Welcome to November! Here's Your Permission Slip

Written By: Erin Bach

I love autumn. I love the colors, the chill in the air, the chunky cardigans. I love reading with candles burning and a cup of tea in my hand. I am a complete autumn cliche, and I'm too cozy to care.

But there is also something about this time of year that is a little bit frantic. The holidays, the wind, a buzz in the air, the frenzy of all there is to do.

This last weekend,  I finally managed to get my butt back on my meditation cushion (okay, maybe it was just a pillow in front of the couch) and told myself I just needed to do 10 min. My meditation practice has been spotty at best lately, but I pulled up a YogaGlo meditation by Sara Clark titled "If Not Now, When?" (fitting, right?).

During the meditation, I was prompted to ask myself what I need in this moment, and one word immediately surfaced: PERMISSION.

My guess is I’m not alone on this one.  

Even though we often logically know what we need, it can be so hard for many of us to give ourselves the permission to do what needs to be done. Maybe the issue is time, maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s that we value others’ comfort above our own. Whatever the reason, our hesitancy to grant ourselves permission is some deeply ingrained bullshit that only leads to frazzled brains, deflated dreams, and near complete exhaustion.

In her book “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about creative permission, and I propose we adopt this idea for life in general, and particularly when it comes to taking care of ourselves.   

She tells readers that despite any lingering schoolgirl perfectionism or self-doubt, “You do not need a permission slip from the principal’s office to live a creative life.

Or, if you do worry that you need a permission slip—THERE, I just gave it to you. I just wrote it on the back of an old shopping list.

Consider yourself fully accredited. Now go make something.”

In a workshop of hers that I attended a couple years ago, she had us write out our own permission slips for whatever it was that we wanted to create, thereby silencing the fear that somehow we weren’t “allowed” to give this creative work our attention.

Whether you decide to physically write out a slip or just give yourself a little mental shift, try this exercise:

Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose and let out a long exhale through your mouth. Feel good? Do it again. Now ask yourself: What do I need right now? Don't evaluate or judge what comes up. Just listen. Is it rest? Excitement? To let go of your boss’s bitchy comment? To eat delicious chocolate?

Whatever it is, consider this your permission slip. Now go take care of yourself.