Last Saturday evening I was dining with a couple of friends and their kids, and we ladies decided to set a challenge for ourselves for the week. We decided that we would embrace the adage that my sister is so fond of “Object to Nothing.” The idea behind it is that if you have an open mind, you might find a new path interesting, instructive, even life-changing. It’s also a means of making sure that you are not thwarting with negativity opportunities that are coming your way.
As soon as I left, I started finding challenges to this new intention. Layla didn’t want to sleep at her dad’s house. Instead of saying no, I simply told her she would have a great time and that I would see her the next day. Then I convinced her to blow me a kiss from the upstairs window of his apartment so that I could make my escape.
Upon returning home, a local guy that I didn’t know (and didn’t have any friends in common with) friended me on Facebook. He seemed cute, and I thought maybe he’d turn out to be interesting. He then sent me a few messages telling me how good he thought I looked. Well, I was flattered and kept an open mind. I couldn’t object, right? He proceeded to “chat” with me on FB (their form of instant messaging) and told me his whole life story. I “listened” with a spirit of openness, thinking there might be an amazing opportunity here. As luck would have it, he was thirty, going through a bitter divorce, on disability, working at a gas station, and living at his parents’ house. Oh and he smoked (that’s one thing I am fine with objecting to). However, I had set this intention and was going to find a way to honor the spirit of it, so I finally asked him if he thought we had anything in common. He said he didn’t know, What did I think? I said, Not that I can see. He apologized and unfriended me.
As the week progressed, I found that the lack of objection was getting a bit tough. I took the kids to the market with me. Boy did that stretch my creativity! Can we get root beer Mama? I couldn’t say no. So I said, What do you think? He said, no. I agreed with him. Then at home, it was the constant onslaught of requests for television and sugar. Again I diffused the situation by asking them questions. Do you think that TV is the best use of your time? Amazingly enough, he admitted no. Instead of refusing to give them sweets, I asked them whether or not the food in question had a lot of nutritional value. Now don’t get me wrong, I did give in a few times when my questions didn’t work, but that seemed okay because the spirit of this intention was to be flexible and not to have rigid preconceived notions. Objecting to nothing forced me to be a more creative parent and person, to encourage my kids to take some responsibility over their life decisions, which was really great for them.
Then came the big challenge…my ex bringing his girlfriend over to my house while I was out. After my anger subsided that day and I was able to look at the situation with a cooler head, my first thought was that I violated the “Object to Nothing” principle. But you know what? I realized instead that I had reached my bottom line where my core values really came into play. My house is my own. While I want my ex to feel comfortable here, I don’t want him thinking that he can invite someone else over without asking me first. This is now my sacred space, and I needed to make that clear to him. However, I did own up to the fact that I was resisting too hard against the idea of the girlfriend and I ever being friends. I was arguing too vociferously that she was just not “my” kind of woman. So, in the spirit of non-objection, I told him that I would invite her over to join us for dinner sometime so that we could get to know each other better. Or maybe I could have coffee with her alone some time.
I have to say that this intention was really beneficial for me. It required from me a lot of diligence and presence of mind. It made me question and analyze my gut reactions to people and events. It made me realize how many times in a day a mother says no to her children. It also forced me to clarify what’s really important in my life because having a spirit of willingness doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. Objecting to nothing didn’t really change anything in my life per se, but it did change my way of thinking. And that is always powerful.
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So tell me, what do you think of my intention to object to nothing? Could you do it? Would you want to? How might it impact your life to have a spirit of openness and willingness to experience new things? Try it and get back to me.