It’s been an interesting (strange) weekend so far. I rarely spend my weekend in an utterly spontaneous unscripted way. I nearly always have a plan…and a ‘plan B’, in case the plan falls apart because of circumstances, or someone else’s rampant spontaneity. This weekend, I had made loose plans, weeks in advance, that after being sick all week either no longer interested me, or for which I am frankly not quite well enough for the required level of exertion. So. I unplanned my weekend, moved things on my calendar, and made the choice to go ‘unscripted’. It’s been very relaxed, and I’ve enjoyed that. It’s also been exceedingly unorganized, which is somewhat discomfiting, and I feel less than ideally ‘productive’ – but my productivity isn’t being measured on my leisure time by anyone but me, so letting that go also lands on my ‘to do list’.

Yesterday, I decided to head out to the local aquarium store I favor, considering buying a couple of fish. It sounded like a nice outing. It was a lovely day. I enjoyed the walk to the light rail station and the ride downtown was fine…except…it was crowded and people were noisy. I quickly felt more than a little overwhelmed, and realized I was also particularly ‘noise sensitive’. My idea about going to the fish had completely lost its appeal by the time the train reached the downtown station – a midway point in the trip. I thought perhaps my blood sugar was low, and couldn’t recall if I’d had a bite of breakfast (no plan, remember?). I hopped off the train, hopeful that appropriate calories would put me right.

I was wrong. I mean – having breakfast was a good choice, no mistake there, but it didn’t improve my immediate experience of the moment. I dithered briefly, downtown, walking from the eastbound platform, to the westbound platform, and back – a couple of times. The fish no longer seemed a reasonable purchase, my journey felt more uncomfortable than pleasant, and really… I just wanted to go home.  I took advantage of my adult status to simply choose my course, based on my needs, and headed west, toward home, toward quiet, and toward the unknown. No plan.

I have a frontal lobe brain injury. I also have some impulse control issues as a result. Sometimes that’s been a characteristic I can easily identify as a limitation, or a handicap, but yesterday it was simply a characteristic. I unexpectedly decided to hop off the train at the Washington Park station, underground in the Robertson Tunnel, and take the opportunity to enjoy a sunny day at the zoo.  As with much of the day, it was an odd choice; it was midday, it was hot and sunny, it was a weekend and the zoo was crowded with children and families, and the zoo is currently undergoing a significant make over and there is a lot of construction. Spontaneity. No plan.

The map is not the journey...the plan is not the experience.

The map is not the journey…the plan is not the experience.

It was an excellent way to get in a 3-mile walk. I got some interesting pictures, and overheard some strangely amusing bits of conversation out of context. I was inspired by the engaged eagerness of bright children. I was startled and confused by a woman in very very tall stiletto heels; it was an odd footwear choice for the terrain. I was puzzled by the number of young girls dressed more for a night club than a longish walk, and wondered who they thought might be at the zoo that they needed to put themselves on display? I saw some animals; it is, after all, the zoo. In the midday heat, though, most of the animals were crashed out or out of view, and most of the entertainment was in the more easily observable human primates all around me.

Each having their own experience...

Each having their own experience…

...some, primates in cages...

…some, primates in cages…

...some 'free range' primates.

…some ‘free range’ primates.

There were non-primates, too, of course…

Some, exotic, and out of their element...

Some, exotic, and out of their element…

...an other creatures, more familiar, no less wondrous.

…an other creatures, more familiar, no less wondrous.

And wonders that weren’t about the habitats of beings as much as the journeys they take.

Inside the Robertson Tunnel, hearing the train approaching.

Inside the Robertson Tunnel, hearing the train approaching.

I was glad to get home, when I did. I enjoyed a cold brew, a rare treat, and followed with cold water, and many moments of rapt appreciation that plentiful safe drinking water of good quality is so easily available for me. I stood at the window of my suburban home and felt a deep gratitude for my good quality of life, when for so many just a roof, or a moment of calm, or a glass of potable water are luxuries. The feeling of contentment, and gratitude continued through my shower, my yoga, my evening meal, my evening… if for no other reason, the day leading to these moments was so worth it!

Today is similarly unscripted. There’s always the local farmer’s market…or the garden…or the art museum…the Saturday Market (which is also open on Sunday)…I could re-attempt my trip to the aquarium shop, but suspect the same arguments against it would find their way with me, too. Yoga, shopping, the county fair…it is a wide open world of places, and events, and people. I still find value in planning. The unlimited vast expanse of choices and opportunities finds me stalled and uncertain – at least for now, as I write, and sip my morning coffee.

I haven’t yet learned all I can from this unscripted weekend. There is more to do. Certainly there are even mundane everyday chores to account for – which I only now remembered! I find myself resisting the impulse to make ‘just a small plan…’. There is always this and more to contemplate, to cherish, to savor; I am having my own experience.

The sufficiency of one moment of real presence.

There is sufficiency in one moment of real presence.

Today is a good day to be present and engaged with my experience. Today is a good day to enjoy the moment. Today is a good day for smiles and acceptance. Today is a good day to be gentle with myself. Today is a good day to change the world.