If you’ve ever watched that TV show “Monk,” you know that Detective Adrian Monk’s exceptionally astute and quirky abilities are what he calls “a blessing…and a curse!” That’s what I think of when I reflect on my tendency to be overly organized. I plan things. I think about them far too much before I execute them. Those tendencies are a blessing because they are skills that not everyone has, and so being able to help others by applying those skills—to meet their needs—is rewarding.
On the other hand, having a planning and organizing mind is a curse because it engages the brain beyond what is necessary on many occasions, causing stress for oneself and others, and it robs a person of the chance to let the path lead them (as opposed to them leading the way) and invite in the unexpected.
It's Possible to Change
Learning to be spontaneous and not sweat the small stuff has been a lifelong process for me, and it’s with that in mind that I realize how much I have transitioned into a person who can invite in those moments of creation that form an experience I could not have pre-planned. For me, change came about as a result of losing control of things I had previously held onto, facing fears, and having to search for new ways to solve problems. Going through that process is liberating, and shows you that you do have the freedom to choose your moments.
So let’s unravel this idea some more. The old me would approach a day trip by choosing a date to do the trip, listing where I want to go, mapping my route, considering how much time I want to spend in various spots along the way, comparing that with how much time I have in the day (both for travel and enjoying the destinations), and making sure I have enough time to do X, Y & Z once I return home (cook a meal, do the laundry, etc.)
The new me approaches the day trip spontaneously. I wake up and consider how I feel about the day. Is this the day I physically feel like doing the trip? (I may have reserved this day for the trip, but I promised myself to make a firm decision only at the last minute.) If I answered yes to the physical commitment, then I ask myself if I know, in my heart, that it is the right day to make this trip. I cannot expand on this any better, for intuition is personal and not explainable. If I answer no to myself (to my Self), I accept that there is a much better day coming along, one better suited for this trip. But if I answer YES! to my Self, then the fun begins.
I will not lie—the new me already has a rough idea what is on the agenda, the map book will be put in the car, and I contrive a few starting points, but I commit to the process of letting my moments lead me for the rest of the journey. I know this means that “the plan” is subject to change at any time, and I have to be OK with that. And I am.
Discoveries Create New Moments That Lead You Onward
Letting the moments lead you along the way is really all about the choices you make to create the experience you want in the most organic, spontaneous, surprising ways. Guess what happens? I can tell you from my own experiences that just going, and discovering what awaits you, results in serendipitous meetings, once-in-a-lifetime sightings, joyful wanderings, and the discovery of more things that inspire you! The discoveries show you what you arrived to witness, and help you to know what the next step should be.
Would the experience be the same if you mapped it out, stuck to the plan, and forced your agenda?
This example I’ve just given referred to a literal journey by car, a day trip consisting of hours and minutes. But letting moments lead you applies to all areas of life, not just physical journeys. Things like: how you decide to shape your career, how you choose to raise your family, the process of creating a piece of art, or what steps you take to heal your body.
Stress, worry, and excessive mental activity will be the first sign that planning whatever it is that you’re planning may be counterproductive. In a society that often impresses upon us to “be prepared” for what may come, know that it is OK to let your moments lead you to the right action. Often, deciding in the moment, using your best intuition about what the next step should be, is the most correct option. There is nothing wrong with it, and it is being true to your Self.
Simply ask yourself (or your group, if you are in a group situation) “What is the next step to take right now?”
I’d love to know what happens.
This article Copyright © Cheryl E. Kraynak