The Life Changing Power of Permission to Do It My Way

My Zentangle

I took a Zentangle class this past Monday with Nancy VanRooy through GR Parks and Recreation and when I pulled out my Zentangles again this morning, I felt like an artist.

That is a powerful feeling for a non-artist like me.

What I love most about taking a new class like this ---is the feeling of being successful. Not successful in the way of judging how my final creation looked compared to everyone else's, or in garnering accolades like "Ooh your Zentangle is fantastic, what a great job you did, you are a talented artist", but in how I felt while doing it.

This class made me feel creative, talented, and empowered. And days later I am still feeling like an artist.

'You can't do it wrong' are magic words for a recovering control freak with a perfectionistic streak.

They spell creative freedom to me. Permission to use my imagination. To feel my way through using intuition, not technique and to paint outside the lines if I want to.

And this permission up front to do it my way also completely silences my inner mean voice. There is no judgment, no comparison, no feeling that I stand out in all the wrong ways. Just quiet, happy acceptance at my efforts and pride in my work.

It is the difference between inner stress and inner peace in my body.

I have never been good at following complicated step by step processes. 'How to' books that show a detailed one stroke at a time procedure have never worked for me. (Maybe that is why I also dislike math so much). And why I never willingly volunteer to assemble or build anything or to keep detailed records, and maybe it even explains why I break so many things. My family likes to make fun of the way I open (destroy) boxes of cereal -- or bags of chips. Do those 'tear here' or 'open on the dotted lines' instructions ever really work for anyone?

What I love about Yoga, Zentangle & GROOVE -- is that you do it your way. With 100% permission to be unique. You are told to listen to your body and do what feels right, to morph your oopsies into something beautiful as there are no mistakes in Zentangle, or to uniquely express with your body what you hear in the music.

Each one of those phrases allows a sense of freedom and joy to bloom within me.

And my spirit has needed to feel this way for a very long time. As a highly sensitive person I dislike being compared, watched, graded, or judged more than you can imagine, especially when I do it to myself.

One of my favorite parts of the Zentangle class was seeing the uniqueness of everyone's tiles afterwards; not to "compare" mine to theirs, but to see how each woman there listened to the same instructions and yet created something different. No two tiles looked even close to the same.

And therein lies the beauty of creative freedom, and the power of permission in allowing someone to do it 'their way'.

As a yoga instructor it is my hope that no student ever thinks they have to look like the person on the mat next to them in a specific pose. Your pose should be as as unique to you as your DNA. It is not about how it looks on the outside, it is about how it feels on the inside.

Every time I step onto my mat to lead a yoga class, or take the floor to begin a GROOVE class, I hope I empower each student to do it 'their way' like Nancy did in our Zentangle class. What more does a person really need to flourish than permission to be uniquely themselves?

Start saying YES to whatever allows you to be more of your unique and beautiful self, and say NO to anything that dims your light. This small thing has immense life changing power. This I know.