Featured,  Personal

Good advice: Permission slips, endings and embodiment

Ever since Rob Bell started his RobCast back in January 2015, I’ve been the most avid fan.

Whether he’s delivering a sermon or welcoming a super interesting guest into ‘the backhouse’, it’s always packed with insight, good vibes and positivity.

Rob kicked this year’s podcast schedule off with two episodes dedicated to a live, on-stage conversation/performance between/by him and Elizabeth Gilbert and in true Robcast form, it contained a wealth of refreshing nuggets of wisdom, comfort and inspiration.

I couldn’t resist sharing, so here are three of my most profound takeaways:

1. Go on and write yourself that permission slip

Inside every one of us, there’s a nine-year-old who has never stopped being afraid that they’re going to do something bad and end up in the principle’s office. All they want is to know the rules so that they can stick to them and be good.

In many ways, this fear of finding out that we’re actually not ‘good people’ is really at the root of all our other fears. What if I get it all wrong and disappoint everyone and end up in detention forever?

Because of this, we end up living our lives looking for approval – a panel of experts who can okay our decisions and write us permission slips to go ahead and do whatever it is we want to do.

The truth, of course, is that there is no panel of experts we can consult about our lives because nobody has ever conducted this exact experiment before. Sure, we can ask for input and advice and guidance and therapy. But, when it comes down to the fundamentals of living our lives, we are the ones who need to make decisions and then act on them.

Sometimes we simply need to write ourselves a permission slip from the panel of experts, the board of directors or the principle’s office just so we can get on with it.

Like this:

Dear Nadia, 

This is a note from the board of directors. 

You have permission to say no to things without feeling bad.

So, next time you feel yourself getting all wound up about the prospect of upsetting people by doing the thing you know in your gut is right to do, go on and write yourself a little note. It might just help!

2.  Sometimes things just come to an end without any clear reasons… and that’s okay

Yes. And it is also possible that things can come to an end gently, without any big blow-ups or messiness.

As Rob Bell says, not all endings need to take the form of a divorce. Sometimes we go through a graduation instead.

It is, after all, the natural cycle of things. Like the seasons.

If we feel like our time is done somewhere or with something, it probably is. Even if there isn’t a clear reason for it, we need to pay heed. Otherwise, your soul will end up being appalled and “to be the bearer of an appalled soul is the worst feeling in the world,” says Liz.

3. Our bodies just *know* things our minds can’t always comprehend

One of the biggest problems most of us face is that we’re so accustomed to living in our heads that we’ve become completely disconnected from our bodies.

As Liz points out, it’s almost like we see our bodies as nothing more than a vehicle to move our brains around.

The reason this is so problematic is simply that our bodies are actually incredible founts of wisdom. But we keep ignoring them and burying that ancient, deep knowing in overactive thoughts. Kind of like having the newest MacBook Air and using it as a placemat.

I mean, I think we’ve all experienced it at least a few times in our lives – that weird little spinal tingle we get when we feel someone/something watching us. That’s body knowledge. A built-in warning system to protect us from unexpected attacks and lurking danger.

Or the warmth we feel in our bellies when we meet a kindred spirit. Our bodies confirming what our souls already know. No need for the brain to get involved with its analyses and dissections.

I often feel like the longest journey I’ll ever take is the one out of my head and into my body. But more than ever I’m determined to take it on. For now, yoga and hiking are my go-to embodiment practices. If you have any others to suggest, I’m all ears.

Note: I’ve taken quite a bit of liberty in paraphrasing them, so give the podcast a listen if you want to hear it in their words


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.