Story of Transformation – Discovering your No’s

Recently I was heading up a group at The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre – nine women who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer. They arrived in a state of shock with many fears of how to navigate through the medical system, and, were curious to see how our natural therapies would help to reduce side effects, symptoms and improve their quality of life during their cancer experience.
My colleagues Anne Pitman, Sarah Young and myself offered education around naturopathic care, nutrition, acupuncture, exercise, massage, physiotherapy and mind/body therapies. These confused yet willing women began to explore with our guidance: movement, breath, meditation, visualization as well as many of the Hendricks easy, deep and fun techniques – offering so much value for these people discovering their wholeness.
One day when both Anne and Sarah were away I started the group with gathering in a circle and each woman shared what’s been happening for them since the week before. All but one of the nine women spoke about how challenging it was for them to say no to family, friends, doctors – all who were well meaning, and, often pushy. Each women did not want to hurt the feelings of these people they cared for or were scared of (doctors).
So I suggest that we work/play on our “No’s”. Well, it felt like the air was sucked out of the room and as I looked around it seemed as though they were all in freeze – no breath, no movement, eyes bugged – stiff! I spoke to this and invited them to tune into their body’s wisdom and share what they were feeling – their body sensations. Not a word was spoken. Again no breath, no movement.
I felt totally at ease with all this and so followed the impulse to request that they close their eyes or lower their gaze and listen to what a statement I was about to say. They all turned inward and listened to my soft and uplifting words ÈI do want to play with my “No’s” today.” Giving time and space for the process to work its mystery I then asked them to open their eyes and popcorn-share how they experienced their bodies when I spoke that statement. Again not a word. Not a movement…
I was amazed at how playful I was feeling at the time and so I explored further. I announced that we would go around the circle and each person would have a chance to express what they were experiencing in their body. I looked to my left and kindly yet clearly said to Pam, “How is your body responding to the statement.” She easily spoke up and said “My jaws tight.” I responded with a friendly and grateful “Thank you.” The next person announced that she felt nauseous. I nodded and said “Yes, that’s great how you tuned in to what happening.” The next woman mentioned she felt a heavy weight on her chest. And so it went all around the circle. They all felt big, noticeable sensations. At the end of that sharing I confirmed that this was their “No”. And, when they feel sensations that are tight, prickly, bulgy, clenchy, heavy…etc, this is a “No”.
I then went around the circle again and asked them to say to me in their own words “No, I do not want to play with my “No’s” today.” And they each did. I became more and more exhilarated as each one said (in their own words) “No, Rabia, I do not want to play with my “No’s” or “My body says no to that request Rabia.” I appreciated them all the way along! I felt so alive and could sense they did too. I asked them how they felt after expressing that they did not want to do something – being congruent with what’s happening inside and expressing it outwardly – and they shared that they felt lifted, expanded, lighter, giggly- and each of them expressed their gratitude of having a felt experience around their “No”.
For me, I enjoyed a luscious streaming sensation throughout my body – time passed without noticing, I loved playing with them, and, I felt energize. I realized I was in my genius!
And the beauty was… they played with their “No’s” even though they started out not wanting to.