Permission Slips

   The other day I was talking to one of my friends who told me sometimes we need to write ourselves “permission slips”. I thought this was an interesting concept as I am struggling to allow myself to not try to be productive 100% of the time, to not cry or get frustrated, to just “move on” after the stroke and get back to “regular life”. The truth is my life is no longer what it used to be and never will be. So now what? Be mad and try to just make it what it was despite how damaging it was to my health? Or start writing permission slips.

            Today the rain is falling outside and I’m feeling peaceful but sad. Sad that now I know I’m higher risk for another, probably more serious stroke within the year and without knowing what caused it there’s nothing I can do to prevent it. I had a headache when I woke up but now a headache is not just a headache, it’s a potential stroke complication. A headache can be a harbinger of worsened brain cell death or complications. I know I shouldn’t focus on that and most of the time I don’t but today I’m writing a permission slip to be scared and frustrated.

            Today my permission slip is allowing myself to cry even when I know that I have much to be grateful for. I learned once from a Native American friend that tears are sacred water from the eyes, thanking the earth for all it has done for me. So, in this way my tears are full of gratitude. Perhaps my eyes are mimicking the sky and just as the raindrops cleanse the earth so too are my tears cleansing my body.

            Today my permission slip also includes stopping trying to be productive and allowing myself to just be. Although it’s hard to tell from the outside there is a great deal of healing and repair that is occurring inside. When I try to ignore my body’s need for rest I am getting in my own way. Something I teach patients all the time. Our bodies are wise healers if only we stop running them into the ground and get out of our own way.

            Today my permission slip is to vulnerably allow help from others. I have a friend coming over to keep me company tonight and my home is a mess. I want to clean it so badly but know that I don’t have the strength or energy, so today I allow myself to be seen in my messy vulnerability and accept their help knowing they care way less than I care about the state of my home.

            What does your permission slip say for you today?