Last night I wrote about my magically “in it” weekend and my resulting desire to “burn it to the ground” (“it” being the institution of living in a state that is less than awesomely mindful and juicy).
How did it go, you ask? Oh. The world is burning, babies.
Today I was thinking about how often we talk about “yes!” There’s a rule in improv comedy that you can only say “yes” to ideas that come up in a scene. If you’re doing an improv scene where you’re… fuck… I don’t know… riding a tandem bicycle, and the person you’re doing the scene with suddenly says “oh my god, the floor is lava!” You don’t say “listen, bitch, that’s ridiculous, you're ruining my scene.” NO, damnit! You say “OH MY GOD, LAVA!” You say “YES!”
So I say a lot of yeses. I think saying “yes” to what the universe/God/experience presents us opens doors we don’t even know exist. It flows us down the path of non-resistence to exceptional outcomes and really resonant living.
BUT. In the spirit of “burning it to the ground,” I was also thinking today about “nope.” Some of the most defining moments of my life have been big ol’ “nope” moments. “Nope, I don’t need to take that kind of bullshit from that person anymore.” “Nope, that’s not the direction I want my life to take.” “Nope, I don’t deserve that kind of treatment.”
I was reflecting today on how these moments are so great. They obviously seem kind of awful, because they tend to come at the end of a dragged-on shit show… but think about it. In a moment when you say “enough,” you are saying, “I deserve an amazing life.” “Nope” feels like waking up. It feels like relief. It feels like you’ve been in a haze of sleepy, shitty misalignment, and all of a sudden you’re like, “oh wait – I’m an autonomous human!”
During my magic weekend, I had a big “nope” moment. I was out golfing, and as a relatively new golfer, I’m pretty inconsistent. The big reason I like golf, though, is that it is so incredibly similar to classical music. The mental game is identical to singing. One of the things I always found immensely frustrating about singing was that it is so easy to dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole of bad technique/negative mental patterns. The same thing happens in a round of golf. Bad shot follows bad shot, negative thought follows negative thought, tension builds, frustration builds, and then…
I was in just such a hole of despair (pardon the pun) when I approached a shot and said “nope.” I said "nope" to my own feeling of helplessness, "nope" to negativity, "nope" to anything less than juicy, joyful, resonant living. It was a dramatic shift and, needless to say, it was an absolute beauty of a shot. I was so "in it" that I knew it would be great. I had that sensation of "being breathed" by the air around me. I can conjure up the image of the ball and the green and the feeling of the club in my hands... it was such an epic about-face. It was a glorious "nope."
It reminded me of being in near tears in a practice room, so beaten down by critique from inside and outside and so in my head that I couldn't get my breath under me and I couldn't let the phrase come out and then… I would drop my shoulders, close my eyes and say “nope.” Not today. I am worth more than this. I am in the moment. I am reborn in every moment and I am a magically autonomous human.
“Nope” lets us burn it to the ground in any moment we need it. “Yes” opens our hearts to possibility and guides our feet through treacherous terrain. When we burn it down, we light ourselves up. Those moments of resetting a golf swing or resetting a phrase? Those are moments when we wake up and zone in. When we reflect back on our big “nope” moments in our lives, we were inevitably SO awake, SO aware, SO resonant in those moments that it's like the perfect phrase or the perfect golf swing to the absolute maximum.
So. What are you ready to say a big ol’ “nope” to? What would feel like relief? That’s what you need to burn down right now. Go do it, and make room for more yeses. You, too, are an autonomous human, and you have the right to "nope" whatever you damn well like.