I’m not a naturally spontaneous person. I’m actually a total planner. So it can be very hard for me to get out of the comfort zone of my plans and say “yes” to spontaneity. And yet, I truly believe that being spontaneous is key to fostering creativity and joy. When we say “yes” to something offered to us unexpectedly, rather than retreating back to comfort and routine, we’re saying “yes” to the Universe and all manner of possibilities, small and large. In fact, I experienced it just this weekend and want to share that experience with you, in case you need some convincing.
I got home from the work week looking forward to a quiet weekend ahead. I’d planned to get caught up on housecleaning and other errands which I’d been totally neglecting and were making me feel crazy. But no sooner had I walked in the front door when our friend, Joel, offered me two free tickets to a literary shindig at the winery where he works as the VP of Marketing Communications…for the next day! The offer was to attend a reading by New York Times best-selling author, John Lescroart, and included flowing Handwritten wines and food prepared by Napa Chef Emily at her home, a secret hillside farmhouse with a speakeasy and happy goats and bees and chickens!
Who could say no to that?! Well, I probably could…because I can be very protective of my “me time,” and when I have a plan I tend to stick to it, even to my loss. And sometimes we should stick to our plans because we know at our core when something is not so much an opportunity as a waste-of-time.
But I didn’t say “no”.
Because let’s be honest, we also absolutely know when a real opportunity comes along and a “no” would be coming from a place of fear or complacency. I absolutely knew this was an opportunity, a tap on the shoulder from the Universe. You see, I’d actually considered buying tickets to this event earlier in the week but had decided to pass them up.
The Bonus “Yes”
This sort of event isn’t my husband’s cup-of-tea, so I found myself wandering around the house wondering who to invite. I thought of all the friends and family who would love such an outing and who I’d love to spend some time with and that’s when it hit me. Also earlier in the week I’d been telling my husband how much I missed our friend Kathleen (who is really more like a favorite aunt) and bemoaning the fact that I didn’t see how we could get together for at least another month. And here I was suddenly with the perfect opportunity to see Kathleen and take her on an outing!
But Kathleen is also a busy lady and there are a lot of people in her life who rely on her, so even as I texted her to see if she’d spontaneously like to go with me, I didn’t expect a yes. And then I got her response. I would love it!
Now, not only had I said “yes” but so had she! Not only was I suddenly going to an event I’d been thinking I couldn’t attend, but I was also seeing a friend I thought I wouldn’t have an opportunity to see any time soon!
The whole outing was a gift. It was unexpected magic. Not only did it deliver all the things Joel had promised, but Kathleen and I had two very rare and precious hours to catch up as we drove to and from Yountville. Then we met so many lovely people and animals. And I got a good dose of much-needed creative inspiration! And if we’d had any doubts about changing our plans and saying “yes” to spontaneity, then let me just paraphrase Chef Emily as she greeted us from the basement speakeasy of her grandfather’s 1909 Craftsman farmhouse:
I’m so glad you can all be here…to celebrate life…celebrate what’s important…getting away and being together for awhile. I want to offer you a magical place with wine, good food, and stories…where you can leave the rest of the world behind for a bit and be inspired.
If you’re a planner like me, I get it; it can be hard to drop everything and go do something totally unexpected. But I encourage you, every once in awhile, when you know in your core it’s a true gift, to say “yes”! Because when we say “yes” to spontaneity we’re actually saying, “I surrender…to ideas and plans that are bigger and better and more in line with my values than I could possibly imagine or plan myself.”
Wishing you some spontaneity!