D is for Destiny

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You’re the one that determines your path in life—your destiny.

It is my perspective that we are in charge of our own destiny. We create our destiny with every choice we make. We can change it at any time.

Think of destiny as a horse that you’re riding. Every pull of the reins and flick of the wrist (choices and decisions) guides the horse where you want it to go (creates your destiny).

Fate is different. Fate is what the horse becomes when you let go of the reins. The horse is no longer guided. Fate is something that happens to you.

When Rabbi Shmuley was a guest on Oprah Radio he said, “Believing in fate instead of carving out your destiny can leave you powerless.”

Have you ever heard or used one of these common phrases? “Those are the cards I was dealt,” or “That’s just what life handed her,” and “She really got the short end of the stick!” These are fate-based statements.

Fate is a belief that human beings have no choice—we’re scripted.
Destiny is a belief that we have control of our choices, actions, and reactions.

I love the words of wisdom shared by Enzo, the wise dog and narrator in Garth Stein’s heartwarming book, The Art of Racing in the Rain:

“We are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

What path have you chosen?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan


© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

41 thoughts on “D is for Destiny

  1. I love that inspired differentiation between fate and destiny, and I must say I agree lock, stock and barrel. Hencem while we can never alter the hands of fate, we can mold our future to our own emotional and physical specifications by opting for a healthy and spiritual life.

    Relatively later in life I chose to walk down a path of familial fullfillment, that pays everyday dividends by way of the kind of affection that can be equalled by anything else in the world.

    • Good morning Sam – I resonate with your words, “…we can mold our future to our own emotional and physical specifications by opting for a healthy and spiritual life.” I’m in hearty agreement with you!

      Familial fullfillment, ahhhhhhhh. You’re right, it’s unequaled.

      [By the way, I just received an email notification this morning from my library that “Being There” is in for me to pick up. I’m looking forward to seeing that this weekend :)]

    • Hey Roamer – glad you popped in. We’re having an Indian Summer in my neck of the woods (an hour north of Chicago). The temperatures have gone back up — no way am I gonna hibernate just yet. But it’s just around the corner, I can feel it in my bones…

  2. Well I’m believing in destiny now. I’m in charge and I’m going to make it what I want!!!

    New life, positive thinking and watch out!!!
    Thanks for the reminder Laurie – it’s always good to hear that we ARE in control.

  3. For many years – through two abusive marriages – I wallowed in my fate. Which led to alcoholism – blessedly only 8 years of that craziness – and then I decided to wrest my destiny away from fate’s hand and have been sober for 4 1/2 years now. Talk about the blessings and grace that have abounded from that decision!!!! 🙂

  4. Hi Laurie,
    I meant hibernation in the sense of curling up mentally saying it is no use to fight fate-You saved me from that huge misstep.Thanks again.Enjoy your Indian summer with some mild curry too!!

    • Roamer – I’ve never heard it put like that before — curling up mentally — that’s a great way to phrase it! I will make a point of enjoying some curry. We typically add it to soups and stews once the weather turns colder.

  5. Great Post today Laurie,
    I just finished reading a little something on this. It’s a quote from William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.”
    It goes on to say how life follows you, because what you choose is what you live. Life does not just happening to you. It all goes along with the thinking of ‘what you think is your reality.” I believe we do make our own realities so again, here is another quote “Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.” I have changed it to “Be careful what you think, It will come true.” I have just made a wonderful piece of artwork that goes along with this thinking, I invite you to come see it at my blogsite.
    Be safe, be still and stay warm,

    • Jean – I followed the link and enjoyed the Haiku, the art, and snuck your “Pear and Apple Tart” recipe while I was at it 🙂 I so agree with the quote you provided, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.” That’s excellent! Thank you for stopping by today.

  6. Destiny. I love it. One thing that I have come to learn is the importance of BEing specific in creating your destiny. Otherwise as I mentioned before I feel like Aunt Clara of Bewitched that used to create her destiny ( for example, arriving inside the home of Samantha), but came in through the fireplace by accident, instead of BEing specific about HOW to arrive. I also used to only think of destiny as a far off thing that happens after a very long time of wanting as opposed to the daily events that I create for myself. Daily destiny. Things do not have to take a long time to manifest, sometimes we just believe that they do and so we are agreeable in waiting for them.

    • Lisa – I love the word picture you painted of Aunta Clara on Bewitched. I remember her arriving hat askew, clothes smoldering, and charcoal smudges on her hands and face. Yes, it’s wise to BE specific!

  7. I love the way you characterise this Laurie.

    The Henry Ford quote comes to mind “whether you believe you can, or you believe you cannot, you are right”.

    We are not in control of what has happened or what is – that must be accepted.
    We are not in control of the laws of nature – “Nature to be commanded must first be obeyed“.
    And we can use our creative abilities to create some outcome other than the “probable, almost certain” outcome.

    It seems to me, that at whatever level of awareness we find ourselves, one gets to a point that it is hard to distinguish where one gets choice, and then one creates a new context of choice, and starts again in a new level of awareness. It seems to me that infinity is big enough to allow one to continue this recursive process for the remainder of existence (should one be fortunate enough to live that long).

    There is also the dimension of the tensions between the habits of the conscious mind (ego), and the holographic “intuitions” that we derive from the mix of the subjective us with our impressions and distinctions of the objective reality that connects us to everthing that is and has been (variously named as subconscious, spirit, soul, theos, ….).

    Then there is the fact that the deeper our understanding of the various layers and levels of reality, the more power we are able to exert in bringing our visions into reality. The tension here is the the more we know, the more we know we don’t know, and the vastness of the unknown is often intimidating. Sometimes it feels like ignorance is bliss, and at other times there is the sheer bliss of a pattern discerned, and a choice made, that really does make a difference for someone(s).

    • Ted – Great Henry Ford quote! I agree with you that infinity is plenty large. Do you think the “tension” you mention is a positive thing and somewhat necessary (like drawing back the string on a bow) to create a desire (taut line) that launches us forward, so to speak?

    • Hi Laurie

      Have been thinking about that idea of tension, and still not sure about the “bow” analogy.

      It seems more of a thing to be “held lightly”.

      On the tension between habits and intuition, they are very different, and both have aspects to recommend them. The law abiding bureaucrat is the epitome of the “habit” mode, and the lawless “mystic” is the epitome of the “intuitive” mode.
      For me, it is almost operating with both modes simultaneously, and maintaining a third “overview” mode, to select between the other two, which is a mix of both. A bit strange when I try and characterise it in words, as we don’t really have words that work for it (as it isn’t something that most people discuss).

      The tension of the depth of the unknown, the fact that the more we know, the more we know we don’t know, seems to me to be of a different order.

      It seems to me that most people under 20 think that it is possible to know everything, that they just need to learn a bit more and it will be all under control (if they don’t already think that they know it all).
      After a few more years experience, and a few more paradigm shifts, one starts to get a bit of a “feel for” the idea of infinity, and of infinities within infinities, and the fact that no matter how much we know, there will always be infinitely more to find out than we already know.

      Sometimes, the sheer depth of the unknown is intimidating (terrifying) and at other times it seems inviting. One’s sense of “security” seems to have a lot to do with that – complex contexts again.

      So perhaps their is an element of “taut line” in both, and perhaps also an element of “fear of the unknown” creating an altogether different sort of tension.

      • Ted,

        Great description. A visual of a tight rope walker comes to me suggesting many of the things you describe. A necessary tautness, choice, balance and sometimes fear of the unknown. Mindful living (walking the tight rope) and knowing that we just don;t know which I believe is the best part. I love that I don’t know so much because life ends up so much better than I could have ever dreamed, like in the movie Contact when she reaches her destination and says” I had no idea”.

      • [Lisa – I evesdropped on your conversation with Ted and I like the picture of what came to mind for you — a tight rope walker — when you read Ted’s description.]

      • Ted – I like the three modes you describe: habit, intuitive, and overview. That’s a very interesting concept that I’m going to ponder. And then when you add into the mix a certain tension (taut line) it makes an even more interesting picture. Thank you for coming back and sharing this perspective.

  8. Hi, Laurie — I have been a traveller of both paths: surrendering to fate and being in charge of my destiny. The fate thing is easy. After all, did I ask to be born when, where, and to whom I was? Did I? Well, what if I did? What if I said to my spirit before I was born into this life, “Self, what is it you want to learn on this next voyage?” and that intent landed me in the best place I could with the right people to help me learn and fulfill that intent. Anytime I start subscribing to the “poor me, I didn’t choose this!” I have to stop and ask: what if I did? what can I learn from this event or circumstance that will bring me closer to being who I truly am? who do I want to be when I get to the other side of this?

  9. I’ve read many wonderful interpretations on this subject this evening. I have only one small thing to add, something I was told by someone older and wiser than I am, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

  10. “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.”
    “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

    These two statements hit me dead on this evening.
    I have to say that I do waver between the two (fate and destiny), I admitt….

    I guess it is my belief that God has a plan and it is in his time, however I don’t just sit around and wait for it either. Faith is the idea that I believe that things will wor out for the good of Divine Love, a dynamic plan of existance. I try to give up some of that control of my own desires, as not do really drive myself crazy. Maybe I am dead wrong…I just havve to BE….

    Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. .A set of principles or beliefs.

    • Terrill, I didn’t know the meaning of Wabi-Sabi, even after reading your blog, I needed more information. Googled and read a very well written article on the origin of the term and how it has morphed into today’s society. A very comfortable way to be and live. I know. I do.

  11. Thought I’d come back and share something that I found this morning – it fits in (I think 🙂 ) with this topic and our own personal growth. It’s from my AA Daily Reflections book and in case you don’t know, “God” in AA is the God of your own understanding.

    “I pray for the willingness to remember that I am a child of God, a divine would in human form, and that my most basic and urgent life-task is to accept, know, love and nurture myself. As I accept myself, I am accepting God’s will. As I know and love myself, I am knowing and loving God. As I nurture myself, I am acting on God’s guidance. I pray for the willingness to let go of my arrogant self-criticism, and to praise God by humbly accepting and caring for myself.”

  12. At first I thought fate had kept me from this “lesson” for I missed it the first time around, and spied it last evening when looking at E lesson. Computer glitches, a screaming headache yesterday, Muffin and Riley desiring attention, more computer glitches… finally making the choice to read this, with all the wondrous responses. Yum!

    I think I need a college course to unpack all that Ted has shared, or at least a good opportunity to re-read and ponder…

    So is it our choices that rearrange fate to destiny? and so is consciousness our path to destiny?

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Jeff – I suppose (?) it could be said that way. My preference is to steer clear of fate all together (meaning, I don’t put the reins down – that’s when fate steps up to the plate). But to direct the horse (destiny) with my choices and decisions. And if something gets thrown at me that I didn’t expect, to not react. Rather, to respond with a series of heart-based choices and decisions.

    • Hi Geoff

      I really like what you wrote.
      Our choices that rearrange fate to destiny.
      Beautifully put.

      That is it in a nutshell, and the idea of choice is recursive.
      The choices that appear as available to us come from the context we choose to consider any situation from.

      From my explorations, there does not seem to be any limit to the numbers of layers of context we can choose to bring to the context of our choosing. [A bit of a mind bend, subtle and profound – I have this visual image a bit like flipping another pancake from the pan onto the stack of pancakes, and yet each new pancake influences every one in the stack below it – the pancake stack of contexts of choice. It is not easy to take the human mind beyond 7 levels, and I have managed it at times, sometimes for extended periods. Can’t see any logical reason why there should be any sort of theoretical limit – seems potentially infinite.]


  13. You’ve put into words what I’ve been struggling to describe for some time now, although after reading your analogy, I see it slightly differently. I see fate as more of the forks in the road and destiny as guiding the horse towards which path to take. But thank you for sharing these insights; it’s inspiring to hear that we are in charge of our own destinies.

    • Foodforthesoul – I’m so glad you stopped in, thank you. Hmmmm, using your word picture, I see fate as the forks in the road that the horse would choose if we let go of the reins 🙂

  14. In some ways I think I have CHOSEN the path of surrender. But I’m not sure this is accurate. I have chosen a path which illuminates that I am not really a self~~even though it might appear that way. Darn, this isn’t going to make sense. I spent the whole day today meditating on the plane. “Who” am I? I see that I am only an action, a river flowing. I have chosen the path of being a flowing river. And with this non-answer, with back out! Although, truly, does a river ever back out, lol?

    • Kathy – I just now found your comments in my “spam” folder. I wonder if it’s because you weren’t responding from you usual location? At any rate, I’m so glad you had a wonderful vacation and now you’re working your way through the alphabet 🙂 I like what you’ve shared here – we are interconnected/interwoven. We are, indeed, one.

    • Kathy – I like what you’ve shared here. I like the visual of BEing a flowing river. In trying to say back to you what I think you’ve said, to insure that you know I “got” it … would you say that you are an animated (in human package) extension of Source Energy?

  15. Pingback: Catchup Blog 2nd December | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

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