Sunday, September 16, 2007


There is a Persian fairytale about the three princes of Serendip -- the island in the Indian Ocean that is now known as Sri Lanka. The princes were seasoned travellers who made a series of astonishing discoveries through good fortune alone. Their luck was so amazing that we now use the word "serendipity" to describe what happens when we find something unexpectedly.

In ancient times when the world was still flat there was a tropical island which the inhabitants thought of as paradise. It was the centre of their world, and was called Serendip. This was the old name for Sri Lanka, before it was ever named Ceylon. An old Persian fairy tale, "The Three Princes of Serendip," recounts the story of three princes and their father, King Jaffer, who ruled the country of Serendippo in the Far East. The king loved his three sons, and being a good father and very concerned about their education, he decided to leave them endowed not only with great power, but also with the virtues needed for success. King Jaffer traveled throughout his kingdom to find the best tutors for his sons, each being specialized in a different field. After years of instruction, the three princes became highly trained in the arts and sciences, but when the king heard of their achievements, he was skeptical of their readiness to rule. And so, he summoned his eldest son, and the king announced that he wished to retire to a monastery and that his son should succeed him as ruler. The prince politely refused, insisting that his father was wiser and should reign until his death. The two younger sons also refused when commanded in a similar manner. Although the king was astonished by the wisdom displayed by his sons, he decided to send them on an extended journey so that they could acquire empirical experience. Pretending to be angry and disappointed with his sons because they had all disobeyed him, the king banished the three princes from Serendip.

The three princes set out in search of great treasures. They traveled to the kingdom of Emperor Beramo, and over the next few years they made numerous fortunate, unexpected discoveries not as a result of the dynamic environments in which they roamed (in fact, they roamed through near empty deserts, forests and seas most of the time), but rather as a result of their own wisdom. They never found the treasures they were seeking but invariably they were surprised by more magnificent treasures that they were not anticipating, and they ultimately returned to Serendip and became wise rulers.

You're probably wondering why I've offered this story here. But sometimes when my life seems overwhelming and I feel like a mad truck has run me over, stopped, been put into reverse and run me over again, I have to wonder about my personal destiny and whether my life has the meaning and energy that it is supposed to have. And as I get older sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing and going through has a purpose.

Destiny refers to the predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as the irresistible entity that determines the future, whether in general or of an individual. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a natural order to the universe. Some believe destiny is a fixed timeline of events that is inevitable and unchangeable. Others believe that they choose their own destiny by choosing different paths throughout their life. Is it fate or chance that rules our lives?

I've gone and continue to go through much in my life but I honestly think the milestones have made me a better and stronger person. I look at myself now and remember myself just a few years ago and hardly recognize my old self anymore. With each change and event in my life, good and bad, I have made so many transitions. Every moment is the beginning of a new chapter of my life and I don't shy from it, I meet it head on. There are people I have known for years who are basically the same people they were when I met them. Unfortunately I have outgrown the relationships I've had with them because of all the changes in my life and my perception of those changes.

When I was a kid I was very shy, didn't have many friends and came from a very dysfunctional family. Raised a military brat we moved a lot, leaving friends behind and somehow making new ones, but always the new kid in town. I am thankful for the way I was brought up because I learned how to adapt to different environments and different people. We were bohemians, like gypsies.

With change comes transition, it's focusing on the transition and not the change or event itself that makes us grow. Everything happens for a reason - that seems to be the lesson of my life - and sometimes we don't find what we're looking for but stumble upon so many beautiful and wonderful things we never could have dreamed of! I believe we are each born with a destiny and purpose unique to each individual. The journey of our lives is rough and difficult. Some fall and never rise again. Some get up, brush the dirt off, hold onto their faith and keep going. Some are afraid to live, hope and believe. They play it safe and hide from life, thus no change and no transition. Maybe they're afraid of who they are or who they can be, I don't know. I just know that my life continues to be a wonderful journey filled with small obstacles and great moments of pure joy and happiness that, like a work of art, are making me the person I am to become. I'm not afraid of the battles of life - Bring them on!

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1 comment:

Mauigirl said...

Great post - I share that same belief, that things happen for a reason. I can see the patterns when I look back, and see why things that seemed bad at the time actually led to something good that wouldn't have happened otherwise.