New Age Case Study–You Can’t Avoid Fate And What to do Instead

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We offered our sympathy when a friend expressed anxiety about a very tough personal situation she was going through. Hearing about her situation reminded us about the futility of attempting to dodge personal fate and adversity.

She said, “Aside from the challenges in my childhood, or maybe because of them, I’ve always managed to power though the tough periods in life. But now I’m going through some really overwhelming things and I’m about at my breaking point, consumed with worry and fear.”

She went on to say, “My ex-husband is in trouble with the IRS, and he’s facing charges for being way behind in child support. Now he’s trying to take full custody of our children because he’s very angry that he had to go to court about child support. He probably won’t win, but he’s playing dirty and it’s costing me a lot of money and my good reputation. He wants to steal my children, move them to another state, and wants me to pay for it!”

“I must have been a very horrible person in a past lifetime because I can see no wisdom in all that’s been happening. Usually I can see the lesson or the wisdom in it. This time I’m truly blind.”

We mentioned that while fate is likely at play, it may also be a case of 1 + 1 = 2 (marrying someone who is not compatible and who has serious personality red flags, which were hidden until it was too late = problems).

We told her that she’s an honorable person now, that’s what matters most, and even if she did keep her kids from her ex in a past life, it’s best not to worry about that now because everyone has been incorrigible in past lives.

She also mentioned that she dabbled in some New Age manifestation techniques (spells) and, “Literally, it blew up in my face and made things worse. ‘Manifesting’ proved to be very dangerous in my case.”

“It’s a given this is a very tough time in your life,” we said, “but as you know, personal fate frequently isn’t logical when viewed from just the perspective of this lifetime. Maybe you’ve been led to believe, by the usual New Age suspects, that you wouldn’t have to endure such pain if you would just believe in the ‘secret’ and ‘manifest’ a better tomorrow, for example. Those philosophies don’t work in the real world when you are faced with impossible odds.”

“One benefit of this experience is that you can now more easily spot New Age bull. Well written New Age prose may feel wonderful and inspiring, like a sugar high, but so much of it is myth and pure escapism.”

“Hey, our apologies if that sounds harsh, but fate is fate, unalterable, and much in life isn’t so pleasant. It can’t be avoided by New Age snake-oil solutions, no matter how much they inspire you.”

“However, as you know by now, you can view life’s challenges in a way that makes them more bearable; accept what you can’t change and view them as a necessary part of life. Things aren’t going as you had planned, but a year from now you’ll be through with the bulk of it. Hang in there!”

Unfortunately, our friend, like many others, found that when life (i.e., personal fate) deals you an impossible hand, it makes popular New Age solutions like “manifest anything you want” appear frivolous and disingenuous.

While we appreciate inspiration rooted in reality and the idea of constantly striving toward your goals, it’s important to avoid getting caught up in spiritual hype because it can make you feel like a failure or worse.

Irreversible personal adversity, the really hard stuff in your life, is a reality for everyone at some point or another. The best approach is usually to deal with it head-on, compassionately and assertively. You are stronger than you realize. Accept what you can’t change, like others’ behavior, change what you can, and be grateful for the opportunity for growth because it’s largely the trials in life that make you the person you are destined to become.

Copyright © 2013 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo

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