How many times do you tell yourself or someone else “maybe,” for it to eventually be forgotten or rejected? I made a lifetime out of maybes.
Maybe I’ll be a yoga teacher. Maybe I’ll find the courage to write. Maybe I’ll travel more. Maybe I’ll tell Mr. Hottie McHot Pants I think we should get to know each other a little better. Maybe I’ll ask that really interesting person if she wants to get coffee, aka be my friend. Nah, so much effort, many more reasons not to, never mind...
Of course this isn’t all of us. If I thought everyone fell into the same box, I certainly wouldn’t have felt so alone for so many years. It's those of you who already inhabit an inner Yes that helped me locate my guts and use them.
We’re all in different stages of progress, of our own personal evolution, and when we resonate with each other, it keeps us moving forward. Let’s all start saying Yes more and Maybe less.
Nearly everything worth pursuing and experiencing in this beautifully weird life involves risk. We open ourselves to ridicule, personal and professional rejection, loss of time, money, energy or reputation, and an injured heart, body or ego. To that I say, who cares?
Most of our hesitance revolves around hypothetical outcomes constructed by our minds, based upon potential negative consequences to saying Yes, often regarding how we’ll be judged or perceived. I can wholeheartedly relate to this self-inflicted prison we hold ourselves in, but I can also honestly report that the criticism I received, the embarrassment I experienced, was all due to how harshly I was choosing to judge myself.
We cannot predict what others are thinking, even if we try to cleverly interpret their facial expressions or body language. We simply cannot. This goes back to a principle I’ve been reiterating to myself over and over since re-reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. The third agreement is Don’t Make Assumptions. This goes for human beings and the universe in general.
To make sense of it, think of how many negative experiences and emotions you’ve had just based on assuming the thoughts or potential reaction of another. So, instead of waiting on a definitive Yes from outside of yourself, rather than waiting for every circumstance and human being to line up precisely how you need, simply give yourself permission and say Yes to your life.
As I became more courageous, scarier and more exciting opportunities started coming my way. Questioning my worth and readiness is what led me to say maybe or no when what I really wanted was to scream, YES! Hell yes!
When I was asked to go to Haiti as a volunteer for Partners in Health, nerves began to set it. I love teaching restorative yoga, communicating with students and friends outside of classes to provide practices and support for big and small issues, but do I have what it takes to bring the healing practices of yoga to cancer patients and staff in under-served areas?
I certainly hope so. That doubt is poison, it would keep me from a tremendous growth opportunity, let alone a chance to help those genuinely in need. I heard my naysayer listing reasons why I wasn’t ready, but there is something much smarter, kinder and more confident in me that knows I have something to give. We all do.
Don't talk yourself out of what you want to do, say or be out of fear. Use that fear as fuel to keep pursuing your passions. That fear lets you know you're on the brink of living an ecstatic life. No need to avoid it, simply move through it.
Say Yes to what you love.
Beyond the positive sensation of being a genuinely kind person, to yourself and others, is the karmic reality of reaping what you sow. It is imperative that we show up for our lives, put energy and excitement into it, and retain optimism for our potential. We can't keep expecting life to excite us, to give us opportunities. We've got to start by creating our own, in small decisions and big vision.
Come on, humans, we were born to live an enthusiastic life until we reach the inevitable unknown and move on to a place we all go someday.
Get excited, you're alive!