The Power of Permission

The power of permission gives us back today. To create change today. And not wait for the future that never arrives. We make tiny shifts that open ourselves up to move sustainable change in the future. But we only have now.

I love being in the ocean.

Feeling the salt water slide over my skin and the waves gently crash onto the sand. I feel so alive when I am in the water. I feel free, flowing and connected.

I grew up near the water. But we didn’t go to the beach all that often.

Whenever I stay near a beach I get up early to watch the sunrise. I walk along the beach, absorbing the new day. Everything feels fresh.

Alone, experiencing everything without distraction. The salt in the air. The fresh breeze on my skin. The early rays of the sun splashing across the water, raising the temperature a little. Watching the birds start their day. Noticing the patterns the waves leave on the sand.

This is when I feel most alive, this is what is important to me.

And yet. It doesn’t happen all that often.

***

For the past few years starting the day at the beach features prominently in my annual planning and visioning process. What do I want for the year? To walk on the beach at sunrise.

Yet every year, despite living on 30-ish minutes from the beach, it wasn’t happening.

Last year, I committed. On new years day I jumped on the bus, and about 40 mins later I arrived at the beach, enjoying the morning sun with many other beach goers.

I did the same again the next day. And it was delightful. I had my book. I took photos. I swam.

I just enjoyed being.

But then, it all just stopped. Over the next three months, I made it to the beach 5 times. Then nothing. I didn’t swim again after Christmas.

I always think it’s funny how something that is seemingly so important, gets sidelined.

In those first few days of January, when the sun was rising a little later and the beach seemed further away than usual, I made up all these excuses.

"It's too dark"
"It's too cold"
"I have to work"
"I'll be late for work"
"I don't want to walk to the bus so early."

Maybe you do that too. You figure out what’s important to you, what you need. But in the swirl of the moment, you say to yourself, “that can wait” or “tomorrow” or “next time.”

But there is only today, there is only now.

Excuses have always been distractions sent up from the deep to our conscious mind. To protect us from the complex reality that lies beneath.

That while one part of me longs to do something invigorating everyday, another part of me fears what happens when I feel that way. Because, for a reason I no longer remember, something bad happened the last time I truly felt alive and like myself.

That the young child within me simply wants to protect me from the same fate, the same pain. And that fear, that powerful protective matriarch within me, just wants to keep me safe.

That somehow being lost is safer than being found.

Except I am no longer a child in need of protection.

As an adult I have the resources – mental, physical, emotional, financial, friends – to take a different approach.

I no longer have to be at the mercy of my inner protection system.

I can start to understand what is happening and give attention to the parts of my inner world that need it. That have been neglected.


Here is how I approach it.

I have loose annual and monthly goals. I do regular check-ins, so I have proof if I am being pulled of course in some way. Otherwise, those excuses just chew through my time and distract me from being able to see what is amiss.

Once I am able to acknowledge something is off course, I start a process of gentle self-inquiry. Of asking myself what is beneath the excuses, trying to find the disconnect or paradox that needs attending to.

And whatever I find, however unbelievable, I aim to accept it. 

Sometimes it seems crazy to find I am afraid of wearing a certain pair of shoes, or that I am afraid of not starting work on time when in fact I can never be late to work.

But when we can accept the deeper truth at the heart of our disconnect, then we can work with it.

I can change my shoes, I can recognise I am being ridiculous about what time I start work.

Because acceptance gives us the power of permission.

With permission we can play, experiment and try different things to help us move forward.

We can give ourselves permission to change the rules, to feel the fear and do it anyway, to ask for help, to wear crazy shoes when going for a walk to the beach.


We won’t always know why some of our programming exists. It was coded when we were too young to remember.

But instead of dismissing ourselves as weak or unimportant, we accept it.

Yes, accepting your reality and allowing yourself to really feel it may well be one of the scariest things you do.

Sometimes I feel acceptance will break me. But that is never what I find on the other side of acceptance.

Every time I find power, choice and freedom. 

Like a door to an inner prison has been unlocked and now I can work with my reality instead of hiding from it.

Acceptance leads to permission and permission gives us back our power.

You are creative.