The Practice of Fierce Courtesy

My daughter and I are reading Patricia Ryan Madson’s book improv wisdom. It will be my second time through the book, her first.

I threatened to tell my daughter’s boss that she is practicing chapter 1 “say yes,” to which she replied, “Nooooooo!” But I think it’s safe to say that my daughter’s boss is not a regular reader of her mother’s blog — to which I say, what the heck, let’s talk about saying “yes.”

“This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say “yes”; “right”; “sure”; “I will”; “okay”; “of course”; “YES!” Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure. Molly Bloom’s famous line from Ulysses draws us into her ecstasy. Humans long to connect. Yes glues us together. Yes starts the juices rolling. Yes gets us into heaven and also into trouble. Trouble is not bad when we are in it together, actually.” -Patricia Ryan Madson, improv wisdom

I am in a different place today than I was when I read it the first time. I am stronger, I am more aware and I am more demanding of myself.

Demanding, but in a good way.

I am demanding that I welcome what is, work with what comes along, and forgive that part of me that needs shelter from those things in the world that cause my heart pain and about which I can do nothing.

I am demanding that I practice that Fierce Courtesy (aka Radical Hospitality) with myself as well as with others.

Love your neighbor, as yourself. Practice saying “Yes!” Practice that same fierce courtesy with yourself that God practices with you.

Say “yes” to yourself. Allow yourself to be who you are. Allow yourself to take flight.

Say “Yes!”

UPDATE: My daughter Tara, newsroom assistant for our local newspaper, just messaged me to share that she said “yes” and now she has a story running on A3 in the newspaper today. Yay, Tara!

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~ by Kimberly Mason on July 15, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Practice of Fierce Courtesy”

  1. Mother & Daughter Newshounds! Yes!

    I really like this post a lot – especially that last Rumi piece. Would that I believed it always!

  2. Sounds like the start of the Jim Carrey movie Yes Man. You could have all kinds of adventures.

  3. Wow. Love this.

  4. Your story makes my whole body ache with smiling. Thank you for being a brilliant example of the best of improvising a life. Love your daughter’s name. I’m a devotee of the green Tara.

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