Soul Camp has traditions associated with it that I really enjoy and look forward to. One tradition takes place the first night before circle opens; this tradition is permission slips.
We take time as a group to reflect individually on the permission slips we are writing ourselves while at camp. Mine this time were;
Permission to be Mom – which meant stepping out of group everyday to call home and be part of bedtime routine with little bubby regardless of what was happening in group.
Permission to accept help when it feels safe now – This was me giving myself permission to Yes when I mean it instead of always leading with a No when help is offered because I am used to being an island.
Permission to change my mind – This permission slip is self-explanatory.
I did well with the permissions I gave myself, and I am excited to share that I brought the energy of permission home with me.
Three or Four years ago when I was still in college, I was driving home from school and I was stopped at a red light. I looked out the window and on the ground near my car was a potato. Yep, a big old spud was just sitting there in the middle of traffic.
I was really bothered by this.
He felt abandoned to me. I did not like the idea that this little guy worked as hard as he did to grow into the potato that he is, spending the first half of his life in the agony of growth underground alone, just to end up rotting in the middle of the road under the hot summer sun. This felt very wrong.
I debated for multiple minutes about quickly parking the car, getting out, grabbing him, and bringing him home to die in the backyard around all the vegetation on our property. I debated so long that the light turned green and my opportunity passed. I drove on feeling like I abandoned a piece of myself on the side of the road as well. The piece of me that wants to champion the underdog and fight for the vulnerable. I felt as if I was turning away from the pain of another living thing and that felt as wrong as the potato being there to begin with.
I did not pick up the potato that day because I would have made a scene. Everyone around me in traffic would have seen me park, get out, and rescue that potato. I was not ready to be SEEN on that level so I ignored the piece of me that was crying out to help this abandoned potato. It didn’t feel good.
Fast forward to present day Jillian, fresh off a Soul Camp experience, I once again found myself face to face with an abandoned vegetable.
Little bubby and I ran an errand yesterday and when I parked in the back corner of the parking lot I immediately spotted a sad little zucchini baking in the afternoon sun. She was all alone in the middle of the parking lot. We were not even at a grocery store, I have no clue how this poor thing ended up here, just like I could not figure out before how a potato becomes stranded at a busy intersection.
I walked passed her as little bubby and I headed to the store, then again when our errand was complete and we returned to the car. I settled little bubby back into the car and then got into the driver’s seat. There I sat for multiple minutes staring at the zucchini in front of me.
This isn’t right. I cannot leave her. She did not spend her whole life growing in some garden somewhere to one day become parking lot trash.
Next to me a man was sitting in his car on his phone.
If I get out and rescue this vegetable that guy is going to see me and think I am nuts!
Am I going to let the judgments of others stop me from being exactly who I am?
Then and there I wrote myself a few very important permission slips that I will now and going forward keep close to my heart:
I give myself permission to become a collector of weird looks from strangers.
I give myself permission to listen to my heart.
I give myself permission to allow my actions to reflect her voice only.
I give myself permission to live a life other’s do not understand.
With that I got out of the car, grabbed the zucchini and brought her home with us.
Once we were home little bubby went down for nap and Lu and I took the zucchini to the backyard where I said a few kind words before inviting her to join the other vegetable scraps and parts in our compost pile. Now she will go back to the earth and help create new life in my one day garden.
I will live a life I am proud to call my very own, created with this heart and these two hands and led from a place of love and connection.