Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Cultivating Affirmation

--by Patricia Ryan Madson (Dec 18, 2006)

This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else's dream. Say "yes"; "right"; "sure"; "I will"; "okay"; "of course"; "YES!" Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure.


It is undoubtedly an exaggeration to suggest that we can say yes to everything that comes up, but we can all say yes to more than we normally do. Once you become aware that you can, you will see how often we use the technique of blocking in personal relationships simply out of habit. Turning this around can bring positive and unexpected results.

Saying yes (and following through with support) prevents you from committing a cardinal sin -- blocking. Blocking comes in many forms; it is a way of trying to control the situation instead of accepting it. We block when we say no, when we have a better idea, when we change the subject, when we correct the speaker, when we fail to listen, or when we simply ignore the situation. The critic in us wakes up and runs the show. Saying no is the most common way we attempt to control the future. For many of us the habit is so ingrained that we don't notice we are doing it. We are not only experienced at blocking others, we commonly block ourselves. "I'm not good at brush painting, so why bother? Whatever made me think I could do art?" "I'll never be the cook that Mom was, so I might as well order take-out." Blocking is often cleverly disguised as the critical or academic perspective. Finding fault is its hallmark. A sophisticated critic may even appear to be agreeing by offering the "yes but" response. Try substituting "yes and" for "yes but" -- this will get the ball rolling.

--Patricia Ryan Madson

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9 Previous Reflections:

On May 31, 2007 Timoteo wrote:
OH!What a lesson!I got it Patricia.I can say YES!

On Jan 4, 2007 Patricia Ryan Madson wrote:
I am thrilled that you have found value in the idea of "Say YES!" Life has so much to offer. Saying yes allows us to enter the dance and become part of life. Thank you for mentioning my book, Improv Wisdom.

On Dec 20, 2006 viral wrote:
Great thoughts everyone! Rekha, I loved what you wrote and tried to read it out loud at our weekly circle of sharing, but alas, the internet connection failed ;-)


On Dec 19, 2006 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
This is great. I will use the "yes/and" today.
Thank you.

On Dec 19, 2006 Rekha wrote:
Aha!! It is a beautiful wrting and so true!! 5 years back I took a Meditation course and one thing which became my experience is the 'power of the Yes mind'. To be able to accept every situation in life 100%, to accept the person infront of you 100%, to accept the ideas & opinions of the someone 100% ... to let things flow ... It is not a passive YES mind (whatever happens let it happen kind of one) but one which is Active & full of vigour & enthusiasm, a mind which is not merely a spectator but a participant in the Flow. And that Yes mind has so much power. One of the toughest things for me always have been to say 'no'. but it was not from a space of strength. And now one of the easiest things for me to say is 'Yes' - it is my freedom. The whole perspective changed!!

On Dec 19, 2006 Janani wrote:
To me the practise of "Yes" should
eventually lead to open-mindedness.
It has done so, for most part, for me.
I live in a family, and I don't mind

On Dec 19, 2006 Tripp Borstel wrote:
A few months ago I took an improv class through Bay Area Theatre Sports (which I recommend to anyone interested in fun, play, and laughter). One of the cardinal rules of improv are "Accept an offer that is made". In saying Yes to your partner, there is something to build on that both people can share. This also helps make the second rule of improv "Make your partner look good" much easier.

On Dec 19, 2006 Robin Freeman wrote:
This is an interesting perspective for me to read at this time in my life (middle aged woman) as I surrounded by articles and 'experts' telling me I need to learn to say "NO!". It is surely a fine line to walk. I agree that saying 'no' is often a way of saying no to life and really living it. The answer is of course, to be conscious and take a breath before answering and really understand what your 'yes' or your 'no' will mean in your life and someone elses as well.

Happy Holidays! Peace & Love!

On Dec 19, 2006 Bhavna wrote: perceptive..yes, " yes " does makes a difference...i am already feeling it..