At this moment, I have 7,562 photos stored on my phone. This fact raises a number of questions for me.
How many photos do I take in a day?
How long has it been since I last cleared photos off my phone?
What did I do today? I don’t know, but I took 247 photos of it.
Apparently there were at least that many moments I wanted to remember. There were some moments of YES. This is an interesting realization, because it feels like a lot of days are ridiculously full of no.
Some days are full of “no.”
Days when you check the news and everything on the screen has your heart hollering: NO. Days when the need for help seems bigger than the helpers. Days when the most you can manage is a sort of upright flop on the couch, instead of a flattened flop.
Days when the voice in your head would like to point out how much better everyone else is at life, how probably no one else ever forgets to make dinner or can’t find their keys when it was time to leave five minutes ago.
Days when you run out of chocolate squares and the only tea in the house is that weird herbal one that gives you heartburn.
Days when you meant to be present and grounded and creative and connected and instead, well… no.
Even on days that are just plain-old-everyday normal, you still have to say no to so many things in any given twenty-four hour period.
Things I have said no to this week:
No, we aren’t going to Disneyland. No, we aren’t going to Legoland. No, we can’t go to Paris right now, even if you take French lessons first. No to baking a seven-layer chocolate cake. No to ice cream for dinner.
No, I can’t be there. No, I can’t sign up. No, I can’t work on that. No, I can’t join in, even though I’m sure the thing I’m being asked to do is part of a very cool/important/rewarding group/club/mission.
No, no, no.
And yet. And yet.
There must be a YES somewhere in this day, every day.
Yes to being who I was made to be, even if I was not made for like half the things I wish I was.
Yes to who I am, and yes to leaving room to discover who that is. Yes to listening for my own next right thing. Yes to helping my people discover who they are and practice being themselves.
Yes to opening my heart and my mind.
Yes to a nap, in theory, even if I didn’t get one.
Yes to love and to grace and to togetherness and to making new things. Yes to being present. Yes to doing what I can.
No matter how much “no” there was today, surely—SURELY—there was one tiny moment of YES.
I’ve been practicing finding those as a reminder, as a celebration, as a direction.
I’m keeping track on Instagram. I’m making a habit of looking for the yes and marking the moment. (Try it, it changes the whole day.) And what I’m discovering is that all the days really are #daysofyes if I look hard enough, if I pay attention, if I work for it.
Today was yes to a chocolate-almond butter cup, yes to bare feet all day, yes to laying flat on my back under the ceiling fan.
Yes to running errands after dinner instead of first thing in the morning and calling it an adventure. Yes to going out of our way to use the escalator, because moving stairs are magical.
Yes to the black tea, for once (caffeinated!), and to raspberry-colored lipstick. Yes to an extra popsicle for every one of the kids.
Yes to sitting myself down in this chair to write it all down.
Yes and yes and yes.
YES isn’t about ignoring the NO, or pretending it doesn’t exist.
Yes is about BOTH/AND. Yes is holding the hard things and the good things together at the very same time, holding every true thing to your chest, and choosing to remember that NO does not get the last word.
Yes is about saying: I see it all, and I could let the NO take me out, but instead I am choosing to look for, to expect, to find, the YES in the midst of everything else. (And possibly to take another 84 photos of it before sunset.)
Now I’m watching for the yes.
It’s always there. It might be quiet. It might be tiny. Maybe it’s off to the side instead of front and center. I want to see it, and celebrate it, and invite it in. I want to keep the YES company. It reminds me why I don’t settle for the NO. That is worth remembering.