To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.
Thomas Merton penned these words 50 years ago. And I have always found them sobering. They remind me that “violence” is the only appropriate word to use to describe my propensity to say “yes” to more than I can handle…to over-commit…to allow too many things to lay claim to my life energy…to promise more than I can deliver to work, family and my world.
Merton’s words came back to me again this week. I was talking with a friend about all that was keeping us both so busy and about all that was still left to be done in our week. As she was getting on the elevator after our conversation, she turned to me.
“Remember,” she said. ” ‘No.’ is a complete sentence.”