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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Popsicle sticks and permission slips

It seemed like the kind of day for some permission slips.

Permission to not know. Or not know how.

Permission to not have to follow everything to the end, whatever that is. Walking out of the movie is okay. So is changing the project.

Permission to wish for aspects of someone else’s superpowers, knowing that this does not in any way diminish theirs.

Permission to flail around and make mistakes, like we do in Shiva Nata.

To try things. To be wrong and have that be okay.

Permission to forget.

Even if you’ve forgotten about something that’s really important to you.

And permission to then remember it again.

When you’re ready.

Permission to be in the stuck for a while.

To hit a wall. Maybe even lots of walls.

To find yourself in the land of plateau. To stop and start. To stop and not be ready to start.

To put off X [example: reading my book on procrastination!] for as long as you want, without thinking that this is a sign that you will never get around to it.

It isn’t. It’s your process.

Seriously. It’s called the dissolve-o-matic for a reason. Dissolving doesn’t happen through force.

Permission to let everyone else have their stuff.

To return everyone else’s projections, as Hiro says.

To remember that the rising tide lifts all boats — what is good for others is not bad for you.

To cry when you need to cry and laugh when you need to laugh.

To not have to justify yourself to anyone.

Permission to not be ready.

To not have answers.

To not have a five year plan.

To not know what your thing is. To not have a thing!

To hide. To scramble. To wonder. To not know what you want. To not apologize for wanting it when you do know.

To come to the shivanautical teacher training even if you have no idea what you’re doing, just because it’s tingly.

Permission to make your own permission slips.

And tape them to popsicle sticks and wave them around, if you feel like it.

Permission to know that permission does not come from me.

It is yours. Amnesty belongs to you — it is an inherent thing like sovereignty, not something that I have and hand out. It’s everywhere.

I am going to the Playground to mess around with glitter pipe cleaners (arts and crafts supplies are so much cooler now than when I was a kid!) and make some more permission slips.

Aside! Do you know Amy? Amy also makes wearable permission slips (I’m pretty sure this is one of the ideas that she came up while rallying it up at Rally!).

If you would like to invent things to go on permission slips and share them here, that would be lovely.

And an extra permission slips for our permission slips to not have to be interesting, original or whatever. They are reminders. They exist for us.

29 Responses to Popsicle sticks and permission slips

  1. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Permission…to rest. To be.

    May we all have what we need, when we need it.

    Love, Hiro
    Hiro Boga recently posted… How do you serve

  2. lucy
    Twitter: twiggylu

    Permission to scream with frustration when someone else’s stuff stops play, just when everything was in flow. Gah!

  3. Tori Deaux
    Twitter: ToriDeaux

    Permission to trust the process! (even when no one else does)

  4. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    @Tori – that is such a good one!

    @lucy – I will GAH with you… Gah!

    @hiro – yes and yes. Thank you.

  5. seagirl says:

    Permission to wait until the last minute before deciding whether to go to yoga, or the grocery store or the book writing workshop on suspense or stay home and pile into bed with all my new books about money and begin underlining and tabbing. Or all of the above.

  6. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Thank you, Havi! It is a good day for permission slips and popsicle sticks. Maybe even popsicles. Perhaps I’ll go questing for a Creamsicle later.

    Permission to sit still and stare into space for as long as I wish. Permission not to need the television as an excuse for sitting still.

    Permission, also, to watch ridiculous television programs that no one else in my house likes, every once in a while.

    Permission to relax. Permission to be happy.

    Now I’m remembering some lyrics from a great song by Susan Werner:

    “It’s so heavy when you’re holding up the ceiling
    Ain’t it lighter when you let the thing fall
    Ain’t it better having something to believe in
    Ain’t it heaven when you’re never holding back at all…”
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… Minimum daily requirements

  7. Isolde says:

    Permission to write and enjoy my first two hours of solitude in weeks, when I should be packing.

  8. Ty Barbary
    Twitter: tybarbary

    Good timing, as ever.

    Permission to skip beneficial obligations in order to keep my entire psyche from bursting into dust. Even if said obligations are “good for me” in many ways, sometimes staying home and napping or enjoying a dinner or being in a safe space is just… better.

    Permission not to apologize unless I have made a mistake. I am tired of saying “I’m sorry” as a default response to anyone’s bad news, as though it is my fault that their world is imperfect.

    Permission to feel terrible and not know how to stop.

    Permission to do what I need and want to do, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, as often and as much as I can. Self-care!

    Permission to have all of my flaws and not be upset at having them. In some way, I am relieved, because I just don’t have the spoons to try to be perfect in all areas all the time. And permission to fix/heal/improve the ones that I just don’t like.

    Permission to be low on spoons, for that matter.

    Permission to be strong again.

    Permission to be totally sporadically social, and in some ways unreliable, because to be more consistent would be incredibly stressful and draining. (This relates to the aforementioned flaws.)

    Permission to breathe and take life at my own pace. Like right now, spacing uplifting things with weighty work-things so that I stay balanced.
    Ty Barbary recently posted… Making Time

  9. Yael Tiferet
    Twitter: tiferet93

    Permission to goof off!

    Sometimes when I goof off I just need a break.
    But often when I’m tooling around goofing off or surfing the web, I run across exactly the thing I needed to hear or think exactly the random thought I needed to think to figure out what I’ve been trying and failing to work on.

    (that’s how I found this site!)

  10. Beth says:

    Permission to land. Gracefully, or otherwise, and for any reason.

    Permission to take off again, even if I’m not sure it’s going to work this time.

    And.. permission to want a popsicle, come to think of it.

  11. Liz
    Twitter: lizziemcg

    Oh, thank you so much for this. Exactly what I needed.

    Today I was finding myself so caught up in the “get it done” mentality. I didn’t even realize the tension — and my deep-down wish to give myself more space and time for thinking and planning.

    Permission to not think about productivity today, and to think and draw and doodle up a storm! Now where were those glitter pens?
    Liz recently posted… Inspiration for a mystery

  12. Jadelyn says:

    Permission to not just jump back up the next day after a doozy of an awful day. Permission to take a little time to get back on my feet.

    Permission to cry when something touches me *just so*. Permission to cry when I’m angry and frustrated. Permission to cry when I’m hurting and lonely. Just…permission to cry, period.

    Permission to huddle up with pajamas and the man-person’s sweatshirt and my robe and all the blankets in the house, for comfort more than warmth, and just lose myself in a story to pass the hours and give my brain time to work its own healing magic.

    Permission to not be okay. I really need that right now, cause yesterday was *awful* on about a billion levels. And I’m trying to remember I have it.
    Jadelyn recently posted… Wednesday WTF- Real Men Go On Dates Edition

  13. Amy Crook
    Twitter: amysnotdeadyet

    Permission to love the things you make, even when you’re not sure anyone else will.
    Amy Crook recently posted… Water Lilies 1

  14. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Yeah! I second Amy’s. That is so right on. Yes.

    @Jadelyn – permission not to be okay! Yes that is a good one.

    @Liz – permission for glitter pens! I love it.

    @Beth – gracefully or otherwise. Mmmhmmm.

    @Yael – intentional goofing off! I approve.

    @Ty – yeah to all of that. Especially being low on spoons, as I am also that at the moment…

    @isolde – yes to enjoying solitude

    @Kat – yes yes yes

    @seagirl – underlining and tabbing!

  15. Anna Barnett
    Twitter: annabarnett

    Permission to not know how to respond.

  16. Riv
    Twitter: PurpleshinyRiv

    Permission to be a little freaked out at how fast things are moving.

    Permission to not know exactly how the last dozen pieces of this puzzle will shake themselves together.

    Permission to do the things that are not the most urgent or even important.

    Permission to make frowny faces about filling out forms and paperwork.

    Permission to make my costume as well as last-minute things to sell at the festival. To look forward to vending at the festival with joy rather than grim determination and singleminded business expectations.

    Permission to stop when I know I’ve done enough for now. There is more, there is always more I “could” do, there is an endless space of more work, more biggification, more making-things, but what matters this week is doing enough for now.
    Riv recently posted… Mechanical Typewriter Giveaway

  17. VickiB says:

    Permission to stop goofing off and actually deal with stuff that I’m tired of not dealing with!

    Permission to throw fairy dust (glitter and confetti) on anything that needs some magic.

    Permission to take my computer to the bookstore coffee shop and spend the day. Working or playing.

    Permission to take care of myself.

    When I first read about popsicle permission slips, I imagined having the permissions written on the popsicle sticks. And the sticks would be all different colors.

    “Wearable permission slips” reminds me of this: when we were teenagers, my sisters decided that a Freudian slip was blue and had lace. We still sometimes we shop for Freudian slips.

  18. kim
    Twitter: avoidingkim


    I’ve been trying to come up with a way to give myself permission to come to the Shiva Nata teacher training even though I’m a total beginner. But, of course, you knew that :)

    All sorts of *things* are stopping me from just signing up already — mostly the “I’m an outsider and everyone knows I don’t belong here” thing and the “You can’t make any plans because you don’t know what will happen with Mom, plus isn’t that a frivolous thing to spend money on?” thing.


    Permission to want to go to the teacher training and to feel weird about it.

    Permission to not want to deal with attorney things ever again and to moan and groan about it every step of the way.

    Permission to LOVE office/art supplies (markers! clippies! glitter glue! tabs! sticky notes! pretty files!) now. I’ve always loved them. I don’t have to wait until I have a CORPORATION or something like that.

    Permission to be totally excited about the Royal Wedding, because, duh! I love weddings!

    Permission to ask for help this weekend even though I had a “break” last weekend.
    kim recently posted… Lilacs Save My Childhood- Finally

  19. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    Permission to change my mind. And change it back again. In the space of twenty minutes. Or less.

    @Kim – caring is SUCH a full on role. Absolutely permission to ask for help *again*!!

    And, YES to Wedding Fever Permission even though I’m totally not into inherited privilege. That’s because I have permission to be weird and inconsistent… and love weddings. And soap operas. Ha!

  20. Kaleena
    Twitter: Kaleena

    Permission to let myself be carried away by thoughts of trying a new approach to a thing. To believe that I am capable of being elegant and beautiful. That I will not look foolish. I also give myself permission to believe that I will not regret trying this thing.

    Permission to say no to any obligations or requests that may come up. Permission to use the upcoming summer (and possibly longer) solely for my Things.

    Permission to engage in all of my Things with a Beginner Mind, because it’s okay to start off ‘not knowing’ and then be informed.
    Kaleena recently posted… Rabbiting

  21. […] can give myself permission to feel what I need to feel and to cut out tasks that are not really all that important in the […]

  22. Jane
    Twitter: JaneOfArdis

    Glitter pipe cleaners! I need to procure myself some of these.

    Permission to not live up to my potential as so many people have defined it.

    Permission to love what I love, no matter how ‘impractical’.

    Permission to change – what I want, where I’m going.

  23. Rose
    Twitter: celestialrose

    These are all so good!!
    “Permission to feel how I’m feeling; and to not know why.”
    I need that one today. And that means someone else might want it too. It’s yours. -gives-
    Rose recently posted… Shiva- destruction of patterns

  24. Bethany's Joy
    Twitter: carolynjfrancisgmail.com

    Permission to ‘work’ from a cafe, park, my bed, the loungeroom in front of the tv, instead of in my sensible office at my sensible desk. I mean, what are laptops and iPhones for anyway?

    And amen to Jane for “permission not to live up to my potential…” Yay. I for one hate ‘potential’. It’s like a way of saying “you have all the raw material you need for massive success, so your lack of achievement (as ‘whoever’ defines it) is all your own fault.
    Boo to potential. I just want a life.

    Permission to live my life to the fullest as I define that!

  25. Casey
    Twitter: 74rally

    I *have* one of Amy’s permission slips and it helps me several times a day! Plus, it’s purty.

  26. Whitney
    Twitter: whitneygrayrose

    Permission to eat chocolate.

    Permission to lean on my best friend.

    Permission not know exactly what I want to do when I get out of college. Or to have multiple answers that would be OK by me.

    Permission to stand my ground when other people have opinions about my career, my values, my life.

    Permission to have Conflicted Wanting about my relationship.

    I have it. I don’t have to ask for it from anyone. Huh.

  27. Mary Jane Thomas
    Twitter: Mararose10

    Permission to be.

    Permission to own my worthiness.

    Permission to hold my space and take my time.

    Permission for self care, to be kind to myself.

    Permission to not be perfect.
    Mary Jane Thomas recently posted… Sufism- the Islam of Love and Tolerance

  28. […] then one day last spring, I wrote myself a big fat permission slip to play some more.  I was living in Portugal.  Walking a lot.  Walking everywhere.  Splashing […]

  29. Esteban
    Twitter: Estebban

    Permission to dream!! Permission to be afraid of your dreams (for a while, hopefully) and permission to realize them :)

    Permission to trust yourself once again, after you failed.

    Permission to be sad for the goal you didn’t reach and permission to try again (if you wish so).

    Wow, seems like I’m thinking of me as I write this, so thanks ;)

    (That’s me giving me permission to be grateful, which isn’t as often as I would like, but that’s ok too ’cause I’m working on that).

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