Thursday, April 24, 2014

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

Anyone who knows me, knows I like order.  I like to plan, and more importantly, I like to stick to the plan.  Do not even suggest we change the plan once the plan is written in ink, because it might as well have been carved in stone. I'm also a consummate list maker and derive great pleasure from crossing things off the list once the task is accomplished.

As flexible as my body is, my actions and mindset are often a stark contradiction.  That is why Yoga is so important to me. It provides me relief from myself.  For sixty minutes or ninety minutes or for however long the class is, the only task on my "to do" list is to breathe.

So when I began this journey, it was quite out of character to not have a plan.  The truth is I felt scared.  Yoga is so important to my sanity, I didn't want to ruin it by placing expectations on what I was going to accomplish by attending teacher training.  I told myself, even if I do nothing--if I never teach a single class or earn a single dollar, it doesn't matter.  Yoga is for me.  If the only thing I get out of teacher training is a better understanding of Yoga, then it will all be worth it.

But then I started to feel pressure because that's what a control freak with a Type A personality does.  I started to brood, my heart grew heavy, a slight depression began creeping in.  Where's the path leading me?  I wondered.  Ironic considering, at the time, I was walking in circles on an outdoor track.

"If you fail to plan, plan to fail."  
The first time I heard these words, I was sitting in a large lecture hall with a few hundred other students on the campus of Michigan State University listening to Professor Jon Vredevoogd.  He spoke them loudly, clearly, and with intent.  And then he repeated them.  "If you fail to plan, plan to fail."  It was my first term at MSU.  Always a good student, I eagerly scribbled the words down in my notebook.  Nearly twenty-five years after I first sat in that classroom, those words are the only thing I remember and yet they seem counter-intuitive to what I am trying to achieve at this moment in my Be. Here. Now.

So, just as I felt I may be on the verge of a complete meltdown because staying present is a lot harder than being present, Miss Peggy, from Lake Norman Taekwondo approached me about teaching yoga in their TKD studio.  Wow.  Talk about the universe showing up and taking charge.

Where my yoga journey takes me from here, I don't know.  In the course of writing this blog post and having the opportunity to reflect, I realized not having a plan was the plan.  So, in the future, when I start to feel anxious about where the path is leading me, I'm going to get out of my own head, go to the mat, and breathe...and trust that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.

 Much later in life, I would learn those famous words first belonged to Benjamin Franklin not Jon D. Vredevoogd, but by that time it didn't matter.  They were already ingrained in my memory banks giving Vredevoogd total credit for placing them there.  Because I couldn't remember how to spell Vredevoogd, I googled my old Human Environments and Design professor.  In doing so I discovered Professor Jon D. Vredevoogd passed away in November 2013.  He was 70 years old and in addition to teaching at Michigan State University for 35 years, he also worked for NASA and American Airlines and  finished 6 Chicago Marathons...all of which I'm sure required rigorous planning.  
Rest in Peace, Professor.