Can I…please? Asking permission

Recently I was at an overnight camp for adults with disabilities, mostly cognitive disabilities with a smattering of physical issues.

If you’ve known me for more than an hour, you’ll know that I firmly believe that individuals with special needs and disabilities have a message to teach the world. Sometimes the message is so transparent we miss it. At the first camp dinner, I became aware of one of the lessons.

We were dining on the basic camp food – lasagna with 8 pounds of extra cheese and zero meat, turtle bread (yes, a debate ensued of whether to start with the head or the tail), and some form of colored punch…could have been berry, perhaps fruit…all I know is that there was zero real fruit present. Needless to say, I was in heaven!

As we ate dinner, swatted the mosquitos and staved off the bees the conversation was basically between me, and one adult camper at a time, and went something like this:

*note, they are all adults, high functioning and employed during the work week*

Camper 1: Heather, can I have more bread?
Me: Sure (and they help themselves to the turtle)
Camper 2: Heather, can I have more drink?
Me: Sure (and they pour their sugary goodness)
Camper 3: Heather, will I be able to have a 2nd dessert?
Me: Probably
Camper 4: Heather, are we allowed to hold hands?
Camper 5: Heather, can I walk to campfire alone?
Camper 6: Heather, can I sit next to my boyfriend at campfire?

It went on and on. I found myself wanting to yell back after the 10th question…DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! You’re an adult! You’re on vacation!

Instead, I looked at the table and asked “What’s the lesson here?”

So, I ask you, when do you look for permission in your life? Do you wait for someone to tell you what to do? Or wonder it’s OK for you to go forward?

Many of us ask for permission in silence. We think about our dreams, ponder them and what life might look like “if only…” but we don’t take action. We feel like we don’t have the right to live our dream; or we think there is some other information we need before we can live our dream; or we are looking for approval from others.

It can be debilitating! So take a moment to really ask yourself…Am I waiting for permission to live my dream? or to take an action I know I need to take (no matter HOW scary!)

Here’s what to do:

  • Make a list of all the times you look for someone else to say “yes you can!”
  • Ask yourself “What would life look like if I just DID it?”
  • Ask yourself “Does whatever I want to do, or be, or have, squash the rights of another life?” (more on that soon)
  • If no, take action!

So, instead of yelling at the campers, I’m yelling at YOU! Do what you WANT! You’re a frikken adult!¬†