enjoying pop singer Meghan Trainor’s new hit, NO. It’s become a little mantric jam of mine and is filling my soul with a powerful sense of autonomy, sovereignty and mastery over my most treasured resource… time.

She sings:

My name is NO
My sign is NO
My number is NO
You need to let it go

What happens when I say no? I create space, and in that space I can breathe, and with that breath I can move around in my own life and grow my own dreams and thoughts and wants and wishes. It’s delicious.

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, author Marie Kondo prompts us to take an inventory of the things in our lives and ask the simple and profound question: Does this bring me joy? I’ve been ransacking my house lately, holding up jewelry and clothes and art to test them against the joy-o-meter. Holding them up, the answer I most often receive is NO, NO, NO… I need to let em go, so off to the clothing swap, free box and thrift store they're ushered. The rush I get from hucking joyless trifles atop the give-away pile in the garage is sublime, trumped only by the $45 placed within my outstretched hand as I transfer over a mirror purchased at a thrift store ages ago. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Refining the art of saying NO is like having a magical key to pick the lock of my freedom. Just today I turned loose a substantial commitment that was no longer filling my cup and was instead dragging heavily at my flow. With authority, I said NO, and in the utterance of those words, my spirit sighed… YES