The Unplanned Life 

By Dina Tibbs

I sit here, as I do every year in December staring at a dream/goal/life/planner/calendar; I have quite a collection of these planners. Every year I try a different one designed by people I hold in deep respect and made with the intent of helping people realize their dreams, set their soulful goals, balance their work, family, personal and spiritual lives, create the tasks and accountability necessary to make the dreams come true, making sure they pencil in their self-care lest they forget, or as is normally the case, put themselves last.

This year, I am looking at this planner, and feeling a deep resistance, even though I have a blank book and lots of markers in every color of the rainbow. I am looking at a pretty mind map that is supposed to hold my deepest desires for the next 1, 3, 10 years, and my lifetime…all ready to be written down, colored in, and achieved. In this moment I am looking at a planner that asks me to project three years into the future and ask things like:

  • What needs of yours are met by your friendships? How do you engage with your community? How am I nourished? What fascinates you? What conversations do you have?
  • Three years from now? All I can do is sit here and say, I have no fucking idea. While I completely understand the value in doing this for some people, for me going through this exercise is one of three things:

1.     A waste of time…where is my three-year plan from three years ago, that I spent so many hours on? I have no idea; life happened and I am in a completely different place and space.

2.     For the last two years I began my year with the best intentions; shit hit the fan, I was not able to achieve the goals because I needed to be fully present for the situations that were right in front of me. There was no plan, it all went out the window when I had to care for and spend time helping the people I love the most heal. But rather than embrace that and be in service to my beloveds, I stressed, I resented, I resisted. I refused to surrender to it, until the deep and paralyzing anxiety forced me to surrender. It was also the greatest gift in opening my eyes to how I wanted to live life, be present, and be of service.

So this year I am doing something new; I am UNPLANNING, I am embracing the mystery, creating my story as each day presents itself anew. And most importantly, listening deeply and witnessing what my soul wants to bring forth on any given day.

This is not to say I am operating in oblivion, have no dreams, goals, desires, or even dates and deadlines, however, I am being a lot more gentle with myself about how much I choose to take on. As I get older I find my plans becoming much more fluid and flowing. I may write down what I want to do this year and when I want to do it, I set my INTENT with the Creator, and ask every day how I can best be of service to myself and others, and then let the day unfold, with the next day being somewhat of a mystery. It is not lost on me that I am BLESSED to be able to do this, and not everyone can. I can also say that this experiment of letting it go, will be really, really challenging for me…but life is an experiment and I love my life.

Here is the truth as it is for me: the more I PLAN, IE: FORCE the less time I actually have, the less of what and who I want to experience comes into my life, the less of the mystery and the story unfolds. However, if I relax, if I surrender, if I let it flow the more I invite into my sphere of being, the more I am able to manipulate time. 

What can you shift in your perception about life planning, what is really necessary for our souls to be fulfilled, and what isn’t?

I encourage you to get quiet, and ask your true self what will happen if you don’t get it all done? And then witness the answer, it just might surprise you.