Do you have a plan?

You’re working on some project. It’s going well. You know what the next steps are. Coding, thinking, marketing, strategizing, meeting, writing, designing. Whatever it is.

Then you wake up, and immediately you’re throw off-track. A client calls. A server crashes. A bug haunts you. You’re inundated with support requests. Your girlfriend starts arguing. Maybe you guys were arguing all night last night, so you’re so tired you can’t think straight. Maybe you got the flu.

Whatever it is, your plans are thwarted. And now you feel like shit. You’re upset. Scared, actually.

Do you recognize this situation?

I tend to have a plan in my mind. Today, I’m going to be working on this. That’ll take me here. That’ll be the next step to getting to this point, where I can finally relax and feel safe and okay.

But when my plans are thrown out the window, and the fear of not making it creeps in. It’s not a conscious thing. It’s just that I’m more tense, a bit more stressed, than I normally am. I’m moody. I’m not pleasant to be around. And I’m also a lot less resourceful and effective. Being upset and uptight about it benefits no-one.

What I’d like to do is get better at living in the flow of life.

Have you read Illusions by Richard Bach? I read it as i child, got it as a gift from my beloved aunt, and I just bought it again, in English, in a used copy. The book starts with a beautiful story:

There’s this people living at the bottom of a river, holding on tight to the rocks and plants at the bottom, scared shitless of the river’s flow that threatens to take them away. One day one of the beings loses patience and decides to let go and let the river carry him along. The others warn him: “Don’t do it. You’ll get smashed against the rocks and die.” But he lets go, and yes, he gets some bruises, but pretty quickly, the river carries him up, and down the stream. Other river-beings sees him, and calls it magical, calls him a Messiah. “You can easily do this yourself,” he says to them. “Just stop clinging, and you’ll see.” But they’re too afraid, and so they hold on.

I’d like to get better at letting go of my clinging to my plan. My clinging to my fear that if I don’t have this detailed plan, and if I don’t stick to it, I won’t make it, I’ll die.

I’d like to get better at realizing that I’m not actually in control, anyway, and that is as it should be.