The transformational experience of radical permission: a path to your true and authentic self

Illustration courtesy of Sydney Smith

“We invite you to lean into curiosity and not judgment,” Simpson said.

Tai Simpson, collective stewardship and co-director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, led a virtual discussion on Nov. 3 to discuss “radical permission.”

The discussion, “Radical Permission: Acts of Liberation for a Safe(r) World,” presented a welcoming online space to discuss the ideals surrounding radical permission with profound authors Sonya Renne Taylor and Adrienne Marie Brown. 

The definition of radical permission is limitless and ever changing, but it primarily stands for a daily practice of giving oneself the “permission” to make meaningful actions in life to pursue elements of hope, trust, self love and so much more.

Bestselling authors Sonya Renne Taylor and Adrienne Marie Brown co-wrote “Journal of Radical Permission: A Daily Guide for Following Your Soul’s Calling,” illustrating key tools for Radical Self-Love, initiating a transformational journal to your most true and authentic self. 

Through this online discussion, the two authors shared their personal experiences of incorporating radical permission into their lives and offered uplifting advice for those who want to undertake this path as well.

Both Brown and Taylor used the metaphor of a garden with soiled roots that must be uprooted in order for positive and authentic growth. 

[A book grows flowers from its pages.]
Illustration courtesy of Sydney Smith

“For me it’s [Radical Permission] like how do I go down into my system, and find the roots of the obstacles … the roots of the stories that diminish me. The roots of everything that tells me I don’t deserve to live my whole life as my whole self, and I feel like the radical permission is like I’m pulling all of that out of my garden, putting it back into the compost bin,” Brown said. 

Taylor extended this metaphor by presenting the idea of the need for destruction for positive creation. 

“Destruction is what precipitates creation right and so you can’t have creation without destruction … Destruction is uncomfortable and so we’re like well, I’m just gonna create on top of what’s already there,” Taylor said. “The roots of what is already there will always overtake the garden, and then you will and will, and will strangle out what it is that you call yourself creating. So destruction is an essential element of coming into the new beginning.”

Both Taylor and Brown both emphasized the importance of leaning into the uncertainty, and the setbacks and mistakes that come with that are part of the process.

“I can be wrong, and still moving in the direction of the fullness of my identity. Right, so radical permission gives you yourself permission to be curious enough to mess up,” Taylor said.

The authors connected with the audience through profound metaphors and detailed emotional experiences.

“I had a recent moment where I had to set a boundary, and I felt this tightness in me, like it felt like my chest was going concave because the tightness was pulling in so deeply, and I was like oh, I’m trying to avoid destruction of this connection, destruction of this relationship, and in order to do it I’m destroying myself. I’m literally trying to contain something exploding in me, over and over and over, like my rage,” Brown said.

In addition to presenting radical permission as a concept for self growth, the authors make the profound and powerful connection between these small acts of liberation for a greater change in the community, creating a safer world. 

“It taught me to transform myself to transform the world. So I think the point of that for me is those things that help us heal ourselves actually, are how we heal the community. That it’s not disconnected, it’s not moving in opposite directions. It’s the DNA strand. It’s like this is how we actually change,” Brown said.

The authors emphasized that real communal change starts individually.

“We can’t create the world we say that we want to be in without tending to our own wholeness,” Taylor said. 

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