Going on a Date with the Unplanned

Last night I was supposed to play music at a lovely lounge with a friend. I was going to play for a half hour during his set break and was quite excited. As it turned out, the bar was closed for cleaning and they hadn’t told him.

I was caught off guard, sitting on sixth street with my guitar and a pretty dress in rather sweltering heat. My friend told me there would be an open mic in a few hours at a bar around the corner, so I decided to set up shop there while I figured out what to do.

If you’re ever in Austin and see a girl sipping a beer and furiously writing in a notebook instead of talking to people, probably with a guitar propped on her bar stool, please, do come say hi.

One of the things I began pondering was how sometimes, you just can’t force an unplanned evening. It wouldn’t be the same. Many potential plans started to arise- there was an open mic near my house, an open mic across town, a birthday party. I had to pick. I realized this particular flavor of groundlessness was something to cherish because I never would have been able to fabricate it. Deciding on going to that bar would have been in my consciousness at least an hour in advance so that I could get the right bus.

I began to think about the universe as if it was a person, or at least, a thing with a personality. I was noticing that perhaps part of this personality included a tendency to put me and maybe others in situations where they were groundless. What the incentive would be is beyond me, but perhaps it has something to do with getting us to actually be able to listen. It’s easier to listen and feel for me when I’m not in the middle of a plan.

I decided to stay at the open mic I was already at. It didn’t feel right to do

My songs are for sale at http://jenniferstuart.bandcamp.com/

My songs are for sale at http://jenniferstuart.bandcamp.com/

anything else, almost like there was a current to follow. I would get to the birthday party afterwards, since that was the most sentimentally important thing on the list. It turned out that the showcase act who would have played from 7-8pm did not show up. The gentleman running the event let me play early and ended up giving me about five extra songs, partially because most people hadn’t shown up yet for the open mic and partially (at least I imagine) because the folks at the bar were actually enjoying it. Plus I was wearing a pretty dress.

Many times I have thought that the fabric of our connected reality really does have a personality, and a sense of humor. I have seen it most in the times when I had fewer plans. Last night was a fresh reminder that there are so many options to tap into that unplanned state, and we never get to pick when they happen. We just get to pick how to relate to them and how much appreciation to give them and ourselves during those times.

Sometimes those times are linked with trauma. I don’t think the same appreciation would be possible in those cases. Instead, I think it could be directed at ourselves and our space and our ability to be open to what we need when we need it in those times.

On another note, I opened my Etsy shop. It is called Jenerprise Jems.ย The world right now to me feels groundless still. I’m following up on job leads and hoping to find something soon, especially if it leaves me time to keep creating necklaces and improving my ability to play music.

I wanted this to be my cover photo for etsy but it's too big.

I wanted this to be my cover photo for etsy but it’s too big.

Have you had any dates with the universe lately where plans didn’t go your way and ended up leading to new connections or inspiration?

Have you thought that the universe has a personality of sorts, and if so, what’s your favorite aspect of it?

If you do think it works that way, how do you account for all of the many terrible things that also happen? Is everything just random, is there a higher power controlling it, is that power simply unable to prevent us from doing horrible things to each other but there to guide us when we are open to it?

Maybe it’s my joblessness catching up and turning me existential..but for now this is what I can think of to write about.

Also, please do look at the sky. Especially if the sun is setting, rising, or absent.

15 thoughts on “Going on a Date with the Unplanned

  1. Yes I’ve had evenings where nothing has turned out right. You expect to have a lot of fun and found out you have nothing in common with the people there and they sure are turned off by you.

    • That has happened to me before too, sometimes it’s good to know the people you don’t get along with so that you can find others who really understand, appreciate, and inspire you. I hope that happens soon!

      • Thanks Jennifer. I had been single and celibate by choice for 18 years before I met him, I had built walls around myself to keep myself safe. He melted the walls and I gave him my heart, maybe foolishly. The last text I received from him today, he said that he loved me and that soon, I would see and understand. Really? I sort of doubt it but…… I am heartbroken and really can’t believe someone would do that or why but…..

        I just am beside myself with grief.

  2. Very interesting post Ms. Stuart. I agree with your ideals on how initial plans can go flying out the window when a spontaneous occurrence takes place. Although this hasn’t happened to me recently, it has occurred on many an occasion in the past, and often I may simply decide to leave the area and when I do so I happen to either find something else that catches my eye or bump into a person that I know or spontaneously meet. On a side note, I am a massive spend thrift, and on the occasions when I wanted to purchase something I instead find something else which is furthered by my general want to burn whatever money I have in my pocket at that very second.
    Moreover, with regards to your second question, I have never considered the universe to have a ‘personality’ of sorts, but to me, this seems like another excuse to help us feel at ease, so when a nefarious occurrence takes place there is something we can blame it on who is not going to argue back. As people I think that sometimes we need to justify an occurrence with a reason and we fight tooth and nail to discover this in order to bring a sense of realization and explanation to something that simply could not be explained due to its sheer randomness.
    Again, very interesting post ma’am, but before I depart, I have two questions; one, why shouldn’t we look at the sunless sky? More seriously though (the second question), on Jennerprise Jems, do you sell any necklaces that are either uni-sex or masculine in design? I have an avid fascination with jewellery and will step over my own mother if it means I can get my fingers on a particular item, and your designs look quite fascinating. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Haha the sunless sky usually has stars or moon or clouds in it..which can be nice..and I suppose a sunny sky is also quite fun to look at! The clouds here have been especially puffy and lovely during the day, so I suppose that request should have included all times of day ๐Ÿ™‚
      And in regard to your second question, I definitely should put up more uni-sex designs. I am not sure how to do that with the macrame, but I think I could figure something out ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the inspiration and I shall put up some things soon once I can visualize/create them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. “I began to think about the universe as if it was a person, or at least, a thing with a personality. I was noticing that perhaps part of this personality included a tendency to put me and maybe others in situations where they were groundless.” Beautiful definition of what I would call the “Holy Spirit”! “The Spirit blows where he (actually, in Hebrew, “Spirit” is feminine so let’s just say “she”) wills. You hear the sound, but you have no idea where she’s going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Talk about unpredictability and groundlessness!

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ I like that. It definitely can feel rather spiritual sometimes, and sometimes I find myself stepping back and back and back for a bigger view and realizing that even when something feels like it sucks to me, I really have no clue how that plays out for the grand scheme. I do not like the expression “Everything happens for a reason” but the truth is that everything that happens does in fact, happen. In Shambhala Buddhism they speak of “Basic Goodness” which is a step beyond the “for a reason” thing. Who’s reason, and what is their logic? But since everything happens, perhaps it’s all touched by that great thing that just simply is.

      Also that book is called “Jesus: A Revolutionary Autobiography” and it seems there is one main book by that name on Google ๐Ÿ™‚ I was meaning to get the author name but it seems that full title should be enough.

      And I like thinking of it as a “she”. ๐Ÿ™‚ Why? I’m not sure.

      • Thanks for the title! I’d forgotten about that. And I also hate the ‘everything happens for a reason” mantra. Like most platitudes, it tends to be a substitute for thought and really engaging with the good and bad of what IS, period. Thanks for that. I think I need to dip back into Buddhism a bit. Cross pollination is a beautiful thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Great post by the way, so thrilled for you that you got to sing extra sets at open mic. I believe in serendipity, destiny and fate. My fiancรฉe believes in Karma (as do I) but not so much that The Universe intervenes. I think there are no such things as coincidences. I believe The Universe makes things happen for us but we have free will and make choices, itโ€™s those choices that determine the outcome. When the Universe propels you in a different direction I do believe it is telling you to be โ€œmindfulโ€ of the situation. There usually is a significance in it or an opportunity to grow. I do think we are being guided but we always have free will to do what we want.

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