November 5 – Plans and Planning, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable.” Winston Churchill

We easily confuse plans with planning, dreams with dreaming, and love with loving. The wisdom waiting within what Churchill says is that we live like hungry fishermen: sewing and casting our nets, though we never really know what they will catch, never really know what will feed us until it is brought aboard. So, as Buddhists say, to be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.

When I look at all the books I’ve written, I must confess that every one has been discovered along the way to other plans. What I envision when I begin is never what is actually written. The same can be said for my career path. For me, the most meaningful job experiences have been completely unforeseen, the result of seizing heartfelt opportunities that appeared along the way to other dreams. I must also confess that though I’ve imagined love and lovers often, each person I’ve been blessed to love has come to life beyond all imagining.

Certainly, there are times we need to anticipate what is coming and times we need to be spontaneous. But too much is made of choosing either way. Plans are kindling to every fire, and no two fires are the same.We just need their heat and light.

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