Requesting Permission to Land

On Tuesday’s I hang out with my friend. He’s five.

If you remember being five or know a five-year-old you know that they just love anything that moves: hence their preoccupation with vehicles (and excretion, for that matter). They want to make things “go,” preferably with sound effects.

This particular guy’s passion is airplanes and spacecraft. Power. Action. Flying.

He got me thinking a lot about motion; the moving to get away from myself, and the kind that sets me free.

This morning, as I prepared to sit inI didn’t. I avoided it. I made the bed, washed the dishes, checked my email – you know the drill – avoidance stuff. Moving away from myself.

Okay. I noticed it. That made it easier to sit down (sometimes I get lucky).

I started  exploring the perimeter, but it was oh so difficult to stay with it. My plane was circling over the airport, definitely not landing.

In a holding pattern, actually. It was uncomfortable. I didn’t like it. It felt familiar.

So what to do?


Nothing? Well not really. By nothing I mean, no fixing, analyzing, solving, or insisting that it change. Because first comes permission.

Permission looked like this today:

  • I can stop here even though I haven’t landed. (Permission to be just where I am.)
  • It may be enough to just notice. (Permission not to push.) Sigh.
  • Even though my mind wants to figure out what I’m really avoiding and why, it’s okay for me not to know this. (Permission not to know.) Relief.

Landing Gear

It seems that I know how to land after all. I have landing gear. And exercise, squeeze and relax, from long ago popped into my head. Permission does that; it allows something just right to come up once it’s safe enough – at least in my experience, that is. Doing it,  I got to explore my holding patterns and then practice letting them go. Here’s how to do it too.

  1. You can do this sitting or standing, but flat on your back is best.
  2. Start with your feet. Squeeze them hard and then let go all at once. Do this again. Notice the difference between effort and release.
  3. Move up to your knees. Straighten them strongly and then let go all at once. Again.
  4. Repeat the squeezing and relaxing sequence twice with your tush, abdomen, chest, shoulders, elbows,  and  hands.
  5. When you get to your face, squeeze and relax your mouth, eyes and forehead, and then do the same with your whole face.
  6. Now make your entire body straight and tight. Release.
  7. Spend several minutes in repose letting your breath become natural. Notice if there’s any place in your body that is holding or squeezing. Scan for more subtle sensations of holding.

If you have something to say about giving yourself permission, holding patterns, or want to tell me how squeeze and relax went for you that would be great. Or, just hang out, poke around here, or the website Move Into Change.You’re welcome anytime.

For Comment-makers: Reading your comments is something I look forward to. And, it’s important to me that all of us (readers, browsers, comment-makers, and me) feel safe and secure. I ask that each of us be responsible for managing the energy that we bring here. We’re friendly and kind on this site. Just so you know.



5 thoughts on “Requesting Permission to Land

  1. I am reminded of my acting class at HB Studio, at least I think it was acting class, with Salem Ludwig. He had us on the floor, tightening and releasing various parts of our body as “Relaxation Exercises.” I remember thinking that I wasn’t very good at it, so in my mind that meant that I didn’t know how to be an actor. Looking back, I laugh because, in fact, I did do it well. It’s just that I didn’t trust that I could “get it”, so I kept expecting to feel like more or different than my experience. So,now, in my older self, I make more room for accepting that what I am “getting” may well be what the point is, and allow myself to accept that I “got” it. I particularly loved your description of allowing yourself the space and permission to move towards “sitting in.” You describe the process with such love and compassion, and I understood it completely. In fact, I thought your words were exactly what I would use to describe the experience. It felt so, well, comforting, to say I GET IT. And that’s the joy of my age now. I get what I get when I get it. And that’s just fine. Most of the time! — Joy

  2. Oh Joy, yes, and thanks.

    I can’t begin to count the number of times I believed the voice that says, “You aren’t doing it right, well enough ( fill in your own critical words), and therefore, you won’t ever be (fill in something you really want). And, I thought it was speaking truth. The Truth, the WHOLE Truth and nothing but – The Truth.

    Hurray for having a more mature self, as it can mean a wider perspective on what is also true.

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