Best Laid Plans: Learning to embrace uncertainty

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."  —adapted from Robert Burns



Most everyone I know has had something fall apart that they spent time planning.  What do you do? Do you make the most of the new scenario?  

Two years ago almost to the day I was on the island of Java in Indonesia traveling with a friend.  There is a temple there you can visit called Borobudur in Central Java that is rumored to be a life changing sunrise location.  

So much so that a limited number of tickets are sold each day to witness it. I say rumored because, well, I did not experience it.  

My dear friend had spent quite a bit of time researching and planning and putting together this trip filled with amazing experiences one of which was said sunrise.


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We had hired a driver to pick us up at our hotel at 3:30 in the morning to make the hour plus drive to the temple.  

Just shortly after leaving the hotel the driver found out that the local volcano, Mount Merapi, had decided to erupt just a half hour before.  This happens regularly there and we were in no danger.  

We decided to continue on to the temple to see how bad the smoke and ash were.  Upon arriving we found out they were not letting anyone in.  Volcanic ash is acidic and can damage the very old stones of the 9th century Buddhist temple.

There we were, 4:30 in the morning on our last day in Java wondering what to do.  Fortunately, we had an amazing driver.  

He had been driving us all week and had gotten to know us a bit.  Once he realized we were definitely not getting into the temple he quickly whisked us back into the van.  

He took off driving to the top of a nearby mountain.  About 20 minutes later we arrived at a beautiful garden so we paid the admission and went in.  

From there we watched the sunrise, pink and ashy and sublime.  It felt like time stood still.

Even though I did not get to experience the sun rising through the temple structure, no part of me was disappointed. 

The experience I did have will be forever etched in my memory and I have this beautiful photo to commemorate it.  

Life is full of adventures, twists and turns and surprise endings.  I like it that way.  

One of the most useful things we can learn is to release the need to control and just ride the wave because life isn’t about the destination it’s about the journey.