When fear unexpectedly steps aside, in its place is a profound sense of freedom, liberation and inner peace.
I never make resolutions for the New Year because my experience with them has often done me more emotional harm than good. Having expectations of myself and then letting myself down is a losing loop I can totally do without.
But this year was different. Perhaps it was the craze about 2020, and the not so subtle allusion to clarity, that I opted to dip my toe back in the water. I dubbed 2020 the year of saying 'yes'. Not 'yes' to everyone I should be saying no to, (for them the answer is still no) but YES to ME. For me, this is a bold 'put your money where your mouth is' statement.
Jan 1, 2020 I started saying 'yes' to things that were not my usual cup of tea. It required I change up the purpose for why I was doing what I was doing. My purpose became interaction and relationship. Armed with my new purpose, I was experiencing little triumphs of being excited for or enjoying myself in places that normally I would feel uncomfortable or irritable enough to avoid - costume parties and networking events come to mind. The yesses were subtle and small but still satisfying and important. I was splashing in the shallow end of the pool feeling quite accomplished thinking, 'yeah, I got this say yes thing down.' I guess that was the cue for the universe to throw me into the deep end...
I was contacted by a friend to do an interview for a newspaper article. This was uncharted water. I felt a twinge of fear but also recognized this as a say 'yes' moment. And so I armed myself with a shoot-first-aim-later mentality and seized the moment to practice my preaching. I was a little nervous in the interview, but the interviewer was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Afterward, I had this sense of feeling good about my self - and sadly and happily that is the part that was really new.
In that moment of new, I felt the enormity of the hardship but also the unnecessary loss of a lifetime of not allowing myself to feel good about myself. This came in the form of relentless striving. Many of us find ourselves in this position. With our brains trained on lack, we endlessly seek to become more accomplished, more confident, more impressive, more productive, more generous, more inspired, more successful. We need to be thinner, stronger, prettier, healthier, kinder. It is not that we do not feel these things, it is that it who we are is never enough. We can never just be. Seeing 20/20 is a bitch.
What it means to feel good about oneself is a question we should all get some clarity on. For me it means I do not have to be other than I am . The the brain is quiet. No self recrimination, no self consciousness, no judgment. No rumination, no replay, no rehashing, no analysis of what I said or didn't say. No regret, no doubt, no worries about what others think, no expectations, no attachment to future outcomes. Blessed are the oblivious. I embarked on the USA Today experience purely for the experience, no strings attached. I felt fear recede, I felt silent upstairs and it felt good. Actually, not just good, peace sprinkled with euphoria good. I think to myself, 'this is what it is all about. I could get used to this'. Cue the universe. Next up, the open water test.
The next day I got an email from Lauren Simonetti at Fox Business News for an interview. I responded immediately (2020 baby) and only after I hit send did I realize it was for TV not print. Oops. Mild to moderate panic. To keep myself from drowning in fear, I was going to have to swim as fast as I can and brain train the shit out of this one. While treading water this is what came to me.
No matter what we do the purpose is always the same. So my plan was to engage with gusto and connect with everyone I met along the way that day and in doing so I noticed two things:
I realized that people are amazing! Funny, kind, interesting, and genuine. Not just some of them, all of them - if we give each other a chance. At Fox Business, everyone I came in contact with, to a person, was kind, gracious, and blessedly calm and calming. It was priceless.
I also became aware at some point, while at the studio, that fear had exited stage left. I could not access it at all and in its place was this profound sense of freedom, liberation and inner peace.
At the time of the taping I wasn't focussed on why or how I felt so buoyant and peaceful, I just went with it and had a blast. In looking back on my day, I realize that my focus on connection, specifically non-goal directed connection and communication, soothed my mind and kept fear out. As my mind quieted, I was my Self, and as I expressed my Self, the more wholly free and joyful I felt. This did not (spoiler alert) translate into an award winning performance on my part but it was a miracle nonetheless.
I am so grateful to Lauren for pulling me so far out of my comfort zone that I could not see the shore. She had no idea this was my year of YES. And I had no idea how powerful and transformative this concept would prove to be when I casually committed to it over bubbly just a month and a half ago. And the best part? There is more. As free as I feel now I know there is more freedom of spirit to be had and no doubt the universe will take me there. I invite you to take the plunge.
Mind Training: Make 2020 the year of 'YES'
Saying yes helps break through the barrier of fear to experience a sense of inner liberation.
To practice connection update the purpose of why you do the things that you do.
Errands and chores are not about marking your to-do list but about who you are coming in contact with when you do these tasks. The relationship is the purpose, the task is means to carry out that purpose.
Connect, engage with everyone at all times.
On this Valentine's Day find a partner and say YES together. Two is more fun than one.
And please share your Yesses with me!!!