“It’s amazing the power of one word.”
Shonda Rhimes recently said that in her TED Talk called “My year of saying yes to everything.” In the talk, she shares how saying yes to everything that scared her for a year — something that she also recently recounted in her memoir, “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” — changed her life.
Who is Shonda Rhimes? She’s the driving force responsible for television standouts like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “The Catch.” She writes. She produces. She’s responsible for 70 hours of television each week. She does so much — and she loves it. She’s also a mom of three.
And before she started saying yes to everything, she was burned out.
“My hum was broken. I was doing all the things I always did … but there was no hum. Inside me was silence,” she said, referring to her special, individual hum that drives her love of work, creativity and everything else she does.
“A crazy thing happened: The very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear,” Rhimes said. “Yes changed my life. Yes changed me.”
I can relate.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in moving forward and lose that hum — or as I call it, that spark. Have you ever felt that? That moment when the things you love, adore, work for and have a passion for just … stops. Some might call it being over worked. Some might call it burnout. Some might call it writer’s block. Whatever label you place on it, when that spark is lost, it’s scary.
So what do you do? If you’re Shonda Rhimes, you say yes. Yes to your kids. Yes to the things that scare you. Yes to living. Heck, you can do it even if you aren’t Shonda Rhimes. I’ve done it — and it works.
As a writer, the greatest detriment to my writing is falling into a rhythm that deprives me of experience. And that experience is necessary to feed the creativity and keep the passion, the spark alive. So, like Shonda Rhimes, I try to say yes often.
Saying yes is such a powerful thing — it’s reinvigorating, and enlivening, and it’s worth it. Yes to trying new things. Yes to exploring new places. Yes to new experiences. Yes to doing the things my kids want most.
How often do you say yes? Is it time to say it a little more?
This week I am sharing a smoothie recipe that my kids and I love, that they had a hand in creating. It combines a combination my daughter loves — strawberries and bananas — with my son’s desire to eat healthier.
In deciding to share this, I had to ask myself if you — or I, or anything — needed a smoothie recipe. The answer was a resounding yes.
Sure, smoothies are largely toss it in the blender and blend drinks. But it’s not the process that you need to know about so much as the mix of ingredients. If there’s anything I’ve learned while making smoothies, it’s that balancing the ingredients is so important to the enjoyment of smoothies.
You can’t just grab whatever’s available, blend and go. I mean, technically you can, but the results … well, they aren’t always so good. Too sweet, not sweet enough, too much of one flavor, too many flavors …
My kids and I have experimented a lot with smoothies using a variety of fresh and frozen ingredients. We’ve found that mango isn’t a favorite for us, and ginger can quickly overpower any flavor. Bananas are great for adding flavor and natural sweetener, but you don’t always want your smoothie to taste like bananas. Apples can also work as a natural sweetener with less impact on the overall flavor.
It was my son’s idea to add something green to our smoothies. Perhaps cucumber or kale, he said. But I’d tucked away a bag of spinach just for smoothies, so we went with that. While we like kale in our smoothies, the assertion that “you can’t even taste it” is like my mother telling me everything “tastes just like chicken” when I was a child. Adding kale to a smoothie just tastes like adding kale to a smoothie (read: it’s earthy), so we use it on occasion and in moderation.
But spinach? It’s nutritious and tasteless. And though that means that smoothie turned from a pleasant shade of pink to a mossy green, the flavor is still decidedly strawberry banana, which is always delightful.
And you know what else is delightful? The spoils of saying yes — laughter, enjoyment, fun and memories. What can I say yes to today?
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 banana, peeled
- ½ cup frozen chopped spinach (still frozen)
- 1 cup chilled coconut water
- ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
- 2 fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)
- Combine the frozen strawberries, banana, spinach, coconut water and yogurt in the bowl of a blender. Process until smooth. Pour into two glasses, and garnish with a fresh strawberry, if desired. Enjoy immediately.