To Do or Not to Do

I’m a planner. I make lists of things to do. I make schedules of how to do them. But lately I’ve been wondering if my planning is productive because I’m also an all or nothing person. If the plan doesn’t work, things fall apart because I haven’t left enough room for them to fall together.

I don’t have a plan B.

Given the complexity of my days, the numerous clients that I work for, the various kinds of work that I do and the hundreds of choices that self employment offers, I’m seeking a sense of order. But maybe order is old world. Maybe the new keyword is flexibility. Having a plan and having an alternate. Is is possible to move from either/or to both/and?

I haven’t succeeded at that so far.

One week I plan. The next week I try no plan. And neither one erases the fundamental anxiousness of Monday mornings. From planning I expect smooth sailing; from not planning I expect a radical interior revolution. Maybe what I need to release is expecting. Or change what I’m expecting. Or expect change.

John Lennon said,

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I’ll always be a planner. It’s my basic nature. My organizing principle. But I am trainable and can add to my nature. Instead of a plan B,  I need to make space for life to happen in the middle of all my plans.

So this week I resumed my morning meditations. As I focus on my breath and watch my thoughts, I practice letting them go. I label them “thinking” and return to my breath. I am hoping that I can apply the same principle to planning. I can make my plans (to provide some structure) and when the inevitable interruptions arrive, just label them “interruption” and return to the original plan when/if possible. The training is to alter my emotional reaction when my plans don’t happen. To accept the diversions without judgement. Not good. Not bad. Just not plan.

4 Thoughts

  1. You are speaking to me this morning! Thanks for putting good words to it. Expectations are always the culprits when my mood sinks, and I’ve been reminded of this frequently by my man whenever I feel disappointed or let down because of them. He is fortunate. His secret is not having expectations and is never, consequently, in a bad mood because of it. I know it’s key to a contented life, but the lesson never really meshes with my own planning DNA. I am fortunate to live with this reminder, but sadly my urge for organizing usually overpowers this valuable lesson. Maybe by the time I’m 85?

    1. Oooh. I love it when I get to speak directly to someone! Those pesky expectations…And yet, when I think about expectations, I also have a warm and fuzzy feeling from the process of generating those exciting thoughts. Maybe I really like expectations, whether they come as disappointments or realities.

  2. Yes, isn’t it fun. Unfortunately, you know me, so not as exciting as a stranger from the bloggosphere. But still…..

    On the other side of expectations, maybe having none in general would translate to yourself, and having no expectations of yourself might not work out so good. Isn’t that what makes us get up in the morning. I’m just asking.

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