This morning I sent off my 6th weekly email to the Your Life Made Vibrant list.
Every single week, the newsletter is by far my favorite thing I write. There’s just something about an email that feels more personal than a blog post sometimes, and I keep that in mind when I write them. I often get responses from several of you letting me know when a particular message has resonated with you or made you sit back and think. That’s the greatest gift I could receive from putting my thoughts out into the world – to know that they are bringing you value and encouraging you in your daily lives.
Which is why I’ve decided to share today’s email on the blog as well, in the hope that more of you reading might sign up for the list. (To do so, click here or enter your info at the bottom of the post!)
Along with a new topic + action step each week, I also create a hand-lettered printable to keep you mindful of the weekly topic, which is included below as well. Please encourage any fellow soulful, creatives out there to sign up if you feel so inclined. I’d love to add them (or add you!) to this tiny growing community of mindful creators.
Happy St. Patty’s Day, friend!
I’ll admit, for about a half-second I considered tying today’s edition of Your Life Made Vibrant into the holiday somehow with a message about ‘luck’ or ‘going for the gold’ or something overly clever like that.
Thankfully I wised up and realized a) you’ll probably be seeing a LOT of that today and b) really thoughtful writing trumps half-assed but holiday-themed writing every time. So here we are.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on the blog about living what I call the Should Life vs. the Good Life. In that post, I detailed my struggle with letting go of the path that I thought I was supposed to lead – the one of a highfalutin New York City ad exec – in favor of the life that honored my personal happiness and purpose.
That was truly one of the first major crossroads I encountered in my adult life, and I think it illustrates a battle that us creative, soulful types come across pretty darn often: the epic face-off between our heads and our hearts.
You know the tale… Our intuition will try to lead us down a path, but logic and reason step in before we can get where we’re headed. We start to feel drawn to something from within, but a gazillion “logical” thoughts prevent us from making it happen.
You want to quit your job, but you’re afraid of what people will think.
You want to use your savings to travel the world, but you convince yourself it’s a financial risk.
You want to leave a toxic relationship, but you don’t want to hurt the other person and you rationalize a way to stay.
Which brings me to the topic of the week: permission.
You may have heard advice along these lines before: “You need to give yourself permission to _____…” and I’ve heard it too. But what does giving yourself permission really mean? How does one actually do that?
I started thinking about it over the course of our trip this weekend and realized that the word permission immediately reminded me of the relationship between a parent and a child. (For example, my parents never gave me permission to order an on-demand movie from a hotel room stay, which I guess makes sense now that I know they cost $1,000.99 each, but at the time really bummed me out.)
Think about it…
Our intuition, our soul, our inner self – whatever you want to call it – that’s the child. It is somewhat unformed, free, and pure. We often can’t even put our inner feelings into words they’re so unformed, but when we talk about ‘knowing it in our gut,’ we have all experienced how pure and true that feels.
Our logic – on the other hand – our head, now that’s the parent. It seems more knowledgeable, more solid and tangible, and for those reasons, it commands quite a bit of authority. It believes that it always knows best.
Naturally, as the parent, our heads want to keep our hearts safe. To protect and preempt. To prevent anything bad from ever happening to us.
But just as an overzealous parent can shelter a child, an overzealous head can shelter a heart too. And now, having experienced first-hand the joy in a life that’s a little less rational, I’m not so sure a sheltered heart is the best route to a life that is vibrant and purposeful.
If you spend all your time listening to the logical part of you – the one lecturing you on what people will think and what you should do and how much money you need and the million reasons you can come up with why something is not a good idea – you could be closing yourself off to the truly transformative opportunities in your life.
So, I like to think of it this way:
Logic and reason might be helpful when making decisions, but they can also create mental roadblocks for our inner selves. Giving yourself permission means that your mind can finally lift some of those roadblocks, allowing your intuition the freedom to roam. And when your intuition can roam, that’s when your heart will lead you to the experiences and opportunities that are aligned with who you really are. When that happens, it’s magic.
So this is what I propose.
This week, write down three things you could give yourself permission to do.
Tell the over-protective parent to settle down and let the kid play a while. Listen to that deep inner voice. Where’s it leading you?
Is it leading you to finally say no to dinner with a toxic group of friends? Give yourself permission.
Is it leading you to spend that extra cash on the online course you’ve been interested in for months? Give yourself permission.
Is is leading you to spend a weekend to yourself to realign your goals and values in your life? Give yourself permission.
(For the record: this does not mean I support giving yourself permission to do things that are harmful, overly indulgent, or otherwise in conflict with your values and goals. The purpose of this exercise is for you to consider letting your intuition take the wheel for a little while and to see where that takes you.)
For me, my heart is leading me to be more present right now. While I know I probably should be blogging every second of our road trip, or planning for the future of Made Vibrant, something inside me feels there is a greater purpose to soaking up every single second of this journey. I can feel things starting to come into focus, and so this week I’m giving myself permission to focus on what’s in front of me, and worry about the rest later.
Jason and I will actually be off the grid most of this week, camping in Joshua Tree, CA at a retreat held by the company that is editing his book, Round Table Companies.
Thanks to those of you who’ve been following along on our journey thus far (#floridagoeswest on Instagram and Twitter!) I can’t wait to share with you the wisdom I’m picking up along the way.
Now get out there and make it happen this week. I believe in you.
PS. Even though I’ll have limited access to WiFi this week, I’d love to hear from you! Your replies mean the world to me, and I love connecting with you on a more personal level. Reply back to this email and tell me one of your three things you plan to give yourself permission to do. Hopefully I can cheer you on as you follow your intuition!
Click here to download your free hand-lettered printable this week! (The PDF has one for you to cut out/hang up and one to give to a friend! If you think they’d enjoy this newsletter, I’d love it if you’d invite them to sign up! The more the merrier!)
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This post first appeared in my Monday newsletter to Self-Made Society -- Made Vibrant's email community for soulful creatives. Sign up and you'll get instant access to my e-book, A Year Made Vibrant, with over 50 of my past weekly newsletters.