I’m not sure if this is a truism, but it seems the older many people get, the more closed and self-protective they become. I get it. I really do. Life has a way knocking the impetuosity out of a soul. You get the wind slugged out of you a few times and more fool you if you step into the storm again without so much as a raincoat or umbrella.
So how to reconcile that natural tendency with the very essence of creativity, the stepping out onto the ledge with one foot in mid air because, let’s face it, we have to put it there?
The business of living life and surviving challenges often forces us to curl in like a morning glory at the sun’s zenith. And yet, we writers are collectors of experiences. If we don’t have them, we can’t then process them through our particular sieves into whatever mush we are compelled to produce.
For those of you who have been walking my journey with me through the prickly landscape of the dissolution of my marriage, it will come as no surprise that I’m realizing now how many times I’ve said, “no,” without intending to during the last 18 years. Being first part of a couple and then a parent, I found myself putting on the protective layers of those identities to the detriment of allowing myself to be open to the unexpected. As with much of my current realizations, there is no blame in this – no regret or finger pointing – just a curious fascination with the process and the results.
And in this case, I’ve noticed the nos in my life and have decided to intentionally shift the balance back to a more interesting center.
In short, I’ve begun saying yes again.
When I re-read the above statement, a stereotypic image comes to mind: A woman standing on a large boulder in the middle of a gorgeous lake, a gentle breeze blowing her long auburn hair and gossamer blue and white gown. Ah, there she is, a symbol of freedom with her arms outstretched – embracing all that life has to offer . . . .
Nah. That’s not quite what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about little yeses . . . yeslets — the allowing oneself to let go of the no in small ways — to invite tiny but welcome experiences in like going to the Draft Horse Pull at the New Mexico State Fair with a group of friends. It’s something I’ve never done before and might not have done if I hadn’t decided to say “yes” more. Another yes: hanging out with a friend with no purpose other than to hang out and talk. Another yes? Going to the Albuquerque Youth Symphony concert on Sunday just because I wanted to experience — and support — young people who through hard work can make something truly beautiful.
With each of these small yeses, my creativity grows in energy and dimension.
Simply put, I didn’t know it would happen, but I’m enjoying my writing, my forays into visual art, and my life more because I’ve let yes back into my life.
Today let’s talk about yeses.
When was the last time you said yes to something you wouldn’t have before?
What was it to?
What was the result of that yes on your life/perspective/creativity?