A history of saying "yes"...

I'm reading Mark Nepo's book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.  There is an exercise at the end of the first chapter that asks..."Begin to tell the story of your history with yes.  Your first experience of saying yes and where it led you."

Immediately the first thing that came to mind was auditioning for Cornerstone Theatre. Mike Bray had taken me to see a play there one Christmas.  The Visitor.  It connected with me deeply and was the first time I was aware of the difference between a play and a movie—the magic that happens between stage and audience.

The next year, I heard on the radio that there were open auditions.  I had never acted. Never danced. And yet something inside called me to go to the audition.  It was terrifying.

I remember the day they were posting the cast and I would run at the end of every class period to the pay phone at the end of the hall to see if the number would be answered by the recording that had the list.

Up to that point, it was the biggest, bravest thing I had ever done.  Trying for something that I had absolutely no qualifications to try for. I was cast as an extra and it opened a whole world for me.  I went on to be in many more shows. (Shows with speaking parts...lol...)

But most importantly, that experience opened me up to the world of saying, "why not?"

That history of saying "yes" to things you want:mdash;and taking the leap when you don't know if there is joy or disappointment on the other side is the key to all that is truly worthwhile.

For more inspiration on this idea, check out Michelle Devereaux's "Year of Why Not."

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Maira Gall