Getting to Yes

By Jo Mooy

There are only three letters in the words “yes”—but they have the power to change the world.

Unless we engage in personal spiritual practices that keep us calm and orderly, daily life in the 21st century is governed by rapid-fire changes and chaos. We’re inundated by news, current events and social media that divide us. Opinions on both sides of the topics bombard us with anxieties and fears that make each topic confrontational. A healing walk on the beach that once offered a way to get past the chaos now comes with its own dread of red tide, sewage spills or flesh-eating bacteria.

We could gather in a room and go through “consensus building,” which thousands of coaches and trainers teach. Consensus training comes with a laundry list of things that need to be done to achieve it. Basic instructions include defining the goal, listening to everyone’s needs and being open and respectful of differing opinions. Short of gathering everyone into a room and going through that type of exercise there might be another way. It’s called Getting to Yes! And it doesn’t require any involvement by “the other side.”

Many years ago a spiritual mentor gave a talk on how each person’s personal action can affect evolutionary changes. He asked the audience to identify confrontational situations they were dealing with. The confrontations could be with close family members, or friends, or coworkers. Individuals stood up in the audience to explain their issues. They were emotional. They explained why their position was right and the other person’s was wrong. Many said politics had severed the bonds within their families. Others said it was the religion they were currently following. Some recounted old hurts that haunted them.

When all the stories were done, the spiritual teacher said, “What if, during the next family upheaval, you tell the other person, you know, you’re right! I am wrong! What if you tell them that?” At first there was immediate pushback as they dug in their heels to say they were not wrong. He gently repeated to each one, “What if you say YES, you’re right. I’m wrong!”

Getting to Yes doesn’t require hours of wasted time. When confronted by anyone who has a passionate position that is opposite yours, there’s no need to engage or explain your side of the story. Simply allow the other person the value of their point of view and let them “win” the argument.

When the phone rang, caller ID identified her. She was strongly opinionated, volatile when confronted by opposition and argumentative. I decided to try Getting to Yes! The conversation had barely begun when the tirade began. Her long-held arguments and hurts surfaced quickly.

Instead of responding as I normally did during our conversations, I said nothing. I let her rant and rave and just listened. After 20 minutes she noticed I’d been quiet the whole time. In her typical way she said, “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

I said, “Yes, you’re right.” My words stopped her.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

I repeated: “Yes, you’re right.” I let her have her opinions and the space she needed to express the wrongs without confrontation. I was no longer engaged in winning the battle with her.

There are only three letters in the words “yes”—but they have the power to change the world. It takes two to argue. But when one disengages, the emotional charge around who is really right or wrong dissipates. You can still hold on to your own views, but by detaching from the fray ease prevails. Who knows, maybe world peace could be achieved if each side said, “Yes you’re right!”

Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to or email

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