Permission Slips

On January 9, 2018, I wrote a "10-line Tuesday" poem called "the first in a series of permission slips." 

Buy grapefruit, or chocolate pudding, or that naan bread you like, or
the more expensive tuna fish, something that has nothing to do with the shopping list. 
Take long walks without an errand in your back pocket. Wear socks that don’t constrict
your calves. Release any guilt about longing, old or otherwise. When it comes, sink into it
like a familiar chair. Lean back into its cushions. Turn on a nearby light so the shadows,
one by one, begin to disappear. Create the pleasure you seek and wider room
for what you resist. Give space to desire. Donate airtime to wildness and depth.
Paint the brightness out of the background. Make more scenery of your scenery.
It doesn’t have to be beautiful. It just has to be real.
It just has to be true.

I then invited subscribers to submit their own permission slips. Below are the responses I received:

It is ok to say No
No, nope, nuh uh, no thanks, No
There, doesn’t that feel better?

- Marci Aderiye

Permission granted to:
Stay in your jammies all day
Throw away the expired tea bags
Read fiction in the afternoon light
Write a love letter to yourself
Sing loud and proud and off key
Enjoy adult coloring books without apology
Eat that small piece of dark chocolate
Not answer the phone

- Marlou Russell


Choose to be the person who determines how you spend your time. It is not the permission that needs granting, but the desire to put what matters most in your forefront. Disband the notion that your needs are way down the lengthy list. Note the Hellebore flower struggling to lift itself from the frozen leaves. It is time to shine in the sun, to be radiantly in bloom. No permission needed……

- Dana Perez

Buy a jar of sauerkraut and eat it right from the jar.

- Grace Moore

Give up saying 'just kidding.' Say
What you mean no more hiding
Behind laughter and irony.
Be unapologetically juicy.
No more multitasking. There's time for it all
If you will just slow down.
You can stop trying to fix people
Or please them or both.
Reclaim your life with both hands.
Redeem your right to shine.

- Nancy London

Last week I was overcome with longing for my horses, for my farm. I've been diligent in my pursuit to let go these former attachments. That day, however, after many years of ignoring or pushing back the psychic knock knock knock, I sunk down into the chair and allowed myself the time to really feel my sadness, to welcome it, to give it the space it needed. Along with that permission came whole body mind spirit warmth and tenderness. In that space, I found that all is well, that the horses are with me, that the farm, the trees, the paths, the smell of it all, aren't lost.

- Lynn Byrd

Just now

There is a soft sweetness to permission
Especially when it has been withdrawn or absent too long
Permission to walk the winter night; the cold sharp on your nose
To let a weary body fall heavy on the couch, nothing to do but be
Seeing the deepest shade of purple, cabernet or clothing, 
reaching out to touch the vibrant, texture of colour
Listening to silence
To dance and dance, weary but unwilling to slow
Permission to trust that part of you that knows exactly how this moment could be filled
Just now

- DH

Linger a moment more than you need to, when you are not ready to say goodbye to the decadent hot water spraying your body;
where no one is asking you to do anything, be anything;
where it is more than acceptable to close your eyes, be in the moment enjoying the sensations.
Savour that sip of tea, the delicious sweetness, the warmth spreading down to your belly.
Wear comfy slippers that support your tender feet and keep you warm, but not too warm.
Always dress in a way that makes you feel confident and secure in your own skin.
Write when you want to and even sometimes when you don’t.
Make no apologies for taking time to sink into yourself.
If you really cannot stop to write, dictate, doodle, jot a note to later jog your memory.
Do not assume the words will find you again. This moment will be gone when the next one arrives.

- M.K. Shaw