When Nothing Goes to Plan, Go With the Flow—Lessons in Gratitude

There are those days when your ideal schedule goes off without a hitch. You cruise through your day, checking off all the boxes on your to-do list and feeling so proud that you have your shit together.

Then, there are those days when nothing goes according to your plan. You wanted a calm morning to flow through your favorite routine, happily and gently warming up to the day, but instead you’re scrambling, dropping things, late and cursing the day before it’s even really begun. You know those days I'm talking about...

It’s nice to have routine, and it helps your day flow with efficiency when you have a mapped-out schedule. But it’s also nice to be suddenly knocked off your structured ass every now and then.

Here's a short story in the lessons I learned on going with the flow from a day that was anything but my perfect routine.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh.” ― Pema Chödrön

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I like to wake up around 7am. On extra busy days, I get up at 5am. My work day begins anywhere from 8am to 10am, which means I like to be showered, dressed and ready to open my computer or teach a class at a set time and not a minute later.

Working from home or working from Island Yoga, both mean non-traditional work flows. So, having a routine is absolutely crucial! If I didn't, I might end up lounging around in my pajamas with Lea Luna and the dogs all day long.

I wake up several hours before my work day begins because my mornings are sacred. I never schedule any meetings before 10am and try to stay away from phones and social media.

I get up, walk the dogs, drink a cup of hot water with lemon, roll out my mat, practice asana and/or meditation for 60-90 minutes, shower, wake up the family and eat breakfast, and then get ready to start my work day.

I know I can roll out my mat at any time of day, but I like the way my yoga practice sets the tone for the rest of my day when I practice in the AM. Everything is easier once you've made space in the body and the mind.

Well, one day none of this happened. I woke up at 7am, but then thought that closing my eyes for just a second more would be a good idea... And woke up at 8.30am. Ugh! I had a 10am interview, so I really couldn't be late for work.

I would still be able to get a good hour of practice in if I hurried.

So I walked downstairs, let the dogs out on their own (we have a big yard), put the kettle on for my lemon water, and then realized I'd completely forgotten about Libby.

Libby! Libby and The Libertinis, our rescue dog and her eight puppies, were sleeping in the apartment connected to our house. Normally, I got up and checked on the puppies and walked Libby right at 7am (she was eating so many times a day because she was nursing, so she needed a walk the moment she got up) but because I overslept that morning, I was late.

I ran to the apartment to find her standing by the door, wagging her tail, ready to go out. No accidents - all good. We walked and I tried to rush her a little bit, you know, the way us dog owners do if we need to get someplace faster than our dog likes to do their business. The only thing is, it never works. I feel like our dogs have a sixth sense and just know when we are trying to rush them, so they take their sweet time. Libby decided she wanted a long walk and did her business not once but twice(!) before slowly walking back to the house.

I still had time to get a 45-minute practice in.

I got Libby her bowl, took out the bag of dog food and...spilled everything all over the kitchen floor. Of course. I gave Libby her food, got the broom, swept the floor and then went to check on the puppies.

I could still get 30 minutes of yoga in if I hurried!

The puppies were there, happy but whining. Libby finished her food and lay down in the corner of the room. Normally after she ate, she would lay down in the puppy pen and let the puppies nurse. But over those past few days she'd been fussy about it. She was not enjoying feeding time at all; the puppies were so big at this point that it looked more like a war zone than anything else. They were like tiny ninjas, fighting for her teet.

I brought two puppies to her to feed and she immediately walked to the other side of the room, puppies dropping to the floor, crying. I tried to lure Libby into the puppy area with treats, with food... Nothing worked. At one point she even growled at one of the pups, and by then they were all whining together, howling for their mama. It was heartbreaking!

I quickly understood they hadn’t eaten all morning, so I went to get their bottles. We hadn't had to use them yet but the instructions were easy: mix, heat just a tiny bit by leaving bottles in hot water for a minute, check the temperature, feed.

If I did this fast, I could have 15 minutes on my mat for a stretch or two before my call. At least it's something!

I went to give the babies the bottle, starting with Little, the smallest one. Lennon, the five legged pup, was once the smallest but had outgrown him. Little was not as aggressive during feeding time as his sisters and brothers, so he was always the one to be pushed aside and because of it, he was not growing as fast as the rest.

I put him on my lap and he took the bottle right away, so excited to get fed. And, it was wonderful. It was magic. Pure magic. This little man, melting into my lap, suckling on the bottle like it's the only thing in the world that matters.

And right then... It was. The only thing that mattered was this tiny creature and me. For the first time all morning, I took a deep breath. With that breath, I relaxed, sat back and enjoyed the experience. It was beautiful. So beautiful.

Libby came around wondering what I was doing, and after a little bit she lay down and they all started eating. Finally. I sat there, completely immersed in the moment. Then the phone rang. It was 10.15! I was 15 minutes late for the interview. I opened my computer, still in my PJ's, happy.

Because even though yoga didn't happen that morning... It did.

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I could have entered that meeting completely flustered and suppressing all kinds of annoyance. I could have cursed the day as “one of those days” with a glass of wine at lunch. But I didn’t. I saw the blessing in my unexpected morning and it fueled my day and filled my heart. Sometimes what we need is not found where we thought it would be.

On those days when nothing goes to plan, remember this:

“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. ” ― Pema Chödrön

Life is gifting us magic in all kinds of ways every single day. Let the rug get pulled from underneath your feet from time to time. It’s just life shifting your attention to something even more amazing, healing and beautiful.

Tell me about one of those days where “nothing went right” for you! Looking back now, can you notice any blessings that came from it? Share below!

X,

Rachel

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