Two Dog Tales

To Plan or Not to Plan

By Sarahjoy Marsh
A reflection on how much our habits press on our thoughts, actions, reactions from the Mid-July 2012 Two Dog Newsletter


“…there is a small opening into the day which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.”

-David Whyte


“The butter melts out of habit. The toast isn’t even warm.”

-Ani DiFranco

The deeper we forge down the path of yoga, the more we’re required to encounter ourselves swimming the currents of our habits. Most of the time we aren’t aware of how much our habits press on our thoughts, actions, reactions.

I certainly know that moment Whyte refers to when the mind begins planning…and the window into the day’s expansive possibilities closes. Alongside of Ani’s lyric, I also know so intimately how the butter will melt, even if the toast isn’t warm! In other words, the habits arise, even though current circumstances don’t warrant them! Blessedly, I also know from direct, tender, auspicious, felt experience, how to swim into the day’s possibilities, how to keep the window of my mind open to the larger currents of grace, and how to let the habits of my mind lightly rest at the river’s edge. When we taste the magnetic tow of Love calling us back home to ourselves, we come to realize that Love’s currents our more mighty than our habits; and more trustworthy for our journey to the ocean.

Yet, it can be quite something to unravel these currents of habit (samskaras). On the one hand, we’re programmed to seek survival, comfort, and safety. And, on the other hand, we want to be free of the habits that cause us suffering, or that small our lives down to a narrow tributary trying to find its way to the ocean of grace. Yoga’s teachings require us to get to know ourselves very deeply. We’re given the tools to penetrate the undercurrents of our choices, to scuba dive in search of the way our topography, our samskaras, creates the currents we swim in now. Today’s circumstances are the direct result of countless yesterdays!

The good news is that we can learn to scuba dive; and we can learn to swim. We learn to see clearly. We learn to let go and listen for the magnetic tow that is larger than what we could grasp with our mind. We learn to float in the open and lovely unknown, where the quiet knowing of our heart is heard in the river’s currents. And, we learn to love along the way.

One of the tools of yoga for this journey is our relationship to the energies of nature, the gunas, and our understanding of action and inaction, effort and surrender. Again and again, life will challenge us; and, blessedly, again and again yoga gives us the tools to know when to swim, when to float, when to dive deep, and how to hear the magnetic tow of Love in everything and in everyone.

back to Community Page


sign up for our newsletter
follow us on Facebook