Yes Is the Answer. What Is the Question?

by Belinda Munoz on May 18, 2010

decision sock

YES is the fifth and final topic for Momalom’s Five for Ten.  This post is a nod to Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s beautiful, debut novel called Life After Yes available in stores as of today, May 18th.

Yes.  One tiny word.  Three little letters.  Its weight?  Often not so light.  Its meaning, nuances, and the anticipation of it have been known to torment women and men alike throughout history.

THE SIMPLE YES

Oh, yes.  Sometimes, it’s quite simple.  We say Yes automatically as when a helpless little baby motions to be picked up and carried.

We say Yes to our health when we opt for the celery and carrot sticks instead of the chips and dip.

We say Yes to our sanity when we shun information overload and let the mind rest.

We say Yes to peace when we choose to be the bigger person.

TREACHEROUS ROAD

But the road to Yes, the coveted kind, isn’t always so simple.  Sometimes, it is downright treacherous.

Yes is a challenge to get to for a high school graduate from a poor family seeking a way out.  The Yes she covets is from a good college offering her a full scholarship.

Yes is a challenge to get  to for a single father with five children.  The Yes he covets is a way to make ends meet without having to sell himself out or any of his children.

Yes is a challenge to get to for a terminally ill child.  The Yes she covets is to live long enough to be able to see her baby brother grow up; a wish just out of reach even for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

THE ELUSIVE YES

Yes.  So often we want it to be the answer but the question remains unknown or unclear or unasked.

What gets in the way?  Is it the thinking?  Is it the feeling?

Is it someone other than oneself?

Is it some highly renowned guru whose teachings are revered by others, so much so that one’s better judgment is relinquished?

THE DREADED YES

There are times when we’re afraid of Yes being the answer.

The questions?  Oh, so many.  Climate change?  Poverty?  Devalued education?  Overvalued status?  Unyielding social conventions?  Unexamined price tags?

Get-rich-quick schemes?  The fake promise of an iPad solving all the odds-and-ends tech problems?  The urge to burn cash on toys instead of more hugs and kisses?  The status symbol second home for when the weather gets hot?

THE YES DESPITE OF…

Oh, yes.  The integrity of Yes plays hide and seek at times.  Amid much muck and murmur and man-made misery.

But the questions need not be trick ones.  And the answer lies not in the word.  The answer, very often, lies within us.

To here and now?  Yes!

To laughing despite of dead comedians?  Yes!

To joy though fleeting and floating?  Yes!

To dancing at the edge of darkness?  Yes!

To love and everything that goes with it?  Yes!

To the life we already have?  Yes!

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What question or questions would you like to say Yes to?

Do you prefer to say “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”  or “No!  No!  No!”?  Which one do you say more?

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Related posts:

Learning to Say Yes Again

Fifty+ Ways to Say No

Image by vanderwal

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May 18, 2010 at 3:04 am

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 C @ Kid Things May 18, 2010 at 8:19 am

First of all, I love how you fit in chips and dip. I’m definitely more of a no! no! no! although I would love to be yes! yes! yes!

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2 alita May 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

Mmmm chips and dip!

I’m more of a “sure, ok, maybe, nope, yeah ok” person than a no or yes person. HA!

Fun post!

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3 Alisha May 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

Love this.

Yes (and No) are very powerful words because they are linked to choices that me make in our lives.

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4 Patty - Why Not Start Now? May 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

What? You mean the iPad won’t solve all the problems? I’m crushed.

You know, there’s a book called, “The Answer to ‘How’ is ‘Yes.’”

That’s the question that that I wish we would all, individually and collectively, say yes to. I include myself in that. When we veer off into the fog of HOW – How could I possibly do that? How could we make that work? How will we ever get out of this mess? – well then I wish we could embrace YES and just go forward in trust and optimism.

Great post, Belinda.

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5 Liz May 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I say no more often than I say yes. I often think of myself as the shy schoolgirl in the corner, afraid to join the fun. I’m trying to get better about saying yes, but change is scary and even more scary as a mom-to-be.

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6 Eva @ EvaEvolving May 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Ha! Chips and Dip!

It’s so important to ask the question, to find the right question that illuminates some challenges or uncertainty I’m facing in my life. I find myself asking “What is the problem?” and “What really happened?” and “Who can help?” all to be sure I understand the situation fully. It’s about erasing assumptions and really uncovering the cause of my emotions.

Today, I want to say Yes! to enjoying the beautiful sunny, 75 degree weather as much as possible. No working in the garden. No laundry. No cooking in the kitchen. Pulling weeds and dirty laundry can wait until tomorrow, we’ll eat leftovers or frozen pizza tonight. Just a bike ride or walking the dog or relaxing the yard with my husband.

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7 Amber May 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I prefer to say “Yes” but often hear “No.” I am trying harder and harder to limit the use of this word (around my daughter that is) to when it is needed.

And now you have added a new twist to saying “yes.” It isn’t always positive and sometimes is impossible. I guess that saying yes should not be taken for granted, either.

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8 Stacia May 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Why is it so easy to say “no” and so hard to say “yes”?? I love the idea of saying “yes” “to the life we already have.” There will always be more tough questions so finding joy and contentment in the ones we’ve already answered can only help us say “yes” more often, right?

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9 Belinda Munoz May 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm

To your last question, I heartily say Yes, I’d like to think so. Great to see you here, Stacia.

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10 Indigo May 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I think the one we don’t say enough is – Yes, to ourselves. We don’t say yes, to those things that seem selfish on the surface, but make us a whole beneath. It’s easy to say yes, to helping and doing and being, for someone else. Far harder to say yes, to yourself. To submerging oneself in the knowledge you deserve your very own YES as easily as those you give a resounding one to. (Hugs)Indigo

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11 Aging Mommy May 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You say no to chips and yes to celery?!? Oh my :-)

At this point in my life dealing with the constant and to my way of thinking unreasonable wishes of a toddler I just wish she would ask me things I could say yes to always :-)

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12 Belinda Munoz May 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I only say no to chips and dip half the time. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

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13 Leslie May 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

What a wise and sweeping post. It’s interesting to consider these many varieties of Yes. I love that you used the first-gen high school student example – as an Upward Bound alum and director, I thank and salute you for that!

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14 Corinne May 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I love this line especially:
“To dancing at the edge of darkness? Yes!”
There are so many beautiful things to say yes to, they make up for the bad.

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15 Sarah May 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm

This is awesome. I love how you sort it all out. I think I’m a ‘yes’ person. I say ‘no’ easily, but I much perfer ‘yes’

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16 Allison @ Alli 'n Son May 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

To my son, I’m a No! woman. To the rest of the world, it’s Yes. I think I need to work on switching these.

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17 Privilege of Parenting May 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I say yes to your writing, yes to the values you encourage us to treasure and yes to standing together as parents and supporting each other to be our best Selves.

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18 Wilma Ham May 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm

There is only one ‘yes’ for me and that is “To the life we already have? Yes!”
That is the best ‘yes’ for me. xox Wilma

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19 Kristen @ Motherese May 19, 2010 at 8:14 am

Belinda, thank you for this (as always) clear and insightful exploration of the variations of yes. I know that I, for one, tend to be drawn in by sweeping ideas – like “Say yes more often!” – but it’s important to consider the dimensions of Yes and how we might get there when we want and when we should.

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20 Katie May 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

I recently said “no” to some paying work that might have helped pay the bills but wasn’t in my heart, and what a big “yes” it turned out to be for my soul. Your blog is a lovely place to muse over life’s big and small questions.

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21 Rudri May 19, 2010 at 9:39 am

You integrated chips and dips – I am impressed!

On a serious note, I like the variations of yes and the questions associated with these choices. I think I am a half-yes half-no person, but after reading so many posts on yes, I think I need to be more carefree sometimes and just embrace yes.

As always, your post is insightful and thought-provoking. And of course I will be visiting again, as I did b/f 5-4-10 started.

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22 Phil - Less Ordinary Living May 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

Belinda -

Personally I’m a yes man. I start from the premise that pretty much everything is possible if we put our minds to it. So yes, global warming is happening, and yes we can do something to stop it. At a deeper level, whenever we make a choice and say yes to something, we are always saying no to something else. So I’d rather see choice in the positive rather than the negative. I really enjoyed this post and once again you made me think (thank you!)

Phil

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23 BigLittleWolf May 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

What a wonderful assemblage of the variations of YES. Amazing how such a small word can pack an essential punch. In a good way. Or not.

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24 soccermom May 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Your exploration of the word yes, was spot on.
Great post

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25 terry May 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Today I feel filled with No! Yesterday it was pure Yes! Am I crazy or menopausal or both?

How insightful you are. How confusing Yes can be. And how many meanings. Countless meanings.

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26 Kelly May 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I am so much happier when I remember to say Yes to what I have. Sometimes I get drawn into that desire for what I don’t have, but I usually find my way back. That’s the best kind of Yes.

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27 Tony Single May 20, 2010 at 6:25 am

To dancing at the edge of darkness? Hell yes! :)

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28 Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF May 20, 2010 at 6:30 am

I want to say Yes to adventure more. I am great at saying yes to the no-fun stuff.–taking on too much responsibility, helping out a friend, picking up another workload I can’t handle–but when it comes to saying yes to the exciting stuff, I get scared. Lazy. Wimpy.

I must say though, I have trouble with No when it matters. When I need to say no in order to help myself, not take on too much, then I seem to not be able to do it. I want to do everything for everybody–be a people pleaser — and its no good. Sometimes yes is not your friend, I guess….

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29 macondo mama May 20, 2010 at 7:06 am

Wonderful post.
And this: “To love and everything that goes with it”. That ‘everything’ is a lot! This reminds me that our Yeses often take us much farther than we ever imagined or intended.

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30 Justine May 20, 2010 at 10:41 am

The power of yes – one little word dissected and deconstructed into all its different meanings and consequences. Suddenly, the word isn’t so small after all. In fact, it is big enough to swallow us whole. Great insight.

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31 Jen May 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I’m pretty good at saying yes … to others. I’m very very bad at saying yes to myself. At allowing myself something just for me. And reading your lovely words made me realize that I could stand to find some Yeses for myself. Something to strive for. Thank you.

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32 Lauren May 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Hi Belinda,

Great question. I’d like to say yes to following my heart’s leanings. Currently my heart is calling me to Esalen for an extended stay!

I like the idea of asking myself this question frequently and responding in the now!

Warm regards,
Lauren

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33 Keith Davis May 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hi Belinda
Your posts always make me think .
Did I enjoy reading this post – yes
Did I read it all – yes
Did it motivate me to leave a comment – yes
Will I have to read it again to fully understand – yes

Guess I’ll stop there – and do some more thinking – not easy so late on a Sunday. LOL

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34 S May 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Belinda,

First of all, I think Keith deserves credit for a very clever comment:~)

I love you weave so many different thoughts together and come with the most interesting word quilts. I’m always fascinated as I follow your weaving. I’m never sure exactly where it will end up, but it’s fun.

Regarding your questions about YES and NO. I say YES a lot more when I don’t spend time thinking and I say NO a lot more when I think too much.

Great post and fun:~)

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35 Sara May 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Belinda — Oops…let try this again.

First of all, I think Keith deserves credit for a very clever comment:~)

I love you weave so many different thoughts together and come with the most interesting word quilts. I’m always fascinated as I follow your weaving. I’m never sure exactly where it will end up, but it’s fun.

Regarding your questions about YES and NO. I say YES a lot more when I don’t spend time thinking and I say NO a lot more when I think too much.

Great post and fun:~)

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