It is the new year, and everyone is making big plans. I am even helping clients to do this. Yet, in the background, I don’t have any myself. To say that I have no idea what is going to happen this year is a bit dramatic, but I am not too far off.
End of post.
Kidding. I thought that I would share my mindset because others might be struggling with the same. This is especially true as the pandemic drags on and plans are hard to make. I have learned so much from this move to Barbados. The universe has sent me plenty of practice in many areas of personal growth. Exploring my relationship to planning is one of them.
Dani and Kev, a couple that we learned to surf with last January, are back on the island. It must be said that I love these people, as a couple and individually. They came with me and the South Africans to Christmas dinner at Erin and Darren’s and fit in seamlessly. It was a wonderful meal, with fun banter and lots of laughter.
We have been trying to coordinate, which I find I have lost the ability to do. Dani and Kev don’t have a car and must hire surfboards; accordingly, they need a heads-up where we are going surfing. With few exceptions, I have been unable to give them that information because we generally look at surf reports just as we head out the door.
Planning at this micro level is no longer a central part of my life. There was a time when I needed to plan weeks in advance to coordinate everyone’s busy life. Now I find comfort in knowing that I will end up with my friends surfing or playing beach volleyball. Kate and I went to the drive-in last week, which meant giving up a sunset surf, not a dramatic re-arranging of schedules. I used to gain comfort from planning, like a safety blanket against loneliness or being alone too much; now I become irritable when a plan is required. I am not sure when this shift happened. It has been a gradual process of living on a Caribbean Island.
You don’t need to live on an island to experience this. Dani said that the departures board Christmas Eve, when they left London, was riddled with canceled flights. Either the flight crew had COVID and/ or too many passengers canceled because they tested positive. How far in advance did some of these people make plans and how much effort would it take to rearrange their vacations?
Planning at the macro level has also completely gone to shit with the pandemic. I spoke to a couple on the weekend that has based themselves in Barbados, waiting for a Canadian company to process their visas and relocate to Calgary. In the meantime, they found new jobs in Toronto. I don’t want to offend anyone that lives or loves Calgary, but I think that the pandemic may have done them a favor.
I still spend many hours daydreaming about where I will spend the rest of 2022. Will I stay in Barbados the entire year? (Although I have not left the island since I landed November 2020 and I do need a break). Will I split my time between Canada and Barbados and see how that feels and if that is accessible to me? Or will I be more radical and go to another place that calls me? How privileged I am to even have this dilemma! How wonderful it is to have a Canadian passport!
What will it take for me to make these decisions? I am trying to pay attention to how I feel, rather than what I think, about new information. I am making a practice of relinquishing control.
AND if you have any experiences and knowledge that helped you stand back and receive, rather than take control and plan, I would love to hear about them.
As you know I have had a number of experiences over which I’ve had no control , stepping back and letting things unfold, as they surely will, in spite of ourselves, just means we get to be more open and free about the experience.
Planning has not been my forte for most of the last 19 years. Most of what I do has been and will continue to be work’s of the heart. I believe that works of the heart are dictated by what feels right. Kind of like how I felt when I met you. Mind you folks like us need people like the old you to keep things on track.
I say, let the other people coordinate, just be as buoyant as you choose. There are enough people who want to be the boss. I have found that I am only the director of a direction when the heart says, “It’s a fit.” The rest I just let float away. We all end up where we’re supposed to be, if we can listen. It brings to mind a quote someone shared with me, “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.”
We like to believe we are in control of what happens to us, alas life certainly teaches us otherwise. Feel away my friend! I’m certain our hearts tell us when it’s time to make a decision. It relieves our brains so we can live.
Perhaps relinquishing control is really just freedom! Cheers!
Coleen, what a beautiful comment. I admire your ability to follow your heart to the next “right” thing and the courage to do so. I struggle with the letting go of the “old me” as you put it, but think that I am getting clearer on the parts that I need to keep. I have always been so ORGANIZED and I think this still benefits myself, my friends, and my clients. So maybe it is that I need to keep that flame alive and help others set up process and get on the right track. They can then coordinate and plan all they like. I am going to play with where organization (in my head) ends and relinquishing control (in my heart) begins. Because ultimately it is freedom that drives me more than anything in life. Thank you for your insights!
Hi Sher, I always think to myself: I worked so hard to get here, don’t forget to enjoy here. Sounds like you’ve switched gears, so just go with it. The decision will be made when it’s made, if it’s made. I love this quote of Jacqueline Novogatz (paraphrased by Alan Alda on his podcase “Clear and Vivid”) “Don’t decide on the purpose of your life. Live your way into it” — Love you.
I love this quote! Another similar is “Where your attention goes, your energy flows.” If our energy can be directed with curiosity and passion, this can take us to the place we were meant to be. This is what I am banking on! In the meantime, like you said, we need to enjoy the place we are NOW.