Lean Into Your Life: The Power of Yes

 On Friday I was making my way north into Los Angeles to be the guest at my nephews' Grandparents Day, when I passed by two elementary schools. The crossing guards stopped our cars as a few dozen pint-sized cowboys and girls crossed in front of us. I smiled as a kindergartner, glad in pink cowboy boots and pink 
Nephew Parker at Grandparents Day
western hat, walked in front of my car. Laughing out loud, I scanned across the more than four decades that our family has been involved in Swallows Weekend, with three generations of us marching in the famous San Juan Capistrano parade. As I cruised up the freeway I marveled at our human ability to find meaning in life, for creating incredible institutions and rituals. 

     On Saturday, we joined the 20,000 celebrants gathered along the parade route. Laughter and music and the enticing aroma of bar-b-cue filled the air. The eager expressions on
Swallows Day Parade Clydesdales
the faces of the spectators as they thrilled to dancing horses, brilliantly costumed Aztec dancers, and massive Clydesdales pulling antique fire engines, revealed how totally present they were in the moment. That is what we have, each individual moment. Life does not just "happen," we have to make it happen. The massive crowd and the hundreds of marchers were making a joyous life happen at the moment.
     Placing ourselves in the path of opportunity is key to growing our happiness and living to our full potential. I met our new class of Women in Transition for the first time a few weeks ago, and already I can see the change that has come over them. They are moving forward even against serious life challenges. They have put themselves in a situation that can lead to opportunity. They adopted the Power of Yes. The parade participants chose "Yes" to marching, the spectators chose "Yes" to join in. Your life right now is the result of your past decisions, but you do not need to be 
Youngest Son Dan and Donna
bound to them. If you are not happy with where you are, you can alter your course today, this minute. You can choose "Yes." You can move out of your comfort zone and try something new. Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook and recent widow, implores people, especially women, to LEAN IN (the title of her book) to our own power and abilities. She says, "We hold ourselves back in both big and small ways by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, by pulling back when we should be leaning in."

     On my dog walk this morning, my neighbor Kay and I chatted a moment, "Donna next year let's ride our horses in the parade!" 

     "Wow, that's an idea!" I responded. 

     I didn't say "No," perhaps I will lean into that! Mark Twain once said, "courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of it." What opportunity is knocking at your door? This morning I had a post and delightful photos from my former Transition client Sonia, who is in the Peace Corps right now in Africa. Sonia has leaned in. What more do you want to do? Maybe you want to march in the parade next year? Take a trip, learn to Salsa dance, or volunteer at the hospital? It is up to us to make our individual lives meaningful, to find joy even against difficulty. You are powerful. This is your time.
   

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