The World of Yes

….Yes is a world

& in this world of 

yes live

(skilfully curled)

all worlds

                                                           (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.


12 thoughts on “The World of Yes”

  1. I love this post! I too used to work in a Dr.’s office and one time I tacked over the scale all the “excuses” that people (mostly women!) used to explain their weight gains… “I have heavy boots (jewelry, sweater, jeans on; I went out to dinner last night; I think I’m retaining water; It’s the weather; my new medicine is causing this; it’s a bad time of day to get weighed” I took it down within a couple of days however– because I realized folks needed this to protect WHAT?
    So the ‘lesson’ is THIS IS ME NOW.

  2. Wow Jenness….I love your story! ..”This is me now”, is a grace-filled, loving statement. Thank you.

  3. I did this just this last week…the woman wouldn’t stop to let me take off my boots and jacket…i was trying to be cool on the outside but inside I was like Noooooo wait…i am have knee surgery coming up and i want to be thinner and on and on and on…i just need to sit in peace & love the me i really have neglected for years….

  4. Oh, Mary, I can identify with your previous behavior — light clothes, no breakfast, etc. Now I tell myself it’s just a number, not a judgment. I remember Erma Bombeck’s column years ago dealing with this issue — she said she weighed her heaviest shoes and they came to about 3 ounces. My sister turns her back on the scale and says that unless there is a dramatic change in weight that affects her health, she doesn’t need to know. Having been hung up playing the numbers game for too long, she has decided this is a better method for her. At least it gives her peace of mind.

  5. I have been a scale cringer for the past decade, thinking I was always going to lose that 10 lbs, recently I’ve started saying yes to my body as it now is at 59. Self acceptance isn’t easy but so much more sweet!

  6. I chose “Yes” as my word for this year, so I liked the quote from the e e cummings poem and added it to my collection. Saying yes does open up the world!
    On the other hand, someone recently told me that you don’t have to submit to being weighed every time you go to the doctor, and I thought that was rather freeing. Sometimes it just does not occur to me that I have the power to say no to something!

  7. Wonderful post! ‘Say yes’ is one of my New Years resolutions this year. So far, it has been interesting how hard it is for me. I have decided it is partly habit and partly fear that cause me to say no so easily.

  8. It felt as though your message today was just for me. I am learning to love myself and after so many years of not doing so, I have to work at it diligently. Thank you for starting my day off with your words.

  9. Mary thank you for sharing this story. I, too, was already afraid of being weighed and still am, still struggling to lose that 10 or 15 pounds……but maybe now I’ll just do it and accept the results and not beat myself over the head if it doesn’t meet my expectations. And I won’t let the doctor do that to me either!

  10. Yes, I love this post. Thank you for reminding me that accepting myself as I am at sixty is actually an option.

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