Living in the “Yes” of Life

by Christine Martin

“In chaos there is fertility.” ~Anais Nin

The word fertility formerly had a one-dimensional meaning for me, but I’ve come to broaden its definition.

In my time living in Seoul, Korea, it has played a big part in defining my experience. You see, my husband and I have been trying to conceive since 2009 and have not been lucky.

There’s a long story behind this that includes testing and monitoring and modifying our diets and trying acupuncture. And, for about a year, I became that person I did not want to become—swallowed up by the pain and stress surrounding this issue.

In the meantime, we’ve taken on forging new paths in our professional lives. Having been a teacher for 15 years (10 of those international), I finally heeded a different call.

It started out as a whisper and then grew in volume until I could no longer ignore it. I was burnt out on education and came to see my love for creating spaces and interiors. This was a natural consequence of making “home” in several countries.

After some soul searching, I enrolled in an online interior design program while still working as a teacher. It was the step I needed to feel creatively challenged and to envision a wider future.

Yet, as this happened, my desire to start a family intensified. It has been a very difficult place to be emotionally. What’s more, is figuring out how to deal with the negative form of the word: infertility. It feels large, empty, and desperately sad.

People, having the best intentions, offered advice:

“Just relax. Have fun with the process of trying.”

“Try not to focus on it. I know someone who, once they stopped trying, got pregnant.”

“What about some fertility treatments, or adoption?”

These words sounded hollow to me. They didn’t resonate with my core being.

Then, I remembered some that did. Several months ago, a wise advisor said to me: 

“You have a choice. You can live in the No of your life or you can live in the Yes. Look at what is flowing, working, moving. Being in that energy will beget more positive experiences.”

Being in a state of infertility, where things seem to be stagnant and stuck is a very human experience. We all feel stuck at one time or another. We all know what it’s like to feel an absence of growth or progress.

And, in a world where chaos unfolds easily, we all have felt a lack of control and organization.

So, the question is: what does living in the Yes of life look life?

  • Being thankful. Having a daily practice of gratitude, acknowledging the blessings we have, (however small they may be) goes a long way.
  • Being present. Discard the “should haves” or “if onlys,” as they only lead to regret and disappointment. Breathing into our present realities makes each moment meaningful.
  • Shifting perspective. The comparison game can be destructive. It is helpful to take that half-full glass, empty it, and refill it completely with the positive things we have in life.

In less than a week, my life will be topsy-turvy. I will leave a stable job in education. I will pack up all my belongings and store them indefinitely. I will work and fumble and learn in a new profession while exploring Laos as our next home.

Yep, things feel a bit chaotic.

But, there’s undeniable movement here.

In the uncertainty of success in a new field or profession, there is will and passion.

In the nervousness of starting over without concrete support, there is marital encouragement and communal strength.

In the fear of “not making it,” there is personal conviction and growth.

And, although the question of how we start a family visits us again and again, I now have a new definition of fertility.

In our daily lives, something beautiful has taken root, and I know it will be fruitful.

During moments in life when you feel stuck, what do you do to ignite movement or growth? How does chaos play out in your life? Is it paralyzing or can it be positive?

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3 thoughts on “Living in the “Yes” of Life

  1. In moments in which I feel stuck, I try to find some small step to take that will lead to me not being stuck. Once I acquire that step, I take another one. I do not find chaos to be paralyzing, but rather an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to work on different skills than I am used to using on a daily basis.

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