Ann Vanino
4 min readAug 4, 2021


The opening that is before me now doesn’t seem right. It does not align with what I want for my life. I am concerned that, if I walk away , I may be making a mistake. How do I discern what to do?


Our journeys revolve around the choices we make. We have agency and free choice to go in any direction that we want. We learn from our choices and they set the direction of our lives. There is no set path that we must follow. We have many paths that we can follow.

An opening can be an opportunity, an insight, a change or a loss. Saying yes or no to an opening moves us forward — each answer sending us in a different direction.The fact that an opening has appeared does not require a set answer from us. Openings are not absolute.

So, how does the view that openings are not absolute affect us? Openings are opportunities — they come in different forms. Openings do not all have to be walked through. Just examining an opening without entering it can serve a purpose in our lives. The presence of an opening has many meanings.


When an opening appears, our first act is to see it. Then, we can welcome it, whatever its nature. As we expand our conception of openings, our lives expand as well. openings come in many varieties.

In some cases, we may initially want to say no to an opening, but realize it is an unhealthy reaction. If this is the case, the opening may show us fear or resistance we have around something. Our initial no leads to movement. It could very well be that saying yes is the best choice for us to make. In saying yes, we overcome the fear or resistance that was present when we initially said no.

When we decide to say no to an opening, the movement we experience can be powerful. Saying no can help us grow, exercise our agency, refine what we want in our lives and assert our freedom. With either a no or a yes can come pressure from within and without. Handling that pressure is also movement forward.


Saying no to an opening can come in stages. These stages are beneficial to us and inform us about ourselves. As we first identify an opening, we can carefully observe our reactions to it. We can examine what the opening is asking of us. We can decide what we need to make a decision. We can make that decision quickly or take our time.

When we say no to an opening, we are empowered. We are exercising our freedom of choice. We are deciding what we want and do not want in our lives. We gain further clarity of our desired purpose in life. We let go of what does not serve us and focus our energy on what does.

Openings build our wisdom. The choices involved move us forward much more rapidly than staying where we were. The choices that we have to make are not always easy ones. They drive us out of our comfort zones into a new place that inevitably brings change. We can embrace this movement as an essential part of a vital life.


An examination of our choice to say yes or no to an opening reflects the nature of our journeys here on earth. Our journeys are not linear, but filled with twists and turns for us to navigate. There are no wrong choices, just choices. And, as we make our choices, we set the direction our lives will take.

We want to make the best choices we can when openings appear in our lives. Even when we make choices that don’t move us to where we want to be, we are learning and growing for the next time an opening appears.

As we embrace the openings in our lives, we have already won, even before a choice is made. Yes or no is an acceptable answer. Openings create movement and when we acknowledge them, they make our lives dynamic. We no longer stand still and our lives become a hero’s journey.

I am relieved to know I have flexibility in choosing whether I walk through an opening. My choices will keep my journey in motion and that is what matters to me.

photo: Nadine Hudson, pixabay.com



Ann Vanino

Writer and career/new directions coach living in the High Mojave Desert of southern California. Author of Chrysalis: Personal Transformation From The Inside Out