“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” — Wendell Berry
In March 2013, I went on my first unplanned trip to Sikkim. I was awestruck by the kindness of unknown people, and number of unexpected experiences. The whole trip was full of adventure and discovery. Since then, I did number of unplanned solo trips. With each unplanned trip, the thought of living an unplanned life was digging deep in my heart. Finally, I started my journey to unknown path and decided to live an unplanned life. I realized there is something beautiful, yet terrifying about not knowing where you are heading.
Language is a complex thing where meanings could be manipulated or understood differently; therefore, I want to be clear what unplanned life means to me. Here is my interpretation of unplanned life:
(i) Living without goals, and enjoy the process of doing anything i.e. live moment by moment.
(ii) Work/Actions driven by intrinsic motivation.
(iii) Focus more on diverse experiences instead of spending all time in survival mode.
Without any external goals to achieve, I stopped asking — where do I fit in. In fact, the artist inside me starting to come out and I’m not waiting for anybody’s approval to do anything. Consequently, I’m starting to give my own unique gifts to the world.
While living unplanned life, I’m doing number of things which I didn’t even imagine would be able to do. In addition, I’m trying to be myself more where I don’t wear any mask. Hence, I’m giving my authentic self to the world. As my friend Dr. Murli says: “it’s more important to be who you are and what you give to the world instead of what you have.” I found deep learning in these words, and realized the best gift you can give to the world is your authentic self.
One of the most valuable discovery for me is about knowing the self. I found, my identity is ever changing and I just need to be aware of that. So, by labeling myself with the work I do or anything else, I’m just confining myself to a very smaller “I”. Now, if you ask me the question — Who Am I — I would say “it is like taking a deep dive into the womb of an ocean of possibilities for the ‘I’ and each time discovering a unique pearl.”
Furthermore, something incredible is happening which is the freedom from the useless fears and limitations, my mind had built. Though I can’t ignore the inevitable low times, experiencing which I become more fearless because they are not as scary once you face them. So at times it gets scarier, but you have to trust the guts to let the higher power guide the way. This is helping me to remain equanimous in all situations.
At times, I went to a path unknown, unexplored but along the way I’m changing, growing. I’m struggling and succeeding simultaneously. I couldn’t ask for more, the kind of experiences life offered me since I’m living an unplanned life. In fact, experiences are the only things one can really possess. So now I’m more excited to see what future plans life has for me instead of making my own plans. And, I ask — dear life what’s next?