I’m a person who loves to plan. Are you? I love everything about planning.
I love the schedulers online and on my phone so much that I became a tech assistance coach. I love planners, daybooks, calendars and time management tools so much that I created my very own – with memoir writing cues built in. I love stationery, paper, pens, markers, tape, sticky notes and mylar tabs. I love to use them to plan – my time, tasks and where I’ll be, that is. But about my life? It would seem I’m not so plan-oriented.
This year I’ve accepted some lessons about myself that came in a less than beautiful, warm or fuzzy package from the universe. I didn’t plan three months in the black of a depressive episode. I didn’t plan on having significant projects cancelled. I didn’t plan on a lot of things. You see, I’m the kind of person who has to fall over the next thing. What I mean is, some people plod along, taking the steady an upward stepping stone path toward their next project or goal. Some people can see what they want next and they move towards it in measured, careful increments. Not me. I fall head over sorry heels into the mud pit; and only when I come up with a face covered in filth and scrape the gunk from my eyes, do I see what I was meant to see all along.
I move instantly toward the thing in front of me, with outstretched arms. Invariably – it is writing. Maybe writing is a career, passion and creative mission that is not planned. My coaching clients come to me feeling compelled to tell their stories but lacking the confidence to put pen to paper. Through my writing, I should have learned this, I suppose.
I am meant to write. I am meant to tell stories. I am meant to support you and everyone like you, to craft your tale, however difficult it is to get honest on the page. I might know this, but my path toward it hasn’t been straight. This year has been crooked indeed. But in retrospect I know that I couldn’t have done it, or learned what I did, any other way.
Do you feel like your path has had no plan? When you really look back, are you critical of how you landed in the job, relationship, house or business arrangement that you did?
If I had a dollar (you know how the saying goes) for every time one of my tribe has said, “You really need to cut yourself some slack” I’d be loaded. But I can’t. I don’t. I’m not. Because some inner voice loves to point out that I am a planning loving person who happens to not have a straight line to follow. I judge every choice I’ve made, when I dare to look back.
My favorite game as a kid was Candyland. I was inspired to recall this recently in an exercise created by a clever coaching colleague, who happens to be a KOM contributor. I loved that game because no matter where each path led there was no disastrous ending. The worst thing that could happen was landing in chocolate sauce. That was my kind of way-finding plan.
As I await my message (hole to fall in) from the universe about my next step, I take comfort from the Rainbow Trail in the Candyland game. It was a shortcut. It saved some time for the player but it really didn’t change the outcome. No matter what path, or life choice in this case, I will end up exactly where I am supposed to be. Each essay, each book and each writing project will be just what it was always going to be…no matter what I do. Each relationship, project and place is a step on a path that I’m not meant to see just yet.
There is great comfort in knowing that no amount of planning will change the outcome in our lives. The universe is ultimately very kind, if we can only learn to be so with ourselves.