Last week I was listening to a talk by author and speaker Gabrielle Bernstein and one of the audience members asked her a very personal and profound question that had me reflect on my own beliefs about destiny. The audience member stood up and asked, “do you believe in the concept of fate, that our destiny is predetermined or do you think that we have personal power over our own lives?”
This question brought me back to one of the pinnacles in my own life. I remember being 18 years old and sitting in my doctors office waiting for my lab results. With a look of pity, my doctor concluded that I had an autoimmune disease called lupus, that there was no cure and that I would be on medications the rest of my life. Since I trusted my doctor and saw him as an authority figure, I took this, at the moment, to be my fate. I thought that for some reason that I couldn’t understand, God had given me this illness and the rest of my life would be carried out taking medication, dealing with their side effects and whatever else that would come my way as a result of having lupus. I stewed about this fate for a while feeling pretty powerless and isolated.
Well, feeling sorry for myself got old pretty quick and I started searching for another way. That’s when I came across a tiny
self published book that documented all the stories of people who had recovered from autoimmune disease and gotten off their medications by switching to a plant based diet. I decided to give it a try myself and it worked! My lab tests started to get back to normal, I started to feel like my old self again and eventually, I was able to get off my medications.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and when I look back on this experience being one of the most important events and decisions in my life, I go back and answer that question for myself -–are our lives determined by fate or choice? I discovered that it was my fate to have lupus, I guess it was in my genes and something in my environment triggered it. It was also my fate to come across that book that had the potential to save my life. But, ah, it was my choice to read the book and to implement the changes suggested in the book, as difficult as they were at the time. And it’s also a choice every single day to do the right things to keep myself healthy so that I hopefully will never need medication again. So, is our life determined by fate or choice? I’m no spiritual guru but in my experience, I would say both.
There are certain events that life will always throw at you for reasons that are beyond your comprehension but its always your choice how you decide to see them and where you go from there.
Is there an area in your life that leaves you feeling powerless? Brainstorm three different approaches that you can take to that area of your life. For example, you find yourself in a dead end job that has you feeling undervalued. You can a) stay there and feel miserable everyday b) inquire about moving to a different department or start searching for a new job altogether c.) find the things that you’re grateful for in your current job and change your perspective about it. There is no right or wrong answer, but choice b and c will leave you feeling empowered and like you have a choice while choice a will leave you powerless in your own life.
If this inspired you, please share this with someone in your life who might benefit from making a different choice in how they see one aspect of their life.