YES, AND! Been thinking about this phrase a lot lately . . . Many of you may not know that I did improv for quite a few years and I loved it. It was purely recreational for me, a way to have fun, meet new people, and get creative.
And it brought SO MUCH to my life: it helped me release “perfectionism,” it taught me how to stay present more, it helped me be more empathetic and listen better, and it also introduced the concept of “Yes, and . . .” to me.
For those of you not familiar, the concept of “yes, and” is foundational to improv. It means that when your improv partner offers you a scenario, you respond with something that affirms their offer and builds off of it.
For example, if you’re in a scene together and your partner says, “Hey Samantha, pretty awesome space-ship you just built there!” you might say, “Yeah, can you believe I ordered it on Etsy and it only took 2 hours to build? Want to take a ride?” Your partner would then “yes and” you back and say, “Yes, that’s sounds like a great idea! Do you have any bike helmets?”
You see where I’m going . . . What you don’t say is “But my name isn’t Samantha” or “What space ship?” or anything else that blocks the offer.
So where am I going with this and how does it relate to health and wellness?
We can embrace the “YES, AND” concept in so many ways: * YES I can be an effective _________ (progressive leader, teacher, nurse, parent . . .you fill in the blank) AND prioritize my health and well-being. * YES I can eat nutrient-dense foods most of the time AND enjoy special treats now and then. * YES I am able to love and appreciate my body AND want to make healthy shifts and changes.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking!
“YES AND” gets us out of perfectionism or “black and white” or “all or nothing” thinking. It embraces possibility and nuance. It builds on successes and taps into our creativity.
What’s a “YES, AND” that you are practicing right now? Would love to hear!
In Honor of Black History Month: How Michelle Obama’s Book Becoming is an Inspiration to Us All
I just finished Michelle Obama’s amazing memoir Becoming and I felt inspired to share a few reflections with you.
Let me be clear, even before reading her book, my love for Michelle Obama ran deep. Never before have I been so happy to share my name with someone. Her commitment to her family, her country, her career, her husband and partner are all inspiring. I am also inspired by her voice and commitment to important causes like children’s health, girls’ education worldwide, and to our veterans returning from war. She used her position of power as First Lady to not only focus on these amazing causes, but she also did an incredible job of protecting her daughters so that they could grow up as “normal” as possible while living in the White House.
Besides learning more about how Michelle grew up on the South Side of Chicago, I also loved learning very human things about Barack Obama, like how he would leave his clothes lying around every where! I also smiled reading how cool and calm he is by temperament and how Michelle would be much more likely to get worked up about something (sounds a lot like me and my husband Gary!).
Lastly, what I loved as a through-line from the title to every section of the book was this idea of BECOMING.
She writes in the Epilogue:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. . . It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” (419)
You see, that is why I also love the work that I do. My clients may come in because they want to lose weight or change their eating habits or improve their digestive system or let go of their cravings to sugar . . . . but really what they want is to see is CHANGE. They think, “This is not working. Something needs to change and I might need some help in making those changes.” And I get the honor and privilege of being on that path or journey with them for a little while, to guide, support, encourage, and cheer along the way.
I think just like Michelle Obama, we are
doing our best to continue to grow into new ways of being. And health and
wellness for many is a part of that path.
Maybe this has you thinking? Was is it that I am becoming next? What part of my path is unfolding next? What small steps am I taking forward today? This may be in terms of your health, your family and relationships, your career, your community, your spiritual life.
For me, a new path I am exploring is reaching out to progressive leaders in my community so that I can empower them in actively achieving health, well being, and balance. If they feel strong, healthy, clear, and powerful by taking charge of their health and well-being, then they can better go out into the world and be the amazing agents of positive change we all so need them to be!
If you’d like to read more about this new direction or how you might be able to help me find these amazing leaders, please check out my blog post: I Am an Agent of Positive Change.
I will leave you with Michelle’s final words
in the book:
“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”