For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike.
For most of my life, I’ve looked for permission to be myself.
I became a master at monitoring a room. I’d get a feel for how much spirituality I could bring into the conversation. Or how animated and excited I could be. Or how vulnerably I could share.
Some people could just walk into the room and be the life of the party. That’s never been me.
I’ve always been a master of hanging back, learning the rules—what’s safe—and then ending up in a super intense, deep, and meaningful conversation where I know a stranger’s entire life story.
And I looked for that permission everywhere in my environment.
I’d only feel successful when I saw X amount of money in my bank account. And I’d only do the aligned thing when it wasn’t “too high-maintenance” or stepping on anyone’s toes. And I’d only take risks when someone else had validated that I’m capable or worthy of them.
I’ve always carried the story that I can have permission if or when I have different circumstances. Like it’s conditional. Like there are conditions on my ability to be myself.
I told myself I could only be generous and support my community when I’m making more money. Or I could only be truly vulnerable once I had already worked through the issue and was on the other side. Or I could only be zany and playful once people knew I was intelligent and respected me.
I put so many conditions on my ability to be myself. Rules. Other people’s rules. Excuses, really. About why I couldn’t just unconditionally be me.
I thought about this last night. Garrett keeps his clinic open late on Wednesdays (hence why our Sacred Circle night call is then when we’re in session), so I decided to go to a Zany event for my Unique Genius Experiment.
I was all excited to go to a Renaissance Faire at 5pm. It was weird and playful, and I had no idea what to expect.
And then I got there a few minutes late. I searched around until I found an unmarked door on the street. Finally, I walked upstairs and roamed the halls. I found a room that had a poster about the Renaissance out front, but the door was closed and a sign said “Wednesday at 7pm.”
“Was it about this event? Is this even the right room?” I wondered frantically. I pulled up the Meetup event again to make sure it said 5pm.
A sign on the door said to knock loudly. So I did. I felt uncomfortable.
“What if I really am early and I’m interrupting someone’s work?”
I heard voices inside. And it made me feel even more awkward. Maybe I hadn’t knocked loudly enough. Or maybe I really was early and a session was going on.
I checked the Meetup again.
There was no air conditioning in the building, and it was over 80 degrees outside. I started sweating.
People were walking down the hall and looking at me. I was convinced they were wondering why I was loitering outside this door for 15 minutes.
I wrote on the Meetup group asking for clarification. Finally, someone responded, not referencing the time, but telling me I had the right room.
I knocked again. Nothing.
After 25 minutes, sweaty and embarrassed, I left. I felt so defeated. I tried to go outside of my comfort zone and try something new for the challenge, and I ended up just looking like a sweaty, creepy guy standing outside a door in a small hallway for half an hour.
I did not feel like I had permission to be Zany anymore. I just wanted to go home.
On the walk home—with my tail between my legs—I decided that this couldn’t just be it. Even though I felt awkward and embarrassed for not getting the time right—which was posted wrong—I started giving myself permission to be Zany.
Regardless of the circumstances, I had permission to be Zany. Just like regardless of the money in my bank account, I have permission to be Successful. Or regardless of how put-together I feel, I have permission to be Vulnerable.
So I thought, “Maybe the circumstances changed—maybe I can’t go to that event. But what’s the Zaniest thing I could do, given my circumstances?”
At that moment, I was walking by a psychic salon that I’d passed dozens of times in my life. I ducked in without even thinking. Not knowing if it was open or appointment-only or if the psychic had any availability.
How random. How Zany.
When the psychic—Crystal—asked why I was there, I decided to just tell her the whole story. I had no idea what kind of reading I wanted or any questions I had. I was just claiming that I have a right to be myself and do the Zaniest thing within reach in that moment.
An hour later, I had an amazing reading, had already shared my engagement and wedding stories, had a powerful conversation about sexual trauma and objectification, and had invited Crystal to be a guest on the Friday Faire.
It was unexpected. And Zany.
And, walking home, I remembered that I have permission to be me. I can always give myself permission. Even if the circumstances aren’t perfect or easy. I can choose whatever does feel within reach.
Earlier this week, I gifted a friend a massage—just because. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who buys a friend a local massage when I’m thinking of them, just because.
And I’ve always told myself I didn’t have the money to do that. Maybe I don’t for every friend. But, once in a great while, I can afford to buy one.
Just like maybe I don’t have millions to invest, but I can invest small amounts here and there. Or maybe I can’t redo my entire wardrobe, but I can buy one piece I love. Or maybe I can’t meditate for two hours, but I can do 20 minutes.
So often, I have stories about why I don’t have permission. And why, if I can’t do the whole enchilada, I might as well do nothing at all.
Which is just bullshit.
Our circumstances don’t dictate what we feel, do, or experience. We always have permission to be ourselves—even in less than ideal circumstances. We always have the one thing that is within reach that makes us feel like ourselves—even if it’s not the ideal just yet.
We can choose our genius, regardless of the circumstances. And sometimes it won’t look like a big deal. Or others might not even notice it.
But, any time we choose ourselves, it’s genius. It’s absolute genius. And it transforms us in ways we can’t even begin to know.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Do you wait until your circumstances give you permission?
— Are you waiting for your circumstances to change to give you permission to access your genius? Will you feel successful when you have more money in the bank? Or would you feel more connected if you had more friends? Does it feel conditional to be yourself?
— Do you sometimes hold yourself back or read the room to see if you have permission to do or say something? Do you wait for others to invite you or tell you that you’re capable and worthy before going after what you want? Do you wait for permission to step into your genius?
— What if you are a genius—period? What if that can’t possibly change with your circumstances, so you have the ability to choose your genius, even when your circumstances aren’t ideal? What if you can always choose the one thing within reach that makes you feel like you want and like your genius? What if choosing your genius—especially when it’s difficult—changes everything?