Many years ago, before the days of the GPS, my Daddy and I were in the car going somewhere in Barbados – our home country. It’s a small island, just 21 miles long, and 14 miles wide, and Daddy was very familiar with the roads. Surprisingly to me, Daddy was uncertain.

As we came to an old man walking along the road, Daddy stopped and asked whether the road would take us to our destination. Without skipping a beat, the old man responded “Skippa, wuh eva yuh wan ta go, dis road wud tek yuh deh!”

The road in Barbados, bordered by sugar cane, that would take us
“wuh eva” we wanted to go!

In case it’s needed, here’s the translation – “This road will take you wherever you want to go!”

I’ve never forgotten the magic of that moment, and until I was thinking about writing this eNews, I didn’t think there was any situation where that line could be used.

While I’ve always known in my bones  that it needed to be there, the “C” in the acronym R-I-C-H in RICH Relationships, has at times been a challenging concept to stand for. It’s easy for the notion of the Courage to Celebrate What Is to be misinterpreted and at times taken offense at.

My friend and colleague Aine Dee says: “It helps to have a scout who’s been where you are and gone where you want to go. And that’s what all of us will be for our ideal clients. That’s the very essence of your soulful pioneering business. You have to go where you’ve never been to help others do the same. And not just once…

 It’s pretty easy when things are going well, but why would we even think of ‘celebrating what is’ when (as we all do) we have experiences that are uncomfortable and we don’t want? Celebrate situations that are painful – scary, sad, frustrating, terrifying, or not going as we’d imagined or hoped?

I’ve heard the responses. Some mildly disbelieving – you’re wearing rose coloured glasses, that’s asking too much; maybe you can do this, but you can’t expect us to! Others more angry – you’re out of touch with reality, that’s a suggestion that ‘blames the victim’ and ‘reinforces the trauma’.

Aine is right. The only reason I can stand here and speak about ‘celebrating what is’ is that I’ve been to those painful places – many times. In fact yesterday was the 26th anniversary of one of the most painful of those times – the arrival in our world of my daughter.

Becoming pregant AFTER having had a tubal ligation was a terrifying experience. It was clear to me that in order to handle the presence of another baby I would have to drastically change who I was and how I was being in my life, and I had NO idea how to do that. At 35 I was just beginning my conscious personal growth journey, and Rachael’s presence catapulted me into that journey. Sometimes, the abundance of Life (or God, Source, Universe – whatever name is true for you) looks very different from anything we might imagine! One of the most important things I began to learn through this situation is this:

 Responding to Life’s invitations to us with the “Yes, and …” of the first rule of  improv acting keeps the story going, and possibility alive!

Like that road my Daddy and I were travelling on, even when we’re uncertain or don’t know ‘how’, our response of “Yes, and …” to whatever Life has handed us is the road that keeps the story of our lives moving in the direction of our hearts’ deepest desires.

 But here’s where life differs from improv …

An improv sketch moves quickly, and though it’s a completely understandable human response, ANY “No, I can’t be me here”, or “This shouldn’t be happening to me” shuts the whole thing down. Thankfully, although the situation may evolve making some options no longer available to us, as long as we’re alive, we always have the opportunity to shift or change our responses.

Even though my pregnancy was a shock, I’m thankful I chose to say “Yes” to it. However that doesn’t mean I was ‘happy’ or in any way celebrating. But even here at the beginning of my personal growth journey, I knew enough to not deny how I was feeling, or step over myself trying to make myself feel something I wasn’t. It took several months of reflecting on what was happening before I recognized the terror, and found my way to possibility – confidence that though I had no idea how, when I needed them, the resources would be there for me. Truth is, it was only on Rachael’s second birthday that I recognized I no longer felt that painfully familiar sense of “If you weren’t here, I’d be …..”.

Celebrating at her grad last year – me and my not so little ‘baby’, who’s also been one of my teachers, and partners in living, learning, and loving deeply …

I wrote on her Facebook wall for her birthday yesterday:

Happy Birthday, sweet babe! Love you SO much … then … now … forever and always, and every day in between!

Thank you for choosing to be my baby, for being my teacher, and for loving and hanging in there with me as I/we continue to learn the true freedom and power of loving deeply and truly.

Having been in that place of saying “Yes” to Life when it’s really scary or uncomfortable MANY more times since then, I can also promise you that it doesn’t always have to take so long to get there as I did back then!

Remember this ISN’T about stepping over what’s really happening, putting on a front, or creating some spiritual bypass pretending all is well. It’s about the practice of saying “Yes” AND, nurturing our relationship with ourselves, and with Life.

As we continue practicing saying “Yes” to all our experiences, we expand our capacity to move through what’s happening more quickly. Do we still have our human reactions – the catching of our breath or the clutching in our guts? Yes, of course! But we’re not so tripped up by them. With the growing confidence in our relationships with those parts of us that still get scared, and with Life, the idea of celebrating what is becomes a way of being. And THAT’S the road that leads us to wherever it is we want to go!

For me the big draw is freedom – freedom to choose my responses to Life. When I can say “Yes” and celebrate what is, then I’m truly free to see the possibilities and make those choices. My commitment to my big “Yes” (the possibility of having greater freedom in choosing my responses to Life) is what gives me the courage to continue to say “Yes” – even in those scary or painful moments.

I’m curious about you. Where are you in the journey towards saying “Yes” and celebrating what is? Do you think it’s crazy and unreasonable? Can you see that it might be a road you might like to try, but don’t really understand what it means or how to move along it? Have you had experience in this but are now faced with a situation that feels too big, or you’re feeling stuck? What is it that you most desire in Life? Love, power, freedom, something else? That’s where you’ll find the source of your courage to say “Yes”.

These are the kinds of situations we face head on in our Realizing RICH Relationships community. If the idea of partnering with “a scout who’s been where you are and gone where you want to go” feels true, I’d love to hear from you!

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!