Monday, December 8, 2014

About That Life Plan...

Last night my husband and I watched The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. It's about an affair between a politician and a ballerina affected by mysterious forces keeping them apart. A romantic "you and me against the world" tale.  Two lovers apparently not meant to be together, it doesn't fit the plan.  A determined team of sharply dressed fedora wearing men, the Adjustment Bureau, attempt to keep the couple apart to assure that they both stay on their chosen path. This proves challenging at best for them. Think about the challenges you have faced to stay on track. Are these challenges coincidences? Not according to this story line.  It's actually the "Adjustment Bureau" hard at work. They will make you late for meetings, miss important calls, delay you at the airport, whatever they have to do. They will even erase your brain if they have to! They allow us to believe we have free will, and they may even give us a chance for a predetermined life, but they are pretty certain that we will manage to screw that up big time!  
The Adjustment Bureau was a fun movie AND it made me think about my past. Just how much has been free will and how much has been Divine Intervention? 
Hmm, I ponder....
Age 12: I KNEW I was supposed to marry John Travolta.  As any typical star obsessed tween, I prayed... Please God, Vinny Barbarino is the only boy for me!  My best friend and I planned our bus trip to Englewood, NJ to introduce ourselves to his mother!  Crazy little girls! But as destiny would have it, not the bus trip, nor the wedding were in the cards.  Okay, a little more seriously, what about my dreams of being a rock star hair stylist?  Surely, that's not too much to ask for! I worked hard, put myself through cosmetology school, but again, was it a coincidence that I could not cut hair to save my life? Another failure, another dream shattered. So it seemed. Animals, that's it! I am determined to work for a shelter or vet. THAT is the chosen path. But, even that didn't last for "some reason." I can easily go into a rant about wasted years, wasted time. Why did I have to waste six years in a painful relationship? Why did I have a public speaking fear that prevented me for YEARS from pursuing my dream of becoming a therapist and a panic disorder that made it so hard to accomplish?  Wasted time and unnecessary pain.  OR, right on time and right on Purpose.  Looking back, I now see that the most painful and most seemingly meaningless events have been the most important to my life.  For instance, when I first saw my future husband on an empty crossroad, both of us stopped at the traffic light. It's 4 am, dark, cold and wintery. I'm driving still in my PJs and feeling really blah.  For a brief second, my state changed as I wondered who he was. Two days later he unexpectedly shows up at a home town pub on what just happened to be my birthday.  Really?  Or, surfing some channels, I just happened to land on an infomercial by some guy talking about how life is absolutely in our hands and the power and possibility in each and every one of us.  Defying my usual "think it through very thoroughly" strategy and instead, taking unflinching inspired action, I ordered my first product by Tony Robbins.  Because of that (fateful decision?), my personal and career development grew. I found wonderful personal and professional connections. 
I wanted to become a therapist in the first place in response to a  painful relationship. The childhood public speaking fear later turned panic disorder lead to my current specialization in anxiety and resulted in the privilege of helping so many others struggling too.
Little things, big things, and all those seemingly "bad" things. Those experiences have tested, challenged and stretched me. But, I realized strength I did not know and have blessings too many to count. 
What about you? I bet you have a few examples yourself! 
As we near the end of 2014, I hope you are creating your goals and dreams for 2015. Do I have a plan?  Me without a plan? Not happening. Yes, I have a plan! A well defined, goal directed, manageable, well controlled course of action. A plan in the grand scheme of things, a direction for my life. I got it all figured out, 2015 here I come!  But, I wonder what the boys of the black fedoras will have to say about it. I will stick to my plan, I will test and measure the progress of those plans. I will refine and sometimes redefine those plans. And, I will also welcome a date with Destiny.  

Shine bright,

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Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R 
Holistic Psychotherapist, Anxiety Specialist and Life Strategist 
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