The Power of “Yes”

Ever notice a new pattern in your life, and wonder when and how things shifted?

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I recently noted that interesting things were happening to me, with some regularity. For example, I was asked to be an extra in a TV commercial. (Yes – random, unexpected, fun.) The morning of the shoot (look at me already using the lingo), I had a fleeting thought that I might meet another kidlit author that day. And I did. The actor in front of me in the “bank line” that I stood in for several hours told me all about his middle grade novel and his popular anti-bullying school visits.

Then, as I was reflecting on how fun it was to see the behind-the-scenes making of a commercial, I was asked to do an (unrelated) televised interview highlighting a local service I’d used and been happy with. Yes, I’m ready for my close up, I thought.

Before that, as I was sending my littlest off to school and contemplating next steps, I was asked to teach a few courses at the local university (UCONN). It was the clear-out-the-cobwebs/rejoin-the-adult-world kick in the pants I had needed.

I’ve also been asked to test and rate products, and have gotten paid to 1) eat crackers, 2) give my opinion on Lego toys, and 3) choose a decking material.

Oh, and I win things all the time. Annoying, I know. It’s always little things like books and baked goods. But still.

Things just keep…coming at me. Is this some kind of cosmic force I’m pulling to myself a la “The Secret”? (I never did read that book, but I know it talks about the ‘law of attraction.’)

No. I don’t think that’s it. It’s much more basic than that.

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I think it’s this: I simply started saying “YES.”

Yes, I will try this new random thing that scares me. Yes, I’d like to go somewhere new, and meet interesting people. Yes, I’d love to get out of my comfort zone for a bit…um, I think….yup, okay, I’ll do it. Yes, I’ll enter that contest. By saying yes, maybe I am sending the universe the message that I’m open to new ideas. I just hope it keeps answering. Because I’m having a LOT of fun.

What else, though, can we challenge ourselves to say yes to? It could be something small but significant, like: Yes, I will listen with an open mind to the varied opinions around my Thanksgiving table.

Last weekend I had to start with Yes, I will watch the news reports that are hard to digest, so I can know who needs our help the most. And how about yes, I am willing to learn about other religions and cultures, and open my heart and mind to their struggles? As I write this, people in Connecticut are arguing about our Governor’s decision to continue to welcome refugees from Syria. Really? If the tables were turned, and your family was casting about for a country to safely call home, wouldn’t you want to be given the benefit of a yes, you are welcome here? Honestly, if you are sitting on something comfortable as you read these words, you have so much more than millions of other humans on Earth. How simple your yes/no decisions would seem to them.

So many “No’s” come from fear, ignorance, and harmful generalizations: I’ll never succeed, why try? All Muslims are violent. People who don’t look like me don’t have the same emotions I do. One person can’t make a difference.

Let go the NO. What will you say YES to today? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? I’d love to hear where your positive attitude takes you.

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If you’re interested, here is my small screen debut. I’m available for autographs, or to stand in line for you at the bank.

 

 

Retreat! Retreat!

 The Writing Retreat

A tricky plot, I’ve lost my thought

I need to clear my head

My characters stink and I can’t think

My muse needs watered and fed

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So I’m off, down the road, take a right at the lane

To a fireside ‘cross the bay

Gonna clear my noggin, and quick my sloggin’

Gonna breath, and write all day

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Good friends, good food, and a bottle or four

Close the door, shut it tight, lock and latch it

The first draft needs words, and a problem to solve

The revision just might need a hatchet.

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I’ll wrangle and tangle my story until

A thin ray of hope starts to rise

And that night I’ll drink deep from the well of content

My eyes will be back on the prize

*****

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Far from a cry of defeat, the word retreat actually can mean a purposeful movement towards sanity.

Making a conscious effort to give your goals a solid chunk of attention is a very powerful way to tell yourself, and others, what is important to you right now.

For the next four days, I’m off to the Fireside Retreat – a writing getaway of my own design. I’ll be surrounded by peace and quiet and the occasional laugh from the talented friends who are joining me. We’ll also be meeting with Newbery Award winning author Cynthia Voigt who has graciously offered to share her time and insights with us. And all of this is because I had an idea, and asked for some favors and some help.

Maybe it’s time for you to plan a girl’s or guy’s weekend so you can focus on treasured friendships. Or, perhaps you crave a prefab or self-designed retreat for writers, crafters,  fitness junkies, spiritual seekers, or whatever is your current passion.

Make the time, make the arrangements, make you a priority! Retreat!