Have you ever meticulously planned something, poured your heart and soul into making sure these plans go the way you want them to, only to have something (or someone) screw it all up, sending you into an anxiety-filled tizzy?
Yeah, me too.
In this journey of self-discovery and mindfulness that I am forever on, I have learned a few things about letting go. There is absolutely no point in agonizing over situations we find ourselves in because our original plans went awry. Simply accepting the new, unplanned situation and making the best of it will make our lives so much more peaceful and enjoyable!
There was a time when I had a ball in my core that was made up of anxiety and fear. Anxious about the unknown and fearful of what the future had in store (more misery, I assumed). After turning more inwards in an attempt to free myself of unforgiving worry, I tried just winging it and letting shit go… Letting an unhealthy marriage go. Letting feelings of anger and resentment just fade away. Making plans in pencil instead of carved in stone. Readjusting my sails when things didn’t go the way I had envisioned. I just started to ride the ebb and flow waves of life.
I now embrace the unexpected, the winging it, the whatever happens, happens and I will enjoy every damn minute of everything that goes wrong, because it’s actually going all right.
During my trip out west last month, I knew when my flights were. I knew where I was staying for the week. And everything in between?… had no idea. And that excited me! On the first night, we did not stay where we had originally planned to stay because of circumstances that came up. Our adventure took a different turn than expected and we embraced the hell out of it! We could have stomped our feet and pouted over this unexpectedness, but we welcomed it with open arms. And that approach made all the difference.
We woke up every morning of that trip and said “so, whatcha wanna do today?” Just that simple act of not planning every moment of the day and just going with it, made that trip so much more gratifying. Plans cannot be messed up if there was no plan to begin with.
As I anticipate the next big adventure coming up, we have a general idea of what we want to do each day, and some sort of basic itinerary is needed in order to utilize our limited time as best as possible. We are going backpacking on this trip, and each backcountry campsite we anticipate on staying in requires a permit that is on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means no reservations. We may get there to obtain a permit and the Ranger could say too bad, so sad. So, who knows… maybe we will end up sleeping in the car or find a UFO in the middle of the desert and sleep in that (we will be in New Mexico, after all). The unknown is a bit thrilling… allowing ourselves to adopt this outlook will add more excitement and zest to life.
We can apply this attitude of winging it in all areas of our life. In a world that is constantly changing, being a chameleon and adapting to the highs and lows that this wonderful life throws at us will make us happier and stronger and less anxiety-laden. A hindrance in an original plan is just a gentle push in a new direction. Instead of fighting against this re-direction, just go with it, smile, and see what happens…