One of my favourite 'gurus', Joseph Campbell, wrote, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
When I was a little girl I planned a very different life. As an adult, I'm learning to let go of expectations that things will go as planned, and am learning instead to embrace fearlessly and passionately life as it unfolds. I make my plans. Plan my actions and let the outcome be the outcome.
Yesterday, I taught a class in self-esteem to a group of clients at the shelter where I work. It was a lively three hours spent discussing the importance of healthy esteem and what it is that causes us to slide out of esteem. One thing we all agreed on, no one in the room ever planned on being where they are in their lives today. They'd all had plans of life being very different -- no one had planned on homelessness.
The class I was teaching is part of a three week program where clients can acquire work permits in order to find jobs on construction sites, warehouses and such. Each of the seven people involved was taking the course because they wanted the essential 'tickets' to be employable.
"I didn't know I'd also be taking courses like this," one of the participants responded when I asked the class about their reason for being there and what they were getting out of the three week program. "I just thought I'd get my tickets, get out and get a job."
"So, when you heard there'd also be courses on anger management, budgeting, goal-setting, self-esteem, what did you think?" I asked.
"Well," he replied somewhat sheepishly. "I sort of figured I'd half sleep through the sessions. I wasn't expecting to enjoy learning about this stuff."
He had a plan that led him to the world outside fired up with the tools he needed to get the job done. He'll get his tickets. He'll also get a different outcome than expected by journeying into the world inside himself.
We spend an inordinate amount of time learning about the world 'out there', and often shy away from learning about the world, 'in here'. That rich and vibrant, complex world inside each and everyone of us. That world inside which determines how we respond to the world out there.
I had a lot of plans when I was young on how I'd live my life out there. Today, I am committed to being honest with who I am 'in here' so that when I'm 'out there' my world is filled with dignity and grace.
Life is the adventure. It is the journey. It is the destination. Life is filled with unexpected outcomes, surprising vistas, incredible horizons. Staying open to the unexpected, opening up to the unexplored, the unbelievable opportunities of a world of limitless possibibilities is my one and only chance to live this precious and wild life freely and fearlessly.
I have a lot of plans for the future. None of them mean a thing if I don't live my life today as if it's the only outcome that makes a difference to my tomorrow.
The question is: Where do you focus on the outcome and lose track of who you are, what you're doing and how you're being all that you are meant to be in this moment? Where do your plans for tomorrow mean more than what you do today?