"Life," said John Lennon, "is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." He should know. The claims of New Age gurus aside, you can't avoid life's potholes and pitfalls. Surprises are part of the game. Some are wonderful. Some are fun. Some are funny. Some start out bad and turn out ok. And some, as with John himself, are tragic and not at all our conscious choice. But lives have an everyday rhythm, too -- a predictability that invites planning and design. Lives steered with even modest direction are usually more fruitful and satisfying than ones steered just by serendipity and the winds of chance.
Sure, we want life to be profitable and interesting, and in fact not many people would choose a life completely free of problems. But a life as free as possible from useless obstacles, brick-wall frustrations, exhausting time-wasters, and other energy-sappers ... yes, that's something to work on -- so you can concentrate on "the big stuff" ... the meaningful goals, substantial relationships, the victories and connections that make it all worthwhile.
So, here are some ideas to design a life that permits a maximum of that ... and a whole lot less of the other stuff that like gunk in a drain builds up, clogs the works, and costs you time, patience, and sometimes money, too. (Money you'd for sure rather spend on something else!) Engineers, designers, and builders work from blue-prints ... maps of what they want to create. Your life needs that, too. Let's call it a life custom-tailored to your desires, your requirements, with reliable reserves and sensible safeguards already built in.
- Design for convenience. Don't fill your life up with so many projects and commitments you don't have time to breathe, time to handle minor problems that arise, time to function without being harried. If your life were a road trip ... you'd give yourself enough time to get from start to finish without having to speed and break the law, without having to take foolish or dangerous chances, enough time to "get there safely" with room to spare -- even if minor traffic snarls caused delays, and enough time to enjoy the scenery and the conversation of your traveling companions.
- Design for dependability. Build "defensible space." Have "contingency plans." Be able to meet predictable crises ... and carry on without stumbling. Know with reasonable certainty on Monday what Tuesday will bring. Do the "maintenance work" every life needs. If your life were a car ... you'd check and rotate the tires, keep the fluids filled, change the oil, find out about "that funny noise" ... before you wound up standing by the highway at 10 o'clock at night, phoning for AAA, your spouse, a friend, ... or trying to flag down a stranger.
- Capitalize on available resources. Make use of your natural talents, strengths, skills, and abilities. Do what you do best. For sure, do what only you can do. If you're a square peg, don't force yourself over and over into round holes, jobs you have no feel for or interest in, situations that put you at risk, relationships that wear you out. Do what you were made (or trained) to do. Outsource or delegate the "other stuff." If your life were a house ... you'd take advantage of the natural terrain, the slope of the land, the trees and native landscaping. You would build it to function "where it is going to live" ... and accommodate all the reasons you want to live in that place and in it.
- Make it artful, unique, and authentic. Don't be "like everybody else." Conformity is one definition of a living death. If your life were a work of art (which it is) ... you'd make it one of a kind, meaningful, and memorable! When you come to the end of the road, know with conviction what it was to really be yourself!
- Create quality content. Spend your time, your self, and your resources on things that matter to you. If your life were a museum, you wouldn't cram it with cast-offs, other people's "contributions," and items best described as "junk and clutter." You'd choose and showcase each treasure, put it in the right light and setting, display and cherish it because it truly meant something to you ... something you'd like visitors and patrons to enjoy and respect as well.
You and your life deserve support like this. Design it in ... and make it happen.
(c) 2007 Enchanted Spirit, Inc., All rights reserved.
Anne Aleyes is a staff writer for Enchanted Spirit. She works in private practice as a spiritual counselor and therapist. Enchanted Spirit http://www.enchantedspirit.org/ offers astrology, tarot, feng shui, alternative health, metaphysics, and self-improvement.