Editor’s Note: This gem was shared with us at the Cosmic Cowgirls Gathering in April of this year. The incomparable Lynn Johnson led us in a magical session of Saying Yes and improv and theatre. Everyone got into the act – elders, daughters ,cowgirls from all walks of life. It was delightful and very powerful! These are the words she shared with us. ~ Annette
Saying Yes means Willingness.
A Willingness to move up and over and around
and through all that life has to offer.
Some call it – go with the flow. I say, it’s stronger than that.
It’s braver than that. It’s bolder than that.
Saying Yes is about making a commitment.
Making a commitment to yourself.
Making a commitment to your life.
It’s telling yourself – everyday…
in any moment– I am able.
I am capable.
I am not a collection of fragmented problems
that need to be fixed.
I am whole.
And I have all that I need
to thrive in this moment.
Saying Yes means Acceptance.
An Acceptance of each and every moment,
each and every person, each and every
circumstance that is placed in front of you.
Even when these moments and people and circumstances
are in conflict with you.
Even when these moments and people and circumstances
are presented in ways that cause you to feel small or scared or sad.
Some call it – look on the bright side.
I say, it’s stronger than that. It’s braver than that.
It’s bolder than that.
Saying Yes is making a choice to stop looking at these moments
and people and circumstances as “good” or “bad.”
It’s about making a choice to accept all moments and people
and circumstances as another opportunity to make another choice.
To make a choice that serves you.
To make a choice that serves your world.
Saying Yes does not mean you will or should be joyful
all the time.
It means you gather together
all of your emotions
– the ones that feel good and the ones that don’t
– into one giant superpower that helps you access
and create deep meaning and purpose all around you.
Saying Yes does not mean you won’t ever make mistakes.
It means that you make a place at your table for each
and every mistake because you know that their presence means
that you are, indeed, a lifelong learner, always
ready to grow, always ready to try, always giving your best effort.
Saying Yes does not mean you must approve of other’s
hurtful actions and behaviors. It means that you practice
forgiveness while allowing others the opportunity
to practice responsibility.
You know you can’t control them.
You know you can’t fix them.
You know you can’t change them.
Saying Yes means that you give others the space
to Say Yes to themselves.
Saying Yes does not mean you can never say “No.”
It means coming face to face with each moment, with each person,
with each circumstance – taking a breath,
allowing it to be what it is
and making a choice about how to proceed.
Saying Yes is that breath.
Saying Yes is that Allowing.
Saying Yes gives you the power to move forward
in the direction that best serves you.
Take a breath
Allow it to happen
Be Willing to Notice. To Listen.
Make a choice.
Make the Commitment.
~ ~ ~
Lynn Johnson is a social entrepreneur and girl advocate dedicated to igniting a compassion revolution by putting girls center stage. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spotlight:Girls, the producer of Go Girls! Camp. Based in Oakland, CA, Spotlight:Girls celebrates and activates girls and women through multi-media learning experiences, products, and events.
Lynn knew that she wanted to be an actor when she was just 5 years old and has spent her whole life centered around the learning, teaching, and creation of theater. She spent her childhood moving throughout the northeastern U.S. until her family settled in Concord, MA her 8th grade year. Being a “drama geek” and 1 of only a few African American students living in the town at the time, Lynn developed a strong awareness of and commitment to those who live their lives “being different.” At a young age, she began to develop a personal and professional mission dedicated to using the art of theater to celebrate difference while building strong, peaceful, loving, and diverse communities.
Lynn has spent the past 25 years working with people of all ages from all over the country using theater as a tool for personal transformation and community development. After graduation from Northwestern University, she discovered her entrepreneurial tendencies when she founded TurnStyle Teen Theatre, a multicultural teen ensemble. The company used the process of creating original productions to explore themes central to the lives of its members. Also in Chicago, Lynn worked as a company member for Child’s Play Touring Theatre, a nationally recognized theater that performs stories and poems written by young people throughout the United States. Later, in Chapel Hill, NC she designed and directed a number of community-based educational programs that focused on literature, oral history, community building, and personal narrative. She served as the Education Director for both the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance in Chapel Hill and Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh. She also created programming for the Opera Company of North Carolina and directed The Village Whippersnapper Ensemble, a group of home-schooled students and their mothers that adapted and performed classics and original stories for local school groups and libraries.
Lynn regularly works as a facilitator, speaker, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of girls education, youth development, arts education, social/emotional learning, and creative entrepreneurship. Lynn serves on the National Advisory Board of Teaching Artists Guild and the Board of Directors of the How Kids Learn Foundation.