Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship –a play between divine grace and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over; half of it is absolutely in your hands, and your actions will show measurable consequence. Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he’s a little of both. We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses –one foot is on the horse called “fate”, the other on the horse called “free will”. And the question you have to ask every day is –which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life – whether I will see them as curses or as opportunities (and on the occasions when I can’t rise to the most optimistic viewpoint, because I’m feeling too damn sorry for myself, I can choose to keep trying to chance my outlook). I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.
In all true honesty, this is a heck of a balancing act. Mastering my own horse (and jockey) demands relentless effort. Chances are one day -hopefully, eventually- I might get it right. In the meantime, I keep falling for trial and (multiple) errors :)