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Article Title:
Saying "Yes" to Life

Article Description:
Do you ever gripe and complain about life?  About what happens to
you, or what you have or do not have?  I used to, a lot. I hoped 
complaining would make things better.  But it didn't.

Additional Article Information:
983 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Apr 27 23:40:52 EDT 2006

Written By:     Bruce Elkin
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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Saying "Yes" to Life
Copyright © 2006 Bruce Elkin

Do you ever gripe and complain about life?  About what happens to
you, or what you have or do not have?

I used to, a lot. I hoped complaining would make things better.
But it didn't.

In spite of my tendency to whine, I was a doer.  I did not like
teaching public school.  So I left and created programs for
environmental education and wilderness leadership.  I started to
write.  I set up my own business.

Although I liked what I did and was good at it, it was difficult.
It drained me.  I felt like I was climbing a mountain with an
extra 50 pounds of rocks in my pack.

I had to force myself to take action.  Along the way, I moaned
and groaned. I thought, "Life should not be so hard."  I worried
about burning out.  Or worse.

A New Approach

One day, I met an old friend, who had created a truly successful

John had been a top architect, but fought a trend to bland,
"money-driven design."  In spite of awards, he left his
profession, its politics, and a sprawling city.  He designed and
built a house in a beautiful rural valley, and rebuilt his life
as an artist, teacher, and family man.

When we talked, John had a wonderful long-lasting marriage, and
two great, self-sufficient children.  His paintings had changed
from pretty but commonplace nature scenes to vibrant, life-filled
paintings of people doing things they loved.

I asked him why he thought things had worked out so well.

"It was difficult at first," he said.  "But it all got a lot
easier when I started saying 'Yes' to whatever came along."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Instead of worrying about every decision," he said, "if an
opportunity popped up, I took a look.  I tried it out.  In spite
of fears or doubts, I said, 'Yes,' and went for it.  It was
great.  I felt I was living without regrets.

"But," he added, "there was a downside.  Saying 'yes' to
everything can be hectic.  I often had a lot going on.  Too much,
sometimes.  I had to learn to say 'yes' to the most important
things to make space for them to grow.

"I learned to let go of less important things.  I discovered
letting go is part of saying 'yes' to change and endings.  When I
started saying 'yes' in that way, it all started to flow.  I
didn't have to force decisions or actions; results seemed to come
naturally.  I took life as it came. I relaxed, finally at ease
with change."

I came away from my chat with John inspired but confused.
Although I was making progress in my own life, things did not
flow for me.

I had to force myself to make decisions, and take action.  I
tried to wrestle into being the things I wanted.  The 50 pounds
of rocks still took its toll.

The Word in Our Heart

After pondering John's words for a while, I finally grasped the
wisdom in something I had read, but not fully understood.

"Each of us carries a word in our heart," wrote positive
psychologist Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimism,
"a 'no' or a 'yes'."

What, I wondered, was my word?

As I thought about it, I realized, although I focused on creating
positive results, the dominant word in my heart was still "no."

In my attempt to better myself, and my world, I focused mostly on
problems.  I wasted precious energy trying to get rid of things
I did not like and did not want.

Although I knew "creating" usually generated better and long-
lasting results than problem-solving, I still saw my creations
as solutions to problems, rather than things I loved and wanted
to bring into being.

Trying to force creations into being, I used willpower
manipulation.  I tried overpowering the forces in play with my
will.  That worked sometimes, but it was draining!  Worse, the
results rarely lasted.

I also used conflict manipulation.  Feeling sorry for myself
because creating did not come as easy as I thought it should, I
whine and complained.  Doing so not only drained me; it irritated
others, and often led to conflict.

I wasn't like that all the time.  I got things done. I took the
lead in creating a mountaineering school.  I developed leadership
programs, wrote articles, gave speeches, and started coaching
others.  However, after chatting with John, I realized "Yes" was
not yet the primary word in my heart.

When I made it so, things changed dramatically.

Saying "Yes" to Whatever Life Gives You

I gradually let go of my need to solve problems.  Instead, I
focused on creating what I truly wanted in my life and world.
I stopped imposing my will on others, the world, and myself.  I
began to do as the poet Rumi suggests; I let myself be silently
drawn by the stronger pull of what I really loved.

Suddenly, life got a lot easier.  It was as if someone removed
that 50 pounds of rocks from of my pack.  My legs felt stronger,
my step lighter. I felt as if I was striding relaxed and easily
up the mountain of my life.

Yes, I still had problems.  I still faced obstacles and
adversity, but I accepted them instead of fighting against them.
I embraced difficulties as "givens," raw material out of which to
create what mattered to me.  I learned from adversity, and rose
above it.  I started saying "yes" to whatever came along.

It was a great day when I realized I could create success and
happiness with whatever life gave me.  I reinvented my business
to reflect my new insights.  I interacted better with clients.
My writing became easier and more effective.

And, in no time, I began to feel the flow John had talked about.

My life, I realized, was very good.  Yes!

Bruce Elkin is a 20-year life coach.  He works with high 
potential people who are stuck, stalled, or drifting.  He can 
help you create what matters—in spite of problems or obstacles. 
* Read how in his new ebook Emotional Mastery: Manage Your Moods 
and Create What Matters Most—With Whatever Life Gives You! at:



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