Planning, Presence and Prosperity

by Amy Abelson


You may be wondering, “what does planning have to do with yoga? Why would we take a planning workshop at a yoga center”?
As yogis we spend a lot of time practicing presence. We watch our minds, gently draw ourselves back from thoughts that want to have their way with us and support one another to accept ourselves regardless of what is happening. But what happens, when we leave our practice and go about our daily activities?

Many people think of planning as a static exercise and don’t think it’s helpful or realistic as change (of mind and unexpected events) is inevitable…so why bother?

Planning, as I see it, is an alive, creative and interactive process.  And for me, one of the most important tools that helps me stay present.  How could that be? Doesn’t planning imply future?

First, when we take the time and create the space to plan, we give ourselves a container for all those thoughts that float around in our heads to be put down in a material way…through writing, drawing or even sculpting. This means when our planning session is over, space in our heads is then freed up so we can more easily groove in the present moment. When thoughts arise about how we will spend our time, we remember there is a place in our schedule when we can work through these thoughts and can return our attention to the present moment.

Second, planning is a time to declare, to be clear about what we think we want…we take our best guesses. It becomes a mirror for us to see ourselves. We articulate what is truly important to us in life, our vision, then determine how we’d like to shape our actions to move towards that direction while maintaining joy and presence. When we put things down concretely, we tell the universe this is what we’re going for, these are our best guesses and then we stay open to see how it unfolds.  Whether or not the specific goals are met is less important than how the plan supports us to keep aligning with our vision. The assessment process is used to adjust our goals or clarify our vision.

And finally, when we know these structures are in place to support our goals and desires, we have less free-floating anxiety and can return to presence more and more easily. And truly, presence is where prosperity…the prosperity of soul-aligned creativity, health, joy and beauty, is to be found. This is the heart of Lakshmi .