Permission to go… solo

Photo credit: Shutterstock

This blog is the third in a Permission Slip series by Souldust Guide Jennifer MacNiven, where she shares her own journey of transformation. Here are the first and the second posts.

The sun has been making a full-on appearance here in the Pacific Northwest. Phew! I’ve been itching to get outdoors more. Hike, explore, and immerse myself into nature. Just be a happy camper in the woods.  ALONE.  Yes, all by myself! No one else’s agenda — just peace, quiet, the trees, stars and me.

Is that selfish? Would you do something like that just for yourself? Step away from “responsibilities”, family, friends, and do something just because your soul is calling for it? We all know the answer to that question. Hell no, it’s not selfish. It’s necessary. In fact, it’s not just necessary, it’s life-saving. We all know the clichéd saying “put your oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.” What oxygen are you needing in life, to breathe again?

Is it a day of pampering at a spa?
Signing up for a painting class?
Renting a cabin in the woods to unplug and write?
An exotic trip because it’s been on your bucket list forever?
Taking a training course on a neglected passion?

My ‘former self’ would have taken a poll for any of the above. Snoozefest, right? One of my passions is the outdoors, but here’s how it used to go.

Before I get outta Dodge and get lost in nature, let me go check in with my friends for their opinions.
Better ask my family if they think it’s a good idea.
Don’t forget to check the calendar and to-do list!

I would wait for the high five of approval. Wallow in guilt and shame for wanting to step away from the noise.

Not anymore! These days, I give myself permission. (Pro tip from a permission-seeker: You can also get caught in the infinite loop of asking permission to NOT ASK PERMISSION. Think about that.) Last week, I decided I was going camping. SOLO! Scary? Nah.  Exciting? YES!

I drove for a couple hours, stopping when I wanted to stop. Taking a few photos along the way and driving without any music on and just being silent.  I gave myself permission for silence. Whoa. What a concept.

Photo credit: Julian Bialowas on Unsplash

The camping trip was exactly what I needed. I woke when I woke. I hiked where I wanted and at my speed. I listened, experienced, and enjoyed the immense beauty of the Olympic National Park. From mountains, to lush old growth forests, waterfalls, rivers, vast meadows — the energy of nature is my ‘oxygen’. It was also the catalyst and space that I needed to write. So I wrote.

It’s amazing how we can be held back from doing what is truly within us
when we get caught up in the day to day.

Personally, I want to help spark and transform others lives by teaching and sharing my journey of transformation.  I am fiercely passionate about it.  However, I need to get quiet sometimes, to go within, so I can listen to the messages I’m meant to share.

Had I asked for permission to go camping, or asked others to join me, I may not be writing this now.  I needed the ME time.

I’ve learned that to be of service, to offer value to others, I need to refill, replenish, reset, recharge. All the RE-words out there, the words that suggest we know what to do, we’ve done it beforeWe are a do, go, succeed society, but sometimes — many times — we need to just BE.  And it’s hard to be still and listen to what your soul says when you’re trying to please others. When you’re waiting for an external yes.

Tell me, what will you give yourself permission to do solo, to recharge and replenish?  What are ways you can tap into your inner happy camper?  How can you stop holding your breath waiting for permission, and put on your oxygen mask?

In this Permission Slip Series, I’m honored to share with you my struggles, transformations, growth, finally letting go and looking deeper into my true soul’s desires. Finding joy. Finding peace. Giving myself permission to live.

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Jennifer MacNiven

Jen teaches people to tune into themselves — their breath, bodies and mind – through yoga, photography, and mindful wellness. Her passion is helping others explore their inner and outer worlds.  Her soul’s path is to travel, be in nature, and be in motion, and she has spent the last few years traveling the world, most recently setting up residence in Bali.  Jen is a certified yoga instructor and health+wellness coach, as well as a Souldust Guide. She is also a long-time professional photographer, which lends itself well to seeing things from a new perspective and creating lifestyle shifts.  Jen loves dancing and moving her body, hugs and conscious connections, being outdoors, camping, biking, swimming, chocolate… LIFE.

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