My Spoken Yes

I am an exit row kind of gal. Not, as you might suppose, because I want to be the first one out of the plane in case of emergency, but rather because I have ridiculously long legs. Put it this way -- my dad was five inches taller than me and we had the same inseam. I'm all leg, and in the regular coach seats, neither the person in front of me nor I enjoy my knees being crammed into their seatback. Thus my mania for exit rows.

Those of you who are exit row people like me will know that there is a whole exit row ritual, which must be undergone before every take off. The flight attendant requests our attention, which means all eyes must be on her as she speaks. She informs those of us in the row what our duties are, and then asks us whether we agree. Nodding won't do. It must be a verbal assent.

In other words, there is only one correct answer.

That is a spoken yes.

For those of you who have joined me on this last stretch of road for one of my talks, or read some of my most recent blogs, you'll know why I am telling this story.

For those of you who haven't, this blog will catch you up on the latest chapter of my joy practice: The ongoing legacy of yes.

In fact, this whole blog post is one big yes, a yes both to taking care of myself as well as shepherding myself through my own creative process. In short, I am pooping out on writing the blog this week in favor of posting a very grainy but totally audible video from my talk the other night here in Aberystwyth, Wales. I'm pooping out not just because I am pooped, but because I need a little perspective. I have been on such an amazing journey, in which so many joy-filled events and connections have happened. I know that, in order to write about it in the way that will do it justice, I need some perspective.

I have always loved the art of the Northern Renaissance. (I still regard spending four hours with Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece the summer I turned 21 as one of the most mystical experiences of my life.) It's not just because I am a Nordic person at heart, but rather because I have always always needed the long view. To get to the heart of the matter, I need not just perspective, but the full 360. It's my necessary journey of understanding.


Take this Hans Memling triptych. There is just so much going on, so much story. Remember, these paintings were the TV series of their epoch -- meant to keep the audience coming back week after week. . . in this case to church, to engage with the lessons of the Bible stories told in these altarpieces. At some point, the eye, the mind can't take in any more. It needs a respite, which Memling understood. So instead of releasing the viewer and allowing her to turn away from the painting, Memling has created a place for the eye to find its rest -- in the longview, the distance, which is, of course, an idealized depiction of the inhabited world of the viewer. . .

In the coming months, as my heart, mind and eye regain both their perspective and rest, I know I will be writing about the amazingly joy-filled last two and a half weeks here in the UK and Ireland.

In the meantime, I am going to just take my seat in the exit row, settle in for the ride home, and share with you My Spoken Yes!


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