My son and I had a conversation yesterday about making plans. January is a month where plan making is a traditional, often dreaded, ritual. We have a special name for January plans, and it is very solemn.
Be it resolved that I lose “x” pounds.
Be it resolved that I become completely organized and efficient.
Be it resolved that I find a mate/dump a mate/get a date.
You know what I’m talking about. Those fairy tales we make up and dub “resolutions” but which seldom end up helping us to “live happily ever after.”
I’d rather make plans than resolutions. It may be a matter of semantics to you, but my name is Carol, not Brenda. I answer to one, and would be annoyed by the other. It is important to call things by names we recognize and resonate to. Plan is short, direct, and easily pronounced. Resolution has four, count them, four syllables, and can seldom be said without slips of the tongue, especially by those who know they are going to abandon it any moment now.
I admit that there are different degrees of planning. Some have plans that are so nebulous, it’s impossible to see a road through the fog. Others construct plans that are as detailed and footnoted as a doctoral thesis. Wherever your plan falls in the scale, successful achievers swear that it is of utmost importance to have one. You must plan, and envision it happening, in glowing technicolor, with great certainty. I hesitate to say absolute certainty, which could be the hallmark of a slightly less successful planner.
But I don’t think so, and let me tell you why. Any plan, no matter how glorious, needs room for some uncertainty. Otherwise, it is likely that the benefits of serendipity will be missed. Like a teacher who has a meticulous lesson plan, but abandons it gladly to pursue a “teachable moment,” the planner needs an openness to chance. None of us have a blueprint for the universe. Our understanding is not wide enough, or deep enough, to take everything into account. It is far more exhilarating to anticipate those miracles of chance that we could not possibly imagine, but which we can certainly embrace once we recognize them.
Dr. Carl Sagan said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” The marvelous thing is that there is no limit to “the incredible.” It is a renewable resource, and all of us have been given the tools to harvest it:
How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.
So by all means, plan away. Plans are very useful for focusing the mind. But practice staying open to change and chance, to surprise. Invite the Universe to tweak your plans. Be grateful when it does~you are in for a glorious ride!
The stars can bear your weight, my friend, I promise you, they can.