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My Manif-YES-to

Yes to breathing.

Yes to running. Yes to the knowledge I am becoming stronger with every step.

Yes to knowing when it’s time to walk away, and when it’s time to run.

Yes to wishing my siblings lived closer.

sisters 2013
Yes to crying because my fiancee’s new job keeps him away far longer than I’d like.

Yes to smiling because he will be with me soon.

Yes to being goofy with friends.

Yes to laughing with my son, and yes to knowing he will cry in earnest someday.

Yes to marriage. Yes to love.

night flag

Yes to anger, to frustration, to feeling unheard.

Yes to knowing that occasionally feeling unheard doesn’t mean I am unheard.

Yes to this body, which allows me to be part of this world.

Yes to the feel of tiny hands in mine.

tiny hands

Yes to the stubbed toe that reminds me I am still here to stub my toe.

Yes to healing kisses on banged-up limbs, yes to hugs and snuggles, yes to the manic shouts of a boy so tired he might well think his name is Sue.

Yes to the man in Army gear stomping his feet and clapping his hands, moved by the spirit at late evening services in a mall strip church I ran by tonight.

Yes to car troubles, and to accepting they will inevitably lead to a depleted bank account.

Yes to the fact that even creepy-to-me creatures create magnificent things.

spider web

Yes to coughing.

Yes to aching.

Yes to yearning.

Yes to staring at the sky and missing my mom. Yes to seeing her in my son.

mom n d light


Something about the bold caps lockiness of Just One Thing‘s twelfth chapter title made me want to sing yes, yes, yes.

“Damn right I will,” I murmured in response, as if the book could actually hear me. “I don’t know what I’m saying yes to, yet, but yes.”

I love Just One Thing. I’m reading it for the third time in one year right now. Each of its 52 short chapters gives me not only something to think about–’cause, man, I’d have a personal jet if I got paid for my chronic overthinking–but something constructive and positive to do toward a better life. There’s not one chapter I don’t love, but no chapter I love more than this one.

In a few hundred words, the author describes how saying “yes” feels better and opens the heart more than saying “no.” He suggests saying yes not only to the good and easy things in life, but also to the hard and heartbreaking ones:

yes it’s raining at my picnic, yes people are poor and hungry across the planet, yes my career has stalled, yes i miscarried

It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? It sounds counterintuitive, as if saying “yes” to a thing is approving it. But as I read the chapter some months ago, mired in sadness about circumstances that felt beyond my control, I felt a surge of–acceptance? Peace? Just seeing the word “yes” so many times in a few pages made anything seem possible. The feeling was grand.

Yes, yes, yes. Doesn’t it feel great reading that? It’s much better than reading no, no, no.

Don’t believe me? Read each word aloud, once, and then a few times in sequence. See how different that feels?

While I read this chapter the first time, I felt “yes.” It didn’t stick with me long after I walked away, though I tried to practice it throughout the day. A few months after first reading it, I’d find myself resisting something I couldn’t change before stopping and asking, “What if I said ‘yes’?” Peace came from trying, from saying yes, and–freed from resistance–moving on.

This doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to everything everyone asks of you; that’s another way of saying “no” to your own needs. It means opening your heart to all of life, and finding joy in how many yeses there are even in moments of strife or sorrow.

I say yes to this chapter. Yes to this book. Yes to being able to huddle up barefoot in my running clothes and write this on my computer while my son sleeps.

Yes to you. Yes to me. Yes to hope.

Yes, yes, yes.


reaching tree

To what’s it easy for you to say “yes” right now?
To what are you working on saying say “yes”?

  1. May 26, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I can accept and say yes to many things. The yes I have most troubles with, which is so very wrong, is saying yes to myself. I expect more, hell I demand more of myself. And beat myself up for my perceived failures. I know it is wrong, and still I do it.
    Acceptance and living in the now are important to me. And I am even getter better at it – except when it comes to me.
    Work in progress.

    • June 1, 2013 at 6:30 am

      The yes I have most troubles with, which is so very wrong, is saying yes to myself. I expect more, hell I demand more of myself. And beat myself up for my perceived failures. I know it is wrong, and still I do it.

      I so understand this. I’m glad that you’re paying active mind to change it, because from the outside it so clear to me that you deserve great kindnesses–from without, and certainly, absolutely, from within.

      I know I mention Just One Thing in the post, but I’d recommend it for its other chapters, too. A couple deal not only with the abstract importance of self compassion but with how to actively build it. The book is short and spare with its words, but oh! Its impact is great!

  2. May 27, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Yes, YES, YES! I love this. Yes to new insights, yes to your blog and reflections, yes to living lilfe with all its hurts, heartbreaks, and honesty as well as love, luxuries and laughter. Thanks for sharing!

  3. May 27, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Yes, I love you for being here this morning when I needed to read and be uplifted.
    Yes, I am directionally challenged and maybe that is what I need to be right now in life.
    Yes, Yes, Yes

    You have reminded me it is necessary not to overthink, not to over analyze. As you always do you have reminded me to ground myself in the here and now.

    I love you.

    • June 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

      The day after I wrote this, I was mulling something over when Anthony told me to stop overthinking. In light of what I’d just posted, I couldn’t help but laugh. I feel most content and most full of love when I step out of my “mental movies” (I believe that’s how JOT’s author describes them) and place myself firmly, wholly in now. It’s in being here this moment that I can feel the stress and sadness ease out of me.

      I love you, and I love that I’m going to have a little time to catch up on your blog this morning. ♥

  4. May 27, 2013 at 4:54 am

    My husband found six abandoned puppies and asked if I would come get them. I said yes.

    He wanted to drive three hours (both ways) on a wing and a prayer to trade one car for another car that he and he alone wanted, and asked if I would drive ahead of him and navigate because he would otherwise get lost. I said yes. (Yesterday was a long, long day.)

    What I’m working on is not me saying yes–because I do try to say it and to live in a more positive light these days–but my husband. He carries such a defensive block around him that it’s hard for him to be positive–to say ‘yes’ and not add a quantifying ‘but’ to it. Sometimes, even ‘thank you’ is hard when someone does something nice for him.

    I got my ‘thank you’ last night. There is hope for him yet.

    • June 2, 2013 at 4:52 am

      I am glad he has you, and that more and more, he uses those words to show it.

      to say ‘yes’ and not add a quantifying ‘but’ to it.
      Oh, how I hear this! I qualified that word every time it was spoken for much of my life. I’m happy to now be able to just say it as it is.

    • Linda
      June 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Be very careful…..bless you for having an open heart……however, you cannot be emotionally healthy for both of you…..read Regina Cates Setting Boundaries….”Romancing Your Soul ” website…..I have found it invaluable……

  5. May 27, 2013 at 5:13 am

    This was such a good read! Yes it was and Yes, we should say yes more (especially to ourselves). Thanks for another great reminder!!!

  6. May 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Love this and will have to look into that book. Thanks!!

    • June 2, 2013 at 4:54 am

      I hope you’ve nabbed yourself a copy. The good from that book is hard to fathom in light of how small and unassuming it looks, but oh! It’s real.

  7. May 27, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I like the idea of saying “yes”, even to the bad things. Say “yes” and move on. I’ve always had problems with people who will look at something bad and say “No, this can’t be happening”.
    You know what? Stuff happens. The sooner you realise that, the sooner you can move on.
    And today being what it is, I’ll add three more to your list of things:
    “Say ‘Yes’ to taking a moment today, to reflect on those who gave their lives for our freedoms.”
    “Say ‘Yes’ to remembering those brave soldiers of yesterday and today.”
    And most important of all: “Say ‘Yes’ to a world where no parent ever needs to bury their child due to war.”

    • June 2, 2013 at 4:58 am

      My childhood was made so much harder by people who said, “No, this can’t be happening,” and worked hard to ensure they saw only the facts to support their desired conclusion. There was a lesson in that for me to see what really was, and try to work with that, rather than waste life confusing wishful thinking for truth.

      I love how Gavin de Becker (from my Gift of Fear post) addresses it: you can’t prepare yourself to avoid, deflect or minimize something you can’t acknowledge. The studied ignorance becomes, quite literally, a part of the problem. Reading through the terrible anecdotes of real-life stories he’s encountered, which he uses to instruct avoiding them in the future, I am all the more adamant that I must see what really is and work with it.

      I second all of your yeses.

  8. May 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Yes to walking through the woods. Yes to a day with my son. Yes to unplugging for a few hours. Yes to beauty. Yes to singing in the car.

    Harder? Yes to feeling left out. Yes to being uninvited. Yes to revision. Again.

    Another great post.

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:01 am

      Gosh, I wish I’d replied to this comment right after reading it. I remember there was something very specific I wanted to say . . . but cannot, of course, remember what that was. Ugh. Instead I’ll say, I hope there are many pleasant yeses in your Sunday.

  9. May 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Yes…. I will be reading this book! Thanks for another great post, Deborah!

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:01 am

      Thanks, Carol! I hope you do read the book. I’m just about to read the “how” part of my daily chapter. 🙂

  10. May 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    i absolutely love this!! It does make a difference, the words we choose to say, and the connotations we associate with them. Well done.

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thank you! It really does make all the difference, though I’d have scoffed at the idea a few years back. Here is to growth! 😉

      • June 2, 2013 at 5:11 am

        yes, i scoffed at “breathing” doing any good….until i started yoga (and it changed my life). live and learn!

        • June 2, 2013 at 5:13 am

          Ooh! I started doing yoga a week and a half ago! I was dubious to start with, but man. I am already seeing so many positive differences. And I’m remembering to stop holding my breath, especially when focused!

          • June 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

            yea, if you find the right instructor, it is AMAZING!! for body and soul.

  11. Donnell Jeansonne
    May 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Yes, life is difficult at times. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, our attitudes toward our challenges effect our outcomes. Yes, we will die. Yes, life is worth living. Yes, it is all right.

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:03 am

      It is worth living, and it is all right. I believe these things, but somehow, feel them more strongly as I read your no-holds-barred breakdown. Thank you.

      • Donnell Jeansonne
        June 10, 2013 at 12:53 am

        You know I’m always here to lay it down. Haha JK Sometimes life’s not funny but we have to laugh anyway.

  12. Sheri Burns
    May 28, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Love this, Deb<3 And, as my creaky, overtired bones crawled out of bed, I was overjoyed to see you, THIS, in my mailbox. I NEEDED this today. Coffee cup *clinks* to you~to yours, and to me and mine.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:03 am

      SHERI! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see your name here! I hope the days since have been kind to you. ♥

  13. May 28, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Yes, indeed. Thanks for the timely reminder, Deb. I needed it.

  14. May 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Love to you, Deb. ❤

  15. May 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Yes, I love and support my wife.
    And you, Deb.

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:05 am

      Just a handful of words, but ones to make me sniffle. I am so blessed to know you.

      • June 2, 2013 at 5:11 am

        It works both ways, Deborah.
        Thank you.

  16. May 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Awesome. I think it is easy to forget this simple thing. But it IS affirming and it is far more positive than saying no. No is…well, it’s negative. Why is it we forget that so easily?

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:07 am

      That’s something the author of Just One Thing addresses throughout his book! Basically, a single case of overtrusting our surroundings could quickly get us eaten by, say, a lion, whereas having that mistrust (that internal “no”) made us more likely to not getting eaten by a lion. Now, with few lions around to make meals of us, it’s a good time to start living with a little more mind to “yes” (as well as using our skills to overcome the lions in our lives).

  17. May 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Yes! =)

  18. June 22, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Your words have a healing quality like no other. I feel at peace having read your eloquent and powerful thoughts this morning. Now I am off to say YES to my toothless beauty who wants to play Barbies with her mama. Thank you for being you.

    • December 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      I’m revisiting this post after getting a new comment. What a wonderful reminder right now, to read the post and comments!

      I do so love the feeling of “yes,” even to the things that aren’t as easy to say yes to. But especially to things like playing with the little ones. 🙂

  19. November 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    First time visiting, and what a joy of a post! Arlene sent me here, because she thought these words and thoughts were inspiring and worth sharing.

    I say YES to my family, helping animals and children, and writing. Thanks for reminding me to say YES a little more often.

    • December 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you for your words and your yeses! Both have brightened my day, as they did when I first read them.

      Maybe that’s the good in taking forever to reply to comments: getting to experience them anew! 😀

  20. December 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    YES! Yes to life. Yes to the hurt, beauty, pain and joy. Yes to the perfectly imperfect journey that is the human experience. :). Brilliantly inspiring post. Just say yes!

    Thanks for this reminder today. 🙂

    Good thoughts,

    • December 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Many thanks for reminding me of this post during a period where it’s hard to stay afloat! I’m grateful for the opportunity to revisit all of this, and think about ways to get back into the swinging of saying “yes.” Best wishes.

      • December 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        Glad to help! I love getting comments on old posts on my blog too. It often reminds me of something just lovely. :). I hope you find a good, sturdy raft to stay afloat with and that things become more steady in your world again soon.

  21. March 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    And “yes” to a heart’s acceptance, especially when the mind is crying out “no”!

    • March 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Hear, hear, especially in light of my current train of thoughts! Everything feels much easier when greeted with a “yes” than a prolonged “nooooooo” of resistance. Easier to change what can be changed, too. 🙂

  1. May 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm
  2. July 13, 2014 at 5:26 am
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  4. April 7, 2015 at 4:52 am
  5. May 1, 2015 at 2:05 am
  6. May 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm
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