In April, I will be co-hosting a series of workshops called "Permission: Inside and Out" with a new friend of mine, Jaquy. As I start to get ready for the workshop, I have been exploring the word "permission" and what it means to me. As I've grown older, I have cultivated a better relationship with permission. As a younger adult, I was always pushing myself to be better, to get that promotion, to be skinnier. But having come out the other side of that craziness has taught me to ease up a bit; to take a moment and appreciate what I have.
The first thing that comes to my mind when considering "permission" is unconditional self-love. Permission includes allowing myself to try something new and risk failing miserably. And if I fail, enjoying the adventure and maybe trying it again if it was fun or interesting. It's permission to try something completely different and jump in 100%, even though it's scary. It's also being okay with putting my needs first every so often.
I struggled with an eating disorder in my early adulthood, so "permission" also means allowing myself to really enjoy food again. To sometimes splurge and eat too much or try something I normally would avoid. And to be gentle with myself if I'm having a bad recovery day and don't feel ready to eat. It's also permission to take an extra day off my yoga practice if I feel ill, run down, or just not into it.
Thinking about "permission" in terms of my yoga practice, I view it as allowing myself to play. To try a new pose and be okay with falling on my face, even in front of a group. To skip a chaturanga or modify a pose to feel more comfortable. To use props and to take a break. As a teacher, it's allowing myself to try on something new and just let it go if it doesn't work. To not get too frustrated if I keep getting my lefts and rights confused. To get a little vulnerable in front a group of friends and semi-strangers.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not able to give myself permission all of the time or even most of the time. It's hard to let go of that control and to really be me. Some days are better than others, but each day is a fresh new opportunity to give myself a little more permission.
I'd love to hear from you: what does permission mean in your world?