Have you ever seen Yes Man with Jim Carrey? I saw it years ago and then again during the pandemic. In it, a very reclusive Jim Carrey is challenged by a new age guru to just say yes. Yes to dance lessons, yes to language classes, and overall, yes to life. Life gets juicier and more full of joy and quirks almost immediately.
I was thinking about this yesterday while I was on the bike, reflecting on my morning meditation with Tara Brach on Insight Timer. The meditation starts inside of a smile and she invites us to say yes...and to let everything happen. That always makes me chuckle, because, well, um, isn’t it all going to happen anyway? Regardless of whether I let it? And, therein lies the lesson. Even before I resigned as General Manager of the Universe, it was all going to happen with or without my consent, but I didn’t act that way. I treated the world as though it required my oversight, however the world didn't seem to notice one way or another. But I sure managed the hell out of life anyway.
No matter what great intentions I had, when I was trying to manage everything, no one thought that was my best quality. Instead, I heard the word controlling. A LOT.
All this is going through my mind as I rode my bike and thought about the wedding I would be attending that night. I thought about my cousin’s daughter and her new wife making their commitments witnessed by their family and friends and community. That’s a BIG yes!
But I’m thinking about what it’s like to say yes, even when I’m a no, because I want to stop pushing the river.
Partly this is on my mind because I am remembering a scene from the Wisdom of Trauma movie, where Gabor Mate is working with a young man who suffered from prostate cancer. He told Gabor that he was so tired, and when asked what he was feeling, he said fear. And Gabor advised him that as long as he resisted the fear and the anger, they would persist, but if he could be confident that he had enough space to feel those feelings, then he need not be consumed by them. He didn’t have to BE them.
That line about having enough room to take on those scary feelings was a game changer for me. I'm a believer in feeling your feelings, but with the scary ones, I can have a hard time owning them. I somehow still want to blame someone or something. It put me in the mind of Martina McBride's song Love is the only house big enough for all the pain in the world. I am big enough to hold it all. I don’t have to be afraid of the feelings.
I am challenging myself to say yes, and notice where I have resistance. I want to be here fully present for the whole enchilada, the full catastrophe. In the words of Mary Oliver, I want to be a bride married to amazement. So, yes to weddings and weeds and death and little black dresses and empty nests, and big dreams and little everyday blessings, the babies and the flowers, and the rain. The beginning, the middle and the end.
In the never to be forgotten words of Meg Ryan in When Harry met Sally, yes, Yes, YES!
I'm so grateful to have you to tell. Saying this to you, I feel a sense of excitement, satisfaction and contentment.