What About Destiny & Free Will?

What is it that has us feel that certain events or circumstances are destined in our lives?

That situation just came together in the most unexpected and surprising ways, and at the same time, it felt like they just HAD to happen? Those people in the high school yearbook that were predicted ‘most likely to succeed’ and they did? The life-changing car accident? How could we know? Could there really be a ‘script’ or ‘contract’ that we agreed to before incarnating each time around?

In working with many people who have faced devastating loss or suffering of themselves or their family, I came across the work of Robert Schwartz who wrote Your Soul’s Gift and Your Soul’s Plan both focused on pre-birth agreements we made before being born. He covers stories of people who planned physical illness (AIDS and breast cancer), having disabled children, deafness, blindness, drug addiction, alcoholism, losing a loved one, and severe accidents. As you read these experiences of others, it becomes clear that there is a bigger picture going on. One that we signed up for before we came in designed by us and supported by those around us to assist us in our exponential collective growth and expansion.

So, if it’s all predestined, then where does free will come in?

Free will gives us the freedom to choose to experience either suffering or joy as we travel along the journey we signed up for before we were born.  I may not want the car accident, in this 3rd-dimensional body, awareness, and experience, even if my soul agreed to it before I incarnated. Yet, I have a choice about how I relate to that car accident. I can bemoan the fact of what has changed in my life as a result of the accident, or I can delight in the gratitude to be having the conversation in the first place!

The ego’s mistake is that it focuses on the ‘how and when’ of what we desire, which can generate a great deal of disappointment and suffering when we attach to the outcome we want.

The soul would never choose something that wasn’t for our highest healing good and our greatest joy even if the ego doesn’t understand what is happening. Our ego, on the other hand, can talk us out of focusing on what is for our highest healing good. The ego’s mistake is that it focuses on the ‘how and when’ of what we desire, which can generate a great deal of disappointment and suffering when we attach to the outcome we want. If things don’t go as we expect or we want (the how and when), we feel like we failed or were betrayed somehow. I used to feel ‘unprepared’ when the how and the when didn’t go as I expected. It had me feel vulnerable to others hurting me or saying things about me that weren’t true, and I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it – A very old childhood trauma that my ego takes advantage of in trying to protect me in that old way. I now know, that when I focus on what I want and why, and then generate the feeling of gratitude for it as if it’s already happened, I am back in my lane, and using my free will to focus on what I want and allowing the universe to support me in how and when it happens.

While I chose the larger lessons and events, and even some relationships, before this incarnation, I am the one here now. I get to choose what those experiences are like in each moment. I can focus on what I don’t want and bemoan my suffering, or I can focus on what I’m already grateful for and remember there is no need to know what is going to happen. When I create the experiences I want in this moment (gratitude), I am creating (attracting/vibrating with) more experiences in the future that make me feel grateful. Exactly what I want!

What can you do to integrate destiny and your free will today?


Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
WENDY is passionate about enabling individuals, organizations and communities to value themselves and each other in the ongoing process of change. Wendy has guided hundreds of individuals and over 750+ public and private sector organizations to achieve tangible increases in impact and performance. Her successful practice in mentoring and coaching has led to authorship of the book, ‘Live a Life You Love and Make a Living Doing It’. Over the last 30 years, Wendy’s skills have been honed in leadership roles at MTV Networks, The Rensselaerville Institute, and a variety of community based projects in her town. In 2015 she launched BeliefWorks and offers Belief Coaching as a way to address the root cause of what limits the results we can achieve both personally and professionally. This is an 'upstream' solution to change. Instead of changing limiting behavior, she focuses on changing the limiting beliefs that drive that behavior. In all cases, her clients and partners speak to the specific increases in achievement that her consulting, coaching and partnership roles make possible.

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  1. I love this topic as I often thought that I signed up for immense karmic clean up because a great deal of my life has been far from a picnic or cake-walk. Yet, I’ve seen this as grist for the mill. The rich lessons, the depth of gratitude I now experience, the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years with All of It, the depth/breadth of living as an Awakened Soul. Wow. Yes, we do have free will in our response to what happens in our lives, Wendy! Yes! Yes! Yes! We can make gallons of lemonade or chocolate cakes from all the sh*t storms and see ourselves from a whole fresh perspective-through eyes of love and compassion. I’ve become much softer with my wants and shifted them into preferences. I then set these down, too. I take love-inspired actions with deep self-care and much self-awareness-grateful for all that life brings me because it means I AM STILL HERE!!! WaHOOOOO!!! Thank you so much for this wonderful offering!! As Mary Oliver states it-Pay attention. Be astonished. Share with others. Welcome and savor all of the experiences of life with gratitude-a way to free to soul. That’s my free will to choose gratitude for everything, to live like everything is a miracle!!!!

  2. Thank you for this, Wendy! I plan on acquiring that book by Schwartz. I have spoken to a medium in the a few times as well as attended an Afterlife conference a few years ago. I have always believed there is something far more significant than our human minds can comprehend. In the past, I was skeptical about reincarnation or pre-birth doctrines, but the medium indicated otherwise for the latter. She told me about the situation regarding my life. Now I am open to the possibilities. I appreciate you inviting us to consider how we manage our lives and the idea of free will versus predetermined.💖

  3. If remaining in a religious context we should ask ourselves about the existence or not of a divinity, of a superior will that grants the freedom to choose its creatures, in the ethical sphere we should ask ourselves about the concept of responsibility, that is, about the fact that a man must o less to answer for their actions, if they are determined by something external to him. Furthermore, in the scientific field, the analysis would focus on determining whether the human mind has any interference with events, or if everything is entirely entrusted to chance.
    This time I have not tried to reflect on a possible answer to the topic proposed by the article that I am commenting on, but I ask the readers of this note of mine a question:
    what would you feel to say if you ended up off the road with your car and stopped, rolled up, on the edge of a 300-meter ravine, managing to save your life, whose path has reached 80 years of great personal and professional satisfaction?
    Free will or predestination?

    • Wendy, absolutely agree!
      Each person’s life is like a tree. Imagine the branches as if they were the paths of life. The branches are also composed of nodes which determine new roads and new directions. Let’s say that fate lays the foundations for the life of each of us. And therefore it also arranges the “knots” in particular points of our life. When we arrive at that “knot” – which often coincides with a profound change or with a strong moment such as economic crisis, disease, bankruptcies and the like – our free will intervenes.

    • Aldo I survived a automobile accident similar to what you’ve described when I was 18. It was totally my fault. I plummeted (flew is a better word) down a 30 foot drop off into a culvert and came out with only a bruised knee. As my car left the road I knew then, my fate was death or severe injury. …
      Although a ‘believer,’ my faith was flimsy at best, not solid, yet at that moment, I was earnestly begging for God’s intervention.

      My fault and God’s intervention is my answer to your question.

    • Laurie this is a beautiful example from a religious perspective. I personally had a car accident in my youth that was also my fault and I should not have been able to survive. God and all the Angels clearly told me it was not my time to go and that I didn’t have to live life so hard. A life-changing transformative moment for the rest of my life. Grace bestowed upon me. I am blessed I’m still here to tell the tale!

    • In my case I was not driving but a colleague.
      By now I have made the idea that everything is a game of balance between destiny and free will. And above all, it is always a matter of choices. No doubt about God’s help.

  4. Paula, Thank you for the perspective on weaving destiny and free will together in your blog. Love this! The thought-provoking is meant to help us move into acceptance of what is (destiny that our soul chose) and choice about the experience we want to create (free will in this physical expression).
    My father recently passed, and for me the destiny part is that it was his time to go (chosen by his soul prior to incarnating). And it was his free will to feel the shift happening on the planet and to decide he didn’t’ want to be here anymore. He made a decision, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. He was in perfect health for 97. It is so powerful when these are in alignment at ANY time in our lives and I’m grateful it was for him. ‘It is done! 😁 Wendy!

  5. Very interesting read Wendy!

    I’m not sure about a prior contract being made…or pre birth agreement… this begs the question as to who this agreement is being made with? To self. A higher power?

    I do see we have free will and agree that how we look at things is our ability to use this free will. In all situations …We acknowledge, accept, forgive, adjust and evolve, hopefully for the better…

    It reminded me of one of my linkedin posts (and poem) about destiny and fate.

    To think of your fate is to be deterministic
    You just accept things
    “If it was meant to be it will happen”
    “It is what it is”
    To think in terms of Destiny allows probability to exist
    It is not absolute and allows for change
    If you don’t like it..change it
    Destiny is more #positive!

    We all have the same fate that we will die one day
    Destiny is the ability to use your free will in how well you enjoyed the journey.

    This is a very interesting topic and thought provoking so I appreciate these words.
    Thank you Wendy! Have a great day! “ Make it so”! 😀 Paula!