We rewatched the movie Forest Gump over the holidays. I love that film. Not only is it entertaining for all age groups, but it also addresses very serious subject matters with surprising depth and sensitivity. The movie begins with a tiny white feather floating from scene to scene, alluding to Forest’s later query on whether we are all just feathers floating in the wind, “all accidental-like,” or whether we indeed have a specific destiny.
So, what does it mean to have a destiny? Does everyone have one, or is that only for special people?
For me, the recent realization of my own destiny was quite life-changing, but probably not in the way you might think.
I realized that destiny does not have to mean a grand and glorious future. Destiny is simply a natural conclusion, the fulfillment of an original blueprint. An oak tree is the natural fulfillment of an acorn. Not all become majestic, towering giants; some might be small and slender, more capable of bending with the wind. Some never come to be at all. Regardless, every acorn contains the building blocks of an oak, and in the proper conditions, it will grow to its destiny. Everything that exists in nature has a perfect outcome built into its very DNA. Even us humans, but for us, the process is a bit more complex.
So, what's so important about knowing your destiny? Humans are simply not able to experience the ease, harmony, and sense of fulfillment we crave unless we are aligned with our natural blueprint. We must be authentic in order to be happy. When we are off track, there is a sense of discomfort and discontent. We can't be comfortable, as if we are living in someone else’s skin. It may present itself as a feeling of depression because we are literally de-pressing the thing that is trying to express through us. Or we may feel anxious, a sense that there is something important we were meant to do but forgot. We're distracted and, therefore, unable to show up at our best.
With acorns, it's clear cut - the best they can do is turn into oak trees. Humans, on the other hand, are capable of performing nearly any task, so our actual destiny, our ideal outcome, is not as obvious. Very few of us are born knowing what our path should be. More often than not, we follow the advice of others or go for whatever happens to be available. It can take a while before we realize that we’re not headed in a direction that’s right for us. Even then, many persist in their tragic error, creating unbearable stresses and pressures from trying to exist in a framework that was not meant to fit them.
I was at the height of my success, a multi-millionaire, when I realized that I was deeply unhappy. I couldn’t figure out why, berating myself for being so ungrateful when I had so much. But I probably would have just kept going the way I was had I not gotten sick and been told that I only had a year to live. In the dark night of the soul that followed, I realized that I had been so unhappy because money, pursuing it for its own sake, was not my jam. Despite the success, I was not living my destiny, and that's key.
I believe everyone eventually receives some such unmistakable guidance that finally leads us toward our very own destiny. When you discover your one true identity that feels so congruent and fulfilling, one would expect that the floodgates would just open for you. Strangely, more often than not, the forward movement remains long in coming. It's a sad fact that some acorns never become trees at all because they exist in less-than-ideal conditions. For us, it is mostly old childhood messages that keep us mired in the mud. Old thoughts like ‘Do I really deserve this?”
I recently became aware that, despite my otherwise wonderful life, I had been existing in less-than-ideal growing conditions. Turns out that I had a message rattling around my brain that effectively cut off all growth at the seedling stage. This voice in my head would always ask, “Who the hell do you think you are to do this?” I have stood on stages, giving talks, and all the while, this voice was yelling into my ear, “Who the hell do you think you are to stand there and tell anyone anything?” (No wonder I suffered from terrible stage fright!)
Of course, sometimes, it is precisely the traumas and tragedies we experience that ultimately serve to reveal our destiny, honing us and preparing us for its ultimate expression. My memoir, “Phoenix – A Reminder That Even in the Depths of Despair, There Is Hope for a Brighter Future,” is being released next week. In it, I talk about how a traumatic childhood led to a toxic marriage and a decade of drugs, crime, prostitution, and homelessness. In my darkest hour, I finally made a decision that I deserved better than the life I was living. My transformation began behind bars and led me to a job I loved and the creation of my multimillion-company.
Initially, however, it had appeared as if these negative conditions were there to destroy my life and prevent me from reaching whatever my destiny was meant to be. Yet it was precisely my suffering that led me to the fulfillment of my destiny – to bring hope, to proclaim the resilience of the human spirit, and to share the insights, wisdom, and love I gained along the way.
And so, the realization of my destiny became life-altering for me. Knowing my ideal outcome means that I no longer have to question myself. I was able to change the message in my head to "What does my destiny want me to do?" This changed my growing environment in a very powerful way. Now, when the old voice wants to know who the hell I think I am to… write another book or another article and make another piece of art, my answer is simple – it is my destiny. It is who I am. It is what I was meant to do. The best part is that it doesn’t matter anymore what anybody else thinks of my work, whether or not they like it or buy it. Now, I am simply fulfilling the natural conclusion to my existence, the thing that fulfills me. No big fanfare, but no doubting myself, either. I cannot tell you how freeing this has become for me!
Humans have an advantage over acorns. Those poor little nuts are stuck in whatever conditions they find themselves in, but we have the ability to change our growing environment. You can create the conditions for your ideal outcome by determining what you’re meant to do and what’s holding you back. Keep your ears open to listen for the guidance you’re sure to find. Keep an open heart to stay teachable. I believe that, ultimately, there are no mistakes and that everything happens for a wonderful reason. In the final analysis, only you can stand in the way of your destiny. You can fight the current or listen to your gut instinct and go with the flow. Click this link [HERE]for a free guide to help get you started on discovering your destiny.
Why not make it easy on yourself and work toward a permanent state of ease, joy, and a sense of fulfillment?
Kind regards, Marni
What does it mean to you to live an extraordinary life? It’s the perfect season to make your list. What is it you hope for in your one precious life? What is most important to you? What delights you?
Things are not as they seem in this world. Even though it is easy to feel inundated by people, problems, and our massive to-do lists, it is essential to make one important distinction: There are really no outside influences, either good or bad, that have power over us, except the power we give it.
Of course, this is not to say that all the happenstances of this world are figments of our imagination. They are realities, neither created nor caused by us, yet like magnets, we place ourselves in their influence, attracting or repelling our success based on where we place our attention and focus. We choose where we look, and this determines what we see.
You do not instigate the unwanted situations in your life, but your continuous focus on the unwanted determines where you land. When you persistently focus on what you fear most, you draw it to you, and it must soon come into your world. That is the way it works without exception. So, why don't we focus on the best, brightest, and most fun all the time? That would work, except that, as humans, we have a really hard time doing that.
Humans have a built-in tendency to focus on the worst-case scenario. It has something to do with our survival instinct that keeps us focusing on the areas of greatest potential danger. A long time ago, this was necessary to help us survive as a species, and now it's so deeply ingrained that we cannot help it. Humans focus two and a half times more often on the negative than on the positive. Since our focus determines what we attract, the instinct that initially helped us survive as a species may very well also be the cause of its destruction. Our instinctive negative focus brings about the increasingly worsening conditions, which I believe are reflected in the world's political climate.
This increasingly negative focus, embedded in the very fibers of our being, is changing our hormones and our biochemical environment. Hence, we are seeing an increase in depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates. We are slowly losing the ability to see anything positive among so much seeming harm, and this very focus robs us of our health, our wealth, and our happiness.
It seems that living an extraordinary life under such circumstances is an impossible task that would require a monumental restructuring not of just ourselves but the entire world around us. That is until we remember that there is no outside influence that has power over us except the power we give it! After all, it was merely our attention to the unwanted that gave rise to our current predicament. Therefore, as simplistic as it may appear, the only thing that's needed to turn it all around is a simple shift in focus and energy.
Tony Robbins says that there are three things we can do immediately that, in concert, will shift our energetic state and, which, in turn, can change our entire experience of the world.
Change Your Physiology
To shake yourself out of the doldrums, engage your body and literally shake up the energy. Stand up and breathe deeply and take on the hero’s pose – legs shoulder-wide apart, hands on your hips, chest out, and head up. Science has shown that holding this body posture for as little as two minutes noticeably changes your emotions and increases your confidence level. You can also turn on your favorite music and dance – anything to create new energy. Whether it’s techno or classical, move your body to a rhythm that resonates with you.
Change Your Focus
Become aware of where you are placing your attention. Ask yourself if this is all there is to focus on or if there could be better things. You can always focus on what’s bad. What’s wrong is always available, but so is what’s right. Where focus goes, energy flows. It does take a concerted effort to override our habitual, instinctive patterning, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. In fact, it must be fun in order for it to be effective. Remember, the point is to feel better, not worse. So, make it a point to get out in nature and focus on the beauty that is all around. Do things that make you happy, even if it is watching a puppy video on YouTube. This is not wasted time; it is an investment in your future happiness. There is so much that is right and good in this world; if you want to experience it, you must make the effort to see it.
Change your Language and Meaning
Your experience is not only determined by your focus but also by the words you use to describe it. Words form the meaning you assign to your circumstances. Whether you see the glass half full or half empty makes all the difference in the world. It is particularly true for the words you use to describe yourself and others. You simply can’t talk badly about yourself or others and expect to feel good. Ask yourself if that habitual throw-away statement or your well-practiced sarcasm is really worth your ultimate happiness. Your wording has a powerful cascade effect: It shapes the meaning you assign to things. The meaning, in turn, conjures your emotions, and the quality of your emotions creates the quality of your life. Watch what you say – your happiness literally depends on it!
Remember, it is always you who is in control. Nothing has any power over you except the power that you give it. There are neither positive nor negative forces that have power over you. There is no evil that can jump out at you, even though it can sure seem that way. Equally, there are no heavenly forces that will come to save you if you don't allow it. Nobody can take anything from you unless you let them. Neither can anyone give you anything that you won’t accept. Your success or failure in living an extraordinary life is determined entirely by where you place your focus, which either attracts you to or keeps you from your success. Remember that no matter how impossible your situation may seem, you always have the ability to change your energetic state and, thereby, change your outcomes.
You are already living an extraordinary life because life is an extraordinary gift. And isn't it extraordinary that you have complete freedom to choose what you want? So, choose love, choose well-being, choose beauty, abundance, and creativity. You get what you give, so be kinder and give more freely, simply because it feels so darn good! Never worry - there is more than enough of every good thing to go around if you only choose to see it – because that’s how the world works.