How to Plan – Purposefully

I wrote an Instagram post yesterday that sparked a lot of DM’d and personal conversations over the course of the day.  The gist was that in order to fully make space for a whole bunch of good stuff in our lives, we need to get in tune with what our biggest fear is, and work through it by feeling what would it be like if that fear came true.

While we are sitting, waiting, wishing for what we reallllllly want to attract into our lives (career success, babies, epic love…), we sometimes can’t help but prepare for the worst.  Especially if we’ve experienced pattern in the past that “things don’t work out,” or “I don’t get what I want,” or “I just can’t make it happen” or “I say I’m fine with everything the way it is but honestly I’m f***ing broken that this didn’t happen.”

If you’re someone for whom those patterns have been tense, and disappointing, and riddled with rejection, believing that what you really want can happen can be quite daunting, and can require relentless effort.

Often times we want something so badly that the fearful feeling of it not happening is overwhelming; so instead of facing and then dealing with those icky feelings, we bury them.  But every time we bury them, we’re not getting rid of them, we’re just storing them away for later.

It’s like finding that pet broccoli you’ve been unwittingly growing in your crisper: you see it, you know you have to deal with it eventually, but the thought of handling a decaying cruciferous vegetable is so disgusting that you just close the crisper and make it a problem for future you to deal with.  But then one day you bring home the groceries with beautiful, fresh veggies, and try to put them in the crisper, and alas, there’s no room, because of the space all the rotting crap is taking up.  Now you’ve got to work harder to clean up not only the dead broccoli, but the dead broccoli water, as well as the lettuce and cilantro puddles that were left unattended while you avoided being on broccoli detail.  Dumb example?  Maybe.  Makes sense?  Yes.  *Do I need to clean out my fridge?  Also yes.

The point is, one way or another, you’ve got to get rid of the old, yucky, stinky stuff to properly make room for all the good and healthy stuff.  In your fridge, and in your life.

So how do we plan with purpose to get what we want, live a day to day life full of work and family responsibilities, and not be crushed by the weight of things not working out sometimes?  Exactly this way: confronting our fears, and preparing for joy.

And I bet you don’t like that answer at all, and are tempted to flip the table and walk out, because you want an answer, damnit, and you want it now.  Like, right now.  The crummy thing is that it doesn’t work like that, babe; no matter how smart, loving, capable, driven, (pretty), and able to get shit done you are, life works at its own pace, and requires patience and faith.

Sorry Toots.

We do need to confront the stuff that scares us.  We do need to feel all the feelings that we may have avoided for a little or a long while.  And we do need to continuously believe that those good things are on their way to us, and that we’re on our way to them.

This is all a part of living and learning, exploring the dark and the light, the ebb and the flow, the push and the pull.  Everything in nature is in balance; when it is out of balance, the environment course corrects to restore the balance again.  So why would our lives be any different?  Doesn’t it make sense that things in our life would conspire to balance out in harmony?

Here’s the rub.

That harmony might mean you don’t get what you want: you might not write a best selling book.  You might not get pregnant.  You may never find the epic love you’ve been so desperately craving.   This is not nihilistic, this is reality; failure is an option, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you it isn’t.  But knowing that, I’m going to invite you to remember three things:

  1. You’ve got to believe in something, so it might as well be that great big, marvelous, juicy, and over the top awesome things will unfold in your life.  It takes less energy and is far more enjoyable than believing something shitty is on the horizon and bracing for that.  You never know what’s on the horizon; so if this is all one grand and unknown mystery that is full of delusion and illusion along the way, you may as well make it a good one and enjoy the ride.
  2. When something doesn’t work out – because at some point it won’t – it’s all about how you react.  You’re allowed to be angry.  You’re allowed to feel hurt.  You’re allowed to be confused and upset and not understand why it didn’t go as you’d planned.  You’re allowed to analyze and look for lessons in how things transpired.  But you’re not allowed to be a slave to the loss, or to stay victimized by it.  Life keeps moving forward, and you have to too.
  3. You play a part in what comes in and out of your life, but you do not control it.  When you are clear on what you want, you can choose to act every day in ways that bring you one step closer to realizing your dream and desire.  The rest you have to let go of.  There’s a degree of surrender that you might just have to accept, and let yourself be carried along in the flow of life.

At the end of the day, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.  Ever.  We know this moment, and this moment alone.  So yes you can plan for things to go a certain and ideal way, and yes you can be aware that they might not, and consequently be prepared to handle that with a growth mentality.  Ultimately, you have to believe that things work out, even if those dots don’t connect till much later in life.  (Ok, you don’t haaaave to believe that things work out, but man oh man, it’s a lot more fun and joyful when you do).  If there were a short cut – and believe me I’ve looked – I’d tell you.  But for now, take a deep breath and hold on to the wise words of Rumi that “what you seek is seeking you.”  And maybe clean out your fridge this weekend.

 

 

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