‘What is so’ means what is already in existence. Examples are “My wife is mad at me”, “I yelled at my child”, “We are fighting right now”, “I’m frustrated and don’t know what to say next”. ‘What is so’ is basically what part of life we are currently dealing with. When ‘What is so’ is “ice cream”, “being on vacation”, or “having great sex”, we tend not to resist it much. It is easy to be with good times and good feelings. It is the tough stuff that we resist.

My buddy James Barry shared a great example of this with me. He told me about being up on his tiptoes dusting the high windowsill, looking down at his (unfinished) homework assignment for college. How many college kids do you know that dust their windowsills? We resist the things we don’t want to deal with. We don’t resist feeling happy and loved, we resist feeling sad and alone. Ever notice how resisting stuff is like giving it fertilizer? It starts purchasing real estate in your brain and it keeps you up at night when you want to sleep.

Giving permission is the opposite of resisting. Resisting is denying the truth. Giving permission is embracing the truth. It does not make any sense to do anything else, but give permission to what’s so. Because it already exists. Denying it seems rather ridiculous. What else am I going to do about the weeds in my garden, pretend like they aren’t there? No, I acknowledge I have weeds, and then I go pull them out (they grow taller while I resist them as I walk in and out of the house).

Working on the issues you have in your relationship that prevent one or both of you from having the experience you would like to be having begins with giving those issues permission to be in existence. They are already there. This won’t cost you much. It is the beginning of getting in the driver’s seat and steering yourself toward what you want in your life.

My children are young enough that they care very little about what time we get where we are going (even if they are excited to get there). They just live in the present. When I am running behind trying to get them out of the door and one of them has to poop, I think to myself “Come on!! Really?! Right now?”…then I regroup and say “Ok, let’s go poop.” It is so easy for me to get caught up in how I think things should be going and try to push that agenda. I notice that when I push and resist, my experience has the flavor of struggle-and it’s hard. When I give what’s so permission to be, I am more relaxed and at ease. Either way, I am going to be late. Would I rather be at ease and late, or suffering and late?