See, that’s the thing about Plans.

That’s the thing about plans. As fickle a plan may be, like a dew drop it doesn’t die before giving you that tiny hint of hope. It doesn’t melt away before showing you the way. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right way, as long as it pokes you into action, or gives you an ”aha” moment, all is good!

I have never been a planner. I always joke about how plans and I don’t get along. Remember those clichéd quotations about not planning because then when they don’t materialize, our itsy-bitsy hearts crumple? As if an unfinished plan ever killed anyone. Well, I don’t know if that really makes sense any more. Our existence is based on a plan. As elaborate and as vague as it may be, but it’s there, written somewhere within invisible maps. That’s how we are programmed. We need some nuance of a direction to get through the day. We need some subtle hint of objectivity to feel sane in a world that’s all about uncertainty. So why not plan?

I plan to plan. I plan to write. I plan to publish a book some day. I plan to get back to my pre-baby weight (don’t we all!?). I plan to be a better mother. I plan to be a person who matters, not just to her family and loved ones, but to people who aren’t. I plan to move back home some day. I plan to stay close to my parents. I plan to give my children some of the glorious days I lived as a child. I plan to smile more again. I plan to stay more hopeful. I plan not to become cynical and grumpy, but a happy-go-lucky, adventurous old, wrinkly woman. I plan to take care of myself by looking and feeling better.  I plan to sit straight, stand tall and look within. I plan to cry when I’m happy. I plan to smile when I’m sad. I plan to scream less, speak more, and listen the most. I plan to breathe. I plan to see. I plan to touch. I plan to taste. I plan feel. I plan to treat my heart like the infinitely flexible rubber that it is; stretch, stretch, stretch. Oh, and I plan to plan.

This is where plans are different from dreams. Plans are more believable and seem to have more substance. If it’s a dream, then sadly, it may remain as such. Dreams often take the guise of magical fairies living in enchanted distant lands. You imagine them, but you can’t rummage the courage to touch them, or to go look for them. They are also different from wants. We want a lot of things, but without a practical roadmap, they just shrivel up and die, like leaves without water. But if it’s a plan, you are compelled to replace its imaginary existence with something tangible. You are required to breathe life into it in order for it to exist. A noticeable connecting dot. A tingle of light. A checklist. Day 1. Strike!

Sure, it’s not all about the choice of words. It never is. Plans, dreams, hopes, aspirations, desires, wants. At the end of it, they are just combinations of letters we use to give meaning to our lives. Without them, what’s the point? But even with them, is there a point? There is meaning as long as you’re alive. And as long as you’re alive, there has to be a reason. And plans just might give us all that.

My mind’s just spitting up randomness that, in all honesty, might not make any sense. But I’ll always include these words in my vocabulary. I don’t think I want to flee from planning anymore. I will stumble and my toes might bump into some of life’s heavy furniture. And it may hurt as hell. But if I don’t plan to be a better than I was before, there really is no point. Period.

 

Wednesday Wiseness: What makes perfect sense

What a wonderful feeling it would be not to rush through our story. To pay homage to each fleeting tick-tock of the madness we call life. To wake up in the morning with nothing but a reminder that this day is perfect. It is perfect not because I can do the impossible. But because I can do everything possible to make it perfect.

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I can’t find perfection in the monumental happenings. I try to, but it never makes enough sense. Be it scientific breakthroughs or mind-numbing tragedies, nothing adds up.

What makes perfect sense is the way plants in my backyard fill with green blood when spring touches their wintery pulse.

What makes perfect sense is the way my children love me for no reason.

What makes perfect sense is the way my parents can forgive me for all the reasons.

What makes perfect sense is that my wrinkly version doesn’t sound horrifying when I imagine it with my wrinkly husband.

What makes perfect sense is how I can pull off gut-hurting-tear-spurting  laughter with no other but my brother.

What makes perfect sense is that I met certain people because they carried an invisible message only I was meant to read.

What makes perfect sense is how blood relations do not always mean we share the same blood; it could mean that we share the same energy and dimension.

What makes perfect sense is how my dreams may not always come true, but that they give me reasons for doing and not just being.

What makes perfect sense is how petty life is when all you think of is yourself. And how magnanimous each breath can be if you tell your heart to just scoot over.

What makes perfect sense for you?

Bowl of cereal from the heavens…

Turning thirty is usually a big deal. That momentous time where a child begins calling you an Aunti and you begin to make peace with that fact rather than fantasize about teaching the little devil a lesson. I don’t suppose anything tangible changes except for maybe a few unwelcoming strands of squiggly grey hair and creaking knees. In my case more than anything else, it has been an increasing spate of bewilderment at the world. Every time I sit down to write, a flood of random and some not-so random thoughts attack furiously, left, right and center; begging to be found and figured out.  Nothing is trivial anymore; yet everything can be ignored. Nothing is too serious, or too funny, or too crazy; like I have seen it all before; yet every time its all invigoratingly new.

Even feeding breakfast to my eight month old daughter is not as simple as it used to be. So one fine day, there I was trying out a new cereal that to my dismay she despised. Like most moms, I am a persistent bug, so I kept feeding and hoping she would take to the new taste eventually. All traces of my maternal instinct appeared as I thought; “She needs to eat this, its good for her!” Just then I noticed a speck of food on the floor and bent down to pick it up. Out from no where came my elbow and knocked down the bowl from the table and caught me completely off guard! SPLAT!! An artist might call this intricate design of milk and cereal on the floor, art.  I had other nice words in mind, apparently unfit for my blog.

If babies could talk, I am sure mine was thanking my elbow. The “mommy” me was hurriedly cleaning away. The annoying “writer” in me thought: “Was that pure coincidence or a sign from above signalling the stop sign?” Should I ignore this accident and get her some more cereal or should I appease her little taste buds with something she already likes to eat.  Of course, a bowl of cereal on the floor rather than in your child’s mouth does not exactly fit the criterion for divine revelation. Notwithstanding, I could not help but think about the presence and impact of signs in our lives.

Follow your passions, they say! Don’t give up, no matter how long it takes! But who gives us the time stamp? How long is ‘how long’?! Does someone stand there holding a board blinking with colorful lights assuring us we are on the right track? Of course not. Nothing is ever as overtly expressed in real life. However there are numerous instances that help you understand where you are headed even if its not your cup of tea. The globe is replete with people having crazy, raw, admirable gifts bound to set many green with envy. Delusional feelings of grandeur or not, these people mean business! Some even spend their entire lives like color-blind bulls running after the matador’s cape; huffing and puffing towards an invisible line that packs its bags and changes towns every time they are near. They struggle on until one fine day, someone’s elbow knocks down their house of cards. They roll up their sleeves and start all over again. Some actually make it past the finish line. These people are what the world’s catchiest quotable quotes are made of! Wonder what signs the student of astro physics from Toronto saw that made him leave his line of profession; and succumb to a passionate life in which he now entertains through strange tricks involving fire, body contortions and humor.So many people around the world change religions when they notice startling signs around them. I recently saw an interesting and candid account of how an atheist Australian Ruben studied all major religions and finally converted to a religion he believed was the best for him;  because the signs he so desperately desired were the simplest ones, staring him right in the face.

Inwardly, we all believe in signs, omens, sixth sense…the whole mystical shebang! Though far more difficult to decipher than even the ancient languages, hieroglyphs etc. , its interesting to derive meaning out of daily happenings in life.  I read somewhere how everyday things like highway signs and boards, overhearing a conversation, losing a job, starting a new business, moving to a new home, the ever-familiar feeling of dejavu can all be harbingers of what lies ahead and how training our hearts and minds to understand those signs can make a huge difference in our lives (source). Sometimes, I think the more delusional others think you are, the better it is. This uncanny ability to see a beautiful angel as a prophetic omen from the heavens as opposed to a Medusa waving the warning signal, is a core ingredient for the passionate and the pure at heart.

So in case any of you are wondering, I took notice of the fallen bowl of cereal and my daughter was saved from the ordeal of eating another bite. That however was the simpler side of it all. I am not a master of sign-reading, nor am I a passionate or pure soul, but I believe that our lives are all laid down on a map with invisible signs and signals. It’s only a matter of time when the appropriate sign will manifest and direct the way. I cannot comment on what signs may direct my future as a writer. But fortunately, I have all the symptoms of a delusional sign reader, which will keep the writer in me alive. Unlike the breakfast incident, I will stubbornly pick up remnants of unfinished letters, words, sentences and continue to write, hopefully waiting for the next sign to reveal itself.