Why is it that we feel we need permission from others to make a silly noise or ask a question? Growing up, I had the privilege of awesome parents who encouraged me to question everything. Why is it as kids, some of us are taught to stop questioning and just “do the right thing” or “stand up straight?” This sets us up to feel like we need to ask our lovers, spouses and friends to validate or give us permission when we are being US! How silly is that?! Here are some sweet ways to stop “should-ing” all over the place.
1. Do Socially "Unacceptable" Things
Tap dance everywhere, register for marathons at 40, take your kids to different religious ceremonies, wear shorts in the winter. These may seem like small things, but it gives us permission to be ourselves. So, the next time we feel our inner divinity spilling forth, we can express it without feeling like we may “look stupid.” When I’m doing a silly thing, I like to joke, “It’s what all the cool kids are doing,” because it’s so silly, and because it’s a cool affirmation. We can do something small that could lead to changes others' thinking. Start making others question things. I dare you.
2. Stop Chillin’ with Folks Who Stifle YOU
Do you have a friend who laughs at you and not with you? Do you have a friend or neighbor who tells you to “keep your day job” instead of working on your passions? Cross them off the invitation list. You don’t need em’. There is only one Shakespeare, Einstein, and Lebron. Just be the first and only YOU. Forget about those who want you to be in a tidy box. To take it a step further, actively seek out folks who dig what you are about. Not because they may give you a compliment, but because they will never tell you have a bad idea.
3. “What Am I Wanting?"
In any situation, stop and ask, “What am I wanting?” It’s a powerful question because there is immediacy to it. In this moment, with all that led up to this moment, what would make me happy? Then do it. NOW.
One of my favorite quotes from Anis Mojgani's Shake the Dust is, "This is for the two-year olds, who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god" Chills. They do, and say anything that feels good to them. If they have to fart they do. The point is, they let their little genius/God within them to come out because they haven’t yet been conditioned to question their own intuition. If we don't follow our intuition, our bodies can turn on us, leading to stress, depression and chronic diseases. Not good.
5. Lifestyle Changes
Make “what do I truly want” a mantra. It will lead into a lifestyle change, so it becomes more than just wearing clown pants in public; it challenges what's socially acceptable. When it becomes a habit/characteristic, you can channel that into your dreams. ”What am I passionate about that I can also support myself by doing?”
6. Actually Do Yoga
You know how it feels to stretch when you get out of bed in the morning? Maybe it feels organic; your intuition knows how to stretch those muscles. We don’t consciously think, ”I think I need to extend my left arm over head, and stretch my muscles this morning.” Our asana practice should be the same way!
If you go to a studio, or have a personal practice, make your next practice a time to explore your body beyond just simple poses. Break out of “this is what this pose ‘looks’ like.” Ask instead, "What does Warrior II feel like?" Be a bad ass, do it differently. Make it feel good in your body!
I give you permission. Now it’s your turn. Give yourself permission to be YOU.