My orientation to life tends to be a big juicy “Yes!” Most of the time, it’s an honest and authentically soulful expression for me. And there’s a lot of good in that, there’s a lot to like.
“Yes” feels groovy and easy-going and agreeable. “Yes” is productive; it makes things happen. “Yes” sounds participatory, invitational, inclusive, and expansive!
Even when I don’t really feel like it, it usually seems to me like I should feel like it.
So I’ve gotten pretty good at psyching myself up and following through even if I’ve had second thoughts. If I’ve said “Yes,” then you can count on me; rarely do I back out of something to which I’ve agreed. Not fulfilling on a commitment seems unthinkably wishy-washy, or lackluster (heaven forfend I ever lack luster!); it might even feel like failure.
I watched a short documentary about inspiring contemporary Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels. He’s the founder and creative partner in the internationally moving & shaking Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and author of a graphic philosophical treatise called: Yes Is More. I bought the book. It’s a great title and an interesting and beautiful idea. His main thrust is that saying “Yes” to everyone and everything — clients, consumers, investors, designers, developers — results in a more complete expression of what’s possible. Everything, he says, is perpetually evolving into greater and greater complexity, so “Yes” aligns with the Truth of Life’s progressive emergence.
I totally vibe with this.
Then I was reminded of Michael Singer’s book, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection. Singer writes about a decision in his twenties to let go of all his over-considerations and fears, even his personal preferences. He committed to going completely with the flow, saying “Yes” to every opportunity and opening he encountered. The book describes the remarkably rich and prosperous life that bloomed out of this simple practice of affirmative release.
That’s another cool idea that makes the “Yes” in my heart leap up like an excited puppy!
“Yes” is good stuff. When I’m in my “Yes,” I get shit done. I maintain a reasonably optimistic relationship with life, all things considered. I feel appreciated and well-liked most of the time. I’m all in favor of it — mostly.
Lately, though, I’ve been feeling my way into “No” once in a while. And I’m finding that pretty amazing in its own special way.
I’m not referring here to “No” as a refusal, a stop, a revolt against anything. That can certainly be powerful, too, but what I’m thinking about right now is “No” simply as a pause — a breath, a time-out, a bit of stillness and peace deliberately claimed amidst the hectic momentum that is forever sweeping us along and away.
What if I didn’t have to prove myself? What if I didn’t feel like I needed to earn my right to be here on the planet, here in my life? What if I didn’t worry so much about the ticking clock, about being left out, about the rarity and scarcity of opportunity’s knocks?
If I was no longer driven by fear of lack and inadequacy… If I could say “No” without feeling the need to justify, explain, or apologize… I think I’d probably say “No” more often.
And I think I’d feel pretty danged good about myself because at last I’d be truly free, really trusting my own creative choices.
The thing is — “Yes” doesn’t have a monopoly on creativity, progress, participation, and power. Indeed, the lines between “Yes” and “No” can get pretty blurry when you think about it. Depending on where you stand, they might even mean exactly the same thing from different angles. And “No” to one thing always opens up “Yes” to another, and vice versa.
Sometimes “No” is the dynamic choice, the affirming choice, the choice that surrenders to Life by releasing the need to strive and control and suffer. Sometimes “No” is freakin’ heroic.
I can’t wait to be with you this Sunday, January 19. Celebration service at Bosque Center for Spiritual Living, at 10:00 am. XO, Drew