Some of us like making plans. We are list makers, time trackers, note takers. We are both rule makers and rule breakers because we are constantly testing the structures of our world. We poke, push and yank incessantly. When something gives way under our scrutiny, our watchfulness feels justified. So we amp up our defences, build even stronger links and test our security net again. Because that is what plan-making is about – reducing risk, feeling safe.
Making plans does not change risk much. Life has too many variables and our minds not big enough to encompass everything. But having a plan keeps us occupied till the time reality must be faced. It keeps us from stalling, giving us the illusion of moving.
I have stage fright. ‘Fright’ doesn’t encompass my traumas, remnants of abusers linked with music (my first stage experience). I have poor rote memory and when traumatic fear raises its head, I forget my name and begin to lose words, then breaths. With notes, the always present traumas make me clumsy and clammy, escalating all things horrible. So how do I cope?
I plan. I write what I want to say (knowing that I will forget). I practise (aware that the reality of that moment on stage cannot be paralleled by anything else). I tap into well-honed skills of language, persistence, focus – all things I call INTELLIGENT. Then I leave my notes behind and get up on stage. The plan does not go up with me. It allows me to get up from my seat and walk to the stage.
When I am up, I close my eyes. Remembering that the plan is just a suggestion. That life is full of many things, both wonderful & horrifying. That intelligence is only one of the tools to help one get through. So maybe it’s not a bad thing when someone says I’m not being intelligent because it means I’m setting one tool aside, allowing room for other things. And in the absence of the plan, the safety net, there is still a me. Untouched, light, crystal. Standing, breathing. In, out. Easy, easy, easy.
When I open my eyes, there will be a new world. Life awaits. So planner, you are okay. Just remember you are more than a plan.

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