“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”— Dr. Seuss
My sister invited me to her first annual Dr. Seuss-themed Passover Seder. “I hope you’re serving Green Eggs, no Ham,” I quipped. But I was so excited for her! The idea is so fun and original and so antithetical to the Passover seders of our youth, that it is a demonstration of freedom in her life. Which seems fitting for the theme of the holiday. Freedom from slavery, escaping to a new world, doing stuff that makes us feel like we’re going to get in trouble, but getting away with it. I feel like Thing One and Thing Two.
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one.” -–Three Dog Night
In my role as a dating coach, I’m helping single clients shoot for two. I have to convince them that two is better than one when most of them have experienced the above. I say in my marketing materials that I will help you to find “the One.” I should stop saying that, because it’s a misnomer. To say that you are looking to find “the One” makes the other person too important. I should say; “I will help you to find your Two.” You are your own Number One.
The song repeats though—“One is the loneliest number, one is the loneliest number, one is the loneliest number” just to make sure we remember. As bad as two can be, it’s better than one. I’ve been married for 11 years and my personal goal for freedom this Passover is to find the One within the Two. What does that mean to me? It means finding your own voice even in the face of someone you love, who disagrees with you. And in-so-doing, you make your relationship work better. It’s ironic. It sometimes feels like you have to get rid of the other person, like Moses with Pharoah. We want to get someone else’s permission to “Let my people go.” But all we need to do really is get out of our own way.
“No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know,” Three Dog’s song continues. It’s so true. I stopped saying No to myself. My husband and I saw the film “No” last week. It’s a true story about when an advertising campaign in Chile in the ‘80s had the opportunity to overthrow the prevailing dictatorship. They just had to get a majority to vote “No.” Which might not be hard if they could get a majority to vote at all. No one was going to bother to vote because they could not even imagine the life that could be possible with freedom. One of the most brilliant part of the campaign was that they added a + to the No and made it No+ or No Mas. No Mas Pinochet. No Mas Pharoah. No Mas oppression. Let our People Go.
This reminds me of my favorite Dr. Seuss book so it seems pretty a propos. It’s called I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today. In it there’s a story about some cats in a place called Katzen-stein who have a King that makes himself the One. He makes other cats hold up his tail at all times because he is too important to have his tail touch the ground. What ensues is that Fooie Katz (who holds King Louie’s tail) makes Kooie Katz follow him around, and then Kooie Katz makes Chooie Katz do the same so that noone’s tail has to drag on the ground. But what about poor Zooie Katz who’s at the end of the line?
Well, one day Zooie did a brave brave thing. He simply yelled “I QUIT!” No Mas. And then there was a big domino effect up the line until everything became much more “demo-catic” (thank you Dr. Seuss- not my pun.) If Zooie were my client, I would say “Great job! You are awesome.” I would say “Embrace the No.” Add a W to the No and make it Now. Make it happen now in your life. Change happens in a single moment.
In sales they say “Every No leads you closer to a Yes.” We say it in dating too. Yes, it’s the saddest experience you’ll ever know. But it will lead you to the best experience you’ll ever know—i.e. becoming a Two without losing your One.