Best Laid Plans

The day before we left for Mexico, my friend Kristina generously offered to give me a massage. As she is amazingly talented I could not refuse. The problem was that Kristina comes to people’s homes, and I had no home. My mother was to be out for the morning so we arranged to meet at her house. The first half of the massage was wonderful. After months of stress, here was my opportunity to relearn how to relax and receive again. I was just beginning to reconnect with my calm peaceful center and my mother came home. Then my husband arrived. Spa time was over. Laughter emerged. So much for relaxation! For the second half of the massage the house was filled with voices and movement. Afterwards Kristina said she felt this was to be my life for the next year. She was right.

north dakota oil field housing
Man camp accomodations

As a recovering Type A, I was very proud of only scheduling hotels for the first four days of our trip, not all twenty-one. We had some idea of where we would be when, but we did not make commitments except for the first few days. I quickly learned that even four days was too long of a time to plan. Our second day on the road took much longer than expected. Arriving at my brother’s at eight in the evening did not leave us long to visit. As I had clients the next day, I had wanted to be at a hotel to ensure good internet connection. My brother confirmed the quality of his internet and so we spent two nights in his fifth-wheeler in a North Dakota “man camp” having to switch South Dakota hotel and plans for the next few days. This is when I stopped planning.

It was obvious this trip was not one of simple travel to a new home. The experience of this trip was also one of shedding old ways and learning a new way to be. For the rest of the trip we only knew a day or two ahead of time where we would be. We got into the flow. We changed plans as to where we were going due to forest fires and difficult terrain for our vehicle. We stopped where we wanted to stop. We took a detour to stay in a hotel with hot springs. We arrived in California without a hotel reservation. Scheduling, planning, and deadlines were all removed. We were learning how to move moment by moment and it was wonderful and strangely new.

cabo san lucas mexicoIt was necessary to learn this new way of being. When we arrived in Mexico, we learned that we had to be in the flow. Punctuality is not part of the Mexican culture. Being hours or sometimes days late, or changing meetings at the last minute is the norm. The concept of time was completely different than what I was used to. Also as we were not living in our own home, I had to adjust to a constant flow of others coming through unannounced. Time and space were no longer things I could control (or think I could control). The first few weeks in Mexico were challenging because it was such a big shift shedding the last of my Type-A super planner controller and really learning to slow down, accept the perpetual chaos that is life, and embrace a relaxed flowing state of being.

Where in your life are you trying to control time, space, or activities? Can you really control them? Does trying to control them feel good? How does your desire to control affect others? Where can you try to let go of control and watch things naturally play out? How does letting go change your experience? Share your thoughts with us here.


  1. Favorite quote: “Planning is everything, plans are nothing!” It is so hard to get away from the perceived security of plans! But when you really think about it, things always work out, even without a plan. Or with just a sort-of-a-plan. Flexibility and options are going to be increasingly more important as the world moves away from fixed Mon-Fri/9-5 work schedules. Google notes that only 5% of Americans nowadays, eat on the 3-square-meals-a-day plan. Wow. The big question, for those of us who like structure, is can you have structure and routine, without plans? Maybe???? Worth a try anyway! Thanks for sharing on your flexibility “re-training”!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Judy. I think having a vision is more important than having a plan. A plan is step-by-step and we can’t always determine the right next step. Better to have a vision of what we want then watch and respond to what comes to us. The structure and routine to have is the one centered on your needs and self-care. Release trying to affect those things around you and just make sure you are focusing on taking care of your needs – no matter what comes.

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