- Personal Development -

Permission Granted

In the game of Scrabble, there’s a very handy rule that allows you to exchange some (or even all) of your letter tiles for brand new ones. In my experience, this rule is chronically underemployed. People often forget about it altogether – until they find themselves looking at the board and their available letters, and discovering that about all they can spell is plfhxt.

Of course, there’s a certain amount of risk involved. You have to give up a turn to do the switch, and there’s no guarantee that your new letters will be better than the old ones. But very often, they are: You end up with a vowel, or something that lands you on a triple-word score, or some magic letter that changes everything. Almost always, the exchange creates several new possibilities and gets your game moving again.

I think of this Scrabble rule as a great example of what “fresh starts” are all about: You get to take what is not working for you and exchange it for something that might work better – or that will at least open up some new choices.

Unfortunately, in life, as in Scrabble, we often end up “making do” with one particular set of options or assumptions for way too long. It’s not until we are utterly stymied that we consider exchanging some of our old approaches for new ones. It’s not until we are in a position of suffering and frustration that we finally give ourselves permission to give something else a try.

In this issue of EL, we’ve collected several articles that invite you to re-examine ingrained habits and patterns of thought – assumptions about what is safe and good for you, about how things are, and how they could be.

From the foods you eat and the way you exercise, to the products you put on your body and the things you throw away, to the ways you conduct relationships and the ways you communicate with yourself, we present the work of several writers who invite you to entertain unfamiliar ideas and to try some new habits on for size.

Because last spring’s “detox” issue was so popular, we’ve included several articles that address the topic of toxicity and the pervasiveness of toxins in our daily life and environment. Our intent is not to shock or depress our readers with any of this information. Rather, we’re hoping to inspire you to proactively evaluate whether certain habits are serving or disserving you, and the impact that various alternative choices might carry.

As always, we encourage you to read further on your own, to take up what works for you and let the rest slide back into the Scrabble box. Give yourself permission to rethink whatever needs rethinking. You don’t even have to give up a turn.

P.S. Should Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi’s letter inspire you to do some good old-fashioned spring cleaning this year, get expert de-cluttering tips from the “Clutter Busters” article that appeared in our Sept./Oct. 2002 issue, now available in the past-issue archives within the Experience Life Web site.

Pilar Gerasimo is the founding editor of Experience Life.

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