Walking By Sees

[CAF Note: I originally published this on November 12, 2013. As our subscribers and readers are managing unprecedented change, I am republishing now. Hope it helps!]

By Catherine Austin Fitts

As a child I spent my summers in a farm high in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Each summer, we were educated on Yankee farmer stories. These were stories about people who were very wise and invariably involved a city slicker who could benefit from listening to men and women who lived in tune with the heartbeat of the earth and other living things.

One of my favorite tells of the city slicker who got lost on the backroads. Exasperated, he pulled up to ask a local farmer how to get to the nearest town. The helpful farmer explained that it was easy, saying, “Yup, just go down the road three sees, take a left, then go two sees, take a right and that’ll put you in ‘er.” Baffled but appreciative, the city slicker thanked the farmer and asked if he could expand on what a “see” was. The farmer replied, “Why, sure. A see is when you can see as far as you can see, that’s one see!”

There was a time when I took planning very seriously. I and my business had a five year plan, a one year plan, and a plan for the quarter. Once when I was flying to the mid-west to negotiate a bond offering for a large corporate client, the plane hit an air pocket and went into a steep nose dive. The dive continued for an uncomfortable amount of seconds. One of the stewardesses was in the aisle next to my row. She let out a scream, “We’re all going to die!” My first thought was, “I need a plan.” It took me several seconds to realize that a plan was not going to do me much good. The pilot pulled us out of the nose dive, with me having learned an important lesson about the limits of good planning.

Then in the 1990’s, I entered into a puzzle palace of extreme circumstances, not unlike in a concentrated way what everyone in America is now experiencing. Multiple stresses. Unfairness. Falling revenues. Rising expenses. Increasing demands. Meanness. Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Every day was a “punch in the face.” Some days, every hour there was a “punch in the face.”

Plans did not work. Or at least the kind of plans that I had been used to doing. Plans got replaced by prayers – prayers without ceasing. Then I remembered the story of the city slicker and the farmer. I realized I could have plans for each “see.” Some days I was lucky and the “see” was a whole day. Some days, the “sees” came in hours, even minutes. I kept seeing and planning, and from it emerged a whole new way of living and dancing in a life that pulled no punches. Planning by sees made it easier to give up false certainties, false relationships, false status and invent new opportunities from what was real that flowed in and around me each day.

A see is when you can see as far as you can see. That’s one see. Think about it.