Thursday, August 18, 2011

#60... Live a day without any plans

Ever done this? Summer vacation is probably the easiest time to do it, but I'd like to suggest that sometimes it's a good thing to throw plans out the window and live spontaneously at other times of the year, too. Clear the schedule and follow my nose. Or, as my husband likes to say, "go adventuring." We've been known to go to church on Saturday so that Sunday is totally free...

Two summers ago, our family took a carefully planned trip across Canada by train. Every day we had certain things to do... but when we reached the Maritimes, we discovered that various family members didn't tolerate winding coastal roads particularly well because of motion sickness. So rather than stick to our planned lighthouse tour day, we spent a "no plans day" at Risser's Beach, NS, just going with the flow. And what a wonderful day it was!

A laid-back day, to be sure, but one we all appreciated, and remember fondly, probably because it was a day devoid of plan or expectation, one where we could just "be." We managed a day or two like this on this year's vacation, too.

Since Risser's Beach, I've tried to make room for "no plans days," and find that quite often, they begin with something going wrong, or at least, not according to plan. It would be easy to get upset and stressed, but the times that I've thrown the plans out the window, cleared the calendar and made room for the unplanned, I've been pleasantly surprised by serendipities or God-incidences that were better than what was planned. For example, have you ever had a day hijacked by a friend or relative unexpectedly dropping by -- and having a wonderful, unanticipated heart to heart chat?

For the more adventurous -- why not aim for days without any plans? If you can find a day off or an off day and leave it open for following your nose, it could be interesting to see what or who comes along to fill it. As the "Adventure" poem in my grade two Keepsake Book says:
It's one of those days
When a blue wind blows
And I like to go out
And follow my nose.
If I go by myself
I go down the street
Where the candy shop is
For something to eat;
But if Scrappy goes too,
We take quite a jog --
'Cause you never go straight
By the nose of a dog.
And maybe that's the whole point... sometimes, detours bring unexpected joys, and plan-free days leave us more open to those opportunites. Life isn't a straight line, though we often seem to be planning it that way. But as my spiritual director likes to say, "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans."

Or live plan-free now and then, and laugh with God at her surprises...

Happy Birthday, Mom!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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