We’re born with it. We’re born into it. Yet we rarely give it much thought — until some kind of life-threatening experience threatens to take it from us. But if we think about it now — before we reach an obvious precipice — we can have a far grander experience of life. And in this process, we’ll discover how much power we have to CHOOSE a life of health, love, creativity, and joy beyond what we have imagined possible.
Saying yes to life starts first with an attitude of “yesness.” It means having an open mind, an open heart, curiosity, and gratitude. It means taking risks to explore the unknown rather than hiding in the security of the known. It means being willing to try and fail rather than not try at all. It means seeing with eyes of wonder and delight rather than sophisticated boredom, and being willing to feel the pain of loss and disappointment rather than choosing not to feel at all.
Saying yes to life also means choosing life-affirming actions. Healthy food, physical activity, and caring for the earth all support our lives. The Standard American Diet of highly processed foods and animal products and a sedentary lifestyle lead to sickness, disability, pain, and a dependence upon medications and surgeries, none of which can replace a healthy, life-affirming lifestyle. Choosing a cheese-burger and fries is life-denying; choosing bean soup and salad is life-affirming.
When we say yes to life with healthy choices, we become empowered! We begin to realize that our health is in our own hands. Good health isn’t the result of good luck, good health insurance, or good doctors;it is the result of good choices. It’s a lot easier to have an attitude of yesness when we feel good, and we can feel good by making healthy choices.
Our life can be a vicious cycle of poor choices leading to poor health, leading to discouragement and lack of motivation, leading to more poor choices — or it can be a victorious cycle of healthy choices leading to vibrant health, energy, and confidence in our own abilities, leading to more healthy choices. Wherever we are in the cycle, we can decide to make our next choice a healthy one. We can say “Yes!” to life.
Saying yes to life doesn’t stop with ourselves. We say yes to life when we honor the lives of other people, animals and plants, and the soil, air, and water of this beautiful planet. This means really thinking about the needs of these other lives and seeing how our choices affect theirs. It also means taking responsibility for our choices, recognizing that there is really no such thing as a totally “personal choice” because ALL of our choices have a ripple affect that end up affecting everyone and everything.
There is something really exciting about seeing how connected we are to life at all levels, whether it is recognizing that the ocean is coursing through our own veins, that we are breathing in concert with the plants, with their exhalation becoming our inhalation, or that the digestion of our food is dependent upon other tiny life-forms living inside us (bacteria). Our earth would be overcome with debris if the tiny microbes weren’t hard at work breaking down all the organic material into rich, life-supporting humus. This is known as the nutrient cycle. These same microbes are what turn our compost into “black gold.” They can do the same when we compost our human excrement, breaking it down and turning it into a wonderful resource, returning us to the nutrient cycle, rather than polluting our water with it.
Learning more about how nature works lets us work with her, designing and creating beautiful and productive vegetable gardens which then support our physical health. It is our microbe buddies that make our gardens into an incredible web of life.
Saying yes to life is joyful, exciting, and loving. It brings out the best in us and helps other do the same.