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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

the "yes" experiment

this is Bella

This was an experiment in saying yes.

I met them in line at the glassybaby sale. It was 4am and we were already arriving in line (as obsessive fans of glassybaby do) before the start of the sale at 8am. I had come alone. I was #28 in line. Just ahead of me were two friends sharing a headset, blankets and watching a DVD.  Behind me a group had arrived and was setting up. The small group of friends had chairs, blankets, magazines and the comforts of home. They even had a Yellow Lab named Bella. I sat quietly in my folding chair, with my headset on, closed my eyes and listened to my Chill playlist. Then it happened.

She sat on me.

Bella, the big Yellow Lab backed up into me and sat on my feet. My eyes flew open. Her owners were mortified. "Come here, Bella!" they said. She looked at them but stayed where she was.  I smiled and removed my earbuds "Is that OK?" they asked. "Yes," I said. "It's OK. I'm a dog person." I looked at Bella.  "Good Bella! Good girl! Who's a good dog? You're a good dog!"

And that was it. That is how I made three new friends, Bella and her owners Angie and Cynthia.

Angie and Cynthia were part of a group of six friends who knew each other well. They opened up their circle to include me. As an only child I am good on my own. I can entertain myself and be perfectly OK alone in a situation with lots of people around me. Typically if I am somewhere for awhile I'll listen to music on my headphones or read a book on my iPad Mini but this felt different. In that moment when Bella sat on my feet I could have smiled kindly at the group of friends and continued listening to music but instead, looking at this group of friends laughing easily with each other I wanted to open myself up to possibilities, to their light and joy.

I fell in love with this group of girls of all different ages including a mother and daughter (a little girl who patiently waited for the sale to begin). They were funny and smart and clearly loved each other. They knew each other's quirks and they had been there for each other through the good and the bad. At one point, we started talking about food (as girls do) and they decided what a wonderful idea it would be to send someone to fetch McDonald's Egg White & Cheddar McMuffins. When breakfast arrived they freely shared their bounty. I just loved this group. They welcomed a new friend easily and I was so happy that I had made that split second decision to get out of my shell that morning and open myself up to new friends.

hello, glassybaby

This was my fourth glassybaby sale and their first. We talked about strategy once we got into the shop. "Go directly to your favorite colors first," I said. "If you really like a particular glassybaby, pick it up and don't put it down. Someone else will pick it up and then nothing will compare to the one you lost. Bring a lighter or a flashlight to see the luminescence of each glassybaby. Do you have a market basket?"

They shook their heads no. I ran over to my car and grabbed my spare market basket I use for the farmer's market. (I always have two in my car. One for me and one for a friend.) They were ready. It was almost time. At 7:30am we put our chairs in the car and stretched. At 8am we entered the glassybaby sale with the crowd and promptly lost each other. The glassybaby sales are always so crowded that honestly once you lose someone in the crowd you may not find them again until you leave. After I successfully filled with my basket with new Aquamarines, I got in line to check out. That is when I saw the market basket I had loaned to my new friends, sitting there under the check out table. We hadn't exchanged information so I thought "How clever of them to leave it there for me to find!" As I walked to my car with my basket loaded down I was happy that I had spent the morning getting to know the coolest group of girls.

That is where I thought the story would end.

It didn't.

It turns out that Cynthia works with my husband and she remembered me mentioning his name and so she sent him an email titled "I think I met your wife. . ."As I drove home, Larry called to tell me he got an email from someone about a market basket and did I know anything about it. "Yes," I said. "I loaned it to the coolest girls. I have the basket here."

"Good!" he said. "They were worried that you wouldn't find it after loaning it to them."

When I got home I emailed them, thanking them for a great morning and we started to email back and forth. At the sale I had turned down their offer of a McMuffin because I was working hard on my fitness program. I told them about Disney's Princess 5K that I ran in February and Angie told me about Girls on the Run, a program she works with that is just filled with Happy girls. I asked if she would tell me more about it. Angie asked if I wanted to meet for lunch and I said "Yes." During lunch, I was inspired by these young girls who train hard to run their first 5K. I get it. I get what training can do for your body and your psyche.

Want to get inspired by some happy girls? Watch this video for Girls on the Run

Then she asked "Have you ever been to a Seattle Storm game?" I said "No." She asked if I would like to go and I said "Yes. Yes, I would love to go." And that is how I ended up at my first WNBA basketball game. I wasn't sure what to expect. Great athletes, sure, but these women had something more. The event had something more. In addition to the outstanding athleticism on the field, halftime included dog agility with numerous dogs racing each other over hurdles, loving every single minute of challenging themselves. We cheered on the identical Goldendoodles racing each other and smiled at the small puppy, long ears flapping as he tried to jump over each hurdle (he jumped each one on the way out but ran next to them on the way back!) During the second half I looked around and saw families out on a Saturday night, cheering on these unbelievable athletes.  I was having an incredible time doing something that I hadn't done before.  In that moment I was so happy that I let my guard down and said yes, yes and yes.

The power of yes is extraordinary. When you say yes, you allow your heart to open to possibilities. You have no idea what awaits you when you say yes to the universe, especially if you are accustomed to saying no. That morning when I drove top-down in the quiet early morning to the glassybaby sale, I didn't know about Cynthia or Angie or Bella. I didn't know that I would want to become part of Girls on the Run, to cheer on girls and help them achieve a goal that I just recently achieved myself. I didn't know but the universe did and so did one very pushy blonde named Bella.

What if you were to say "Yes!" today? What if? Try it. It could be a simple yes to the question of "Do you want spaghetti for dinner?" or a more permanent yes to "Will you be mine?" Today, say yes. See what happens.

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