Some say that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I'm inclined to agree with one exception...
There was a good chunk of time when I was surrounded by folks who were...less than supportive about my study of and passion for yoga. It's not so much that these people didn't approve of my passion for yoga -- it's more like they didn't understand it. Often when people don't understand something they fear it, and that fear is sublimated as judgment. I spent a fair amount of time practically apologizing for my yogic pursuits. Essentially, I was apologizing for being who I am (which is so not cool and I don't recommend anyone do this...ever!).
Suffice to say, I wasn't all that happy with that situation. Rather than feeling judged and apologizing for it, I should have sought permission -- from myself. If only I had given myself permission to be "ethereal yoga girl" (yep, that's what these confused folks called me), I would have been a lot happier (and I would have been a lot more authentic with the people who had given me that nickname which would have lead to a closer relationship rather than the distant one I settled for/encouraged). These days I let my freaky yoga flag fly...with pride.
Yes, I still get people assuming all sorts of things about me:
--I have tattoos (actually, I don't have any -- virgin skin here)
--I am a vegan who eats "weird" food (I'm more in the vegetarian camp but I do eat meat now and again. I suppose that some of the food I eat could be considered weird by some, but that's a judgment call not an absolute.)
--I must not believe in God (not true at all)
--I'm into Tantra and all sorts of "freaky" stuff (yes, I have studied Tantra, and no, I wouldn't classify it as freaky, but to each his own)
--I must be an airhead (I'm no rocket scientist, but I'm not dummy either. I graduated cum laude and I'm fairly together)
--I judge others who don't practice yoga or meditate (absolutely NOT!)
The list goes on and on. If I had a dollar for everyone who's said something like "Wow, you're pretty down to earth and normal for a yoga person" to me, I'd be writing this from my luxurious hideaway on my private island off Bora Bora.
The fact is, I do plenty of stuff that people think is weird -- I don't watch the news, I hardly ever drink (this one really makes people feel uncomfortable), I've never done drugs so I don't have any "cool" under the influence stories, I don't often watch movies, I don't own a TV, I believe that what happens "out there" has a direct correlation to what's happening inside, I have a daily spritual practice that doesn't involve a church or temple or formal place of worship, I'm typically early to everything, I have way too many pieces of Apple technology, I have developed a passion for jumping out of planes...yep, I'm a total freak.
This week I'm taking a friend of mine to the new Katy Perry movie (see, I do go to the movies every now and again!), Part of Me (said friend is a HUGE Katy Perry fan). I've gotten some flack about this from a few friends who think it's ridiculous to pay to see a movie about a pop star (cut me some slack here -- at least I'm not going to the 3D version). I actually beg to differ. While I'm not a huge Katy Perry fan (but I will admit to singing Firework in my car on more than one occasion) like my friend, I like that she puts herself out there without apology. She gives herself permission, if you will.
How would your life change if you gave yourself permission? Do you have people who don't approve of/judge your yoga practice or your meditation practice or your lifestyle? Do you feel you need to apologize or separate yourself or deny who you are to be accepted...or do you give yourself permission?
In this case, I think it's better to grant permission than to apologize. And with that sentiment, I tell you all to proudly let your yoga freak flag fly!
Oh, and by the way -- I now affectionately call myself "ethereal yoga girl" just to remind myself that permission has been granted.