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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Plan? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Plan!

The photo is of an exercise I did for my "Draw Your Awesome Life" class. It's a contour drawing of my hand and while I've done those in every art class I've ever taken, the exercise has always driven me crazy--until today.

The rules to the assignment are to stare at your hand, not the page, and to draw using a continuous line. Not surprisingly this produces some weird results and that's the part I have had a problem with. Who wants a picture of a blob hand? What is the benefit of an exercise that produces something freakish by design?

Today I had that light bulb moment, when I looked at this picture and thought, I love this! This is my favorite piece so far! In that eureka moment, I knew that the point is to let go of expectations and enjoy the experience.

My friends and I often complain, sometimes playfully, sometimes not, about the way life has of deviating from THE PLAN. For example, Big Daddy has been working a temp job that we thought would go permanent on Friday. Today he got a text asking if he'd like to extend his contract two more weeks. Say what? That was not THE PLAN. (After further investigation, there is no need for concern, it turns out this is good news rather than bad, but it still wasn't THE PLAN.) I recently heard a story about a family who bought a Roomba to combat the pet hair in the house. All went well until the dog pooped on the floor while the family was out and the Roomba rolled right through it over and over and over again. I'll let your imagination take over from here. That wasn't THE PLAN either. Certainly there are unexpected moments that take us off course and steal any illusions we might have of control and I would never propose that one could or would want to skip and whistle through them. What I am suggesting is that there can be beauty and surprises in the detour.

I don't know about you, but I know my life has taken some sharp left turns--the kind where you duck and pray that you won't get mowed over. The kind where your purse flies into the floorboard and pukes out all the contents. In those times I shook my fist at the sky and questioned the meaning of everything but over time when I look back I can see that the sharp left was exactly what needed to happen and I can see the blessings and changes that came as a result. THE PLAN, might have been more comfortable, but it wasn't more beautiful.

In 2006, I got dumped by my boyfriend via email. I got fired from my job. I lost my condo and my car blew up. I had to downsize my life and I needed to do it immediately but instead I cried a lot and prayed for a miracle. The miracle was THE PLAN. It didn't come.

I talked to my spiritual adviser and she kept saying, "One way or another, you will be okay."
I cried and explained to her, "I want one way and not the other."
"THAT'S your problem," she said.

When I finally gave up, I moved into one room of a friends house. I took a job as a maid. I got kicked out of the one room of that house and moved into another house. I got to learn (quite painfully) how to live with some of the most patient and persistently loving people I've ever met (some of whom I consider family now). As a result of that move I met some young ladies who helped me far more than I helped them and they introduced me to social networking sites. That's where I reconnected with my old friend Big Daddy...

I've gotten some pretty amazing gifts from letting go of control and tearing up "THE PLAN." Sometimes it's more fun to just fly by the seat. Sometimes it's alright to not know what you're doing, that's where the adventure begins.

 Peace, love, and adventures!

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