Exercise: In this practice we say yes to everyone and everything that happens. When you notice the impulse to disagree, consider whether it is really necessary. Could you just nod, or even be silent but pleasant? Whenever it is not dangerous to you or others agree with others and what is happening in your life.
This week when I read the mindfulness exercise what immediately rushed into my mind was: “Say YES to the magical spectrum of life!” This is practically the mantra of John Friend and Anusara yoga. I have heard it so many times and taught it so many times, that honestly I am tired of it. It would be OK with me, in fact preferable, if I never hear that exact phrase spoken again. With all of the drama surrounding Anusara yoga, practicing saying YES is the last thing I want to do. I mean I have spent years practicing YES. What I think I need is more practice saying NO. (For you lovely readers, bless you, who have no idea of what is going on in the Anusara community, yogadork.com can catch you up on the John Friend/Anusara scandal if you are interested.)
But here is a secret that I learned that I want you to learn too: Saying yes to something is the same as saying no to something else. For example, saying yes to the donut offered to you in the meeting, is equivalent to saying no to your commitment to feed yourself healthy food. Saying yes to an invitation to go out for a beer after work, is really the same as saying no to coming home on time for dinner. My point is that there is no real yes or no, there are only choices. Rather than focus on saying yes all the time, the best plan is to weigh the options and make the best choice you can in each situation. If you make a bad choice own it up to experience and learn to make a better decision next time, but please don't just say yes to everything that comes your way.
I also disagree with the assertion that I should nod in agreement or be silent when someone says something I disagree with. As a southern girl, I know how to do that already, I have mastered being polite, nodding to things I didn’t agree with, not adding my voice to the conversation. To this request that I should say yes more often and agree to avoid being disagreeable, even for a week, I offer you a resounding NO.
For your amusement, here is the trailer for the Jim Carey movie “Yes Man”. As I remember, saying Yes to everything didn’t work out so well for him either.