This might seem like a strange idea at first – giving yourself permission – but, once you think about it some, you will realize that it really gets to the core of how you live – and decide to live – your life. Begin with this simple idea – you are the gatekeeper of your own possibilities – you determine what is possible for you.
Now, before you go on about the limitations of this mortal form, stop and remind yourself that what is important here is that you take leadership in – and responsibility for – your own personal growth. We are dealing with questions of spirituality not theology – and the core question is not whether, by the end of your life, you have learned how to live forever – it is whether during your life you’ve made the most of the advantages that you had.
In my mentoring, I encounter people who have never given themselves permission to sing or dance. If I ask them if they sing or dance they say no – but if I ask them why they don’t sing or dance, the responses get less definite. Many times I introduce the idea of ‘leadership style’ or ‘leadership development’ – what kind of a leader are you being when it comes to deciding how to live your life? Initially the question brings a blank stare but, after some work, the real meaning comes clear. You see, mentoring – indeed any mentoring or adviser role – is a matter of helping a person accept that they are the author of their own life – they are the gatekeeper to their own possibilities.
One of the more delightful people that I have met in my journey through life is the American poet Robert Bly. He as written many great poems and a very valuable book – ‘Iron John’. One of his personal quirks is that he just can’t seem to end a seminar, meeting or gathering without singing something. He always brings some ancient instrument and sometimes this leads to dancing as well. Robert has an exuberance for life – just like all of us – but he has given himself permission to experience it and to show it to others.
Like Bly, we all have the exuberance for live bubbling inside of us. When you stop and think of it, it is a pretty amazing thing to be alive – and to be aware you are alive. But Robert has taken that great first step and given himself permission to experience that exuberance – and to let that exuberance show.
Hey, in the end what have you got to loose? When your ass is cold there will be plenty of time for withholding permissions. But for now warmth should be on the menu – the warmth of singing and dancing – the warmth of connecting, giving and receiving – and the of giving yourself permission to feel alive. Thinks about – but not too long – the grains of sand are running as we speak.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II