Monday, October 5, 2009

Just Say Yes to No

After a couple of stormy days, the water has taken a chunk out of our beach, taking away a few inches of sand and covering its tracks with massive amounts of bright green seaweed.

It's one more reminder that winter is coming, and as the weather begins to cool I find myself telling our houseguest stories of past high tides; about this photo, for example, of our neighbor kayaking in our driveway, about the time the propane tank floated loose, and about the time I opened the door to the crawlspace and saw a stool floating by only inches from the floorboards.

It's curious, isn't it, that the weather can change so much from winter to summer and back again, and yet still we find it so hard to adapt to change. You'd think we'd be good at it by now; that after all these winters -- even after all the dark nights that inevitably turn into days when the sun rises -- that we'd be better at accepting the inevitability, both of change and of renewal.

We spent most of this morning sitting around the living room in our jammies with our houseguest discussing jobs and employers, old and new, and all the ways we've succeeded and failed at instigating change over the years. One thing we all agreed about was the importance of asking the right questions (and listening to the answers) right up front, before agreeing to take on anything new, no matter how desperate we are for a job or for money. And the other thing about which we were in total agreement was the importance of learning to say "No."

So I invite you here to join with me on this all-important crusade: Just Say Yes to No! If you're already up to your hipwaders in projects, don't take on another one. If you don't have a kayak, don't promise you can walk on water. And for heaven's sake, VALUE YOUR TIME. If it begins to look like you may be in over your head -- to the point where you no longer have time or energy for the important work you were BORN to do -- get out of the water and step onto dry land: you have more essential tasks calling for your particular energy. Just remember: whatever your gifts are, the world needs you to be giving them. And it's very hard to bring your full creativity to that when you're drowning in to-do lists.

2 comments:

Maureen said...

Amen to all you say today. Now, if I can just get my husband to practice the mantra....

karen gerstenberger said...

I love that photograph. It really is amazing that you can live SO close to the water. I'm more accustomed to a bulkhead, but your entire neighborhood accepts the possibility that this may happen, year after year! And we don't live that far apart...isn't the shoreline a glorious thing? My love affair with the beach will never end. Thanks for sharing this great photo.