yes to what scares me

I met a laugh yogi. No joke, she is a person trained in leading laughter yoga sessions. Did you know such a thing existed? I did not, but I’m glad I do now! Most of us know the power of laughter—the release we feel and the shift of energy in the room when we share laughter—even if we can’t outline all the physiological affects on our health.

Recently a friend shared with me a TED talk by Shonda Rhimes, the ‘titan’ behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, who is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season. To say I’m not a television watcher is an understatement, but the premise intrigued me.  She begins this way:

So, awhile ago I tried an experiment. For one year, I would say yes to all the things that scared me. Anything that made me nervous, took me out of my comfort zone, I forced myself to say yes to. Did I want to speak in public? No, but yes. Did I want to be on online TV? No, but yes. Did I want to try acting? No no no but, yes yes yes. And a crazy thing happened. The very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear. My fear of public speaking, my social society. Poof.  Gone. It’s amazing the power of one word. Yes changed my life. Yes changed me. But there was one particular yes that affected my life in the most profound way.

In the first place, I love this commitment to saying yes and, even more so, to the wonder of her discovery that the very act of doing the thing that scared her undid the fear. It resonates with my own life and experience, but I don’t think I’d ever heard anyone saying quite so clearly. The yes that affected her life the most was saying yes to her child asking her to play. While that may seem very small and simple, the insights she draws out of the experience are valuable for all of us, I believe. Ours is a culture that values busyness and most especially work. And yet, that is only a part of our lives, a part of who we are. When we are able to balance work—whatever it is that we feel we should do, must do, to be productive or cross things off our lists—with play, something powerful happens. As Shonda encourages:

It’s about joy. It’s about playing in general. Find what makes you feel good. Just figure it out and play in that arena. 

We hear that Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. Jesus desires that our joy may be made complete. What we very often forget is the importance of creating space, time, and energy to let ourselves play, experiencing joy, delight and wonder in our lives in this present moment, the now. All the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ can easily drown out the curiosity and silliness. Did you notice the brilliance of the sunshine today, the beauty of the flowering trees or the color in the bulbs bursting forth? When was the last time you laughed out loud, a true belly laugh?

I invite you to join me this day in saying yes—perhaps to all the things you find scary in your life but most of all to play. Take a moment, or better yet 15, to unleash the joy of living this life, this precious moment. You’re worth it!

Hope to see you on Sunday,

Elizabeth Jameson