Thursday, February 20, 2014


In English, nine is a homonym with the German word “Nein”. Pronounced the same, one represents a number, the other represents “no”. As an author, I’m fascinated by words, as an introspective person, I’m fascinated by meaning. When a single word has multiple meanings, I pause to evaluate further. 

Though the number nine has little significance in my life, the word “no” has been a powerful adversary. There have been times when I listened to the small, discouraging voice that said “no, you can’t” or “no you shouldn’t”. Rare occasions when it was sage advice, more occasions when it was a whisper of self-doubt trying to hold me back. For that reason, I chose to base this Viewpoints challenge on the sound of nine, rather than its numeric symbolism.


When my mother-in-law offered to teach me to quilt, my initial and emphatic reaction was “No”. I had no interest, no inclination, no time. Thankfully, I was able to pause and realize that her offer was more of an olive branch than instruction. I said “yes” despite my first instinct of “no”. Thanks to that moment of lucidity, I fell in love with quilting (and my mother-in-law). It changed my life! In the brief space between yes and no I found a new friend, a new career, and a new perspective. 

Nein, “No”, could be a blessing in disguise! It could be a message to stop resisting something, it could be the door to a new experience. I realized I didn’t have to fight “no” or immediately dig in my heels against it. 

Have you had a similar experience? Where you have resisted something, said “nein” and later realized it was a good thing? A move? A career change? A decision? Has “no” ever been a signpost rather than a stop sign in your life? Or has it been a definitive, protective “no”, that was a clear delineation of what you would or would not accept? Perhaps something else?

I invite you to explore the meaning, impact or influence of the word “no” in your experience; whatever it may be.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting twist, Lisa-Marie……my ideas are all over the place.