Spontaneity (January 19)

 

“Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion, and he whose real wants are supplied must admit those of fancy” (Samuel Johnson).

OF ALL THE FUELS THAT CAN FIRE US UP, ONE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL IS SPONTANEITY. Of necessity, we spend the greater part of our time “taking care of business.” Things like food, clothing, and shelter have to be provided, along with an increasing number of other basic needs. But life can’t be about these things entirely, and the desire (often a very strong one) to break out of our routines and do something unplanned and unpredictable is not a bad desire. It must be managed with wisdom, admittedly, but there’s no denying that spontaneity can be a potent force for good in our lives.

It’s an unfortunate person who is so busy being “productive” that he can’t be diverted from that once in a while. In the words of George Santayana, “To condemn spontaneous and delightful occupations because they are useless for self-preservation shows an uncritical prizing of life irrespective of its content.” And not only that, the truly productive people are almost always those who know how to blend a little humor and impulse into their recipe for living.

The benefit and the pleasure of spontaneity are two reasons to keep up with our regular work. If we procrastinate our regular duties, we may find that we stay in emergency mode most of the time, doing things at the last minute that absolutely can’t be put off any longer. In that mode, it’s almost impossible to indulge the desire to do things spontaneously. But those who’ve kept up with their normal work have the luxury of being able to lay it aside when a spur-of-the-moment impulse strikes them. It’s a nice reward for having been diligent.

We need to appreciate the spontaneous people who enter our lives. These free spirits can be exasperating at times, but the truth of the matter is, we’re fortunate to have their influence upon us. It’s a privilege to be “inconvenienced” by the person who drops by in the middle of the morning to say, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee.”

As we said, spontaneity must be managed with wisdom. But true wisdom can laugh. It can giggle. It can appreciate a change of plans. And — believe it or not — wisdom sometimes has no plan at all!

“It is a bad plan that admits of no modification” (Publilius Syrus).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com