There is one habit or “way of life” that causes many people to miss out on what I call “the magic” of life. The habit shows up in slightly different ways, but always has one defining feature – there is NO room for spontaneity.
So the habit, to be specific, is living your life like a well planned military operation – where structure and routine reign supreme, and you know where you will be, when you will be there, what you will do and how it will all pan out… well before anything ever happens. Your daily and weekly schedule is familiar, or if not familiar at the very least full, planned and executed to that exact intention.
Here's the kicker… living life like this can actually lead to great success in many ways. You have set a plan and you deliver to it. You know what outcomes those plans generate and you work to those and enjoy the results. This applies whether we're talking about your work, or your weekend routine, or your evening routine. The fact being structured like this leads to success (getting results) tends to make people adhere to the fully planned out schedule even more.
However, one thing I've learnt in life is that…
What makes us successful, if taken to the extreme, can also be our downfall.
There has to be BALANCE in how you are being and what you are doing if you want to experience and benefit from all life has to offer you.
You Want Me to Abandon My Routine?
No! Not at all. When I say routine, plans, schedule… I'm not suggesting you don't have those things. Rather I'm suggesting that you have your crucial Life Anchors locked and loaded (which are recurring rituals and planned experiences that you know keep you balanced, present and physically/mentally/emotionally well), and that you allow some space in your broader daily and weekly life for spontaneity outside of your familiar routine and commitments.
If you know exactly what each day is going to look like in advance, and you're not even remotely interested in what life could unexpectedly serve up to you, then…
- Where is the fun in life?
- Where is the variety?
- Where is the adventure?
- Where is the spice of life?
- Where is the unfolding of things you didn't anticipate?
- Where is the space for magic?
Where Did the Magic Go?
Well, the answer is – you scheduled it RIGHT OUT OF YOUR LIFE, because you consciously or subconsciously chose certainty over uncertainty.
Many people (granted, not everyone) who live on a schedule with plans laid in advance and no room for unfolding magic, do so because they want certainty and love certainty. They may even convince themselves that they NEED certainty – like it is a pre-requisite for comfort, success and mental/emotional stability. Certainty is addictive (click here to read more on that!) and it can also be destructive.
The other reason people don't allow room for spontaneity and unfolding in their lives, is that they can't bear the thought of being alone or being without plans.
They fear the thought of being still, of being without action, of being without agenda, of being left in a vortex where they don't know what to do with themselves. Often they believe that being idle or sitting in a space for magic to unfold = being useless, being directionless and thus being “unsuccessful”. None of which is true.
Being Spontaneous is Not Being Flaky
Have you ever heard this saying below?'Not all those who wander are lost' - J R R TolkienClick To Tweet
While it may seem a bit “over the top” to use that quote in relation to this topic of having more space for spontaneity in your daily life, you can definitely apply this overall theme on a micro-scale. If you don't have plans for a particular hour, afternoon, evening, day, week or month – does that mean you're lost? No. If you purposely decide to create space in your schedule just to see what unfolds, does that mean you're idle and wishy-washy? No. Does it mean you are not clear on what you want? No. Does it mean you're not doing all you can to create what you want? No. Does it mean you won't have success, results, and joy? No.
YOU Need You to be Spontaneous & the Universe Needs You to Be Spontaneous
You are co-creating your life. Sometimes you need to create a bit of space in your daily or weekly or monthly routine, so that the Universe can present you with magic… or more accurately put, so that you will RECOGNIZE the magic when it is presented! That magic can include opportunities that you weren't expecting, sights/sounds/insights and experiences you weren't anticipating, and synchronicities that you might not otherwise recognize/understand if you are busy and intent on your pre-planned path (ie. rejecting spontaneity or any trajectory away from your intended activity).
What Does it Mean to Create Space?
Well… just be aware in the small moments of your daily life. You don't have to clear your schedule, just be really present in what you are doing, be conscious… make choices rather than running on auto-pilot. Rather than defaulting to what you will eat for lunch based on habit, make a choice about what to eat. Rather than driving home robotically the way you always do while you're lost in your mind thinking about past and future, make a choice about which way to drive. Rather than turning on the TV and watching what you always watch, make a choice about how to spend your afternoon/evening. You may choose what you always have chosen, but at least you'll be doing it CONSCIOUSLY.
You have to be conscious in order to create space for YOU to be spontaneous (let alone for you to recognize the magic that the Universe can present to you!)
I Confess… I Almost Killed the Magic!
The reason I decided to write this article is that I woke up set with the intent to follow my usual work routine. I do my morning rituals for Mind/Body/Spirit (which are part of my Life Anchors) and then set about my online work. Aaron (my husband, for those who don't know him) woke up with a different idea. He spontaneously suggested we go hiking all morning. My mind was intent on my pre-planned schedule. I said no. And part of me thought, “Are you crazy? It's a work day. There are things to be done.” Yes, sad but true… despite what I teach, that is what my initial reaction was!
He looked at me and asked if I'd like to reconsider. He's a wise man! His look said it all… there is more to life than work, and given I tend to work on weekends sometimes he recommended I reconsider and allow spontaneity to join the party. He was right. It wasn't going to cause me to miss any deadlines or commitments. So…
Shockingly (given I love my plans just as much as the next person), I closed my laptop and spent all morning out hiking with Aaron and then finished off with a delicious Chai Tea topped with cinnamon. I can't think of a better way to have spent my morning. I was immersed in nature, came home feeling amped, energised, healthy and blessed. It totally reoriented my thinking… and here is the magic that arose… I've had a whole lot of creative ideas come to mind for my work, including several finer points that I was feeling stuck on. That is one of the gifts of breaking routine and embracing spontaneity.
Miracles show up if you ALLOW them to come into your life.
And don't get caught up thinking that miracles mean the parting of the Red Sea, a Unicorn dancing in your garden, that you suddenly wake up 20 pounds lighter than yesterday, or that you win the lottery. Miracles are as simple as – a change in perspective, a creative idea, a different path opening up in your awareness, new choices being made leading to seeing new people, new opportunities and thus new results becoming available, new memories being made that you'll have forever… and the list goes on!
And what I got to see on my spontaneous outing (while living here in Bali) was an incredible procession of people carrying offerings to temple… a new experience and image burned in my memory. I already have plenty of memories of staring at a laptop screen burned in my memory, so it's not like I desperately needed more of that! Rather, this new memory just added colour and depth to my life experience that I will not forget nor regret…
Spontaneity Can be Small, Subtle & is Easily Available to You
Spontaneity doesn't have to be grandiose extreme adventures and acts like you see in the movies. Spontaneity may mean walking to work if you normally take the bus. It may mean driving a different route to the shops. It might mean stopping at that walkway/park/garden you've always passed but never taken a moment to enjoy. Spontaneity may mean calling that person who just popped into your head, rather than ignoring their fleeting presence in your awareness. Spontaneity could be acting on impulse and having a gathering of friends unexpectedly. Who knows… your own inspirations will arise!
Your life is precious, so allow a little spontaneity to colour your days. Allow space where plans don't rule, and magic can enter. And more importantly, if you want your life to change in any area, then please consider this…
Essential for Change
If you pre-plan all your coming days to look just like all the days that have gone before, and adhere to that routine like glue, then how can life possibly present you with new creation, new opportunities and a change in direction? You're scheduling your life in a way that precludes that from happening! You're shutting change out. How on earth can life be different if you are executing it the exact same way you always have.To get a different output, you have to change an input.Click To Tweet
If you want something new and different, you have to be willing to CREATE SPACE for new and different to show up. It is true that we are each responsible for taking action to create our own success, but it is also true that you are co-creating your life with the Universe, and executing your life to a military style plan without being open-minded and open-hearted along the way really blocks that process. The Universe is programmed to support your success, it's just that sometimes you are so dead-set on what you think is the best path, that you miss the myriad of other paths available to you.
The next time an opportunity arises to be spontaneous, and it's within your capability to embrace it, I dare you to drop your routine and to dive into the opportunity and see how your hour, day or week unfolds differently. Notice how your energy shifts, how you uplift and how you feel alive in a different way. As you do so, embrace whatever insights arise and treasure any memories that are made.
With love, Bernadette