Episode 03 – DESTINY
I’m so grateful I’ve never been told my destiny. According to stories that have a prophecy there’s no way around it. Imagine like Oepidus Rex you were told you’re destined to kill your father and marry your mother. Of course you do whatever you can to avoid the prophecy coming true. But whatever you do to avoid your fate leads you on the path to find it.
There are some fun story possibilities. Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) just a fun tv adaptation that played with prophecies. It’s a puzzle your mind has to solve. How will a character get from A to Z if we know A and know Z, but don’t see an obvious connection.
And like my brother, Cliff, said this week, it’s satisfying when prophecies come true. His selection of The video game Skyrim is an open world story where you are allowed to make whatever choice you’d like, go anywhere, be any type of personality, but the game always ends with the fulfillment of the prophecy. Your destiny cannot be avoided.
Chris looked at it from story structure too. His pick of Sandman (Vol. 7). Has destiny taking a road trip. Destiny is predetermined. Everyone plays their role, and finishes their story. At one point in the novel the character Despair says, “Some things are changeless… people love, and die, they dream, destroy, despair, go mad. They fulfill their destinies, live out the course of the lives. We fulfill our function, as they fulfill theirs.”
But when making my pick I wanted to believe we have the power to choose our own destiny. I don’t know why I hang on to this belief. In life, it always feels like the wand chooses the wizard, but I wanted to find a story that leaves destiny open ended. And not like those choose-your-own-adventure books. I remember reading the Lone Wolf series with my brother Cliff as a kid. But even those only had a set number of endings. It’s still just the illusion of choice. Maybe that’s what destiny means? We think we’re choosing, but fate leads us back to a predetermined ending.
My story choice this week was the film, Willow. (Ron Howard, 1988). It begins with a prophecy. A baby will be born with a birthmark which will defeat the evil queen Bavmorda. So the queen attempts to kill this baby, which sets forth the events, which lead to the queen’s destruction.
I really liked how the baby never grows up to defeat the queen. The baby, Elvira Danen, stays a baby the whole film. It’s the people who make choices around her to keep her safe are the ones who actually defeat the queen.
I actually learned about how I really feel about destiny this week. I believe in destiny in one respect. I believe it’s the choices we make that lead us to our destiny. That’s different than a prophecy. I read this quote on the podcast…
Sow a thought and you reap an act;– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sow an act and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
In Willow at any point the people surrounding Elora Danan could have left her to be taken by the Queen. Most of the time they weren’t thinking about some great destiny. They were just making the best choice in the moment. They were the type of people who would save a baby.
That’s the other aspect of destiny that I only thought of after we completed the podcast. We tell our own stories. This is where we can write our own prophecy. If we believe we are the type of people who help, if we believe we are the type of people who share, who sacrifice, who display kindness and understanding, then those are the actions we will will make in the moment of choice. Those actions become habits, and soon we become those people we want to be.
We tell our own story all the time. “Oh, I’m not good at math.” “I’ve never been lucky.” “Nothing ever works out for me.” We are writing our own destiny everyday with our thoughts.
A friend of mine told me one day after I was complaining about not having enough time in the day. He told me, how could you complain? Before you were born there were only 22 hours in a day, but when the gods looked upon you as a baby they realized you needed more time so they added 2 extra hours in the day. And while that was a kind thing to be told, I didn’t even have to believe it for it to have an effect on me. I don’t complain about the day being too short anymore. No just try and get done whatever I can, and try and forgive myself for what I can’t accomplish.
My hope is that you are able to pick out your good qualities, and focus on those. Tell yourself a new story about yourself. I know I need to work on positive self talk. That’s a hard one for me. But I know If we allow these positive thoughts about ourselves in, allow them to become the story we tell about ourselves, we can write a new prophecy for ourselves, and the world. I believe we really can sow our own destiny.
This week, think back to a time you were proud of your actions. Not because of something it got you. But because something you did benefited someone else. I think we all have at least one of those stories. That’s who you are. You did that. Be proud of yourself. You were destined for good.
Other stories you may want to check out about destiny: (while trying to avoid time traveling stories)
- Minority Report
- The Star Touched Queen (novel)
- Forrest Gump
- Joe Versus the Volcano
- The Adjustment Bureau
- Kung Fu Panda
- Enders game
- Sliding Doors
- Disney’s Monoa and Brave
- And Godfather 1 and 2 (I never saw 3)