….Yes is a world
& in this world of
(excerpt from the poem, “love is a place” by e.e. cummings)
The other day I had an appointment with our family doctor. It has been a long time since I’ve gone to the doctor, but my right eye has been bothering me for a while, and so I knew I needed to see someone. As I headed back to the exam room with the nurse, she stopped in front of the scale and said, “I need your weight.” This was a turning point for me. For so much of my life, weight had been an issue. In the past, when I had a doctor’s appointment, I would wear the lightest clothes I had, eat no breakfast, drink practically nothing, and you can bet that I stripped off every article of clothing possible, before stepping onto those scales.
Years ago, I worked as an office nurse for my friend Dr. Bailey. I saw many women who basically had the same anxiety about weight that I had. But one day a woman came for her annual exam and her approach to the entire appointment was so radically different, that it made a lasting impression on me. She was a potter, owned a small farm in northern Vermont, and every year (at her annual exam) she brought Dr. Bailey a piece of her pottery as a gift.
As she and I walked down the hall, I asked her to step on the scale to get her weight. She didn’t even attempt to get undressed. With her jacket and boots still on, she stepped on the scale. She was a large woman, not fat, but very sturdily built, and she was comfortable with who she was, what she weighed,… with her life. She didn’t have to say a word, self-acceptance just radiated from her. She was generous in her life and even in her size and it all seemed right.
I wondered how it was possible (unless someone was thin) to be so comfortable. At that point in my life, accepting my body as it was, seemed like an impossible fantasy. My body had never felt right to me. It didn’t matter if I weighed 118 or 168, in my eyes, there was always something wrong with it.
When I stepped on the scale last week, I realized that I had left my jacket on…and I was still holding my purse. The nurse asked me if I wanted to take my jacket off and I said, “It can’t make that much difference.” I just felt that whatever I weighed was OK, and I give credit to this woman who, so many years ago, showed me how to live gracefully. It may have taken me 20 years to step into this way of being, but she opened a door for me, a door to another way of seeing, and I held that image, like a seed, somewhere deep in my mind, until last week when I realized that it had finally bloomed.
It truly is time to say yes to who and what we are…it doesn’t mean that we won’t change and grow, but that positive change will come from a Yes to life, not from a No. Harsh non-acceptance just closes us down, closes doors, blinds us to opportunity. Yes…saying yes to life…. opens life up to us.