She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

When God and Tina Fey Decide to Throw a Party, Say YES

        On December 27, 2011 I asked God to (quickly, please!) give me a word - THE word - that would be my guide, teacher, and inspiration for all 366 days of 2012.  And when He did, I questioned it. How could I be sure that, of all the possible words, Yes was the one?

        Because Tina Fey says so.

        I was entertaining the possibility of committing to Yes when I learned that Tina's first rule of improv is to always say yes or agree with whatever another player throws at you.  Saying "no" simply kills the scene.  Brilliant, thought I.  Because really, it's all improv, right?  We're all constantly sorting through new information and adjusting to ever-changing-mostly-beyond-our-control variables, making it up as we go.

        What if I could get out of the way and let God direct the scene?  What if I could more often respond affirmatively to what was unfolding, rather than reacting negatively?

        In response to these questions, I envisioned a peaceful, sparkly landscape called Yes World where my over-thinking, over-analyzing, judging and controlling ways were replaced by more risk-taking, adventurousness, and curiosity.  In Yes World I was relaxed and easy-going, accepting of people and circumstances just as they are, flexible and (dare I hope?) more spontaneous.  All my fears and doubts were traded in for the freedom of believing that all is always well.  And resistance?  Non-existent.

  A photo of me on a regular day in Yes World:


        So of course I said Yes to Yes!  It felt like an R.S.V.P. to an invitation straight from God.  And Tina.

        Now, almost halfway through the year, I can report that things are not shaping up quite as I'd envisioned.  Because I'm still me.  Seems I forgot to build a house for myself in Yes World, with rooms to hold all the truth about me, such as...

  • The only way I will ever become the "go-with-the-flow" kind of gal who lives in my imagination is if I build the river myself, so that I know all its twists and turns ahead of time, the exact speed of the current, and the GPS coordinates of every rock and pebble.
  • Some days there's a lot more No than Yes.  There's pushing against, resisting, kicking, screaming, wishing things were different or that I just didn't have to deal with them.
  • And the fears, doubt, insecurities?  Check, check, and check.

        So am I failing my word?  Is my word failing me??


        (Just kidding.)

        Believe me, it's felt like that at times.  In a classic example of allowing expectation to be the barometer of progress, I was missing the point, judging myself for all the ways I felt I wasn't living up to my word.  But I had it backwards and upside-down.  I was trying to be the word instead of letting the word be the teacher.  I needed to free Yes from the straitjacket definition I had confined it to so that it could get a word in edgewise...a single word that, tacked onto Yes, makes all the difference.

        Which brings me to Tina Fey's second rule of improv, and my new, improved word (plus one) for 2012.  "Yes, and..."

        Yes is a Polaroid-like snapshot of the right-here-right-now truth.  And in the space after the and and in between the dot dot dots, there's more than enough room for how I feel about that truth, what it stirs up in hopes for how I want the scene to unfold from here, my fears about how it might.  All of it.  On the road from one Yes to the next there may be several variations of no, some dead ends and detours of doubt, and any number of real or imagined obstacles.  But in the same way that my relationship with God is stronger when I return after a period of self-inflicted separation, each Yes brings me to a new level of faith and offers more than enough grace to make up for any stumbling and falling and tripping-over-myself it may have taken to get there.

        The Year of Yes And... is a little more than half full, or almost half empty.  I won't try to guess what it's got up its sleeve next, but I think it's time to unpack my bags. 

        Because Yes World doesn't exist...and I'm already there.

* * * * *

        What about you?  Did you choose a word for 2012?  If so, how's it going?  If not, is there a word that would sum up the year so far, or one you want to commit to for the rest of 2012?  Do tell!

Bad Shocks and a Body In the Trunk

Blessings On The Road