For much of my life, I feared saying yes. To say yes might mean I have to follow through on doing something I don’t want to do. To say yes might mean having to face my fear. To say yes might mean I experience feelings I am not comfortable with. There have been times when I have heard the word “yes” escape my lips, while everything in my body screamed “NO!” And not saying yes has consistently kept me safe. This year of forty-five things has been about looking at my life, identifying what keeps me safe and in my box of comfort, and pushing those things aside to create and hold space for those things that make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
Last month I read a book that I resonated with (one of my 45 things is to read a book each month, for no reason other than for pleasure) called Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.
In case you are not familiar with Shonda, she owns Thursday night television. She has created such incredible shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, Station 19 and Scandal.
Shonda, like so many driven women, found work to be easy and down-time to be difficult. And one day, while making the Thanksgiving dinner with her sister, Shonda was talking about an event she had the opportunity to attend. One she planned on not attending, as was her usual practice. A flippant comment, “You never say yes to anything,” led Shonda on a journey of saying yes to every opportunity that came her way.
What Shonda learned through that journey was that even when she feared or overthought a situation, there was always something positive to gain from it. In the same way, I am learning to embrace life, to say my own enthusiastic YES to every opportunity…even those that may not be on my list of things.
Six months into my adventure I have taken risks I would have never taken before – I have put myself out there in the form of this blog. I have learned to knit, and through knitting I have reflected on how every one of us are connected, and how quickly our relationships can unravel if we are not careful. I have taken a spontaneous trip, spent an incredible three days away from home when the “pre-Forty-Five-Things” Christine would have said no, and hibernated at home. I have learned to love puzzles, to be open to inviting new love into our home. I listen more. I talk less. I feel all the emotions, without judgment.
As we move into the next half of Forty-Five Things,
I will continue to be daring. I am committed to being in the arena, to engaging in life. In the coming days I will share some news and make some requests. Until then, be brave, my friends. Know that living is all about what we say YES to. Our fear and comfort can keep us from experiencing the greatest adventures of our lives.
I highly recommend Shonda’s book to anyone who wants to say YES to life. Stay tuned… some exciting “yes” moments coming in the months ahead.