It was a typical morning commute, driving down W. 29th Street in Baltimore. Of course, every traffic light in the 8-light stretch turned red right right when I arrived. Just my luck! I had been struggling with being mindful that morning, and I was rushing and pushing a bit.
I was chuckling about it when yet another light turned red just as I arrived at the light, and, to express the sentiment Of COURSE the light turned red for me, that's EXACTLY the kind of morning I'm having, I thought one word: Yes! As in, Yes, of course that's what's happening!
I arrived at the next red light, and I again thought, Yes. I also noticed that saying that word was helping me to relax, smile, and enjoy the ride more.
The next light: Yes!
And the next: Yes!!!
What started off as a joke about bad luck with traffic lights evolved into a way of shifting from being willful (racing, pushing, complaining, whining) to being willing (agreeable, accepting, able to flow with what was given me).
Life presents something to me, and I say Yes. Without expectations or comparisons, I say Yes to what is right in front of me, and I deal with it gracefully and with good humor.
I've found that when I'm doing my aerobics at the gym, I'll often think Yes in between mindfulness meditations on the elliptical machine, just as a way of reinforcing that I accept being in the gym, being sweaty, having my current body shape, having a certain energy level...the whole thing. It's helpful short hand for grounding me in the present moment.
The next time you're struggling with something in your day, try approaching it by saying, Yes.