Set your sails and then adjust with the currents and winds. Our safety and security doesn’t lie in our plans, but in our hearts. Life is to be lived and enjoyed, not just “done.” - Elizabeth Saunders
Do you plan a lot?
Have you got your weekend planned out? Do you have your year planned out? Do you have your life planned out?!
Planning is a form of control.
And the more you control, the more you suffer, because things never go according to your plan.
Life has other plans!
This post will offer you ways to go from control to letting go...from suffering to happiness.
My Best Lesson Was Unplanned
When I was a school teacher, the best class I ever taught was when I forgot to plan the lesson.
I walked into the classroom and realised I had one hour with a different class to the one I had planned for...or maybe I just forgot to plan for it. I can’t remember!
Anyway, I had to teach 25 boys, aged 16, about Forces and Motion with no plan whatsoever.
I stood in front of the class with no idea what to do.
I opened my desk drawer for inspiration, and found a copy of the movie, The Matrix.
I then knew what to do!
I said ‘OK everyone, today we are going to learn about forces and motion as we watch the movie The Matrix’.
I played the movie, and kept pausing it in different scenes and we talked about the forces involved, velocity and acceleration of Neo and Trinity, gravity (or lack of gravity in that movie!) and they loved it. And they learnt a lot. And so did I.
I was in a state of flow. Not because I had planned for hours and hours. But because I was fully in the moment. And so were they.
No one knew what would happen next. And that was the beauty of it.
Just like the beauty of writing this blog post. I have no idea what words will appear next, and that’s exciting!
Enjoying the mystery of life as it unfolds is where the fun lies.
Excessive Planning is based in Fear
Quite often, planning comes from fear. You’re scared.
‘What if something goes wrong?’
‘What if I don’t know what to say?’
Sure, a bit of planning is necessary. But I do come across control freaks from time to time.
And it’s hard for me to work with excessive planners, because they need to know exactly what’s going to happen when, and how, and I don’t know myself!
By planning less, and being awake to the need of the moment, you’re better able to enjoy the journey of life.
Trusting Yourself is the Antidote to Fear
Trust is the antidote to this fear. Learning to trust yourself. Learning to trust that things will work out fine.
Trusting that the universe will provide you with what you need, when you need it. Sounds cheesy, but I have found that to be true in my life so far.
How do you do this?
By starting small. Try not planning an easy meeting. Or not planning a weekend afternoon.
Start with not planning something small, something you normally plan out, and see what happens.
And just because your first experience turns out negative, don’t give up. Try again.
Try smiling in your little bit of not knowing what will happen, and see what does happen.
Nature offers inspiration
I don’t think planning in detail is a natural way of living. Do trees plan when they will sway left and when they will sway right? Do they have weekly meetings to decide how they are going to improve the rate of growth this quarter?!
Birds do fly south in the winter and squirrels run around hiding their nuts in the autumn.
But this is not through detailed planning - it’s through feeling. They use their natural urges and instinct to decide what to do. They feel their way through life, not think their way through.
I urge you experiment with letting go of planning too much.
Maybe try not planning your weekend to start with.
Listen to your body and mind.
Live in the moment and decide what to do from one moment to the next based on what feels right to you.
Practice of the Week:
Ask yourself these key questions from time to time this week:
‘What would you like to do right now, dear body?’
‘What would you like to do right now, dear mind?’
‘What would you like to do right now, dear heart?’
Trust your body, mind and heart know what is best for you in each moment.
Planning on downloading our Teach Mindfulness ebook? Stop planning and just do it! Download here.