I am about to recount for you a very difficult yet life changing experience that I had experienced nearly 30 years ago around the power of saying no. The ending, however is touching and wonderful.
Having been single for quite some time, and hungering for some companionship, I had put an ad in our local paper for meeting a woman.
One Saturday evening, while home alone, I received a phone call from an interested reader. An upbeat caller, with a voice so sweet, crooning and sensuous as to melt any man's heart suggested that we get together. She invited me to meet her at her home, a mere several block walk from my apartment for refreshments and conversation.
She was a total stranger, and I was happy that given the positive nature of our conversation, she trusted me enough to be a blind date to meet her at her home, and after dark as well.
WIth the tender sound of her voice and friendliness of her overall style in my mind, I excitedly awaited that magic hour of our introduction and the vast mystery that beckoned beyond.
Nervously yet excitedly I set off for her home on foot. In practically no time I arrived at the address she had given me. After a couple knocks on her door, our faces met and I quickly asked myself if I had copied the correct address down from our phone conversation.
Her hair was a bit unkempt, and her body mass was something that I had never enourntered in my life before: a hula hoop might have comfortably fit around her waist as a belt.
She confirmed that this was the right place, and invited me to sit down on the couch to chat and for some tea.
Once the shock of the unexpected wore off, I shifted my attitude and opened myself to the adventure of meeting a new acquaintence in my life; for to me each new person that I meet is like a vast book whose cover is ready to be opened to reveal paragraphs of fascinating stories and discoveries inside.
WIthin five minutes of my sitting down, it appeared that something had gone very wrong in my world. A quick glance to the floor revealed several cockroaches scurrying across the carpeting near my feet. A few minutes later, she offered to fix us some hot tea, so I got up and joined her to the kitchen to continue the conversation.
The opening of every cupboard door sent tens of cockroaches scurrying about in various directions, including across dishes and glasses. More cockroaches ran in waves to escape our feet and others jumped out of silverware drawers.
I had never experienced anything like this before and the thought of eating off those dishes truly sickened me, yet being a gracious guest, I merely calmly rinsed my teacup and spoon under hot water before sticking the tea bag in.
Once tea was poured, it was back to the couch for conversation. She shared with me about her life; a life filled with men who had given and broken promises, who had teased then abandoned her. She was truly hoping to meet a kind man who could respect her, and eventually hinted that perhaps maybe I might be such a man once she had come to know me.
Listening to her story, my heart went out to her, yet my mind couldn't help wonder how to protect my tennis shoes from any stowaway cockroach invaders that might join me on my trek back home.
She was quite a talker, and the hours began to pass quickly - until the energy dynamics once again began to change.
She started the next conversation with "do you mind if I give you a hug?" Being touch-starved myself, I said "sure" and we hugged. A few minutes after more conversation resumed, she asked me "would you mind if I kissed you?". Well, this sent me into a bit of internal conflict, because on one hand, I wanted to satisfy her urge, yet I sensed where she was wanting to go with all this and I was utterly not ready or wanting to go there. Quickly finding a balance point within myself, I agreed to let her kiss me. She kissed me directly on the mouth and gave it a lot of passion as well, which of course I resisted.
From that point on, there quickly ensued a difficult tug of war between us. I was game for talking with her and even sharing a hug or two, and even perhaps for us to hold one another, but I felt completely unwilling to do any more than that.
Periodic conversation would suddenly end with her practically begging me to kiss her again, to which I would respond with a "no". Her pleas got more and more pitched and personal, and with each plea, I reiterated a "no". In fact at one point she actually did get on the floor, sit by my feet and beg me. When that didn't work, she returned to the couch, we chatted a bit more then more begging ensued.
Despite the discomfort that this was provoking in me - and her- something was compelling me to stay. At that time in my life, I had lessons I was learning about stating and keeping personal boundaries, and on an unconscious level, this was my perfect opportunity to gain ground on this psychological and spiritual lesson. Looking back on this, I believe that we had a soul contract to work out our boundary issues together, and the healing that resulted- especially in her life- was truly amazing.
For at least another two more hours this tug of war continued between us. Before long it was after midnight, and feeling exhausted, I was ready to walk home and call it a night.
At this point, she returned with one more request. "It's been so long since I have had any touch in my life.. I feel very lonely...would you just come upstairs with me, lay in my bed for a short time and just hold me? I promise you that I will not try to do anything else with you." Her request felt so sincere, that despite my suspicions that I was about to walk into more conflict, I agreed to do so with her, only on the terms that she asked for. She again promised that we would just hold one another for 20 minutes then I could leave.
Upstairs we went, and into her bedroom. The first thing that struck me was a strong smell of urine that overpowered my nose. Her whole room smelled of it and especially her bed, which we were about to lay on.
Honoring our agreement, we lay down on the bed fully clothed. Before long, however, she began to attempt to change the game rules. She first clamored to kissing, then she eventually took off her top. She poured on all the passion and sweet tenderness that she could muster and did everything that she could to caress me into surrender.
At first this was both extremely uncomfortable yet compelling for me. In spite of the discomfort, I felt compelled to stay and hold my ground with a "yes" that only extended to our agreement to hold one another and nothing more. Yet within this, she seemed determined beyond all means to break down my resistance, and plumb my energies to find the smallest crack of weakness.
As she presented to me a most gentle and feminine tenderness, all the excuses I had against being close with her began to disappear one-by-one. The thoughts of cockroaches scrambling across my shoes receeded from my mind like a distant haze.
The putrid smell of urine in her bedroom seemed to fade into oblivion as well.
Finally there were no reasons left, except one - - my choice to say and stand in "no".
Never in my life up to this point had I made a choice free from excuse or rationale.
It was mighty liberating, yet at this moment uncomfortable to merely be an essence of "no", free from any defense or justification.
Finally in frustrated resignation, she declared "it must take one hell of a woman for you to be willing to bond with", and she layed quietly next to me. Despite her frustration, it seemed that a tension had broken. A calmness seemed to over take her, and we ended up laying there and chatting as if we had known each other as friends for quite some time.
After another 20 minutes or so, we bade farewell, I put on my shoes and began the trek back home at 2:30 am, feeling exhausted and battle torn.
Due to my own unhealed life issues triggered by this event, I felt extreme emotional and even some physical distress over this experience for at least three weeks after it occurred.
WIthin three more weeks, I had a chance meeting with her while during business in town. She profusely thanked me for the night, and told me that as a result of our experience that she radically and dramatically changed her life.
She told me that she was inspired to call an exterminator who made visits to her home and eradicated all but a most isolated cockroach. She added that the exterminator would be making additional regular visits. In addition, she had made a commitment to lose weight, and had in this relatively short time lost several pounds. Even more amazingly, she declared with outright joy that she met the man of her life, and would like to invite me over to meet him. Cautiously, fearing what I experienced seeing before, I accepted her invitation.
My visit proved very fruitful. Her new man, also quite overweight, was a very kind and gentle spirit. The two of them sat arm in arm beside one another and truly looked happy together. I felt very happy for them and congratulated them with joy.
Seeing this profound transformation in her life as a result of my "sticking to my guns" was a powerful affirmation for me that indeed it is quite OK to declare and remain committed to personal boundaries, and in fact "as we take care of ourselves, the rest of the Universe nicely takes care of itself as well".
How does this relate to bringing about one's life dream? By our stating and honoring clear commitments while allowing flexibility within those commitments, we may birth our own dream, while assisting others in bringing their life dreams into being as well.