Spontaneity is not one of my strengths. I can have a lazy day at home without a schedule, but if there’s going to be socializing or a family outing, I like to have a plan, people. Maybe it’s the HSP in me. Honestly, I’d rather be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda girl than the guess-who-thought-of-everything girl, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. And yet I adore when joy catches me by surprise or a little detour in life turns into a mighty path. So when something pops up that’s not part of my plan, I have to step back and make a choice: do I stay calm and comfortable (sometimes, the answer is yes) or do I need to mindfully, consciously step outside my comfort zone?
The other day, after running planned errands with the family for a couple of hours, Brad suggested we drive over to Minnehaha Falls (yep, the city of Minneapolis has a real-life waterfall in it!). A visit there is an excursion. In ten seconds flat, my brain raced through the reasons that was a terrible idea: we had no bug spray, no tanning lotion, no swim suits, no dinner, no hiking shoes, no camera, no backpack, no band-aids. Brad let my wheels turn (he’s used to this, bless him)….and watched as I brought those wheels to a screeching halt. We had nowhere else to be. The boys love it there. And there’d be so. much. beauty.
So we went. On a whim. And it turned into a wonderful lesson for me.
I mean, seriously. Is that JOY or what? We walked for two hours on trails near the Falls, and along the creek that empties into the mighty Mississippi. And the whole time, the boys were tickled pink throwing rocks into the woods or skipping them across the water.
We adored taking our time, enjoying each other finding treasures along the way.
We marveled at the beauty around us – from woodland flowers to river rapids – and I loved snapping pics of each one with my cell phone.
We made new friends – the human kind and the turtle kind.
I melted over scenes like this.
And I forced myself to find beauty in my sweaty, windblown self.
By the time we were done, I was so in love with our spontaneous side trip that I didn’t even flinch when the kids had a splash-fest at the base of the Falls (definitely not planned!), riding home in the car soaking wet and bone tired.
The planner in me almost caused us to miss this bliss. I’ll likely never be the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants girl, but I’ve grown far better at allowing the possibility of beauty and the potential for joy to override my need to plan ahead. I am able to leave my best-laid plans behind when I remember this: Bliss doesn’t care which shoes you packed for the journey. Just start walking.
Note: A nature walk like this, planned or unplanned, is one of my favorite ways to re-engage with the magic in my midst and choose to see beauty in my life. We’ll be virtually walking hand-in-hand through playful prompts and exercises like this during The Art of Choosing Beauty, but we’ll dig much deeper, too. How do you find beauty and magic and fulfillment on the hardest, darkest days? What if your daily pace is so fast you feel out of breath in your own life? I’d love to have you join me on the journey (we start Monday!) – and invite a friend, a soul sister, to walk with us for free. Details here.