Are we in control of our lives or are we not?

Well, for many years I believed that I was not in control of my life, I just felt lucky when things were working as I wished, and then I felt like a victim when things went wrong… all in all I felt pretty powerless about most of it.

But things have changed for me, completely changed I would say, as I have slowly realized that I can live my life “by design” as opposed to just “by default,” but to be honest with you, this truth took a long time to take hold, and a lot of inner work on my part… as many good things do 🙂

So, Are we in control of our lives or aren’t we?

Here is the thing: we will never be able to control most of what surrounds us: the weather, the traffic, the constant changes, and mostly: the people around us. But we are always in control of our actions and our reactions to those variables, so in a way, we are in control of our lives.

If we see ourselves as victims of our surroundings then we will never feel we have control, but if we switch our perspective and realize that the way we decide to act or respond to everything that surrounds us will determine our true experience, then we will feel truly empowered and in control.

Is what happens to us a product of simple fate or is it something we bring onto ourselves (consciously or not? )

How much of our experience is self-made and how much is just imposed into our human condition?

I truly believe that what happens to us, to a great extent, is the result of our own making, whether we like it or not, I know most people cringe when they hear this, and so did I for most of my life, but I have come to realize one major thing:

We are often totally unaware of how we bring things into our lives, so we cannot possibly take responsibility for it, until, we become aware of our internal patterns, deep seated beliefs and subconscious workings. And gaining that kind of awareness is no small feat!  Sadly, a lot of people never do.

On the other hand, yes, there is a part that we can call fate, and this is because we do not live alone nor isolated, we live in a big wide world with millions of other people and living creatures as well as natural forces, and because of this, we do depend on all of them, to a certain degree as well.

However, the more aware we are, the more in control we can be, simply because we realize our own part of responsibility and we can begin to take control of what we can indeed change, and for the remaining of it, what we would call “fate”  we can also be in control, in the sense that our reaction to what happens is definitely under our control.

There is a lovely “Serenity Prayer” that my parents had on a wall at home for years, and it has always been in my mind… here it is:

Serenity Prayer This little prayer illustrates what I am trying to convey in this post.

Yes, there are things that I cannot change, but the way I look at them will change my experience (accepting as opposed to resisting.)

And there are things I can definitely change (they are under my control,) in fact, a lot more things than I think.

However, I need to be wise enough (aware enough,) to tell the difference, which means: I need to do my work of introspection and self-discovery in order to gain that awareness/wisdom.

So, in my newly acquired view, we are pretty much in control of our lives, but this is a “control” in which our ego does not play an important part, it is not about getting things “my way” but rather it is about merging in with the flow of life, learning to dance with it, and co-create our experience through this dance. 

Have a lovely week!

Our Plans vs. Our Destiny

One of my favorite authors, while describing an unexpected encounter that drove her to start an organization that she had never dreamed of, she said this phrase: “It was not part of my plans but it was definitely part of my destiny.”

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I do not believe that our destiny is written, in fact, I strongly believe that we have the freedom to direct our lives and we are not tied to a set fate. However, it is undeniable that many things just happen, whether we like it or not, and we can’t really avoid nor escape this truth.

Many of you have probably heard the expression: “God writes straight with crooked lines.” Regardless of whether you are a person of faith or not, this phrase states that sometimes we can’t possibly make sense of things and the way they happen, but in the end it all makes sense, and if we are lucky we will see it.

Lets say that making plans and having goals is good, in fact it is healthy, but becoming attached to them or inflexible about them is a great mistake.

What happens is, along the road of life things are constantly changing and we have no way to predict everything, we have no control over a lot of factors. We are deeply interconnected with everything and everybody around us, so there are way too many variables that can and most likely will influence our plans. But if we keep an open mind and an open heart and welcome changes as they come, if we remain always flexible, the chances are we will turn many unexpected events into wonderful opportunities to fulfill our goals, our true goals (there is a distinction there!).

What I mean by true goals, are those goals that bring a sense of purpose to our lives, those goals that are really important for us (and they may differ from those goals WE think are important for us). For instance, you may be set on getting a specific job that you believe is the best for you, but in reality there are many things about it that you are not aware of, so if you don’t get it, it may be for the best.

So where is the real freedom of creating your life?

It would be unreal to pretend we are in control of everything, but to a certain extent we are! at a different level than we may think. We always have a choice on the way we perceive what happens and on the actions we take as a consequence of it. This to me is freedom.

You can have plans and follow your goals and take actions towards what you want, but then, life may take you in different directions and it is up to you to seize the moment and take your destiny in your own hands by looking at the new opportunities, exploring the doors that may be opening for you; or you may stubbornly resist change and get stuck in your old plans and expectations, and THAT is when you really become a prisoner.

I personally believe in a greater intelligence that guides our lives, but does only that: guides our lives, and it may do so by taking us in different directions, it is up to us to understand how to make the best of this guidance and bring about the best in our lives. We have a choice in every situation and that choice will determine how the given situation will affect us, so no matter what it is, we always have a choice and that means we have freedom to create our lives.

Even little decisions or actions that we take every day can change our lives, but we are not always aware of them because we often function on autopilot and may easily miss signs that might suggest we are about to make a move that will impact our lives.

If you have never seen the movie sliding doors, I recommend you watch it, it is a very interesting story that shows one woman and two possible outcomes, one simple instant of her life will determine whether she will go one path or another, and the movie shows both paths in parallel to see how different her life can be based in one tiny small decision she makes unconsciously.

Sometimes we know we are faced with clear choices and we have to make a decision, but other times we don’t even know we have a choice, we don’t see it. By being more open to change, more flexible and less attached to our goals, we can also be more present in the moment and more able to see the signs that can guide us to make the best decisions for our life, no matter how small they may seem.

So, there is our plan and there is a destiny, but the way I see the destiny is not as a written fate we can’t avoid, but rather an intelligent guidance that will direct us towards better outcomes, only if we are capable to perceive it and make the right decisions about it.

The capacity to perceive this guidance comes with finding our inner voice, disconnecting from the outside noise, quieting our minds, etc. and all those important skills that take practice, but are accessible to every single one of us.

Have a great week!


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