Destiny ~ Our Life's Masterpiece (Part I)
Destiny emerges, one amazing step at a time,
as precious seeds
planted in the present
for future sprouting.
Note: This blog entry is the first of three in a series about destiny. The first blog defines personal and spiritual destiny, the second explores the destiny of leaders and groups/organizations, and the third addresses the destiny of the United States and our planet. I invite my blog readers to embrace destiny as essential to the wellbeing of themselves, humanity, Planet Earth, and the Universe.
As the train sped towards Wales, I knew a vital aspect of my destiny had emerged – namely, that I was destined to honor the mind-body-spirit's need for wholeness and to help others reintegrate their fractured psyches, one gentle step at a time. My entire life has focused on discovering how the psyche functions, how it can be wounded, and how it can be "mended." My clinical training in communication disorders and neuropsychology prepared me well, but my major understanding of the human psyche came from observing my own psyche and the psyches of others.
Over time, other steps emerged that supported my destiny's unfoldment. I noticed I always had a persistent, in-the-bones desire for inner peace and for living life completely and well. My heart sang whenever I had the opportunity to learn, practice, and teach about service, which I deemed to be global in scope and metaphysical in nature. I began to view service as an evolution of the soul and the means to happiness for individuals, leaders, groups, and organizations. Synchronistic opportunities, both major and minor, supported this destiny. Three were particularly significant: First, I was offered the opportunity to cofound and chair a holistic-clinical university training program in brain disorders. Second, I was invited to cofound and lead a community service organization that trained adults and teens to serve those seeking emotional and spiritual support. In both the university and nonprofit settings, I designed trainings that required helpers to care for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health by engaging in inner work and spiritual development, and to willingly extend the gifts of their healing in service to others. Third, I was inspired and financially supported to share these teachings by writing The Soul and Service Trilogy.
I have lived my true "pie in the sky" destiny. However, it emerged in a way contrary to what this idiom implies: it has required hard work, perseverance, humility, determination, discernment, and the recognition that certain free-will decisions could take me off purpose. I discovered that destiny journeys typically include both smooth sailing in calm waters and battering winds that drift us off course.
TEN ATTRIBUTES OF DESTINY
As I reflect upon the journey of my destiny as well as that of others, I have observed certain attributes that define or are characteristic of the destinies of all of us. Those who wish to move toward their destiny and recognize its emerging steps may be guided and supported by these attributes.
1) Destiny exists as an unrealized potential within us that persists in its yearning to be fulfilled. As a strong passion to which we cannot say no, destiny arises from within, driving us forward. It is as though our soul taps us on the shoulder and calls us to action by providing experiences that enable our destiny to be fulfilled.
2) We have a personal destiny and a spiritual destiny. Our personal destiny uses the unique qualities and inclinations of our personality and its free will to make choices in the world, searching outside ourselves for our right "to be." Our personal destiny often reveals itself in our attitudes and preferences and in the outward activities we choose in our daily life, such as work, hobbies, interests, or recreation. Spiritual destiny occurs when we turn inward and begin the journey of the spiritual evolution of our soul. Our personal destiny joins with our spiritual destiny when we align our heart with the Divine through our Soul, or Higher Self. When this alignment occurs, we have one destiny, not two. That is, we begin to develop a Soul-infused personality. [For further information on the Soul-infused personality, and the distinction between the human soul and the Soul, or Higher Self, see the Soul Alignment practice in my blog entry entitled "Waking Up: Healing from Kabooms by Aligning with Our Soul (Part II)."]
My personal story at the beginning of this blog entry is an example of such an alignment. We intuitively know what is right for us to be and do on our journey. When we follow our intuition by listening within, we generate the inspiration and energy needed to fulfill our soul's destiny, which is our individual spiritual assignment. If we ignore our intuition and only use our free will, we risk going off course and missing opportunities. We can always choose whether or not to unite our personal and spiritual destinies.
3) Free will is the freedom to say absolutely yes, absolutely no, partly yes, or a conditional yes, if our destiny is on our own terms. Choice, an activity of the will, is the vehicle we use to manifest or not manifest our destiny in the world. We use our free will to decide if we have the desire, courage, and commitment to say "yes, I choose to follow my destiny." Free will is a gift from the Divine. It is an aspect of our personality and can be used with or without our Soul's participation. In this way, our free will can be used for good or for harm. Collective free will without alignment with the Group Soul can lead to destructive and violent group actions towards humanity, animals, our planet, and cyberspace. Groups can impose their free will onto another group and disrupt its destiny. For example, because of extreme danger, a group of citizens may need to leave their country. In such instances, the displaced group will need to redefine its destiny after moving to its new home in a new country.
4) We may experience challenges in attracting the right environment to live out our soul's destiny. We have an outline of the story of our soul's destiny within us, but there are different ways our destiny can be lived out. Because we do not live isolated lives, our destiny's story is shaped by the choices of family, friends, colleagues, communities, citizen groups, leaders, governments, countries, and so forth – as well as the decisions, from local elections to world events – that result from these choices. Persons using their free will may influence our destiny by enhancing, shifting, or impeding its journey. Should this occur, we can make choices we had not previously considered that will enable us to fulfill our destiny.
5) The seeds of our destiny begin in childhood. Our destiny can be seen in how we played as children, our personality traits, what books we chose to read, what values our parents espoused, what activities we liked or disliked, and what we announced we wanted to be when we grew up. Regardless of our preferences, as either children or young adults, we recognized on some level the presence of an irresistible power within us that would determine the course of events in our lives and make our life meaningful and uniquely ours.
6) There are as many different destinies as there are people on earth. All of us have a destiny, whether we are conscious of it or not. We can become aware of our destiny at an early age, in later life, or not at all. We do not have to force our destiny to manifest, but we do have to take action. Biographies provide examples of the various ways personal destinies can emerge. Leaders, families, groups, organizations, countries, animals, and our planet also have a destiny.
7) We need not be famous or successful in worldly terms to claim a destiny. Our fulfillment may be as a medic, farmer, firefighter, parent, banker, actor, teacher, caretaker of animals, scientist, activist, hermit, or truck driver. Regardless of the form of our destiny and how others perceive us, recognizing and fulfilling our destiny is essential to our happiness and wellbeing.
8) Following our destiny does not mean we know every twist and turn in the road or that we avoid barriers blocking our progress at certain junctures in our journey. The process of using our experiences to learn, grow, and serve supports the emergence of our destiny despite painful setbacks, losses, mistakes in judgment, failure to be self-responsible, neglect of self-care, and resistance to honoring and celebrating our progress. Using our free will, we may engage in the above list of setbacks and even travel down many false paths before we find the one path we yearn to follow.
9) Destiny emerges through synchronicity. Synchronicity, or the flow of unexpected events, is a signal of one's destiny unfolding. Synchronistic events lead us forward by giving us experiences that guide us, awaken us, and alert us to how we can live a fulfilling and meaningful life. We know destiny is calling us when we learn to listen, to wait, to be patient, to watch, to be present, to have an open heart, to listen to life, and to find the real story of our life, not the story we see on TV, in the news, or on the internet. Synchronicity supports the emergence of our destiny through events that occur in the right way and for the right reason. Slowing down is essential if we wish to recognize and benefit from synchronistic events.
10) When we say yes to our destiny, we sense an inner certainty that we can and will complete the task assigned to us, knowing it matches our abilities and talents. We are meant to put in hours of time and shoulder burdens as part of our destiny. We attend meetings, write letters, empty trash, and deal with personal challenges. We stretch our limits and encourage others to do the same. We patiently combine our talent, love, and willingness during times of setbacks and errors in discernment.
In summary, every soul has a destiny to discover. The overarching destiny of our soul's existence, which is the overarching destiny of all humans, is to remember that the world is sacred and to discover what it means to be a human being. At the time of our death, we are blessed if we can authentically say, "I have lived. I have loved. I have said yes to my destiny."
I don't know what your destiny will be,
but one thing I know:
the only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who have sought and found how to serve.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Imagine a trusted family member, friend, or colleague describing your destiny in a eulogy.
How might they describe your destiny and its fulfillment?
What would you especially want them to acknowledge about your destiny?
Photo Attribution: JWSchmidt at en.wikiversity GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) via Wikimedia Commons.