It’s been a week of being in the pines, and some of my old habits are sticking like glue. As I go through my days I’m realizing that I’ve gained some serious tools while coping with bigger city living, and they’re more deeply ingrained then I would have expected.
It’s been hardest to untangle myself from the need to plan. This was particularly surprising because I’m not a planner by nature. I actually love to be spontaneous so when I noticed this behavior taking shape in a place where it wasn’t necessary I started to contemplate what was driving the desire to look ahead.
The days are quiet here, and while there’s plenty to do, none of it needs any advance scheduling. This has been a huge shock to my over-scheduled system.
Living in a city that hosts over 3.8 million people forces you to plan. If you don’t plan you’re likely to be turned away, which for me often turned into a rejection-shame spiral, and feeling stupid for not being more prepared.
Dinner reservations, online registration for yoga class, arriving early to find a good parking spot, and getting a head start to beat traffic are things that practically became part of my genetic makeup to survive in a place that essentially demanded attention to time.
Now, living in a town with a population of less than 1500 people, I’ve had to readjust my ideas about time and planning ahead. Inverness runs on a different sense of time. The days are long and full because this is when you can make the most of the beauty that’s here.
The birds in the sky are as busy as the people on the ground but it’s not a contrast. There’s a rhythm at hand that requires no effort, and it serves as a constant reminder that everything is happening exactly as it should.
I attended a yoga class recently in the town of Point Reyes, and while there was online registration available, I chose to just show up. As I prepared to leave my house I felt the anxiety build in my body around arriving on time, where I would park, and if there would be room in the class.
I was embraced and invited in when I arrived, and later learned that the online sign up was more of a convenience for the patrons to avoid having to physically sign in, and not a way to ensure a spot for a full class.
I breathed deeply and relaxed into my new reality. I had taken the risk that comes with not planning and it had worked out okay. This is how I’ll reshape my addiction to scheduling one unplanned moment at a time.
There’s no question that living in a place with more people requires more planning, but I guess what I would like to convey is that seeking out the moments in your life where you don’t have to think ahead might be a good practice in trust.
Planning is a way to ensure the future, and in a broader sense it’s a byproduct of a consumer culture that feeds on the idea that there simply isn’t enough to go around.
Someone once reminded me that there’s a seat at the table for everyone.
It’s a saying I repeat to myself often as a reminder that the world is abundant, and that the concept of scarcity only applies to some of the limited resources we’ve over-used like wood and water. There simply is no shortage of things to consume even though it may seem that way.
I still feel the fear around not planning ahead, but when I face that fear I see that I’m mostly scared of missing out, or being turned away. Just irrational thoughts that keep me from living in the moment, and that lead to unnecessary stress.
But I’m not quite there because as I laid in Shavasana (corpse pose) in my yoga class I noticed my thoughts.
I should come to yoga every Monday and Wednesday night.
Then on my hike later in the week I noticed my thoughts.
I should do this hike every Sunday morning.
Like I said, old habits die hard even when we know we don’t need them.