Do you remember field trips? I do.
I remember being part of a gaggle of kids that piled into a school bus in the morning and going on an adventure. We would go in the same yellow school buses that I rode in on my way to and from school.
The places we went ranged from farms, to Cedar point, to museums and finally the big one for all kids who grew up in Michigan - the three day trip to Mackinaw Island in fourth grade! That one was not in a yellow school bus. We had a fancy upgrade to a bus with room for luggage and a bathroom!
All of these memories come to mind when I remember field trips from my youth and there’s one part I remember that I’ve been thinking about a lot: Permission slips.
Before you could receive the green light for a field trip as a kid, you would need a permission slip. This was a piece of paper that your parents signed that gave you the ok to go. It was required.
If you were like me, sometimes you foraged it the morning of at school if the slip had succumbed to the Mary-Poppins nature of your backpack and set up residence alongside all the Nature Valley granola crumbs at the bottom.
Basically, you needed someone else, someone deemed more powerful than yourself, to decide whether or not you could go on the adventure.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what the long term effects these permissions slips have on our collective psyches. Is this why people have a hard time making their own decisions? Is this why people constantly look outside themselves for the answers?
My current answer? Yes.
At the very same time, a simple yes does not capture the scope of the idea of permission. It’s a both/and conversation, it’s paradox and like much of conscious living, it includes holding two opposing ideas simultaneously.
Permission and consent is a huge part of my teaching through Mindful Music. It’s not necessarily something I outright say, like “We are learning about consent”, however I’m happy to have that conversation with a young person if they ask.
Sometimes it’s much easier for people to feel things in their hands at the piano rather than me talk about them and them translate. This leads to me sometimes touching people’s hands and showing them the shapes to feel them for themselves. Every single time, no matter how long I’ve hand the student, I ask if it’s ok that I touch their hand. This teaches permission and consent.
I once had a student say, “You know you don’t need to ask!”. To this I replied, “It’s very important to me to ask before I ever touch someone’s body. It’s very important that people ask and give permission about personal space.”
I love permission in this expression - it’s powerful.
I also love permission in terms of general safety of young people. There is a reason why parental guidance is important! Take it from a wild child herself, I may just have blown myself up with my parents setting firm boundaries.
A great example of this was I needed to ask permission before having a sweet treat before dinner or before I took off in my parents’ car with my friends. These permissions set me up for success, amazing habits and saved me from my own demise in many cases with an underdeveloped frontal cortex.
When I work with yoga students and conscious creation clients, permission is also part of the ecosystem. As a teacher and guide, I check-in with my clients about whether or not they’d like to explore certain things and any adjustments done on a yoga mat.
Permission is important. Identifying as a guide rather than a guru is huge in the ability to hold these types of spaces.
And then, there’s the shadow aspect of permission slips that gives me great concern. Are we training young people to grow up without autonomy, to grasp and need permission to go on adventures of their own?
I see this time and time again. There are times to ask about things in life because of respect and integrity. A lot of times though, the only permission we need is our own. We get to write our own and yet, many people don’t.
Today I invite you, dear reader, into three shifts that you do not need to ask permission for. I also invite you to take your permission slip seriously and upon completing this blog, write out your own.
Full permission to take up space.
You are allowed to be big. You are allowed to be bold. You are allowed to shine. Regardless of any conditioning that has taken place, regardless of what people may say - this is absolutely your birthright.
Your permission slip is the simple fact that you are alive.
Full permission to create your dreams.
The only person’s permission needed to move toward and create a dream is your own. That’s it.
The approval of your family, the approval of your colleagues, the approval of anyone outside yourself is not needed! The seed is sewn in your heart. You have full reign over whether you go on that adventure or not.
You do not need to ask permission outside yourself.
Full permission to be the real you.
No matter who you have been up until this moment, you have permission to be the real you.
This may rock some feathers at first and you still have full permission. I would argue that it’s both permission and responsibility to yourself. You’re the only you that exists, so why don’t you just be that?
This permission lives within you.
Finally, and most importantly, you have full permission to not ask permission.
So many people live their lives like they are still a kid on a school bus that needs someone to sign off on their adventure.
It stunts their growth as adults and it stunts the expansion of their hearts. In these cases, you have full permission to not ask permission.
Your life, your adventure, your very own permission slip only comes from YOU!
What do you think about permission slips?
What lessons did you learn about permission as a kid that help you in your life today?
And what conditioning from permission are you ready to let go of?
It’s about holding both, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater and exploring what’s true for you.
I invite you to sit down and write your very own permission slip to yourself today. One that whenever you start to seek answers externally, can ground you to your innate strength and power within!
As a teacher, coach and yoga leader, I hold various types of spaces for people to access their power, be their unique selves and create dreams for themselves and the planet.
If you’re interested in working with me 1:1 through Mindful Music, yoga or conscious creation coaching, reach out to me through my contact page.
And if you’d like to receive a taste of what I do in yoga classes, my Joy Yoga Bundle is available for purchase here.
I send you into your day with a declaration of permission. Of keeping what expands and tossing what blocks.
Permission to take up space.
Permission to create your dreams.
Permission to be the real you.
Permission to not need permission
You can sign your permission slip and start living your adventure today. It’s YOU.
In love, joy and permission slips granted,