Sometimes, when people ask me about my work, they are surprised that one of the things I do is give clients permission to try something new, to explore a sensation, or set time aside to play. They look disturbed and say they don’t need my permission to do anything. And they’re right. But there’s more to it than just that…

Sitting on the playground earlier today, I thought about coffee. I mentioned to my friend that I might go get a cup and asked whether she wanted some. She declined, the line at the kiosk was long, and I reconsidered whether I really wanted any as it was getting late and I want to sleep tonight. We started talking about coffee, sleep, and addiction. At one point she said, “you could always have tea instead, just find one you really like and make that your afternoon thing.” Woah, what a revelation! Trade tea for coffee in the afternoon. Now, I know about tea. I’m married to a tea-fanatic. We have an entire shelf (in a teeny, tiny kitchen with minimal storage space) dedicated to tea. But it never occurred to me that this might be the better option for that extra afternoon push.

Let’s take a look at this. I am an adult and responsible for all my dietary choices. In fact, I’m the sort of hedonist who might just eat nothing but cookies for an entire day if it’s what I feel like doing, tummy ache be damned. I don’t need anyone’s permission to drink tea. But that is exactly what happened today. By giving me permission to set my apparent coffee addiction aside for something which would be interesting, different, and possibly a better fit, my friend opened a world of possibility. She helped me recognize the unseen alternative that was right in front of me and I haven’t had to give up anything, except some midnight jitters. Does it help that she’s a nutritionist? Maybe, maybe not. The bottom line is I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of earl grey and I couldn’t be happier with this choice.

So now when people ask what I do, maybe instead of talking about permission I’ll tell them I open the door(s) to pleasure and invite my clients to step in.