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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Your Permission Slip!

Back when I was in junior high and high school (in the Dark Ages when we had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!), if we had to leave class we had to get a permission slip from the teacher. In some schools it was a hall pass, but either way, it was a slip of paper with someone's signature on it (a person of "authority") who was giving their permission to the person carrying the slip to be going or doing whatever it was they were doing.

I attended a conference once where the organizers (thanks Rob Bell & Liz Gilbert!) led us in an exercise of writing our own permission slips. It was a way of trying to remove the barriers that got in the way, mostly in our own minds, of actually doing something good for ourselves. They gave us lots of ideas of things we maybe wanted to do, but we kept talking ourselves out of. They essentially asked, "If you could write yourself a permission slip and it gave you the authority to actually do it, what would you write?"

At first glance this seemed like a silly idea to me - it's just a piece of paper! But the more I thought about it, and then actually did it, it became a significant exercise for me. In fact, I still keep that permission slip in my journal and periodically review it! The power of the slip wasn't actually about the paper, it was about giving myself time and space to actually think about what I had been holding back from, and what I had been talking myself out of because I "shouldn't," and then putting that down on paper for me to see it in a concrete way.

If you were going to take some time this week and write yourself a permission slip, what would be on it? What have you been avoiding that just needs tackled? What have you talked yourself out of because it seemed too selfish? What have you been doing or not doing because you "should" or "shouldn't" do it? What would it mean for you to actually give yourself permission to go for it? Why not take some time and reflect, and write yourself a permission slip?

Yes, you have permission!

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