Are you a planner or more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er?
When I first discovered the joy of planning my schedule to fit in everything I loved and valued, I became hooked. I realized how much control I had to create a fulfilling life.
Yet this summer when life got hard, I put so much pressure on those plans to make me feel better. Whether kayaking or walking on the beach, at times I couldn’t enjoy it. My expectation that this should “fix me” took over, sitting in the driver’s seat asking, “Am I having fun yet? Am I getting what I need?”
And if a plan fell through or someone cancelled, it upset me.
The recent holidays brought a similar kind of pressure, and what I noticed is the most joyful moments were ones that weren’t planned at all.
I had no idea what I would do on New Year’s Eve, until 8pm when I saw my neighbors sitting outside. I joined them for a few hours of delightful conversation. I wouldn’t have chosen any other way to spend that night!
Then last week my partner and I went car shopping. Afterwards, we visited a nearby park – so majestic and unlike my tropical Florida home landscape. It soothed my soul. We recalled a friend lived close by. We visited him and he took us on an electric bike joyride through several gorgeous parks. I hadn’t had that much fun in awhile!
While I’ve historically been a planner, my partner is not. He’s taught me that we don’t always need plans. Sometimes a sense of curiosity and willingness to explore is enough.
My over-reliance on planning stemmed from a lack of trust – in myself, my ability to get my needs met. A lack of trust in the world around me, and the accessibility of joy. I felt I needed to over-control.
Now I’m happily living in harmony between planning and spontaneity. I recognize the value of both. I trust I can release the tight-gripped control I had on my life, relax, and allow life to support me.
Trust is the number one topic that comes up among those I work with.
If you too are looking to strengthen trust, here’s a simple practice for you. Take some time, preferably a whole day, and don’t make any plans. Leave expectations behind, and be willing to listen to yourself and what you feel like doing. Then go do that! Trust that however life flows that day is supporting what you most need. Whether it’s easy or hard, fun or disappointing, trust it’s showing you something valuable.
Planning is a great way to make time for all the things we care about – family, health, creativity. And leaving space for life to fill in with unexpected beautiful surprises is a great way to experience something greater at play here, something that is always here to support us, no matter what.
If you give this practice a try, please comment below and share your experience with me!
If you’re looking for more ways to build trust in yourself to increase joy and improve all your relationships, my new book Worthy of Me is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book!