Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice
Friday, September 16, 2011
Sometimes The Best Plan Is No Plan
Can you relate to this scenario: You’ve been diligently researching and studying what you need to know in order to build your business or advance in your chosen line of work. You’ve heard from innumerable experts showing you a rainbow of success recipes that you should follow. You’ve come to a point of feeling completely saturated by all these recommendations and “must-dos.” Instead of feeling empowered to go forth and create your own breakthrough, you feel overwhelmed by the plethora of endless choices? You’re hard pressed to get your arms around your own plan. What are you to do?
That was my experience, and I felt paralyzed by the feelings of overwhelm. I learned that sometimes, the best plan is not having one for a while. Clearly, having plans is important, as it keeps us organized and marching toward our goals or fulfilling our responsibilities. However, there are real limits to plans, and trying to force one to happen could quickly become all-consuming, overwhelming and utterly counter-productive. Besides, it's grossly unkind to ourselves to keep pushing. We deserve a break.
Planning is the forte of our logical and rational left brain. When we develop and execute on a plan, we run our masculine energy – this is true for men and women. This is only one half of our capabilities. Our right brain houses our unbounded creativity and receptivity to ideas and inspiration. It’s our feminine side that’s associated with intuition, as well as knowing something without reasoning. Whereas masculine energy is directive and take-charge, feminine energy is about allowing and receiving. Those of us who have spent a lot of time in the business world and/or getting formally educated in the sciences or business have had a lot more training and practice in running our masculine energy. Again, this is true whether you’re a man or a woman. We weren’t taught in college/graduate school or encouraged in our work life to tap into our feminine energy, to let our right-brain creativity lead the way.
When we can’t come up with a plan or the plan we have isn’t going well, the knee-jerk reaction is to push forward; perhaps we didn’t try hard enough. But that’s counter-productive, and can only lead to overwhelm. It’s a sign that we have over-burdened our left brain and over-taxed our masculine side. Einstein said that we cannot solve a problem by staying at the level consciousness that created it. If we keep pushing the plan to force it to happen, it only exacerbates the problem – and the feelings of overwhelm. Instead, a more productive move is to cease frantic action, to get in touch with our feminine side for ideas and insights to emerge. This is the choice of allowing what eludes our rational mind to come forward. This is how we rise above the consciousness associated with the problematic plan, to get us unblocked and unstuck.
Since so few of us were taught how to tap into our feminine energy and unleash our right-brain capabilities, what do we do? Here are a few practices:
1. Meditation – Cultivate a practice of quieting your busy mind, so that you learn to tune into your inner wisdom and creativity. Don’t be concerned about which style of meditation to practice. What’s important is developing a habit of meditating regularly, working up to doing so daily. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day would do wonders for you.
2. Journaling/hot-penning – Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write non-stop from your heart until the timer goes off. Do this first thing in the morning, if you can, or when you can get into a relaxed space. This isn’t a brain-dump or a planning session. This is an opportunity for your inner wisdom and creativity to speak to you. Pose a question and wait for insights to come, such as:
o What do I need to know?
o What is trying to emerge from this situation?
o What am I not seeing that would be good for me to see?
o What do I get to create today?
o What is the highest vision for [my career, this project, etc.]?
Note that answers to your question may come in the form of words, images or sensations. Just notice and record them in your journal or sketchbook.
3. Pay attention to synchronistic messages – Experiment with posing a question (like the ones in #2 above). Then, pay attention to billboards, casual conversations, radio/TV/banner ads, songs, publications, etc. Seemingly random messages may come to you from these sources containing insights to your question. If you’re really new to this practice, start with asking about something little, and notice what you see or hear within a couple of days of your asking the question.
When the masculine side of us is on overload, the best plan is no plan for a while. This creates the space for our feminine side to allow insights to be revealed to us. At a practical level, when we’re overwhelmed and our battery is running near or on empty, we need to stop doing and just be, so that we can recharge. The last thing our overwhelmed self needs is more pushing and doing. Instead, it needs some nurturing and loving before more creation through us can flourish.
It'll take some conscious practice – especially for those of us Type-A, chart-the-course personalities – to resist the knee-jerk reaction to continue doing and pushing. But, ultimately, the best approach is one that’s balanced. It’s one that leverages a true partnership between our masculine and feminine sides. It’s one that allows for the time and space for receiving insights and the time and space for taking purposeful, inspired action.
What are your perspectives on planning and allowing insights to come to you? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by creating and following plans?
You can find a more detailed discussion of using a balanced approach with both masculine and feminine energy in the Introduction Chapter of REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Find out more about REACH here.
If you love my book, I’d be so grateful if you’d consider writing a couple sentences about it on amazon.com.