Sarah Calvert

"You can't make a plan..." Nana

“You can never make a plan….” Nana

Words of wisdom from my grandmother, that I never really understood or appreciated until recently. As many of you know, I’ve been out of the virtual loop for some time now and haven’t been blogging with the rigour and zest that I normally do. To be honest, it’s because I’ve been tired. Just really tired. After the last few weeks in Costa Rica (well, in actuality, most of the time there), I needed some time to simply be. I also lead two amazing Wild Women retreats here in the Kootenays, and then went on my own little retreat into the mountains for a few days. And so, this morning is really the first time I’ve felt called to sitting in my little cabin with a cuppa decaf coffee (I know, I know, it’s not really coffee I can hear my java junkie friends taunt), and writing. Which is odd, because writing for me is such an important way to process my emotions and to move stuff around in my psyche. A way to clean, clear and renew. Which is why I am so drawn to writing music, which I have been doing lately. However, I wanted to let y’all know what was going down with me the past couple of months, because really, as my friend Heather says, “You gotta write that down. You can’t make that shit up!”

And so, during my last week in Costa Rica I was busy, busy, busy making plans for my visit to Toronto. I had sussed out all the Fringe Festival shows I wanted to see, planned on seeing “Beautiful” on a Wednesday afternoon, and planned with friends: tea with Mary on this day, lunch with Roma on this day, dinner with Kaye on this night…and so on. Ah yes, the plans were all coming together. Until they fell apart.

 Immigration arrived at Peace Academy on a Tuesday morning, right when I was about to administer my final Grade 9 Socials exam. It was during a break at the middle school, so I headed up to the primary school to play one last mini-concert for the little ones. I was just about to start the fourth verse of Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth” when in walked two men in black. And it wasn’t Will Smith. It was more like Jose Negro. He and his sidekick, I’ll call Pablo for the sake of this story sat down and watched the kids humming and singing “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chuh!” and began to take pictures. This wasn’t looking good. After I finished a bit prematurely with “The Cat Came Back”, I got up to head back down to give my exam. I was halted by Jose and was asked to give him my passport. Now, this was the only day I actually had my passport on me at school; I can’t even remember why it was in my wallet, but it was. I gave it to him and then tried to juggle meeting with he and Pablo, along with the principal, and giving my exam to my students. Long story short: you can’t volunteer in Costa Rica on a tourist visa, so I was breaking the law. I was told I had to go to San Jose on Friday to have a meeting with Immigration and to get my passport back. I told them I had a flight on Saturday and they said it would not be a problem. Probably just a slap on the wrist. 

 I headed to San Jose Thursday, waited about an hour, and then met one of Jose and Pablo’s cohorts who told me I would not be able to fly out the next day. I had to come back in three weeks time. This is when I tapped into my Meryl Streep and the tears began to pour as I whimpered, “But, I’ll miss my sister’s wedding! I have to be back next weekend!” I realized (from jail time in Antigua….see previous blog post here), that telling the whole truth doesn’t always work out for me. It was my best friend Steph’s birthday in Toronto, who is like a sister to me, so really it was just a stretch: I needed to be in Toronto asap. They were sympathetic and said I could come in the following Wednesday and book a new flight for Thursday to get home in time for the wedding. Deep breaths. Okay, I’d book a new flight. 

I returned back home to Jaco and had an hour before I was playing a show at a friend’s restaurant. I’d been looking forward to this gig for a few weeks, as a final hoorah and adios to Costa Rica and friends. I also had to get there to give my piano to one of my former students who bought it from me. And so, in that hour, I booked a new flight, canceled the old one and got dolled up. It was a fabulous night where I sang my heart out, downed a few margaritas, and shared time with some special people. 

After that shit-show, I needed some time to rest and re-coup, and so I headed off to the jungle for a few days to hang out at my friend Lisa’s beautiful organic cacao farm. You can read about her place here. After a couple of days of sleeping (my adrenals were not shot like nobody’s biz), reading and meditating, I felt a bit better. Until the Tuesday morning when I opened up the attachment from Air Canada to look at my ticket. Hmmmm. I thought. That’s weird. I thought the code for San Jose airport was SJO, not SJC. Shit. Actually… fuck. I booked my ticket to Toronto from San Jose California. For Thursday. It was now Tuesday and I was deep in the jungle without wi-fi. I booked it back to Jaco (I use the term “booked” loosely as the bus system is not the fastest or most reliable I’ve ever seen), and called Air Canada. Of course I got a French Canadian who is still upset about not separating, and sounded like perhaps she had a yeast infection. She wasn’t happy. Neither was I. And so, to get a new ticket would have been over $1000 at this point, “Zher is nosing I can do for you.” Quele surprise. I decided to ditch that ticket (I can have a credit this year) and buy a whole new ticket with American Airlines, as it was the cheapest, two days before departure. 

The week prior I had to email all my friends the change all of the plans. I wouldn’t have time now to go to Barrie and spend time with Alex at the boathouse. I wouldn’t make that dinner date with my Barrie gals. I also wouldn’t see some of the shows I had planned. I was beyond bummed. 

I made my appointment at Immigration, had to wait 4 hours, and then got my passport back. I then had an amazing last afternoon and night in San Jose during their international art festival: music, theatre, dance…free! I salsa danced, I sang karaoke and had the time of my life with a newfound friend I met in immigration. This was all highly unplanned. 

 

Made it back to Toronto and started making plans again. I heard Nana’s voice, “You can’t make a plan”, and so I stopped. When I did this, things flowed almost seamlessly: my friend Mary came into town and we had an impromptu walk in High Park which turned into dinner in Liberty Village, which then lead us to see an awesome funk band in the Fringe tent with other awesome friends. The wedding was amazing, and I was SO grateful I made the effort to be there, despite the gong show. Steph looked like a goddess as sailed down the isle to the title track of “Cinema Paradiso” which was a movie that Glo loved. These moments are priceless and I’m blessed to have solid sisters in my life. I got to spend a couple of days with my true sister Michelle, see all of my family in Toronto and see some awesome last minute Fringe Shows with cherished friends (sans plans). I got to see Nana twice in 5 days, and although she wasn't on her A Game and really tired (I'd be too if I were 98!), she was able to say the word, "bullshit", when I told her I found the man of my dreams and was getting married. 

I realized how much time and energy I put into making plans all the time and that it is sometimes a hindrance of presence. Yes, we need to make decisions and plans to function in society and in our lives, but I realize that I also need to keep some plans to the mystery, to the unknown. To allow divine grace to intervene spontaneously. To go with the flow. 

And so, back in Nelson now, people are asking, “What’s your plan?” to which I find myself saying with a smile, “No really plan. I’m not sure yet, but it’s going to be good.”

Question for You: What is your balance between making plans and leaving room for spontaneity? 

As always, I am grateful for your continued presence in the journey and look forward to reading your comments.
Much love and light

Sarah

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