Yes

I think one definition of a good friend is that they can tell you what to do and you don’t mind.

Or, maybe you mind a little, but you realize that what they are telling you to do makes a lot of sense and you do it anyway. I’m lucky because I have at least one friend who can do that— and does, on a regular basis.

I met my friend Lanni when I was less sure of myself than I had ever been in my life, which may be why she felt comfortable telling me what to do. Or maybe she’s just bossier than me. Whatever the case, Lanni feels quite free to tell me what to do and, surprisingly, I cannot remember ever resenting her instructions. Lately, Lanni tells me that I should say, “yes.”

The nice thing about Lanni is that she does not couch her instructions in a lot of caveats or qualifiers. She doesn’t say “within reason,” or “if it seems appropriate,” or “in your heart.” No. She means when given a choice of saying “yes” or “no,” I should just say “yes.”

Like all of Lanni’s advice, this is exactly what I needed. Getting over a romance, feeling sorry for myself, falling into the all-too-easy trough of self-pity, something as simple as saying, “yes” can make a tremendous difference. It’s sort of like the movie “Super Size Me,” except instead of saying “yes” to massive amounts of saturated fat, I am saying “yes” to all sorts of peculiar adventures.

Would I like to attend a film festival? Yes, definitely. I had never been to a film festival. I didn’t feel alone sitting in a dark theater watching short movies and documentaries. The last film I saw was about healers from all over the world and the filmmaker was there. Her message was so powerful that I felt a huge “yes” well up within me as she spoke.

Buying my books for class, I heard music on campus. Should I investigate? Yes, of course I should. A crowd was filing into the auditorium.

“Would you like a ticket?” a strange woman asks me. She has an extra she is giving away.

I have no idea what is playing— a Broadway show, as it turns out. Today is the final performance. “Yes.”

I sat with this woman and her family. It was terrific. I was still carrying my school books as I spent the afternoon watching the sold-out show.

“Would you like your picture taken?”

“Yes.”

“Would you like to come to church with my daughter and me?”

“Yes.”

“Would you like to buy a two-week unlimited yoga pass?”

“Yes.”

“Would you like some Mongolian food?”

“Absolutely.”

Knowing that my answer to whatever may come up will be affirmative— in advance— makes life much more of an adventure. Saying “yes” adds suspense to an otherwise dull day. As my calendar fills up, I realize that I no longer feel the helpless sense of self-pity that I had. Paradoxically, opening myself up to “yes” without thought or consideration has empowered me and made me feel more rather than less in command of my life.

Right now I need to hurry up and finish my homework. I will be visiting an aquarium and listening to a nineteen-year-old speaker from Louisiana and… well, I don’t know what else. I won’t know until someone asks me and I say, “yes!”

Till next time,
—Carrie

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