I think it's high time that I explain the name of this blog. Yes & Thank You. Each word in the title is important and deserves individual attention. The original blog was called Thoughts on Joy. It was a nice enough name, but it just didn't really fit what I was writing about.
Yes & Thank You came to be after a therapy appointment when I lived on Catalina Island (I either leave a therapy session almost totally hopeless or incredibly inspired). My therapist on Catalina Island was excellent. She was challenging and empathetic and made me think.
The season I spent on the Island was rich. There was natural beauty everywhere. It was not rare to be escorted into town by dolphins and visited at dusk by bald eagles. The sky was thick with stars at night-you could almost reach up and grab a handful.
I made very meaningful relationships while I lived there. I lived in a close community of only twelve people. We ate together and kayaked together. We laughed together and cried together. Some friendships were complex and some stayed simple and at surface level. The important thing was that I generally felt accepted for who I was--flaws and gifts. It was inclusive.
My short life on Catalina Island cemented many of my personal values and those can be basically summed up in the title of this blog:
Let's start with yes. This word represents inviting love and grace and goodness into my life. It also means accepting depression and anger and grief. I have the tendency to plant my feet firmly in a minefield of shame which essentially causes me to live with a no stance--cautious and untrusting and fighting what is. Subconsciously, I am saying no to friendships and possibilities for growth. I am saying no, closing my eyes, to the hard stuff that is painful to examine.
Someone is saying, “You aren’t allowed to be sad. You’re not allowed to experience that inexpressible joy, and while I’m at it I’m going to steal your hope. “
My stubbornness and resistance to maintain an open heart causes a lot of torment. The shame I stand in keeps me isolated. It is a heavy burden to carry.
I want to live my life with a loud and powerful, “YES!” Yes to forgiveness. Yes to looking at hard things. Yes to bright colors. Yes to putting one foot in front of the other. Yes to love.
Okay, next up is and. This may seem like a little word with little meaning, but it’s a big deal. In my life it’s about accepting seemingly opposite emotions and thoughts. It’s okay to feel deep sadness, AND also have hope for the future. It is being upset with someone, AND still loving them. It is being afraid, AND walking forward with courage.
The word and is also important because it is a connecting word. In our language it joins different ideas, different phrases, and separate people. I thrive on connection. My connection with God is what sustains my very breath, and it allows me to witness miracles in creation. My connection with other human beings gives my life depth and purpose. I’m thankful that little word that represents connection.
Finally, thank you. This word represents the gratitude that I want to color my life. I’ve been in countless situations where the only thing I know to say is thank you. I want to make this attitude a habit. At times it is really difficult for me to focus on the gifts I have been given. I know I’ve rolled my eyes countless times when I’ve heard a counselor or doctor or pastor discuss the idea of making a “gratitude list.” I’ve thought, “Honestly, how can writing down everything I’m thankful for really make a dent in the severe depression I am experiencing?”
Well, honestly, it really works. It doesn’t always have to be a deliberate pen-and-paper list, but there is way that gratitude gently enters the heart.
I want to live my life with my heart in this position.
I want to live with open arms of acceptance. I want to live connected to God and others and nature. I want to live with thank you continually engraved on my heart.