Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wisdom from Douglas Adams

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."  --Douglas Adams

For years I have had this idea in my head about MY LIFE - what it would look like, what I would be doing and mostly, that I would finally be IN CHARGE and things would be going according to MY PLAN.

You'll be glad to know I am starting to get over that.

The deeper I go into this spiritual life, the more I realize that true joy, true peace, true happiness come not from making a plan and sticking to it, but from going with what shows up. Having no plan, or only a very vague idea of a plan, then letting The Universe do the rest is where the magic lies.

For instance, you might say, "I'd like to go to the beach this weekend," and The Universe will take that request and start to move. Maybe your friend with a beach house will call you and say, "I'm going to the beach this weekend, would you like to come?" Or maybe not.

Maybe instead, your son will get sick and throw up all over his new carpet and you will spend the weekend watching every episode of Stars Wars The Clone Wars and doing ten loads of laundry and it will seem as if the Universe has not heard you at all.

And then you have a choice. You can rail against this and have a terrible weekend, screaming inside about your planned trip to the beach and WHY didn't my friend call and HOW could this have happened again (because last year you had a trip planned to the beach and your other son got sick) and WHAT the heck is going on.

Or you can snuggle in with a good book and a cup of hot tea and a feverish little monkey under your arm and just enjoy not having to pack and shop and vacuum sand out of your car on Sunday night.

Because let's be honest, going to the beach is just as much work as having a sick kid, and having a sick kid can contain just as many joys as going to the beach if you aren't too busy railing against it to notice them.

Don't get me wrong, this is NOT easy and I am still susceptible to my Ego's need to STICK TO THE PLAN rather than go with the flow, but I'm learning.

Recently I have gotten wrapped up in the 5th Grade Play. Somehow I ended up "in charge" of this thing that was not even on my radar a few months ago. It never occurred to me when I heard there was a fifth grade play that I would be the one to make it happen. I have never been into theater, my son is not into theater. There is no earthly reason why this would become my "thing." 

And yet, as time went on, a group of us got together to find a director, and then it became clear that there was much more to do than a part-time director (and also college senior) was going to have time for. So I volunteered to find some parents to help. And to organize the kids into committees. And to communicate with parents about the rehearsal schedule. And....and.....and....before I knew it, everyone was looking to me for answers. When is the Stage Crew meeting for the first time? Does my student have to be at rehearsal on Tuesday? When are we getting started on Set?

And there were times when I stood still and looked around and thought, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? But most of the time I was too busy to ask questions. And the thing is, most of the time I was also having too much fun to care.

Producing the play was very satisfying. Watching the actors take on their roles and improve with every practice, watching the behind-the-scenes kids take responsibility for the various pieces back stage, watching all of the kids spontaneously choreograph a dance number during a rehearsal. There was just so much joy in going through the process.

And it was great "work" too. I realized early on that I was going to have to let go of a lot of things, that I couldn't do it all myself and that I needed some other parents to help. Shortly thereafter I realized that if I was going to make it out of this thing with my sanity and fellow parent relationships intact I was going to have to just allow each person to do the best they could and to have their own vision for their committee. In other words, if I tried to micromanage this thing, it was going to be a nightmare. So I didn't.

I just didn't. I made the decision to let everyone do it their way and to be okay with that. And for the  most part it worked.

As I stood and watched the dress rehearsal last week, I felt such joy and satisfaction I wouldn't trade it for the world. Even though a lot of writing and reading and laundry and exercise and cleaning, didn't get done over the past few weeks, even though "MY LIFE" was put on hold to do this thing I didn't mean to do, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Our lives are much bigger than our EGO thinks they are. They include EVERYONE and EVERYTHING we encounter, planned or unplanned, expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted. It's all MY LIFE.

As the "play producer" chapter of my life comes to a close, I am getting the feeling that something unexpected is coming my way, something I never hoped for, never planned on, never wanted in my wildest dreams. But ready or not, here it comes!

I may not go where I intend to go, but I am certain I will end up where I need to be.

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