Seek or Hide
I am just finishing up Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. The entire book is amazing, but there is a point near the end of the book where Shonda tries to thank her sister, Delorse, for changing her path and saving her life that shifted something inside of me. Delorse's response will stick with me forever:
"'Shonda,' she said, when I finally stopped talking, 'I didn't do anything. You did all the work. It was like...'
'It was like you needed permission,' she said finally. Then she shrugged. 'I'm your big sister. I gave you permission. Not a big deal.'"
I would describe the experience Shonda had that kick-started her "yes year" as a Thin Moment. Thin Moments are what I call those times when the camera zooms out so far that everything is in miniature except me. They are the breaths in between seconds after time slows down and I see the who, the what, the where, the when, and the why of it all. I become aware of myself down to the smallest stitch sewn into the fabric of The Universe. I understand. Thin Moments can be completely astonishing and life-changing, and also scary as hell because it is in those moments I have a choice to make.
Do I seek or do I hide?
The Thin Moment that launched my own journey happened five years ago in August. I had just had a very difficult birth experience with my son the month before and our family was falling apart at the seams. My body and spirit were broken. I was lucky enough to have a dear friend that I trusted to share my story with. Letting the pain and shame out in a safe space made room for me to sit with that brokenness, inside my body and mind together, for what felt like the very first time.
How do we know what to say yes to if we don't even know where we are?
That day, I chose to seek. I turned toward all the pieces I found hiding in the dark and made a promise to show up from then on and listen to each and every story they had been waiting to tell. I also chose to forgive them and myself for not knowing what we didn't know until that very minute. That day, I said yes to healing, no matter how scary it gets or how long it takes. I said yes to becoming my whole self. I said yes to freedom.
Do you remember the first time you explicitly said yes to yourself? Like, the biggest, sure-of-yourself, I've-got-my-own-back, I-might-poop-my-pants-but-I'm-doing-it-anyway yes?
Can you remember a time when you've said a yes like that to yourself in the last year, month, week, day, hour, minute, or SECOND even?
The most important thing I think I have learned over these past five years is that really saying yes for the first time is the hardest, and that it is also just the beginning. Any yes only has the power to carry you to the next Thin Moment waiting for you down the yellow brick road. The more you practice listening and saying yes to whatever they ask of you, it will take less for you to stay lit up—even in your darkest corners. The more you bright your light, the braver you will become. Eventually there won't be anywhere left to hide, but you won't want to anyway. There will always be more work to do, but you will be ready.
You possess the knowledge and power to do, change, or be anything. You always have.
You don't need a permission slip.
All you've got to do now is get on the bus.
Thank you for joining me. I am so glad you’re here!