Tag Archive: plans

What to do when your plans go south

Imagine this: you plan for an event – say a workshop. You gather all the materials, secure the venue, the help and all needed resources. You practice and refine what you need to have in place.  Everyone’s committed. Sitters secured. Food ordered.


Everything is set. Then 24 hours before you all show up at the location, the location owner backs out.Now what? Well, whatever happens, guaranteed the result won’t be what you planned.  Those plans went south with the late venue cancellation.


You’ve probably experienced this first-hand.  Along with the gut-sinking disappointment and extreme need to gnash teeth and cry on a trusted friend’s shoulder.What now? Have you noticed that afterwards, looking back, it never seems as catastrophic as it did when it first happened? Life went on. All that planning and preparing that seems totally wasted in the moment ends up being put to good use in a different way. No one gets harmed beyond a minor inconvenience, and may even benefit from the change.  In fact, you might be the only one who notices.


And sometimes, better things happened because of how you responded to the unwanted change. To help you focus on the better possibilities of last-minute changes, here are 3 things to keep in mind for next time:


  1. Always expect the unexpected.  Any professional worth their salt does this; it’s what separates them from the newly trained arrival.  Anyone with training can deal with the every-day. Only a seasoned professional can deal with the unexpected last-minute surprise.

  3. Gain perspective. Most last-minute changes aren’t really earth-shattering. Even if they are, if you’ve done what you could to prepare, in the best way you could, then that’s the only thing that is truly under your control. The rest isn’t. Gaining this perspective helps to minimize pain and re-energize you for what you can do next.

  5. Look for the opportunity. Inside every change is a new opportunity. It might be a new learning, or a new way of doing what you were offering. Adding value and new interest. Sometimes, last-minute change highlights something that we hadn’t seen before that’s always been unnecessary. I had an aunt – fantastic cook – who always cut off the ends of a ham before baking it. Assuming this did something to enhance the flavor, I finally asked her why she did it. She thought about it and admitted she did it because he mother had.  As it happened, her Mom was there, and when asked, said it was because she only had one baking dish, and the hams were generally too big for it. So she cut them down at each end.

Life can be filled with adventure, if we let it. And adventure is always about venturing into unknown territory and learning from it. Seeing unwanted surprises as a kind of adventure can help to minimize the disappointment and get us going again soon after.

Saved by last-minute changes

Quote of the Week
Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance. ― Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .



The Gods – are they really jealous of us?

Achilles in Homer’s Iliad said that the gods envy us because we are mortal: any moment could be our last, and this makes everything more beautiful. “You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again”.

Some argue that Homer – and therefore Achilles – didn’t actually say this. In a way it doesn’t matter – that’s one of the things we know him for, and remember him for. It’s a compelling thought: how our impermanence makes everything more beautiful.

It’s Spring here in Ontario; this is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  From grayness and dirty snow and cold, to vibrant green, blue, and every color imaginable. From bareness to lushness.  Song birds wake us every morning, things are greening and multiplying as if in a hurry, making up for it’s Winter dormancy.

It’s wonderful and inspiring; and we appreciate it all the more because we know it will be with us only for a few short months.

If you’re like me, when things are going well, I find myself at moments wishing that I could stop time so that I could be in this space forever. But I didn’t just land in that particular moment. I mean, I didn’t come into existence and have all the knowledge and skills and abilities that got me to this moment, like, say, Athena. Athena popped full-grown out of the side of her father Zeus, fully ready and able to take on the trials of being Zeus’ daughter.  I didn’t. I had to learn, grow, make mistakes – sometimes big ones – then get myself up, brush myself off, and carry on. Until the moment, like this one, where life is wonderful.  Knowing it’s only a moment, and that there will be more moments like this one that come my way as I continue to live and learn.

Knowing that beautiful moments are fleeting means I really appreciate them. Knowing that I’m around for a very short time in cosmic terms gives me the motivation I need to get going.  For instance, I live in Toronto and the only time I visited the CN Tower was when I was a visitor, and when I took other visitors who insisted.  The CN Tower is there, every day – so what’s the rush? Last year, I visited Florence, and I took the time to see David, and their amazing cathedral, because it might be the only time I can do that – appreciate the beauty and mastery of those works.

Woody Allen once quipped: If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.  Being aware of impermanence, as the Buddhists teach, gives us the impetus we need to take action for what makes life worthwhile, and to truly appreciate what ends up being.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

A Cinematic Haiku: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

The Gods – are they really jealous of us

Quote of the Week
Awareness of impermanence is encouraged, so that when it is coupled with our appreciation of the enormous potential of our human existence, it will give us a sense of urgency that I must use every precious moment.
― the Dalai Lama

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co