The “Key” to Happiness Might be Plan B

Friday morning began like any other Friday. I woke up at 4:45-ish, so I would have enough time to shower. Jumped out of the shower around 5:10 and in the time it took to towel off, dress, pack a bag for the fully scheduled day ahead, the relentlessness of time wore on. At 5:19 it dawned on me I needed to fill my water bottle, grab my keys and be out the door in the next two minutes. A quick sprint down the stairs to the kitchen showed my keys were in the bowl on the counter where I’d left them the night before and I filled my water bottle before heading out the door locking it behind me just before pulling it shut. And then, the unthinkable landed in my awareness…

I had been in such a rush to get out the door, I had locked myself out. No one else was home, and now I had to attempt to jimmy the lock (usually I lock the deadbolt after I pull the door shut) or hope there was an open window to climb in. Neither of these options panned out. So I took a breath and made the phone call I knew I might have to as a last resort. I let the front desk person of the health club know the 5:45am yoga class I teach most Friday mornings was not going to be able to happen, so she could let the students know they had wrestled themselves out of bed for naught.

This isn’t a story about a mundane morning and hasty, honest mistake. This is a story of how the fatigue of early mornings and late nights eventually catches up with us, and we say “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this, this isn’t sustainable”. It’s a story of how the challenge of teaching a class with consistently low attendance (rarely more than 2-3 students) for pay that hasn’t ever increased regardless of increases in expertise, passion, and training, eventually makes us question driving 20-25 minutes, and eventually weighs on us no matter how much we love the outcome and sharing our genius with others. It is an illustration of how when your heart isn’t in something anymore, you’ll make mistakes, rookie mistakes, mistakes that are preventable if you were taking your time and breathing rather than disconnected due to apathy and burnout.

Many of us have heard the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for!” And for good reason. Often, if we want something we aren’t yet aligned with, or, moreover in this case, are denying something the little voice inside of us keeps whispering about, it will come to fruition in some way. This is the power of manifestation. When plan A falls apart, and plan B has to be executed, could it be possible Plan B was really the best plan all along?

When you find yourself relieved at how the outcome of such a mistake means you get to play hooky from that thing, its time to reexamine the thing itself. And the real challenge presented itself after the reality set in of not going to teach the class. It meant I could take a more gradual unfolding into the morning (which is really how I feel aligned in life), but it also meant I had to reexamine how I was going to get all the other things on my list accomplished. These involved several private clients in several different locations, tending to a friend’s pets who I had taken on the responsibility of looking after for the weekend at yet another location, a mentoring meeting, and various other obligations I was quite happy about. So next came, “how do I get in or get help?”

This is another example of how Plan B helps us to see how grounded we aren’t or can be, and allows us to inventory the places we can be grateful for all the ways we are supported in this life.

I messaged my housemate to see when they would be back up this way to let me in if they could, and in the time it took to get a response my neighbor emerged from her front door to go for a run and offered to give me ride on her way to work later that morning. It was a blessing, and it meant we got to speak for a bit longer about some of the things we had in common and feel connection. In a world where jumping in your car while its still dark out and spending so much time with audiobooks and podcasts can be the norm, its all the more invaluable when you have a more in depth human interaction. For those of you who know me, this is something I thrive on and value in my life. I ‘m sure I’m not unique in this way. And so, I asked for more of this, it just took locking myself out of the house to get it on this particular day, it would seem. In then end, my housemates brother was able to swing by and unlock the back door.

There are a few learnings I took away from this day, and I hope they resonate for you.

  1. Connection to self and getting clear about what matters most for you, lifestyle design as some call it, is key to a joyful life. It will keep stress low and allow you to put your energy where you excel, rather than continually going through the motions because you feel its best not to risk what is working, even if its unfulfilling or you feel like moving on.
  2. Spending time in breathing, meditation, journaling, etc. help us to realign on the regular, moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. These also help us to sense patterns and get more honest with ourselves so we can better decipher what #1 is all about if we aren’t yet able to get super clear. It takes practice and consistent tending. I had neglected some of these practices all week. I imagine this contributed to my rushing and carelessness this day. The beauty was I now had plenty of time to sit with myself and practice these skills.
  3. We have so much resiliency when we need it, and if we build it little by little, when challenging things happen we can call upon this resource. Locking myself out meant I immediately shifted into a solution oriented mindset and began to figure out what my options were. This wasn’t always the case. It has been cultivated after years of rewiring a mind predisposed to anxiety, fear, worry, complaining, and generally lamenting circumstances which I inherited from my family and have worked to change through movement, mindset, and positive habit changes over the last decade plus.
  4. We have so many people around us who are ready to help, and creating connection is a great way to see this. If we can find a way to not always be in a rush or focused on the semantics of life, we can truly feel held, and supported, even when things aren’t going as we’d like or plan for them to. I have wonderful neighbors, friends, a very patient and kind housemate, good credit, and most of all a sense of humor and ability to roll with most things. These aspects of my life, and yours, have made it so we can handle situations as they arise, no matter how limited we may feel in other ways at other times. If I had needed to I could have taken an uber or a bus, or called a friend and asked for help where I needed it.

In the end, what came to light is I no longer want to wake up so early on a Friday for an obligation I’m not fully invested in. I am passionate about the yoga teacher training I am a co-facilitator of on Thursday evenings beginning in September. It runs fairly late into the evening. This means something has got to give. And it took me locking myself out to face what my heart and my health have been telling me for some time. So maybe the key to my happiness is in plan B: Waking up with the sunshine on Friday mornings, coming up with new and creative ideas for this blog, for empowerment coaching offerings, retreats, and generally helping myself and yourself to listen to that deep inner voice telling you what you already know about living a life on your soul’s terms!

What’s your plan B?

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