Yes! and No

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by Cynthia Hazen

We had a gathering recently and someone asked questions about what we are seeing as we interview people who are viewed or view themselves as thriving the majority of the time.  There are certainly many characteristics thrivers have in common and yet thriving is also a unique journey for the thriver.  Like personal penmanship each person we interview has his or her own signature for the path of thriving they are on.  An example of that is a woman we are coming to know who is enjoying an active and enthusiastic life and her long career in real estate.  She is successful and busy and now in her 80s.

This is a woman who says yes to life.  She says yes to invitations and yes to work opportunities and yes to travel opportunities.  She is at the harvesting period of life now.  We see she and her husband out on the town several times a week as we are attending concerts or parties or dining out and hear of her most recent travels.

As E. E. Cummings  poetically put it long ago “yes is a world and in the world of yes lies skillfully curled all worlds.”

I will say that after encountering the journey of countless women this saying yes is joyful only after having mastered “no.”  Yes must be freely chosen and deliberate to be enjoyed.  That said, countless requests are made of us that have an implied or overt should and mastering personal choice on socialized obligations is a prerequisite for enthusiastically saying yes.  Even with regard to things we want, e.g. “Would you like more cake?”, satisfying desire entails knowing when we don’t.  Without saying no to some requests and invitations there can be no room for saying yes.  Once no is mastered saying yes to life is a key to the kingdom of joyful harvest.

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