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Saying Yes to a Wild-Hearted Life -- Lessons From Shonda Rhimes

As terrifying and thrilling as it was, I simply said yes to my heart. I didn't let my fear take control of my desires and the result was pure bliss. It was like surfing a wave for pretty much the whole year. I want that again. So I'm saying yes to badassery this year. Standing on the mountaintop, sun on my face.
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Deciding to say yes to our lives may not seem like a big deal or may sound too abstract but the beauty and magic of life can transform a simple decision to something big and life-changing. Shonda Rhimes' "Year of Yes", is a brilliant example. I loved that book. I love her shows and now I love Shonda even more. A book filled with humor, anecdotes, inspirational stories and real life insecurities make it so relatable. It's like having a conversation with her, in Vermont, while making jam. Her yes adventure started after realizing despite her success, she wasn't really happy and her life was filled with no's. She promised herself to do the things that terrified her by saying yes to her life.

5 Lessons that inspired me with "Year of Yes" from Shonda Rhimes:

1. Be a doer, not a dreamer.

"I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing."
Shonda Rhimes

For a dreamer like me, her Dartmouth commencement speech touched me deeply as I recognized myself in that description. I'm a dreamer. The hippie version of it - with the vision board, meditation, journalling and daydreaming. I don't want to change as I love that softer side of me but I want to add that "do something" attitude. Moving forward and taking steps to get closer to where I want to be. And that includes working hard and being committed to the life I want to live.

2. Say yes to loving yourself.

"Food is magic. It makes you feel better. It numbs you. Beautiful magical food deadens your soul just enough so you can't think too hard about anything other than cake or sleep. Putting food on top of it casts a spell to make the feelings go away. You don't have to face yourself or think or be anything other than your brain- no body necessary."
Shonda Rhimes

Saying yes to ourselves and realizing that our bodies are not something separate from our brains. Body, mind and soul are all intertwined and linked together. That means nourishing our bodies and lives with food and activities that will make us feel vibrant, happy and alive and it all starts with acceptance. Accepting ourselves can be powerful and have ripple effects. Showing love to ourselves instead of negative thoughts will have a positive impact on what we decide to put in our bodies and how we choose to treat them.

3. Call me a badass.

"I now see two paths- a ragged rocky one that goes up to the top of the mountain and a nice easy one that heads down under it. I can fight to make the rocky climb, get a few bruises, risk getting hurt. And I can stand on the mountaintop and breathe the rare air in the warm sun, taking the whole world before me. Or I can take the easy route underground. There's no sun down there. No air. But it's warm. It's safe."
Shonda Rhimes

Shonda's a badass warrior. She works hard, she's strong, independent and listens to her creative genius. Writing is her thing and her badassery is inspiring. Shonda goes all in and owns Thursday night on TV, if that's not a proof?! Being a badass is recognizing and owning our talents and not apologizing for it. It's about accepting the compliment and love that come our ways.

4. Make space for play, real friendships and adventures.

"Wanna play? From now on, the answer is always yes. I drop whatever I am doing and I go to my children and I play."
Shonda Rhimes

Finding the magical moments in our days and lives. It might be more play time with your kids or in the outdoors, spending more time with friends than being on social media. Stretching our comfort zones and bringing daily adventures to our lives. As I always love to remind myself, what kind of moments will make the final cut in my life movie? And play time, exploring, laughing, being kind is always my answer. Finding what makes our daily lives magical will improve the quality of our weeks and lives in general.

5. Say yes to no.

"No is a powerful word. To me, it's the single most powerful word in the English language. Said clearly, strongly and with enough frequency and force, it can alter the course of history."
Shonda Rhimes

Finding ourselves, feeling the freedom and staying aligned with who we are by saying no. It also means speaking up and having clear boundaries. Doing what makes us happy and listening to our intuition. Saying no is a form of love towards ourselves. By overcommitting and saying yes to everyone, we slowly lose ourselves. So let's make sure what we say yes to feels good in our hearts and schedules. It's actually kinda sacred, that moment, when we realize that our worth and wellbeing matters.

In 2014, I said yes to adventures, action and the unknown. As terrifying and thrilling as it was, I simply said yes to my heart. I didn't let my fear take control of my desires and the result was pure bliss. It was like surfing a wave for pretty much the whole year. I want that again. So I'm saying yes to badassery this year. Standing on the mountaintop, sun on my face. Keeping in mind to always do something and move forward when fear and limiting beliefs show up. For someone who gets easily overwhelmed that became my mantra.

Marisa Ribordy is a Yoga Teacher and Health & Wellness Coach. She is passionate about guiding women to explore their wild dreams, to connect with their bodies and create a life with purpose while embracing a vibrant lifestyle. You can find her on and Facebook.