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The Art Of Saying YES (and other revelations)


Self Care moment

Yesterday, my morning alarm was the sound of gentle rain and rolling thunder. Spring had arrived.  I was cozy.  I had a husband to cuddle.  It was DELICIOUS.  My mind wandered to the idea of sticking my feet into the clover patch I pass by every morning, on my way to the studio.  Maybe I’ll treat myself and take out a mug of coffee, wiggle my feet in the clover and enjoy the crow family that moved into our yard a few months back.  

Then I started thinking about work. About all the things I need to get done. How I'll earn that break after I get x,y and z done. Aaaaaaaaand, my little magic moment dissolved.  So I got myself ready for the workday. As I was getting my things gathered up to head out to the studio. I thought, again, of the clover patch which reminded me of a story...

*   *.  *

During a good chunk of my twenties, I was the morning bread baker for this quirky restaurant and old fashioned soda fountain called The Grateful Bean. It wasn’t too far from my house so I’d walk to work every morning at sunrise, through a beautiful neighborhood of old mansions that flanked the downtown concrete sprawl. My work station was in front of a big picture window that overlooked a busy intersection that funneled into downtown. I loved peeking into these little private moments, when the light was red. I’d watch people putting on makeup. Checking their hair.  Talking on their mobile phone.  Zoning out at their reflection in the rearview mirror.  Every once in a while, someone caught me peeking and would give me a wave and, more often than not, these daily greetings became part of their morning routine.  A school bus driver heading to his first stop. A couple of street walkers. A handful of commuters. The occasional friend. I loved it.  

Most of the time, I worked alone. The kitchen crew would arrive as I was putting the finished bread buns in the proofing box but, every once in a while, my boss would come in early to make ice cream for the soda fountain. I liked having Pete’s company. We’d chat back and forth here and there but, mostly, he’s tending to his task and I’m tending to mine, while keeping an eye out for my morning wavers in front of the picture window. 

On one particular morning, as I’m putting the bread in the proofing boxes, he comes to my station with a small ramekin filled with a swirl of ice cream, fresh out of the ice cream maker.  But it’s 7:45 in the morning. So I blurt out “I can’t eat ice cream for breakfast!”.  

What he said to me, in response, changed my life.  

He said “SAYS WHO?”.  

There's something you need to know about Pete. He's an incredibly disciplined man.  The type of man I wouldn’t think indulges in ice cream for breakfast. He's a marathon runner.  A lawyer. A business owner. I was waiting for him to compare the nutritional value of ice cream and cereal or craft some other convincing argument that appealed to my logic.  But he remained silent, holding out the ice cream.

So I ate it, like a little kid who just got a forbidden treat. It was DELICIOUS but, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong. As I walked back home, I wondered:

Why CAN’T I eat ice cream for breakfast?

I’m a grown ass woman.

I didn’t define this rule for myself. 

I’m not breaking a law.


So, I spent the next few weeks paying attention to the rules I was placing on myself, and I was APPALLED. 

SO MANY RULES. Rules that applied when I was a child. Rules that I was using out of context. Rules that were not making my life any better.  Rules that I was the only one enforcing. Most were stupid rules, like “You can’t eat ice cream for breakfast”.  

Over YEARS of diligent questioning, and deep journaling, my sassy 'inner guide’ gifted me with a beautiful response as I grappled with saying yes to something that my logical mind saw no value in:

"Look, I’m not telling you to go out and give heroin a try or jump off a cliff because you love the feel of falling or eat junk food for every meal.  I’m asking you to shuck off the definition of ‘value’ you’ve draped over the things you’ve decided aren’t worthy of your enjoyment. Like you did with having ice cream for breakfast. It’s okay to offer yourself some ‘junk’ from time to time, if you would authentically delight in the experience.  Honoring yourself has nothing to do with the practices you employ to make your body clean and clear if your motivation is not honoring the authentic desire of your being. Regiments and strict routines rarely do. It’s closer to control and there is nothing honoring about that. Your spirit came here to experience the fullness of life, so enjoy it. So spend a day doing NOTHING, if there is nothing you need to do. Stare at yourself in the mirror and think you are a beautiful Goddess. Be as proud of yourself as you are for your child’s growth and accomplishments. Take your shirt off in the back yard and feel the sun on your bare skin.  Squish your feet in the mud.  Eat the cake.  START SAYING YES TO YOURSELF."

So I said yes to playing hooky yesterday morning.  I sat in the wet clover patch, drinking a delicious cup of coffee in a lovely-to-hold mug and cawed back and forth with the baby crow. I let the butt of my jeans get soaked.  I let my feet get muddy. I even hugged a few trees. I let myself enjoy this moment without feeling one ounce of guilt.  And ya know what? Nothing fell apart. No one was put out by me saying YES to myself. Everything that needed to get done, got done. And, best of all:  IT WAS A VERY GOOD DAY. 

SO…what are you going to say YES to today?






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