Saying “Yes” to Life
“Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.” David Whyte.
Saying “yes” to Life means saying “yes” to reality as it is, to myself as I am, to others as they are.
Life is the creative force of everything that is, dynamic, constantly changing, requiring from us adaptability and agreement. Life is unceremonious, turns up unannounced, knocks on our door dressed with her sumptuous robes of joys and sorrows, disturbing our plans, our dreams and our idea of that what should be.
How can we agree to our illness? How can we agree to the death of a child? How can we agree to war? Recognizing that there is no other way, surrendering to the mystery of life. Making ourselves small and humble, even if we don’t understand. Sometimes life will force us to literally prostrate ourselves until we can give ourselves up to something bigger.
Problems in life often arise from our rejection to reality. When we suffer, we are opposing something, an experience, an illness, someone’s behavior. We suffer because we would like something or someone to be different.
Still, pain is just pain that needs to be felt and integrated. Everything we do to avoid pain is much more than pain, is suffering, and makes us shrink instead of expanding.
If saying ‘no” means suffering, saying “yes” means happiness.
In the conversation between me and reality, I have the choice to say “yes” (and act, if I can change it, or surrender, if I can’t) or to say “no” and continue to suffer.
Saying “yes” to life is by no means an easy path, it takes years of practicing our little and big bowings to that Greater Force. And there will be no shortage of opportunities to practice: as soon as we will reconcile ourselves with something difficult, life will bring us the next challenge for us to grow. We grow when we integrate what is hard for us. It is part of our life purpose. So there is no need to be in a hurry to heal, we may as well enjoy the ride.
And this “yes” starts with me. Taking my place as the child of my parents, my parents as a unity, as the unique combination that could have possibly created my life. My parents are the representatives of Life, they are in service of Life. To honor our parents as they are is to honor Life as it is. When I am in accord with my parents, I am connected to the very current of life. I take my place in the larger chain of existence that continues to flow forward. In the natural exchange between giving and taking, my parents give me life, I take that life fully, and give my parents back my gratitude and the commitment to honor their gift giving it forward.
Then there is loving myself as I am, with all my shadows and lights, stopping fighting against the parts of me that I label as difficult, annoying or inappropriate. Holding space for my sorrow, guilt, shame, anger, despair, jealousy, envy. Finding a “yes” to my weaknesses and to everything that makes who I am today. “We can only love what is imperfect”, says Bert Hellinger. Let’s embrace our imperfections and shortcomings with more grace, finding the “yes” to them. And if we can’t find a“yes”, finding a “yes” to our “no”.
And I extend this “yes” to others as they are. Loving the difficult ones in my life as they are. I can decide to have the freedom to respect them all. When I can acknowledge my own wrongdoings, my agression and violent energy, it is easier to say to the other: “I am similar to you”. Every time there is a conflict with someone in our life, we can do this little exercise, very consciously, allowing the words to reverberate in our body: Standing up, I imagine the other person one meter in front of me. I notice in my body how it is to stand in front of that person. Then I step on the other’s position and feel how it is to be in that place. I come back to my position and say to that person “I am similar to you”. I go back to check the other person’s place and notice if anything has changed. I come back to my place, feel the difference and say “Thank you for being exactly as you are.” I do a final check to feel the other person’s experience and I come back to my own position. This simple constellation can open our heart and bring a profound change to us and others.
Life is an invitation to practice love. We can start close in, taking the first step, where transformation always starts.