On making plans

Humans plan, God laughs…I’ve been repeating that to myself a lot lately.  Whatever your own personal beliefs are about the divine, I think it’s a good mantra to have in your arsenal to remind yourself that no matter how much you can control in your life, there will always be some things that you can’t.  And no matter how many plans you make and closely you try to adhere to them, there are always variables.

This huge life transition that I am embarking upon (moving cities, not being in school or working in an office for the first time…basically ever, leaving friends and loved ones) has been a sea of plans.  Plans I made months, even years ago as a maybe sometime in the future thing.  Plans I made a few months ago when it seemed like my distant future might be happening much sooner than I expected.  Plans I made a few short weeks ago when the future was finally here.   It takes a lot of logistics planning to separate a household into two, to navigate moving stuff across the state lines and to tie up loose ends when you have two jobs to wind down, many people you care about to see and a little more attachment to your current city than you probably would have acknowledged.

To say the past few weeks has been overwhelming and stressful seems like a paltry description of what I’ve been feeling lately.  I’m excited, happy, sad, terrified, overwhelmed all that the same time.  In my classes lately, I’ve been talking about the old Peanuts comic strips where Snoopy tries to jog but all of his limbs start yelling at him, arguing about who is doing the most work and who hates jogging the most.  But instead of my body, it’s my feelings that are shouting at me and arguing with each other and whatever is the loudest is what I’m feeling at the moment.

Being with friends helps.  Hugging the man I still love even though we are parting ways helps.  Yoga helps.  But I cling to my plans.  I’ve reviewed my schedule for these last couple of weeks in DC in my head over and over again.  Ok, self, Monday you get to go to a yoga class and then pack, Tuesday you teach your final classes and stay with friends, Wednesday work, Thursday work, pack, Friday same, Saturday move, Monday back to DC to sell your car etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Over and over and over again in my head until it becomes it’s own mantra.

And then something happens – in this case a surprise snow storm that dumped 8 inches of snow all over my Monday plans.   When I heard from twitter and the Capital Weather Gang that there was snow coming I almost couldn’t bring myself to believe it.  Nah, I thought, I have plans and those plans can’t change.  Mother nature wouldn’t dare interfere with my schedule, right? Right…We give our plans, our schedules immense power in our minds, but really we don’t have that power at all and no matter how many times our plans are disrupted, we are surprised when things don’t go they want them to go.

Needless to say, when the promised snow materialized (more than they were expecting even), I had a huge moment of panic and stress.  The yoga class I desperately wanted (needed!) to go to was canceled.  I had to give up a day of packing.  I couldn’t get the food I wanted.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with my car.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! All of the feelings that have been trying to out shout each other got very loud all at once spilling over.  The Bhagavad Gita teaches us to not attach ourselves to the outcomes of what we do, and I believe this kind of reaction is why attachment to plans can be so destructive.  No matter how rationally I tried to tell myself that I could go to another yoga class before I left, that I didn’t really need the day of packing and that yes it was ok if I didn’t eat any vegetables just then, and my car would be fine, my emotions would hear none of it.

The good news is that I eventually calmed down.  And I started to believe that I *could* go to a different yoga class and I that I would be able to finish packing and that I hadn’t irrevocably disrupted my huge life change.  And it was a good reminder that no matter how much I plan, and how much power I give to those plans, there’s always something that throws me.  And it’s going to be ok.  And this amazing opportunity that I have to change my life is still there and I am still going to grab it.

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