Permission: The Confluence of four Significant Events


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There I was people watching with my brilliant and awe inspiring friend Mark as we sat in front of the Starbuck's in Walnut Creek, discussing, as we often do, personal development. He almost off handedly remarked about how I've changed and given myself permission to be more free over the last (and first) 5 months of our relationship.

I can easily say now that instead of drinking that in and feeling empowered by his observation, I felt guilt. As I look at it objectively, I wonder, how could I have felt guilt? That seems the exact opposite of the very thing he remarked I was doing!

Yet, I realize I was shrieking back from the very choice of freedom that becomes available when we open our eyes and release ourselves from the container society offers us… because at the same time, I was keeping my self free of the responsibility that comes along with that personal choice.

Two days later I found myself sitting with my 5 friends discussing the prospects, process and ideology of how we will build our intentional community. Interestingly enough, I found myself questioning: Who am I to choose… to guide a community and choose those people I want to give my energy to? Who am I to believe I had that choice? Who am I to believe I can make those choices? Who am I to think I deserve to make those choices? Who am I to think I am good enough, worthy enough, smart enough, developed enough and capable enough to do so? Who am I to think I can set an example that is perfect enough? Who am I…?

The next day I found myself in inner turmoil, questioning who I am, what I want, how I wish to be, what I want to create. After getting to some deeper truth with myself via a deep conversation with Nicole, I set myself to task writing an email to these 5 friends articulating how I hadn't felt heard when I said, "I am not good enough."

In response Mark offered his wisdom to me yet again. "Who are you? You are a manifestation of God, however you understand that. In this sense, your very nature demands/insists/requires that you choose." Yes, choose. Choose to create the reality I want to create.

While I've been tending toward choosing my reality for a while now, I have shied from it as well, so, in retrospect, it isn't surprising what my recent interactions with my sister Dana yielded. She got engaged and is having her wedding in a year. Through a series of emails with a particular tone and a somewhat inauthentic intention, I more or less goaded her into uninviting me to her wedding. I simply was unwilling to choose to say boldly, "No, I do not want to go to your wedding." …unwilling to choose to put my own needs first in an open manner with her. Rather, as Jason so accurately pointed out for me in his infinitely precise mirror, "You knew what you were doing…" And, when I got to my truth, I realized, I did.

Later that day, after goading Dana into this action, I learned that I was not included in the decision making process of the housing choices my friends Travis, Nicole and Bryan made. Try as I might to not take it personally, I did. I felt hurt that they opted to select this lovely place right now over living with me right now. I was pissed and angry at myself for not taking action sooner to prevent this from happening, trusting that everyone was communicating clearly about things along the way.


As I looked back (damn, hindsight really is 20/20!) I notice that I allowed myself to be swept away by uncommitted and unclear reassurances that ultimately were my responsibility to clarify. I did not clarify things until it was too late.

If I had just sat there and owned that fully in the moment, I could have made the requests for the clearer communication necessary to prevent this from happening in the future. Instead (and I have to laugh at myself now), I berated myself for my incompetence and failed to give myself permission to be fully pissed off and angry with myself. I effectively failed to give my self permission to own it AND to be pissed off, thereby causing paralysis.

Further, I alienated my friends from me because I felt like I didn't deserve them in my life. I felt like my recent incompetence was a clear sign of future incompetence. I said firmly, "I can't be good enough for them and I don't deserve them. How could they possibly want to choose me any more, knowing that I failed to articulate my needs fully? How will they ever be able to trust me when I can't even ensure clear communication?"

In a fit of determination to get myself to a more empowering space after hours of nothing but crying and self degradation and incredibly good coaching from Jason, I walked outside and faced the world and meta-tated on how I could transform this situation into learnings that helped me rather than disabled me.

"It means absolutely nothing" I repeated over and over. And as I spoke the words, I noticed I believed them even though I didn't feel them inside me.

"Choose. Choose to change." I gave myself permission to do that. I walked into a hair salon and for the first time in 33 years dyed my hair. "Choose. Choose to change." And now I am resolved to choose the more empowering positions whenever possible.

Still, it took all I had to just show up and meet my friends who I was hiding from. Hiding. Unable to be heard, unable to hear them. Yelling across a canyon of mis-information and delusional self perceptions gone awry.

Monday morning Mark AGAIN nudged me toward more positive choices: "Adventure!" he said, encouraging me to go on my blind date. Later on, he coached me again, and in that moment I found the freedom to own what I did wrong AND observe how others could also have changed the outcome of the situation as well.

The missing link that tied this all together came this morning when I woke up and read Dana's email. Suddenly, it all clicked. She said, "I for one feel very lucky to have the family I have. I only wish you felt the same way - or better stated, that you expressed it in the same way, as I cannot pretend to know how you feel about the family."

For the first time in my experience with my sister and family, I heard permission to be who I was and express things how I wanted to. I heard her say she wished me to be something else AND recognized I was not.

When I read that sentence, the last week and a half collided together into a melee of color and light that suddenly turned darks corners shut off by blinders into bright rainbows decorating my soul.

In that moment I gave myself permission to be comfortable and happy with my choice to prioritize myself over my family. I gave myself permission to choose positive options and empowering choices like "it means nothing that they selected the house right now over living with me right now." I allowed myself to not take 100% responsibility for all communication and outcomes that develop from situations. I offered myself compassion, permission to be less than perfect, the encouragement to let go of self judgment. I gave myself permission to believe I deserve love, permission to be love, and as my friend Jon says, permission to be "love loving itself and itself being loved."



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Last modified: August 15
, 2002