Dancing with Destiny

Posted on September 13, 2014 by Lauri Ringer


The Kirundi proverb, “You may get up before the dawn, but destiny gets up before you,” raises some interesting questions. If our fate is determined by Destiny, why bother to pursue our dreams? Why bother to have goals? Why bother to put any effort into life at all?

Though fate will always play a role in determining what will – or will not – happen to us, we have free will to make choices. And, in an odd sort of way, fate and free will are not in opposition to one another.

I see our relationship with Destiny as a kind of dance. In dance, there is a lead partner and a guided, or follow, partner. The partners are not in opposition to one another, but intertwined, because one influences the movement of the other.

Sometimes Destiny’s lead may seem random, and everyone can cite numerous instances where Destiny changed the course of his life, both in major and minor ways …

“Had this not happened, I never would have met my spouse.”

“I was very upset when my car broke down, but the mechanic discovered a problem that may have saved me from having a cataclysmic accident.”

“Who would have believed that I’d like my new job better than the one I lost?”

And, of course …

“I thought my world had come to an end when we split, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.”

The examples go on and on, but the message is always the same: Don’t allow the immediate impact of an event to throw you out of rhythm.

Remember, the initial impact of an event is often nothing more than an illusion, so it’s wise to get in the habit of immediately looking for what Destiny may be trying to tell you. As Richard Bach so eloquently put it in his book Illusion, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”

The dance with Destiny can be nothing more than an everyday happenstance. As an example, my oldest son played organized baseball in his youth. At a pool party to celebrate a team victory, he playfully flipped one of his teammates into the pool. The wrestling coach happened to witness the incident, and asked, “Have you ever thought about wrestling?”

Wrestling had never entered my son’s mind, but he was willing to explore Destiny’s lead. He may not have been consciously aware of it, but because he was open to being guided by Destiny, wrestling became his favorite sport, and one in which he excelled. He also received important lessons form a legendary coach who changed his life, a coach he never would have met had he not been open to dancing with Destiny.

As with my son and his wrestling experience, it’s wise to be an open and curious partner in the dance with Destiny.   You never know who you will meet or what opportunities might cross your path. That’s the really fun part of dancing with Destiny.

Sometimes, of course, it’s not fun.   But even in the worst of situations, it’s wise to follow Destiny’s lead. In life’s darkest hours, I find solace in the essay “Welcome to Holland.” Though it’s about parents who live their lives with the uncertainty of raising a child with a disability, the lesson is applicable to all of life’s challenges.

As difficult as it may be to travel to the allegorical Holland, it is there that the author finds treasure. Even in seemingly bad situations, there is peace and tranquility to be found in the art of letting go.

When you change your perspective and surrender the lead to Destiny, your dance has the opportunity to blossom into something deliciously unexpected. The empirical evidence clearly suggests that the cliché “go with the flow” has a lot of merit.

So, yes, despite our planning and diligence, there are circumstances that are beyond our control, but how we react to those circumstances is totally within our control. The dance with Destiny is part of being human — part of being alive. My personal experience has convinced me that things tend to work out much better when I join the dance willingly and open my mind to universal intelligence.

Dancing with Destiny requires only that you be a willing, guided partner who is open to new people, places, and experiences. Never, ever, prejudge the dance. If you are an unwilling partner and not open to following, you might just miss Destiny’s lead and become a misguided partner.

By all means, make plans and pursue your dreams, but always remember that Destiny is the lead partner and you are the follower. So long as you are willing to surrender the lead, there is a possibility that Destiny will take you to wonderful places you never could have imagined.

23 responses to “Dancing with Destiny”

  1. wisewithage says:

    One other cliche' that might fit your article is "Work WITH the river." The "go with the flow" saying always seemed to conger up thoughts of endless drifting. Kayakers learn early to use the river currents to their advantage.

  2. Will Bontrager says:

    I almost didn't open the email with the link to this article. Then decided to go with the feeling that I should.

    Such is destiny :)

    Your article is a wonderful way to express the role of destiny, not as an unyielding task master but as a guide.


  3. What a timely article. I've been going mad trying not to get upset with new very noisy neighbours — to no avail. I've been fuming for a week and contemplating revenge. Perhaps starting today I'll try to "go with the flow." Thank you. I needed a new perspective. Hope I can hang on and see what happens.

    • Daniel says:

      Do you live near me? I have the very same issue: new, very noisy, neighbors. Worse yet is that they have two often-unrestrained pit bulls, one of which growls menacingly at my approach, which like to wander around and make poo in my yard. Ok; I'll go with the flow, or work with the river, as it were…but with a pistol in my pocket.

  4. larajf says:

    I've probably been fighting destiny, and then read your article. Today, I'll take some time to sit quietly and be open for some lessons so I can get moving forward again. Thank you!

  5. Scuffy Rubric says:

    In my experience, I don't believe "destiny" or "fate" are something that just happens to you, something which you have no power over. In our individual lives, I don't believe there is any "predetermined" set of events that will happen to you over which you usually, on a micro level, have no ability to alter. There are no "accidents" that you don't have at least some responsibility for.

    Of course like Lauri said, there are some circumstances beyond our individual control. On the macro level, our govt is the vehicle which can have adverse effects upon our lives. In the latest poll, the American people now agree that the federal govt is the biggest problem facing their lives. As an individual we can vote, but our "destiny" can be altered by the quality of govt we on a macro level choose.

    I find it best to ignore the macro, and concentrate on the micro – what you can do to improve your own life. Your fate or destiny are in your hands, and only you can control that. If you find your destiny to be lacking, take action to change it.

    "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". If you take no action, a fate will happen to you, but is it the destiny you want?

    If there is one thing I have learned from Robert, it is "taking Action".

  6. dave carney says:

    Lauri, you're probably not even aware that you wrote that article the same time week that this was announced: Santa Monica, CA – September 10, 2014 — Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that the company sold more than $500 million of Destiny into retail stores and first parties worldwide as of day one, making the game the biggest new video game franchise launch in history.

    “Based on extraordinary audience demand, retail and first party orders worldwide have exceeded $500 million for Destiny,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “This industry milestone marks another blockbuster success for our company and demonstrates our unique ability to create some of the most successful entertainment franchises in the world. "

  7. words2influence says:

    The result of all of one's decisions is what has brought the individual to current circumstance. Whether one danced with destiny or otherwise will only be clear if one's purpose in life has been realised. The purpose has been destined by the Almighty. Think positive as much as you can, believe you can, and you can achieve what has been destined for you.

  8. Richard Lee Van says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful commentary on "how things go"! It is a gospel I preach almost daily. Some more embittered people don't like hearing it. But over my long life, and seeing in retrospect, it is amazing, AMAZING, how thing worked for the best in the long run, to include a major career change that gave me total personal freedom that included serving others and making a living doing it. I am thinking about writing another memoir called THE SILVER LINING EFFECT. Oh, when one man made the way for me to go on my first work tour I returned and told him it had been really good but not easy. He replied, "I didn't say it would be easy. I said it would be good". Yes, during the "change time" in events, it is not always easy, but it is good if we "follow" our "inner" which attracts or creates our "outer". I will look forward to anything this thinking person writes! Thanks again for the teaching. Do collect your writings for you excellent BOOK to come!

  9. Richard Lee Van says:

    I just want to add… I am being "forced" to move from a house I leased only one year ago. I put significant money into fixing it up since I thought this might be my "final" home. And now it is being sold out from under me, and I am being pressured to GET OUT NOW! IF NOT SOONER! I have been upset since I am disabled and cannot do much PHYSICALLY myself. But, a new friend appeared and offered his pickup truck and other help, and key others came to the fore, and, after looking at so many UNsuitable houses, I found almost a dream house NEARBOY which is great because I moved to my current house for location. The new place looks to be better in ALL WAYS. And, it will motivate me to earn extra money to afford it. Now to get through the actual move, the UNpleasant part. Yes, that is HOW IT WORKS, if we do our part. From good to better in this instance.

  10. Heather says:

    so eloquently put, Robert. I dance every day, with an open heart and an open door….you just never know what might come sauntering in!

  11. Robby Bonfire says:

    Interesting topic, in that, for me, the challenge here is finding the "golden mean" between "surrendering the lead" to Destiny, and taking the reins of fortune by becoming pro-active. Surrendering the lead to any entity – Destiny, a political party or philosophy, another human being at home or in the work environment, etc., these "options," to me, are less than gratifying, as when you surrender the lead to Destiny that would seem to include defaulting on responsibility for the outcomes in your life in the aforementioned areas.

    So that I would rather seize the reins, and, for better or worse, reap the reward or suffer the consequences for doing so, understanding all the while that being in harmony with established universal laws can greatly abet the process.

  12. Helen Spingola says:

    Eons ago my fiance and I had a terrible argument; he left; I ran to the window and just as he was
    about to turn the corner I called his name. He heard, and returned. Fate? Destiny? A few years
    later we married, had a daughter, and thought we'd be happy. Some 25 years later, we divorced. Neither remarried, but he returned (again) to die at the home we once shared. I often wonder had I never called his name in the first place, I would have spared myself much sadness; on the other hand, I would not have had our daughter. Fate? Destiny? I can't know.

    • Robby Bonfire says:

      Amazing true life experience, Helen. And yes, you are quite perceptive to see and appreciate the fact that the outcomes of these experiences are a mix of the good and the bad. Rarely is experience in this world all black or all white. So much gray area we have to unravel. All we can do is the best we can do, in each situation, given our knowledge at the time, and knowing that we have no clue as to what the next minute will reveal.

  13. blh557 says:

    A mentor of mine once said don't allow circumstances to rule you. Learn to use circumstances to your advantage. "Going with the flow" or "following the river" may be great and you may find less resistance that way, but if you continue on with the current you never make it to shore. Using the current, so to speak, and persevering may result in some resistance, but if you have a goal, if you have a destination in mind, if you aren't satisfied with your circumstances, only cutting across the current will get you out of the current that has you and in that way you can get to shore.

    Destiny is what YOU make of it. Had someone, say, like Dr. Ben Carson (actually his mother) followed the stream, allowing his circumstances to overcome his resistance many babies and young children might not have survived to resist their own circumstances.

    If you don't like your circumstances… RAGE AGAINST THE STORM. Don't succumb. Make destiny and fate succumb to your resistance.

    • Robby Bonfire says:


    • Lauri Ringer says:

      You are absolutely correct about mindlessly following the lead. I believe it is a partnership with Destiny. Destiny may lead but the follow dance partner (you) is not passive…they are still dancing.

      Dr. Ben Carson is a perfect example of dancing with destiny. Had he not followed destiny's lead, he would have continued on a mindless path of destruction. Instead, he opened his mind to follow Destiny's lead to medicine instead of crime.

      I believe your professor was also saying that you should dance with Destiny when he counseled to not let circumstances rule you. Difficult circumstances just require more difficult dance moves. I think he was telling you to open your mind to different dance moves with destiny. Sometimes circumstances require that you turn in a different direction, but destiny is still a partner in the dance.

      We all know that bad things happen to good people and there are some things that are simply beyond our control (e.g. disease, physical disabilities, etc.) But I believe when you change your perspective (as in the Welcome to Holland link in my article,) the dance with destiny has a chance to blossom into something transcendent. Sometimes, like my friend who was diagnosed with ALS, you simply cannot make fate succumb to your will and you have to play the cards you are dealt.

    • Lauri Ringer says:

      “I cannot prevent the wind from blowing, but I can adjust my sails to make it work for me.”
      ― Code of the Order of Isshinryu

      • Scuffy Rubric says:

        Here's a similar saying:

        A pessimist complains the wind is blowing
        An optimist hopes the wind will change
        A man of action adjusts his sail accordingly

  14. Mert says:

    This is mind-blowing.

  15. pragmatic romantic says:

    My favourite song of all time is one of the earliest I ever heard… "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream." This song tells us to turn in the right direction and to go with the current (destiny). It also says to row, i.e. take action in the direction of the current we naturally gravitate to. Thirdly, it suggests we should be merry, such a lovely word and image. Finally, don't take life too seriously, it is but a dream. Sweet dreams :)