Plans are made to be broken
“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” Thucydides
How often do you consult your to-do list – your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly planner? All these plans we make and write down, which help make us feel in control of things we actually have no control over whatsoever. It calms us when we fear failure of not succeeding. It’s the illusion that we are doing something to steer the ship. We follow them eagerly, anticipating a result. What if I told you that your “plans” might actually be holding you back?
The feeling of being held back by plans- stuck, as it were – it’s so true, isn’t it?—I think so… let’s see if I can convince you.
The need we have to uphold the plans we’ve made is almost like a contract binding us to stick to the plan; we feel obliged to follow and strictly adhere to them; we obsess and stress over them, trying to comfort ourselves by “sticking to the plan,” when ultimately the “plan” ends up doing more harm than good because plans are really just guesses. They are an inaccurate prediction making it very difficult for us to roll with the punches, to improvise and re-strategize; as Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, authors of the New York Times Bestseller, Rework put it, “Plans let the past drive the future. They put blinders on you.”
I’m not suggesting that we should no longer set out goals – quite the contrary; we need things to strive for. What I am saying is that we have to allow the process to be whatever it needs to be to get us to where we want to go. When we are limited by the plans we “think we need to uphold” in order to get to where we “want to go,” we mostly just feel burdened. It’s time to let go of the mindset, and feel free to go with the flow. Trust the process, because it’s the process that is ultimately our purpose.
Take a simple analogy, like a gym routine for instance: a few years back you had a goal. You reached the goal, but the routine remains the same. Why? It worked once, so surely if something works you keep at it, right? No. Change is necessary. NOW your aims are different. You have different targets to reach and have to change it up in order to reach them. We cannot constantly cling to any one thing; life is constantly changing and we are a part of that process – we too need that kind of flexibility and freedom.
I want to get more specific…
Let’s say you have always been a runner; your mode of working out was running, and it became a defining aspect of who you are – like an identity. But one day you find yourself no longer happy running; it doesn’t feed you internally the way it used to, and it’s not keeping you as slim and fit as it used to, either. But it’s how you have always classified yourself. You feel stuck.
Perhaps you’re a vegetarian, and for the past decade or so you have chosen to eliminate meat from your diet, as a health option. But now you find yourself really wanting to introduce meat back into your diet. But you’ve classified yourself as a vegetarian for so long, what would it mean…? You feel restricted. People view you as someone who’s conscientious about their health – what would they think of this new choice?
Say you have a 10-year business plan; you have a very precise goal and a means to reaching it by sticking to a well-thought out and well-devised plan. But one day, 4 years in, a wonderful opportunity presents itself. But it isn’t part of the plan, and you are scared to deviate from it. You feel constrained.
Plans are false security blankets, which don’t allow us to break away from the rules we create for ourselves. There is no room to move, no sense of freedom or flow. We stifle the process, which compromises our purpose.
There is an interesting and very profound lesson in this, spiritually speaking. I am going to try and keep it as simple as I can for the sake of this post:
Kabbalist Rav Ashlag once said that revealing Light is very different from actually receiving it. It sounds rather complicated, but it’s almost like saying that giving advice is a lot easier than taking it. We all have challenges that keep us from manifesting what we have the potential to accomplish. Every single one of us reveals a certain amount of Light in our lifetime, through various means, such as positive acts of sharing, love and consciousness, however we may not necessarily RECEIVE that Light. The hard truth is, most of the time we reveal a tremendous amount more Light than we receive – but why?
In order to receive the Light – blessings, goodness, happiness and joy – we have to be free of the world, free of the constraints we think are there but really aren’t. I fear I might have lost you…
Think of it this way…
The world we live in, what we see, hear and experience is all really just an illusion. Granted, it seems very real, but there are far more powerful energies at work, and we are only in tune with 1% of what is actually out there. This is what kabbalists refer to as the 99% vs. 1% realm. The 1% realm represents all things physical in our world, and we are very attached to the 1%, but consider that there is a whole 99% more that we do not have the ability to experience because our limited 5 senses cannot perceive it.
So… the amount of Light that we can receive is dependent on how disconnected we are from the 1% world. We need to let go of what we think it vital to hold on to. We need to connect to the unseen, unheard, untouched world that is beyond our perception and to trust that! We need to be open to the unexpected directions life takes us, because plans only come from our limited consciousness, but the unexpected comes from the beyond – the universe, the Creator, the Light.
In short: LESS PLANS! PLANS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN. FEWER PLANS MAKE FOR BETTER PLANNING.
Of course we need to put in effort – all of it – and energy into every thing we desire and want to achieve. The main and often missing ingredient, however, is remembering and implementing that although we know the direction to go in and want to follow, if we notice a new course while en route, we should not be afraid of veering off the path. We should not limit ourselves by defining ourselves as one thing or another. We need to discard the old belief systems, routines and regimens that no longer work for us. Once we can break free from the self-made plans and roles that keep us locked into an identity that is when we will receive all of life’s blessings. That’s the moment you’ll be able to take the advice, and not just give it out!
Always remember that we have the potential to reveal endless Light. So imagine just how much Light we could ultimately receive if we let go of our expectations, cares, worries, and plans.
Life is not about rigidity, rule-following, walking the straight and narrow; feel free to deviate from the plan, it doesn’t mean you’ve strayed from the goal, it just means you’re open to whatever will get you there. When you keep yourself open to all types of possibilities, and attach yourself to no one thing, that’s when you will receive the Light. It is time to let go of your plans. Being attached to them only separates you from alternative possibilities. The more you fixate on the plans, the less space there is to let in unexpected, unplanned miracles!
DON’T WRITE ANYTHING.
1. Ditch the planning, detach yourself from this habit, and see where it takes you.