I landed at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with virtually no prepared plans. I had a Hertz rental reservation and one night booked at a random motel in East-Jesus Nowhere which looked a little bit close to Sedona on Google Maps. I had 36 hours of complete disregard for schedules and expectation before I was due at my Yoga Medicine Training retreat. My only ‘had-to’ was to cram-study for the anatomy portion of my training; I’d been so caught up with studying, finishing up work, and teaching yoga in the weeks leading to my departure that I practically forgot to think about how I’d spend my first two days of free time once I got to Arizona. I didn’t have any plans. My plans could change at any moment. I had no idea how to make this work. But somehow, I made it work.
Sure, some things were not-so-ideal: my phone died 5 minutes into a 2 hour hike; I had no GPS navigation for half the day so I actually had to (shocking! I know) read a map, remember directions, and show up at a restaurant without thoroughly exploring their menu prior to choosing it. My e-reader wouldn’t connect to the hotel’s wifi to download a new book to read so I actually had to (shocking! I know) eat an entire meal in silence, savoring each bite, with nothing to read or distract me from the sun on my face and the nourishment in my salad. The only Voltage plug-in to be found in my rental car was in the trunk, so I had to drive for hours without Pandora music and bear witness in silence to the red rolling hills and desert brush playing tag with cloud shadows. My iPhone was still dead as I snuggled between the hotel pillows that evening, so I had to go to sleep without checking InstaGram to see what I’d missed during one day away from Real Life or setting an alarm for the next morning. My non-plans were clearly more nourishing to my soul than my plan-plans would have been.I read once that an adventure without a mishap is just a vacation. Does it go the other way around? Can a vacation with a mishap turn into an adventure?
When did you most recently venture into the unknown, without a schedule or a plan or an expectation? When did you most recently open yourself up to the possibility of an adventure stumbling into your day? When did you most recently vacate your plans and just allow the day to reveal itself? What did you feel when you set down your schedule? What did you see when you set aside your device?
What happened when you showed up with no expectations and no plans? You may want to try this on the yoga mat.
Personally, I have huge admiration for students who show up to my Vinyasa and Hatha Classes. They have no idea what to expect, (other than excellent, alignment-based and anatomically-wise sequencing, of course). They aren’t sure if I’m going to decide to teach a class focused on inversions or balance or strength; if I’m going to stop the class in the middle and tell jokes (I am one of the top 5 funniest people I know, after all); or if they will leave class emotionally raw from the deep Soul questions pose during meditation.
I am always in awe at how much trust my students have in me; I feel humbled every day when they drag themselves out bed at 5:30 am or leave work 2 minutes early in the evening to make it to class on time. They have plans, no agenda, no expectations for what they will encounter. They leave their security blanket (aka SmartPhone) at the door when they step into the practice room and open themselves up to the yearnings of their soul.
What a humbling expression of trust.
Not knowing what’s next on your agenda or what’s next in your life can be terrifying, but it can also be freeing. Sure, your phone will probably die and you might get lost, but your non-plans will probably end up being more exciting, more adventurous, and more nourishing to your Soul than your plan-plans. Summer’s almost here. I dare you to plan a micro-adventure with no plans, show up on your yoga mat with no set sequence in mind and play around with movement, and do something new and terrifying every day.
Let me know how your adventure goes, and what you notice when you allow life to reveal itself you to.