The Unplanned Moment
I love plans. I get it from my mom.
I used to obsess over the details of Facebook events for basic gatherings. When I was on tour, I planned my meet-ups and days off and often meals weeks in advance. I love to pack for trips. I love making lists and checking everything off. Plans...they're great. I'm a fan.
Life doesn't really do its best work in our predictable, well-laid plans. Life happens in the unplanned moments: in the surprise laughs, the quick thinking saves, the unexpected emotional rides that cause us to grow. Maybe you've experienced this, or are experiencing it now. When you think back through your most memorable moments... it's highly unlikely that many of them are just every-day, perfectly executed plans. Love is unplanned. Friendship is unplanned. Grief is unplanned. Catharsis is unplanned. Some of our proudest moments are improvised. Often the occasions we truly rise to are impromptu.
I didn't plan to write every day; I got inspired and just started doing it. The subject matter is (as I'm sure you've noticed) unplanned until I pretty much start typing. But the consistency with which I've been pouring out my thoughts and beliefs and honest feelings has provided me with a natural voice and an inner wealth I didn't know I had.
Shane and I 'planned' our trip to Nashville to be with his family. We booked the flights, carefully plotted the 'mom surprise' and took great care to stay sanitized and safe. The surprise went great! Then, I got knocked back by killer pet allergies, and a stye that swelled my left eyelid shut. Maybe it was the unfamiliar environment, the allergies, the planetary retrogrades... but I was emotional. I had been so spoiled in our LA apartment with nothing to focus on but me and my charming Bae. In my mind, we were going to Nashville to 'fix problems' but I had a lot to process and learn about myself too, while there...soaking up different lifestyles and personalities. But in that emotional place, I wrote some of my best blogs. I strengthened my relationship with Shane's mom, sister, and niece. I emerged from fear and self pity into gratitude and a new appreciation for my Nashville crew. I recognized my tendency to lean on assumptions instead of really listen to the people around me: their needs and different ways of communicating them. I realized the importance of daily commitment to breath, meditation, and writing.
It's not that planning is 'bad'--it's just so readily accompanied by over-analysis, bossiness, or boredom. Cultivating a flexible routine is different... it's a plan that you adapt to based on your needs for the day, a plan you actively stay present in and don't just go through the motions for. It also steadily improves bit by bit each day. In any case, a good mix of preparedness and surrender to the moment make for the best and bravest stories.