The first week of January, I was getting myself  psyched up to write my ‘word of the year’ post. It’s a thing. Board that bandwagon. And then I realized, I’d already done that in November. I’d stolen my thunder.

In Eamon's room on

The post was on Abundance and Opportunity.  I love these concepts and I’ve already been there, declared that. I resolved myself to this dénouement. But then I heard a word I felt was just as important to my awareness. A word I’d like to focus on as well because  focus and mindfulness is what brings “the budge”.  I had my first go round with this word when I wrote myself a permission slip to allow for my regular intentional creativity back in November too. 

The stronger scarier word that holds magic and power for me? That I need to concentrate on to be able to move aside the rusty gate that bars my progress into my future?


Every time I hit a stumbly place, a task that feels difficult or impossible, if I choose to stand there long enough and meditate on my stuckness, I usually find a lack of permission has beat me there. Like the ultimate Mother May I game, I need permission to move beyond this point. Except we’ll call her the Fear Mother.

Me : Mother May I sew those curtains for Fiona’s room?

Fear Mother : “Yes you may but you have to figure out your sewing machine’s problem or get a new one.

(Or use the iron on seam tape which I have tons of but my brain wanted to do this “the hard way”.)

So I gave myself permission to put a pair of glasses on and read the owner’s manual to that daggone sewing machine and sure as shoot, I’d been threading the bobbin the wrong way.

Permission granted to read, resolve, and then to sew.

rocking horse on

Me : Mother May I use my new pastels to draw stuff?

Fear Mother : “Yes you may but you don’t have any time so what are you talking about.” 

Me : I’ll steal the time and I’ll make up a reason to use them. (And that’s what I did).

Fear Mother : “Stop asking me. Because if you keep asking me, I guarantee you’ll never get what you want.”

See how the creative intention gets hijacked suddenly by the Fear Mother. You don’t want to be disrespectful to the Fear Mother. So you stop asking. But you keep still really wanting to do it. So then you just feel bad.

Fiona at the craft room window

I read a Facebook post by author Elizabeth Gilbert recently about fear. She said she respects her fear. It’s there for a reason so give it that respect. She’ll invite fear to come along on the trip in the van. But it is not allowed to drive.

So this is my new plan. Devote an entire page to each project and leave room for the fears to be expressed. So there’s the goal, the plan, the steps and the fears. Because it’s the unresolved problems your Fear Mother has so kindly pointed out that keep you stuck, unable even to allow yourself to express the goals and dreams you have in your heart.

Tear in the eye from Permission on

I’ll give the fears their say on paper. My hope is that the permission will then come from addressing the Fear Mother’s problems compassionately, validating them, making notes, and then solving them will create a better process for my problem solving of the future.

And here’s to never having “I don’t know how” stand in our way again. Because if you don’t know how, someone does and you just need permission to go ask them. But you also may need permission to not do anything and take some time off to be after all that doing. I am asking and giving myself permission to make this process less hard and more easy. Yes I may.

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  1. What a powerful post, Shalagh. The analogy of allowing fear to come along but not letting it drive is really interesting and brings up a really though-provoking point about perspective. Without permission, you never really have the opportunity to break out of that circle of comfort, which is where so much of the good stuff hangs out. I think when we give ourselves permission (there’s that word again…) to recognize and acknowledge fear as natural part of growth, it’s wayyy less paralyzing. Fear is definitely going to have to ride in the backseat when Permission is driving and Abundance is riding shotgun. xo

    1. I like when I provoke thoughtfulness from my favorite thoughtful people. Thank you Christina. Now you are officially in my circle of comfort. But I grant you permission to be whatever you want while you are here.
      Thank you so much. And I have something for you.
      Love Ya’,
      Ps I don’t know what it is but I really love a good van analogy.

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