Permission from Others to Pause

This month, we are exploring the theme of “Permission” and its role in our ability and intention in living our authentic lives especially around taking sabbaticals or regular pauses in life.

Back in October 2019, we posted a blog about who gives you permission and thought we should dive into the narratives around it in more detail.

As children, we needed to ask permission for most decisions and actions for our safety and learning but perhaps we didn’t ever grow out of the need to get permission as adults. That continual external validation or crowd-sourcing of decisions in your life may lead to a life that you don’t recognize. This is often an unconscious pattern.

Permission comes from the root word “permit” which means to pass through or to allow/grant something. By letting others decide what we can and can’t do, we lose our ability to trust our intuition on what is right for us. No one else knows you as you do but, here is the clincher, you need to slow down in order to hear and pay attention to what your inner and deep self is telling you.

As I prepared for the blog, I contemplated how obligations play a role in our lives and the intersection they have with permissions we seek.  For example, there are some duties as a parent or contractual ones with your employer that can’t be ignored but there are ways to still find pauses in the midst of those obligations.

It does require additional planning, re-imagining, and a support network. For example, you may need to ask a friend or family member, or partner to watch the kids for a weekend or week. Or you propose a 4-day work week with your employer to have a day for yourself each week. Or if the pause requires a longer time away from your day-to-day life, how do you start making different financial choices to save up for time away?

Perhaps obligations become the excuse not to pause rather than an opportunity to explore ways to make it be a both/and situation instead of either/or.  If you are serious about finding time to take intentional time to pause, it does require you to make choices. It will not just happen for you unless by illness or global pandemic but then that really isn’t intentional. I recently read a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert (a favourite of ours here at Conscious Pause) that speaks to these choices:

“Long ago, when I was struggling to become a writer, a wise older woman once said to me, “What are you willing to give up, in order to have the life you keep saying you want?”
I said, “You’re right — I really need to start learning how to say no to things I don’t want to do.”
She corrected me: “No, it’s much harder than that. You need to learn how to start saying no to things you DO want to do, with the recognition that you have only one life, and you don’t have time and energy for everything.”
Practice saying it with me, everyone: “I love you, but I’m letting you go.”
I don’t know what the thing is (or things are) that you need to start saying no to, in order to live the life you keep saying you want…But I have a suspicion that perhaps YOU know.”


If you need a physical reminder, maybe fill in a permission slip from Knock Knock books or create your own to grant yourself permission to make the choices you need to live your life on your own terms.


If you still need permission, consider this blog post as “Permission Granted” for your choice to take a pause with intention.


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