Trust the Plan – Even If It’s Not Your Plan

One of the lynchpins of living a mostly stress-free life, where calm and peaceful is the norm and joy is prevalent, is to trust deeply that no matter what happens to you or around you, everything (including you) will be okay. It’s a challenging shift, and it’s one that will transform your life and your life experience.

A key element of this shift is embracing that your plan is not the only plan and that often things will unfold differently than you had planned or hoped. In these situations, it’s important to trust that everything happens for a reason, and I deeply believe this to be true. The challenge is that we love to think (incorrectly) that we’re in control. While you may think you’re in complete control, things outside of us are always conspiring to adjust the plan, and we must be prepared to adapt to this other plan.

While I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and that it’s up to me to find that reason or opportunity to learn, I sometimes falter and forget. This recently happened while I was traveling to Raleigh. I was scheduled to have dinner with three friends one evening, none of whom knew each other. It would be a chance for me to catch up with all of them and for each of them to meet each other. At least that was my plan.

My plan was adjusted when two of the three people had last minute issues and were not able to make it to dinner. Initially, I was disappointed and frustrated that my planhad been changed and that two of them would not be there. However, when my one guest arrived I was fully present and put aside the parts of my plan that had not worked out.

When my one guest arrived, she proceeded to share with me a very difficult and emotional situation she was navigating in her life. At the end of our very intimate and vulnerable conversation, she said she was glad that the other two guests had not made it because she would not have been able to share and talk about her situation if they had been there. Then I started to see it – the other two were not supposed to there. This was a different plan than my plan.

Carrying on, one of the two missing guests reached out and asked me to lunch the following day. I was able to move some of my plans around to make that work, and when we got together she also shared a very difficult personal situation that she was struggling with. Just like the night before, she said that she was glad lunch was just the two of us because she would not have been able to share at dinner the night before with other people there.

Then it really hit me – this lunch was supposed to happen with just the two of us, and she was not supposed to be at the dinner. Everyone was right where they were supposed to be, even if that meant being at home and not at dinner.

I had a plan that didn’t happen the way I had hoped and expected, but another planhad unfolded just like it was supposed to. I love that the world works this way, but I have to be open to seeing it, open to trusting that my plan is not the only plan, and willing to trust that everything happens the way it’s supposed to. It’s up to you and me to see, embrace and learn from the other plan. After all, if that’s the plan that unfolds, then that’s the plan that matters.

In this case, it’s easy for me (and hopefully you) to see the good in this revised plan because things worked out for the best. However, part of what’s best is my willingness to see the best in it. For example, in the past I might have stayed focused on the fact that two people did not show up for dinner, and not been able to see the gifts of how the plan actually unfolded.

In addition, what about when things don’t turn out the way I planned or hoped and what actually happens appears to be “bad” or even tragic? This is where the power of accepting that your plan is not the only (or even most important) plan is most evident, even if this acceptance can be challenging and painful.

For me it boils down to this simple perspective: it makes no sense to me that my plan is the only plan or to expect that my plan will always unfold the way I intend and hope. The more difficult perspective is that, even if I do everything within my control to manifest my plan, there will always be other forces at work that will impact and often shift the plan, the course and the outcome. I choose to accept that the plan that unfolds is the only one that matters, and to learn and grow from the experience. In short, to trust the plan(not my plan).

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