Posts tagged ‘fate’

July 3, 2016

All roads lead to . . .

Thought of the moment, courtesy of 17th-century French fable-writer Jean de La Fontaine:

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.

Hmmm, so much for procrastination!

Or, perhaps each of us really does have a specific purpose in this life, and whichever road we take will ultimately lead us to it, whether directly or via a more circuitous route.

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February 27, 2015

Turn “if only” into “thank you”

A great quote from Doris Gregory, a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during World War II, as she looks back over her life in her memoir How I Won the War for the Allies: One Sassy Canadian Solider’s Story:

Each time you come to a crossroad in life, you decide which way to turn. At the time, it seems like a free choice, but when you look back, you realize that, given the kind of person you were at that time, with the information then at your disposal, and all the factors acting upon you, you couldn’t have done anything else. Despite the wisdom of this, you can easily fall into the “if only” trap. If only you had taken the other road. But then you wouldn’t have had all these great experiences. As the journey continues, you become more and more adept at avoiding the “if only” trap. And so I look back upon the past without regret. What happened, happened. That’s life!

December 7, 2014

Squander your love

From the memoir Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes:

A large percentage of control over fate doesn’t exist, [so] how to go forward?

Cultivate interior life as though it were a garden sanctuary.
Give away what you can.
Squander your love.

Life is short. Make yours rich with meaning and purpose. ❤

November 25, 2012

Kuleana: where talent and trajectory (responsibly) meet

I’m always interested in notions about personal destiny and life purpose, and recently I came across a new (to me) branch in this tree of ideas:  the Hawaiian concept of kuleana.  Broadly defined as “responsibility,” kuleana is understood to include a deep accountability to several interconnected realms:  self, family, community, earth, etc.

I discovered the concept in the pages of Terrie M. Williams’ book The Odyssey of KP2:  An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species.  She writes:

Kuleana is a Hawaiian word that has no direct translation into English.  It describes the sense of ancestral-based responsibility that often comes with a unique undertaking or experience.  It is destiny with a DNA underpinning coupled with a realization that you are doing what you were meant to do in this life, the harmonization of talent and trajectory.

In my experience, the happiest individuals are those who have discovered their kuleana.  Such individuals weather hardships, challenges and sacrifices not as obstacles or excuses for failure but as a natural part of life’s adventures.  The entire odyssey called life is a joy.

A beautiful concept — and one that gently encourages us to think and act beyond our own small spheres of perceived influence.  There is so much more out there, all around us, and we are accountable to it (all of it) by simple virtue of the fact that we are, at root, a creation of it.

I also find it noteworthy that kuleana has no direct translation into English.  The concept — with its interconnectedness and wide-ranging responsibility — certainly exists within other indigenous cultures, but it is much less prevalent within “modern” white societies, which tend to be driven more by personal gain than by personal responsibility.  If there were words in English to describe kuleana, would our motivations be different? How can we create the words to fill that gap?

I hope you find your kuleana.  May your life’s journey be an odyssey of joy.