Sunday, January 2, 2011

So it Begins: No Leads to Yes

I've been thinking a lot lately about the real and pressing need I have to say no to several factors in my life. As with so many insights, once you start to awaken to them, you stumble on related experiences and words of wisdom everywhere. 

For me, it was only a matter of sorting my bookcase, a New Year's Eve ritual I highly recommend. There I rediscovered Vinita Hampton Wright's book, The Soul Tells a Story. And on page 16, barely into the first chapter, sat the compelling words I share with you here:
"One of the most important powers we have as human beings is the ability to say yes or no. Many of life's pivotal events happen because someone answers a summons, accepts an opportunity or follows a hunch...
I...know that in order to say yes to one thing I must nearly always
say no to something else."

So this is what I mean by no leading to yes. I've often avoided saying no, but this avoidance has led to a lack of room for the things I most want to embrace, things that, put together, will add to a rich, full life that's not shadowed by a plethora of obligatory gestures. 

Ever heard of method journalism? This genre, which I first heard named in The Happiness Project, is one in which the author lives an experiment and reports to the reader on the process. It's a pretty big genre if you define it fairly loosely. Anyway, I love those books. I walked with Bill Bryson along the Appalachian Traillived according to Judaic law with A. J. Jacobs, and, yes, explored the many potential roads to more everyday happiness (aka Happiness Project) with Gretchen Rubin. And what American managed to miss Julie & Julia, on the adventures and misadventures of cooking Julia Child's grand recipe book page by page, if not the book then the movie where Meryl Streep towered fabulously over everyone else? (actually, she always does this, except it's usually figurative).  

According to who you are and the nature of your personal goals, these armchair personal growth books can either provide a vicarious experience or inspire the reader to embark on their own version of said experience.

In this blog I offer myself as a guinea pig, and hope that you'll come along to read, comment, and try your own "year of saying no" adventure.  I've come up with a list of stuff to which I want to say no, along with the potential "yeses" these  decisions may yield. The "no" for January is Television--I figure it's a pretty elementary start before getting to some more emotion-fraught challenges. I envision the resulting "yes" as a yes to thoughtful evenings and creative interludes.  Let's see what happens!

No comments:

Post a Comment