Today I want to talk to you about “permission.”
It is my birthday week and I’m swimming around in the shadows — as you can see from the photo up above.
Some hard things are happening. I’m feeling some loss, grief, and uncertainty.
It’s okay. I’m okay. I’m just knee-deep in the muck right now.
We all have periods like that. It is a part of life.
There’s something very important I want to say around this. Many of you know that I am currently midstream in my Birthday Kindness Project. I’m writing 57 letters in 57 days to 57 strangers. Many of these letters are going to people who are grieving, ill, disappointed, lost, or lonely.
These letters are a reminder to me that at any given time, while there is tremendous joy in the world, there is also sorrow of many kinds. The letters are a reminder to me to practice sitting with people in their shadows.
We don’t need to hurry people through their dark times. We can sit with them and help carry the weight.
This is what I call “celebrating in the dark.”
It is the connection and love we offer (or accept) when times are rough. This quiet kind of celebration is often overlooked because it is more complex than bursts of balloons or confetti. However, it is well worth it.
Maybe you can remember a time when you or a loved one was going through something hard and yet, there you were together. There you were sharing authentic connection and maybe you were walking in nature or sharing a meal. There is a deep sweetness, even in that sorrow. You know what I mean?
When we are looking at celebration in our lives, please let’s remember that we can celebrate our lives and our relationships, even in the midst of the muck.
Something else really important about this, is to be aware when you are going through something hard. Pay attention to yourself. And support yourself in any way you can. Treat yourself like your own best friend.
See me in that photo? See what I’m carrying? Those are sunflowers, my favorite flower, which I bought for myself.
Sunflowers delight me when the first pop out their pretty yellow faces, when they grow and thrive, and also when they start to nod and droop. Even when they hang their heavy heads, they are beautiful! I love all their stages. And when they die, they offer so many seeds to plant.
A beautiful metaphor for seasons of our lives, right? And I don’t just mean birth to death. We might go through that “sunflower process” many times in our lives.
Sunflowers are just one of the ways I’m caring for myself. I’m also looking for places where I can give myself a break. I hope you will do this, too, when you need it.
As you are reading this, I hope you are thinking whether YOU need some permission to let go a little.
Or, if not for yourself, is there someone in your life who may need permission? Can you encourage someone who needs it to give themselves a break?
Below are a few places I’m giving myself permission. Feel free to borrow these and adapt as necessary for yourself!
* I am giving myself permission to send you only a written LoveGram today, no audio. Although I love talking to you and creating audios every week, it requires a lot more work than writing. I’m taking the easy road this week.
* I am giving myself permission to feel grateful for my life and to celebrate being alive, without having to be “happy,” as in “Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday.”
* I’m giving myself the “simply” part of Simply Celebrate, which is the simple joy of connecting with a friend who is able to hold the complexities of life. Or the simple joy of walking in the sunshine, curling up with my butterscotch tabby, listening to a song I love, or taking a mid-day nap.
* I am giving myself permission to feel.
* I am giving myself permission to not respond to the very loving and well-meaning people who want to use my sadness as a moment for them to teach or offer unsolicited advice.
* I am giving myself permission to have conversations with the people I want to talk to, to read the books I want to read, to walk the path that calls to me, to follow my instincts and intuition. (In other words: permission to banish the “shoulds.”)
* I am giving myself permission to dance instead of do kettlebell today.
* I am giving myself permission to lie low, to meditate more, to push less, to pause.
* I am giving myself permission to let the open-heartedness be a gift and to not be afraid of what might fly in.
Those are just a few things I’m permitting.
I ask you again, and please take a minute to really think about this: do you need to give yourself permission today? And what is that permission for?
As always, thank you for being here. YOU MATTER. Never forget that your presence and energy are the biggest gifts of all.
Seek celebration — even in dark corners,
P.S. Thank you to everyone who wrote and requested Birthday Kindness Letters. I received way more responses than I’ve been able to fulfill just yet. If you haven’t heard back from me, please bear with me!
P.P.S. If you want to listen to an audio LoveGram, I encourage you to scroll through these blog posts or search the word, LoveGram. There are dozens of them posted since March, 2020. Let your intuition guide you on a topic, then click through and listen. (In August, there is an audio called “Permission to be Sad,” if that is a kind of permission you need. Or, July 2020’s, “What Soothes You.” might interest you.) Chance are, you will hear something brand new, even if you have heard that audio in the past!