“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
This quote may seem contrary to all that I have written about making choices, taking hold of one’s life and not bobbing along like a cork in a stream. But life is not so simple. Sometimes plans fail and another choice is presented in its place. When paying attention in the moment, there comes a time when it is obvious the plan one has laid out for oneself will not take the intended path. Instead, another avenue is placed in front of us. We still have the choice whether to follow it or not, but staying open to another life plan is part of claiming one’s happiness.
The unexpected is just around the corner and offers a direction one had not considered. There are so many plot changes along the way that it is somewhat arrogant to assume one can completely direct one’s life. The athlete, carefully planning each move, until the day that a career ending injury occurs; the carefully plotted professional path that dead-ends the day the industry becomes obsolete; the anticipated family that is lost to infertility; so many obstacles to address and overcome.
To not accept, and rail against the loss of a plan that is no longer viable is to become stuck in a spiral of defeat. With acceptance comes the opportunity to look through the doors that have opened, and take the chance to redefine oneself in light of the new circumstance. The cycle of loss and acceptance is no doubt one of the most difficult, to find a means to use it to the best advantage and continuing to take charge of the choices presented, is a coping strategy for the inevitable disappointments in life.
A life plan needs to have room for life, the fluid, tempting, taunting thing that fills the hours and days. Look carefully at what you find in your path, possibly it is the plan life has for you.