Thirty-thousand - that’s how many days you get if you’re lucky. Thirty-thousand
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