We've all heard the oft repeated phrase, "Just say no". It's been used to respond to drugs, food, or even other people-a way of making boundaries. But there's a real invitation in the opposite phrase... just say yes. In our election of Barack Obama we said "yes" to hope. We said yes to something new, something hopeful, something larger: a possibility. "Yes, we can" has mobilized us towards the possibility of being a better country, better people.
Can we still say "yes" when all that hope and promise has not flourished as we wished? Can we say "Yes" in the face of an environmental disaster that continues week after week? And to what do we say yes? Not to complacency. Nor passivity. Nor rage or violence, Saying "Yes" to blame is easy, but doesn't help. "Yes" to responsibility does. "Yes" to change does. "Yes" to learning hard lessons does.
Saying yes is a gift we need to accept. Held back by fear or comfort, blame or hopelessness, we say no. Unsure of ourselves, we turn away. Lacking confidence, we stay put. But just saying yes, to some of the many invitations that we are presented with every day, allows the unfolding of possibility: that possibility of being better, more of who we truly are. Saying yes to the call of Self is our single most important piece of work. And in saying "Yes" we will be part of the solution... to whatever problems we are faced with, individually and globally,
In the busy pace of life, it is hard to even hear these invitations, let alone take time to respond. And the invitation comes frequently. Not in a stamped envelope, but in the passing awareness of a Call, the still small voice, the synchronicity, the sudden open door. It may be the tweak of conscience or the sudden sight of a bird. It may be a terrifying image of oil spilling into our waters. The invitation may come in technicolor: Do this now! More likely it comes quietly, without demand, without consequences, without a promise of reward or a threat of punishment. The invitation comes because it is from our Self to our self. There is no one to judge us for responding or not. But somewhere in us, we know, when we hear the invitation that we want to say yes. We want to, from deep inside us.
Did I write that letter that I wanted to, to a friend in need? Have I slowed down to smell the roses... Have I remembered to tell my husband, my kids, my parents that I love them? Did I take time to pat the dog? How have I responded to the oil spill? Is there something for me to do? Is it an outer action? an inner one? A letter? A call? A prayer? A petition?
Have I laughed? Have I cried? When was the last time I read a poem? Have I gone outside and savored the earth?
The invitations are small ones. We aren't likely asked to save the world. But we are asked, every day, to be true to ourselves. This is the invitation to which we just say yes.