The Life-Altering Power of 'Yes'
Wednesday March 4, 2009
By Valerie Reiss, Holistic Living
A friend and I were walking down the street yesterday, talking about our mutual tendency to, when a good thing happens in our lives, instead of embracing it, say "but...." As in, "I have this great new apartment possibility, but... maybe it's not really right" or, "I met a fantastic guy I love, but...." "I won a million dollars! But..." I'm guessing you know the drill.
She said she had forgotten, but that the remedy to Big But Syndrome (BBS) is another equally powerful word: Yes.
As in, "Want to go to Hawaii?" YES! "Would you like to meet this new person?" YES!
Being a big fan and forgetter of Yes, I mentioned that book "The Year of Yes" in which the author decided to say Yes to almost every invitation or offer for 12 months. I haven't read it, but I think she had a pretty interesting time (apparently interesting enough to make a Jim Carrey movie out of it).
Then I remembered that John Lennon met and fell in love with Yoko Ono at her 1966 London installation art exhibit--you had to climb a ladder and when you got to the top, you picked up an attached magnifying glass and read the word Yes painted on a canvas. Even though they were both married and didn't get together for two more years, he was hooked. Yes.
So we're still walking down the windy, sunny street having this conversation and I notice an old building is newly bright yellow and that a huge sign on it reads, "One word can change the world." I stop and step back to see an ad mural with rain-slicker yellow letters as tall as me: "Yes!"
We just stared at it, at each other, and started laughing. And laughing. "We get it!" I yelled happily at the sky. "YES!" And more hysterical giggling and "Oh my god-ing." (Turns out it's an ad for Western Union's charity campaign. Not to add snark to a happy moment, BUT, the company could start to say Yes to the earth by not using giant vinyl sheeting to display their cool message--here's some eco info on vinyl. Or maybe that's just an example of BBS.)
Yes. Clearly there's something there. Yes, yes, yes. It moves me forward. It feels scary and exciting. It makes me feel intimate with the world. Like it's a lover, not a foe. I feel energized. Not stopped, not but-ed. And in my heart, not my analyzing head. Yes might just be the opposite of fear. Yes. Less No, more Yes. I'm going to remember this time, until I forget and another billboard has to shout it at me.
Maybe you'll join me in saying Yes to life more? Not Yes to projects that are a bummer, chores that drain you, but Yes to the places your wild, beautiful heart wants to go but is afraid to. How can you say yes today?
I'll leave you with this quote I just found from Yoko:
"LET EVERYBODY IN THE CITY THINK OF THE WORD "YES" AT THE SAME TIME FOR 30 SECONDS. DO IT OFTEN. "
--YOKO ONO, EXCERPT FROM "LET'S PIECE I" (SPRING 1960)