Every morning when I open the medicine cabinet door in my bathroom to get the toothpaste I see a little piece of paper with “remember what yes feels like” written on it. (Only how I read it in my head goes something more like “remember what YES! feels like!!!!!” Insert James Brown soundtrack.)
This is a quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer that I’m pretty sure I heard at about 2 in the morning some night when I had insomnia and was passing the time watching PBS. If you’re not familiar with Wayne Dyer, he’s been known to be a regular on non prime-time local PBS and is a very popular self-help author and motivational speaker. And at 2am this particular morning he certainly motivated me with that line. I immediately got off my sofa, found a post-it and pen, wrote down the quote and stuck it in the one place I’d be guaranteed to see it every day.
What exactly does it mean? What was Dr. Dyer talking about? He was talking about not confusing maybe with yes. He was talking about how when we begin to add conditions and clauses and what-if’s and sort-of’s, when we’re doing more explaining than declaring…we’re not actually saying yes. We’re saying kind of. And while kind of is no NO. It’s also not YES!
But who cares about this level of semantics right? Well, at 2am, it struck me that Dr. Dwyer was very much on to something in this simple statement. What would happen if I were to truly notice what was actually a maybe, or a sort of ,or a sure, that’s good enough for now, and then proceed accordingly? What if I didn’t mistake those as Yes!’s? I realized if I could bring that level of awareness to the myriad of things thrown my way in an often over-scheduled life, I’d have a better shot at clearing away the kind of’s, when possible, and going for YES! And YES! is what I am meant to be, right? Aren’t we all?!
Okay, now how does this relate to your daily practice? On a day in which you very well may be distinctly not feeling YES!, perhaps even feeling this discipline of practice thing pretty much blows. (If you have not yet had such a day, I’ll simply say I feel for you when you do.) Our yoga practice can be one of the most powerful methods for sharpening discernment among the countless nuances that exist between NO! and YES!
When we’re asked by a teacher to unclench our jaw in a pose, we’re being asked to notice additional feedback available to us in navigating how to best proceed. When beloved 8 Limbs Teacher Douglas lets me know that holding a steady Warrior II is no excuse for letting all the blood drain from my toes, he’s reminding me that just because I can put a serene wash over my face doesn’t mean I am in fact calm or serene. When we practice replacing shallow, rapid chest-breathing with slower, deeper breathing, we experience what it’s like to get touch with the sensation of being in alignment. Our yoga practices are fast tracks to moving beyond simply our head (which can also often get clogged up with competing thoughts and monkey mind) towards accurately assessing where we truly, fully are. How we really feel. All those visceral and physical and energetic clues can illuminate how something actually resonates.
So when you next find yourself struggling whether or not to do something, whether or not you want something, whether or not something feels right to you, feeling like your plate is overfull…I encourage you to call upon your practice, and the labors of your 28-day commitment, to help you remember what YES! feels like. (Insert James Brown soundtrack.)
Posted by Ashley Dahl, 8 Limbs Executive Director (pictured at right being hugged by our designer and Communications Manager Samantha Fisher)
Ashley wrote this post as one of the 28 Daily Emails she compiled for this year’s 28-Day Commitment.