“Yes, and…”


Last week I took my first improvisation class. In one exercise, a person started a sentence and each subsequent part of the dialogue had to be prefaced with: “yes, and”. No “but” and no questions.

What if we lived life with more “yes, and” and less negation; building upon and strengthening what already is. When an idea is presented and you feel it’s not a great idea, instead of rejecting it, build upon it. “Yes, and we could do it this way as well or we could try this”. When we question, we go in circles, when we build upon, we move forward, step-by-step. Try this in your daily interactions. Not just at work, but at home, with your spouse, with your children and especially with yourself.

It’s not easy at first. I often catch myself about to say “No” to my 2 ½ year old daughter.  “No, you cannot go outside in your pajamas and flip-flops, it’s 45 degrees.” Instead, I try “yes, you would like to wear your flip-flops. It’s cold today. I will wait until you are ready to get dressed and if you’re not ready in 15 minutes, I will help you.”

There is a magic to acknowledging what is.

They key is to be authentic in our communication. More is said with our body language and tone than by the words themselves. Are we holding the other and ourselves with compassion and with the intent of uplifting the relationship and the outcome? Or are we trying to prove a point to ease a wounded imprint we carry within? Can we bathe ourselves in stillness to hear what the other is saying; can we listen for the response emerging from our heart?

As Yogi Bhajan taught us: “Take a person from his lower self, from his ditch, and raise the pitch so he can be uplifted (…) when you never let yourself down and never let anybody else down, God shall serve you. He shall never let you down.”

May we have the courage to say yes, and the grace to forgive ourselves when we don't.

--Nina RamPrakash Kaur