Saying “YES!” to Life

Late yesterday afternoon, we had an unannounced visitor to The Mesa.  We had only just arrived ourselves, having done a drum making demonstration for the Academy of Lifelong Learning in Steubenville, OH in the morning and spending the first part of the afternoon procuring groceries for our nearly empty fridge.  I was getting something from our pickup truck when a car I had seen drive past our building circled back and pulled in next to me.  Out jumped a man in a cowboy hat and western boots.  I wondered if he was “Eddie from Arizona”, who had called over the weekend about coming to The Mesa but had never shown up.  No, he wasn’t Eddie and he lived, in all places, here in Burgettstown.  When I told him that we had just arrived ourselves, he said that there were “no accidents”, something Kate and I knew very well.

 “Hal” was probably in his mid-forties, very outgoing, enthusiastic, and extremely polite and respectful.  (He kept calling Kate, “Ma’am”, much to her discomfort.)  He had just heard about us from his physical therapist, someone whose name we didn’t recognize, and came straight over to see if we were open.  “Hal” was so excited to have found us and The Mesa that he could hardly contain himself.  He proceeded to tell us all about himself and how he had been a “partier” who had had an awakening.  He had been studying martial arts and was having strong experiences with directing and using ch’i, or life-force.  “I just don’t know what to do next,” he lamented, a statement we had heard from so many who have walked in our door.

 “Hal” was bright and delightful, and I while I wanted to just stand there and listen to him, I knew Kate and I needed to start getting our dinner ready so we could host our Tuesday night healing group, scheduled for less than an hour away.  As much as I wanted to multitask and work towards moving along to the healing center as we talked, there was something compelling about our interaction that stilled me.  I could feel an unusual electricity and had a sense there was more to our meeting than met the eye.  No, it wasn’t an accident “Hal” had walked in at that moment and I was watching for what our friend and mentor, Rev. Norma Edwards, would call a “teachable moment”—not for “Hal” but for myself.

 As he was telling us about looking for advice and direction for his new path in life, “Hal” remarked that as a child he had been repeatedly told “NO” and rarely allowed to fully experience life.  He had come to a conscious decision to let go of “NO” and say “YES!” to life.  In his enthusiasm and desire to shine out to us, he reiterated this idea several times.  I found myself reminded about the conversation Kate and I had been having as we had driven to The Mesa just minutes before.  I had commented on my own recurrent avoidance behavior and tendency to say “Yes, but…” to different things that I wanted to be doing in life without really knowing why.

 Surely my parents had also told me “NO” quite often and I had come to internalize something from it that occasionally stopped me in my tracks, I thought.  In fact, I had become acutely aware of all too often finding myself unconsciously shaking my head “NO” to thoughts or ideas about things that might benefit me.  It didn’t feel like I was doing this nay-saying out of fear, but with all the healing work I had done to that point, I still didn’t have a handle on why I was increasingly shaking my head.

 After listening patiently for nearly half an hour, we had to tell “Hal” that as much as we were enjoying our conversation, we had to excuse ourselves.  “Hal” apologized profusely for delaying our dinner and vowed to return to The Mesa soon, excited that he had found kindred spirits who might advise him.  I could feel myself split between wanting to continue our conversation and our healing group commitment; the dichotomy between wanting to stay in the moment vs. prudently preparing for the future.  I knew that prudence very well and was willing to admit that I had often held back in life, telling myself I was doing the best that I could at the moment.  As “Hal” was leaving, I found myself wondering how I would ever be able to get all those “NO’s” out of my head and open to living fully.

 As I was cooking our dinner, salmon on the grill, I thought about how I might change my inner operating system to let go of the “NO’s”.  How engrained it must be that I sometimes literally shook my head at my own thoughts, I mused.  Then an idea for a simple little healing came to me.  We had been using Kinesiology (muscle testing) extensively as a communications channel to negotiate change with our otherwise silent inner selves.  It is a kinesthetic cue that can shift emotional, mental, or behavioral patterns; body sensation coupled with just the right suggestions being the key.  What if I we could teach my inner ME to allow itself to say “YES” instead of “NO” by gently guided head movements coupled with the right “conversation”?  It seemed too simple to actually work, but worth a try.  I asked my Guides about the idea and was given confirmation that it would be effective.  I intuited that it would be better to try it when we got home instead of within the healing group.

 When we got home, I laid across the bed with my head near the edge so that Kate could easily reach it.  I muscle tested myself about saying “YES” to life and got a weak or “NO” response, indicating my inner resistance to the idea.  I then checked on specific areas of my life, and found that while I was open to saying “YES” to certain things (teaching, running The Mesa, etc), I got negative responses for saying “YES” to art, making money, and (surprisingly) “healing”.  I asked Kate to do two movements for each statement I would make about saying “YES” to an area of life, the first time rocking my head side-to-side, “NO” fashion, and then gently guiding me to nod my head “YES” as I repeated it.

 Kate did as I asked and the process seemed to be working.  When I muscle tested about each statement a second time after guided nodding, the response had changed from negative to positive.  I could feel energy moving in my body, but at that point the process hadn’t yet produced any profound sensations or emotions.  When Kate helped me give the nod to healing however, I found myself inhaling and exhaling deeply several times and my body relaxed.  After that, every muscle test statement I made about saying “YES” to a positive aspect of life resulted in an affirmative (YES!) response and I could feel the inner shift rapidly expanding.

 When I woke up this morning, I felt much more open, expanded, and optimistic.  The sensation of my new state of consciousness was even a bit disorienting.  When I got out of bed, I was up and walking before my awareness could catch up with my body.  My inner self was ready to go!  I feel different and the positive muscle tests are holding firm.  While I can’t guarantee that my little healing method would work for anyone else, I’ve written about it here in the hopes that it might inspire others to find new ways let go of our societal “NO’s” and fully say “YES!” to life.  We’re here to assist and support you as we all make this journey together.  It’s time.

About Brad Silberberg

Brad Silberberg, director of The Mesa Creative Arts Center in Burgettstown, PA (Pittsburgh area) is an artist, holistic healer, spiritual leader, and change agent.
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