I have a friend who’s a stone carver. Her name is Karin Sprague and she creates art with letters and shapes that are meticulously carved into all kinds of stone, from sweeping granite archways to wall hangings and from tables to tombstones. One of her many pieces that I especially admire consists of only one word, “Yes.” That’s it. “Yes.” The simple word Yes, by itself could easily be the focus of inner reflection, worship, a weekend retreat or even a workplace seminar on customer relations. “Am I living in Yes today?” is a question that serves me well to ask of myself more often than not. Are We Living in Yes Today? is a question I raise to explore if you today.
We all know people who just seem to be living in YES. They’re the people we meet that no matter how busy they are or how rushed or impatient we seem to be, they smile, they stop what they’re doing, and with a word or a gesture from them the wall of ‘impossible’ that we brought along starts melting away. I don’t know about you, but nothing stops me faster in my own tracks in a flash of self examination, when I realize that I came loaded to hear nothing but “no” and was greeted with yes instead. Even “let’s try,” or “I’m not sure but will find out,” is a treat for the senses.
Yes, let it be so!
Even the origin of the word yes is interesting. Etymologists tell us that yes came from Old English and is thought to have been a shortened expression of the phrase “let it be so.” And that’s what we get when we meet people who seem to be living in yes. “Let it be so” could be their middle name!
Living in yes and let it be so comes easier for some than for others. It may be human nature to assume that people who live their lives residing in yes can do so because they were just born that way, have life easy or are serenely spiritual and in touch with some cosmic power. But that isn’t so. We have all known people who live life with, or have lived through harrowing times, and yet they seem to radiate an aura about them that everything’s possible. That said, I will admit also, that I know and have known some folks, and thankfully not many, that seem to exude nothing but waves of negative vibes, where even the word yes about anything comes grudgingly, if at all. And I don’t know why. Is it genetics, conditioning, life choice or just a lousy attitude? All I know, and perhaps to a fault, is that I seldom hang around these people for long to find out.
For sure, there are times when saying “no” is also a way of saying yes, to ourselves and in doing or saying what’s right. As in saying “no” to tolerating abuse or no to the first offer to buy your old car, or no to being manipulated. These, I think, are important distinctions to make, otherwise, we end up sounding like “yes-men” and we run the risk of being an easy mark by people who prey on the good nature of others.
How can we raise our ‘score’ of Living In Yes?
Some steps are easier than you might think. We can start with listening, honest-to-goodness-listening to what is being asked or spoken about by the other person, without crafting a reply (or retort?) in our heads before the other person has finished speaking. Ouch! I know that I could do better in this department, too. Sometimes I hit the mark and score an “A,” and other times, well, as the report cards of our youth would say, “The student needs to exert more effort in order to receive a higher grade!”
The Pause of Possibility
The science of linguistics and neurolinguistics have long observed that the longer the reasonable pause is before responding to another’s statement, request or question, the greater the chances for a positive outcome within that verbal exchange. Yes, how many times have we heard a question being asked or a statement being made and the receiving person (sometimes it’s us) is shaking their head no before the person speaking has finished making their statement? See what I mean?
Over the years I have noticed that some of the people I admire most, through their countenance appear measured, calm and accepting of receiving comments from people whom they may even disagree with. These individuals have the practice of smiling and making eye contact with the other person speaking, and then they effortlessly hold a “weighty” pause before responding. How do they do that? It seems so natural. But actually, if we observe carefully, we notice that they listen, they wait and connect with eye contact and body language before saying one word in reply. Maybe it’s just God given grace. But it seems we could also learn and practice the examples of “living in Yes” that these people so naturally exemplify.
Living in Yes is a mindset and daily practice
It’s not just about honing our approach to conversation. It’s about how we start our day, what we strive for and how we envision our day unfolding. This is key. When our mindset and practice is about being open to what is possible and holding a sense of gratitude and openness in our own hearts as our day begins, then receiving the question, “Are We Living In Yes Today?” just blends without effort into the fabric of our lives.
Living In Yes Quotes
Want more “Yes?” Please visit my Living in Yes quotes page here!
Text and image by Kevin Lee
Graphic artwork created exclusively for Rise This Day
by Ma. Shayne Krizel Zalameda