Creative Sparks

Permission to Refuse

by | Oct 2, 2015 | Creative Sparks

WomanPathClouds_MatthewWiebe-webYou have a dream in your heart, or a goal you long to reach, a bad habit you want to break, a good habit you want to cultivate.

You are trying to lose weight, to write a book, find a mate, build your dream house, become a great singer.

But you’re banging your head against a wall. Try as you might, it isn’t happening. You aren’t making time for it, or obstacles keep showing up and getting in the way. The going is really hard and it’s not that fun, and you certainly aren’t seeing the rewards you’d like.

What to do now?

When I was 25, I moved from my cozy, little town in Vermont across the country to Austin, Texas, where I didn’t know I soul. I was following a dream in my heart, and a deep need for change. I had made a list of qualities I needed in a place to live and asked friends to suggest places that had those qualities. I came out with a list of 10 places as far flung as Missoula, Montana, Anchorage, Alaska, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, but the one I chose was Austin, Texas.

So, I packed up all my belongings in my old Volvo station wagon and set out to parts unknown.

I’d been told Austin is a beautiful, friendly city with all these great qualities, but when I arrived I found myself working as a temp in a shopping mall at Christmastime, living in a rented room in an apartment with two gay men who were staunch republicans (who were also quite lovely people), and my Volvo completely died (the steering wheel came off in my hand while driving, and the front half rusted apart from the back half). And Austin certainly wasn’t beautiful or friendly the way my amazing little Vermont hamlet had been. Everything was foreign, difficult to get used to. I couldn’t find my way around.

On the day that a mechanic screamed obscenities at me, I fell apart. Sobbing and shaking in the car, I yelled over and over, “I hate this place! I hate it here!”

Once I finally gave myself permission to hate Austin, things began to change for the better. I found a really nice room to rent in a house with a wonderful woman, I got a job waitressing that made good money, I got a great new used car for a bargain and an awesome, kind mechanic. I also came to love and enjoy Austin thoroughly and make good friends there.

But I had to let myself hate it first.

WomanDancing_Bảo-Quân Nguyễn-webSometimes on the road to any cherished dream or longed-for goal, there is a step we have to take, and it’s not one you hear talked about often. We have to give ourselves permission to refuse the dream, the goal, the plan. We have to give ourselves complete, 100% permission to decide “I don’t want this after all. I am letting this go.”

And not as some ploy to ultimately get the goal. But for real. Maybe you no longer want this dream. Maybe it’s just too hard. Maybe it isn’t worth it. What would be so bad about refusing to go for it any longer?

If you are willing to really and truly give yourself complete permission to say no to your dream, your goal, your project, and let it go, then you create space inside to discover what you really want now. You have space to discover your true heart’s longing. Perhaps the same dream will be re-kindled with a great new enthusiasm. Perhaps you will come to a re-visioning of the dream. Perhaps it will be something new. Perhaps it will be the realization that this isn’t the dream you want, and you will come to a sweet acceptance of yourself and your life as it is now, with no need of a dream or goal, or at least not this one.

For instance, you might discover that you can love yourself fully at your current weight and there’s nothing wrong with you and you don’t actually need to diet. And then, you might surprise yourself by losing weight anyhow, or not.

So my radical invitation to you now is: Give yourself full permission to refuse your dream, your goal, your big plans. Try letting them go completely. Then, see what opens up in you, what arises wanting to be born through you, where you are pulled authentically now, what you have enthusiasm for.

Whenever we feel we have to do anything, we will always resist it. The feeling of “should” or “have to” creates resistance, push-back. Force creates counter-force. That is how we are wired.

Giving yourself total permission to refuse opens up new possibilities, new energy, and stops the fight. You end the war within, and then you are free to hear your heart again and choose from a place of freedom, strength, inspiration and true power. Try it, and let me know what you discover.

Images in this post by Matthew Wiebe and Bảo-Quân Nguyễn

Creative Sparks provides tools, guidance and soul inspiration about once a week to help you

Ignite and sustain your creativity • Discover and realize your heart’s true dreams • Live with imagination, joy, and wonder

We are soul-crafting here. Join us!

Subscribe to Creative Sparks!

You'll receive juicy doses of inspiration and ideas to nourish your artful, soulful life.