There is a saying that it is better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Oooohhh...that sounds rather rebellious, doesn't it? It's the whole "I'll just forge ahead and apologize for it later" attitude that seems so...audacious.
I'd like to turn this little ole' fearless saying on its ear and say that one could ask for both forgiveness and permission -- from oneself. Say what, you ask? Well, what if we could give both to ourselves? I have a friend who has a strong leadership style. He's a good person who gives off a strong, capable vibe. As a result, people lean on him a lot. He once told me that people go to him for permission. I thought this was an interesting idea. Yes, it sounded a bit ego-esque, but he was right -- people would go to him for permission. After all, if the strong, capable guy says it's okay, then it must be okay.
What if you could give permission to yourself rather than seek it out from others? And, what if you could also grace yourself with forgiveness for doing something poorly or for doing nothing at all? I've been procrastinating on the blog writing front for about a week. Someone asked me why it had been so long since I last posted. A number of excuses came to my lips before I bit them and decided to offer up no excuses. Instead, I gave myself permission to not blog for a while. And I threw in a little forgiveness for not doing anything in regards to blogging.
Permission -- and forgiveness -- extends to the yoga mat as well. Every morning when I get on my mat, I give myself permission to be how I am that day. Some days that means I'm taking it slow and easy and other days that means I'm pushing myself a bit. For the times I practice with others, I give myself permission to go at my own pace and to let my body decide how I practice rather than follow the others in class. Forgiveness comes in when I start questioning my practice -- did I do enough? Did I do too much? Could I push myself a little bit more? I add in a dash of forgiveness when I push too hard or when I hold back.
This morning my body was not wanting to practice. Instead, it wanted to head back to bed or perhaps lie on the mat in Savasana for 30 or so minutes. I couldn't seem to give myself permission to skip it today, regardless of my lethargy. Instead I made a deal with myself -- I gave myself permission to practice for 5 minutes, after which time I would reevaluate how I was feeling. If I didn't feel like continuing, I would grant myself permission to stop and to forgive myself for doing so. As it turns out, 5 minutes turned into 25 more.
Where in your life do you need permission and/or forgiveness and do you find yourself needing one or both from others or can you give either/or to yourself?