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we plan and then stuff happens

The Best Laid Plans …. Uh-Oh!

“Man plans, God laughs”? “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”?

Have you heard these before? Or this one – “Man Proposes and God Disposes”? Life rarely goes smoothly according to our plans. Stuff happens. Could that “stuff happening” be just what you need to continue your journey with more conscious awareness no matter the destination? So let’s take a look at our Best Laid Plans.

In this month’s musings I wanted to explore just that using my own story and discoveries along the way. My hope is that it will brighten your light to guide you on your journey. And to trust the detours along the way.

The best laid plans need structure and specificsThis is a perfect time of year to look back at the year gone by and to plan going forward.  Nothing wrong with a good plan. Start with a clear vision of what you want and need. Even better to look 5 years ahead and then break down how you are going to get there right down to your monthly and weekly goals. I like doing this and need to do this, because structure is key to hold my commitment to my personal and business world together. And of course my commitment to living my Life Purpose no matter what. My passion for what I do. Excitement about my life in general goes a long way too!  But without good planning all of this zest will have no legs to stand on to move forward.

I like to do it on brown butcher paper using lots of stickies and colored pens. You may like to put it all on a pie chart or excel sheet. Choose what works for you.

So what happens when your momentum for the coming year comes to a halt and sends you on a major detour? When you best laid plans go out the window? Here’s my story this year.

What if all the envisioning, goal setting and careful planning go out the window in one day?

My best laid plans laid before you. In early December, I started my yearly intention setting and was beginning to plug in some real plans to meet my vision for the coming year (as I revisited my 5 year plan). I love deep Winter and the celebration of the Solstice to mark the return of the light. Such a good time to go inward to create clarity and focus for the coming year. Oh, yes, Christmas happens at this time too. My least favorite holiday. But I was even prepared for the chaos and ready to surrender my values to just jump in and have fun with family and friends. Then I could get back to the serious work of my planning and to the quiet moments to just “be”. HA HA!

It happened on a Sunday early in December. My Sister, who I live with, fell down the stairs and broke her back, coccyx and wrist accompanied by many contusions. (She is recovering nicely, by the way.) My life became that of a full time caregiver – drug dispenser, chauffeur to appointments, cook, shopper, wrapper, dog walker and more.

Although I lost my personal footing and business focus, I am grateful that I was able to do this for my Sister. Funny thing is, this is a familiar pattern in my life. To give you the idea of what I mean, here are some snippets from the past::

  • Get out of debt by xx date: Whamo! Big unexpected expenses derailed my plans for 2 years
  • Leave my profession of 30 years, take 6 months to 1 year off; use hand analysis to help me find my next path. Had it all worked out. Blam!  My marriage blew up within 2 weeks of leaving my secure job.
  • And there are several more. I am sure you could add to my list based on your Whamos, Blams, and OH NOs
  • This latest detour is relatively minor based on past unplanned for events.

Am I a little hesitant to believe that I can have what I want and all will go smoothly according to plan? You betcha! Big impediment or small, here are:

6 things I have learned-about Best Laid Plans:

  1.  Everything happens for a reason and everything is a random event. (This is one of three Axioms of Soul Psychology coined by Richard Unger, the founder of our International Institute of Hand Analysis). We can’t predict what our future holds – at least I can’t. So how do you reconcile the “no coincidences” and everything is random paradox? My belief is that when we face a detour, there is meaning and opportunity to face ourselves and to learn. There is always a message. Mostly it’s about our response and attitude as we face the unexpected.
  2. I can not be present, kind and compassionate for another unless I take care of myself. When my Sister had her accident, I was disoriented, exhausted and worried that I would not be able to handle this turn of events and that my livelihood would suffer. Once I created a daily routine for myself embracing mind, body and spirit connection that I could fit in between my care-giving duties, I was able to serve with ease and kindness. I had already figured this out when life was simpler. Last year I declared not one word for the year (as I usually do), but a phrase. It was 2 hours every day. It is now part of my DNA to find cracks of time during the day to total 2 hrs to feed my body, mind and spirit. So, 15 minutes for me, 2 hrs for my Sister, 45 minutes for me, 4 hrs for my Sister.Best laid plans include the practice of being fully present no matter the circumstances
  3. I had to ask for help and be very specific about what I needed.  This is not a strong suit of mine. I realized early on that I could not do this alone. I also knew that family and friends wanted to help as much as they could. But they needed to know exactly how. Enrolling them in specific tasks like bringing specific foods, taking her to the doctors and being very firm – no, I need you to spend the night so I can get some rest.
  4. Nothing is more precious then being in the present moment …. By being here and not worrying about why me, why now, why again has allowed peace and pleasure in being fully present for my Sister, the rest of my family and for my self at the same time. And I am confident that I will slowly re-enter my life rhythm and work even more prepared for the next detour.
  5.  I gotta give myself credit. I’m pretty good at this caregiver role mainly because I am committed to 1–4.
  6.  And, finally I re-captured a passion I have. I always loved cooking but life is just too busy to relax into it. Now that I have been the chief cook – I am having fun with the sensuality and creativity of cooking. I’m putting this on my 2 hours a day list from now on!

We all are tested. I was when my marriage fell apart. When my debt wasn’t going away. When I was sidetracked from going to the next level of my business by someone else’s needs.

The best laid plans sometimes have to take a backseat so that we can learn more about ourselves and our relationships. To be aware of how we respond when “God laughs”. I just looked at the list of 6 “discoveries” again. I realize that all the things that I did to manage the present circumstances are ways I want to and need to be in my life and business when it gets fully back on track.

I wish you health, joy and presence in the New Year whether you are on track or detoured by the unexpected.




~ Janet

7 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans …. Uh-Oh!”

  1. I am so sorry for your sister and so proud of you to handle it is well. Yes, I am fully aware of how family stuff always comes up at the moment one is stepping out of the comfort zone. It seems to happen every time. Thank you for bringing that to the light of day.

    1. Thanks for your well wishes Sandra. Everything seems to be another Growth Opportunity – or as we sometimes say. AFGO! Miss you.
      ~ Janet

  2. You have been an inspiration to me for a long time now and I never stop learning from you. I am so sorry to hear about your sister but so glad something positive came out of it…..

    1. me again. I hit send too soon…but I’m energy challenged lately 🙂 Thank you for always inspiring me with your words. This wasn’t just an “everything happens for a reason” blog. It was about the endless journey that we are on in terms of digging deeper and learning more about our self, our needs and our gifts. Thank you for this blog post.

    2. Thanks, Marie. I can’t believe a year has passed and you are at the end of your training. What a wonderful journey I’ve had with you. I’ll come to NYC and read hands on the street with you.

  3. Very very true…all of it! As soon as we get serious about making plans, we find out what the REAL things are standing in the way and get to learn more about our Life School and Lesson so they can be strong enough to support us in going where we want to next! Kudos for holding on for the wild ride and steering so well!

    1. Right on , Ronelle. My Lesson and School are sacrifice self to serve others. Self care/self discipline suffer. So I did darn well, don’t you think??

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