Diary of A Layman #19 (Summer): Clearing a Path For Your Destiny


Throughout my travels this summer, I kept hearing similar themes coming up again and again: the idea that the world seems to be broken and in need of repair, that the system no longer works, that the rules have drastically changed since we were kids, that there seems to be a gap between where we are and where we want to go, both as a society, and in our individual lives. Admittedly, these themes were most often being repeated by me, but others weren’t giving me the kind of baffled looks I used to get when I spoke my mind. No, most of the time they agreed with me and shared their frustrations about how hard things seem to be these days. Initially, I had no answers. But then, a solution came to me from a most unexpected source—the TV show, Lost. Actually, the source wasn’t the unexpected part since I’d been getting wisdom from Lost for years and had even written a book about it. What was unexpected was that the show had already concluded three months earlier.

The message came through while I was watching the Lost Season 6 DVD with the NYC Lost Meetup Group back in August. In a special features section about letting go, a quote slowly dissolved onto the screen that was attributed to Joseph Campbell (though, the Internet is split on whether it was Campbell or E.M. Forster, and who knows, now that I’m writing it, maybe it’ll be attributed to me):

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

The quote immediately resonated with me and really seemed to fit with the whole hero’s journey archetype that I wrote about back in March. Most heroes don’t go marching confidentially towards their destiny. Most go kicking and screaming, or even whining like Luke Skywalker. When I graduated from high school, having co-created a very funny and successful video yearbook that I sold to my school, I expected big things for my future. That expectation further solidified after graduating from college when my team became the first in the school’s history to win a prestigious national advertising competition. But as my father and my grandmother before him used to say: “Man plans and God laughs.” Little did I know the extent of hearty chortles and gleeful guffaws my plans would soon be providing for God.

To make a long story short (for the long story, much of it is in the Layman’s trilogy which you will hopefully be able to actually read one day), things didn’t exactly go as planned. So after Lost, I began wondering where I should go next. And it was exactly at that moment when the answer came: nowhere. After seeing that quote, it hit me. The problem had always been that I was trying so hard to do something when, really, all I had to do was let life happen to me. Of course, I may be writing another column a few years from now about what a stupid idea this turned out to be, but so far, it appears to be working. Life seems to go a lot smoother when you don’t try to force it to go the way you think it should. Just relax and let life do its thing.

The challenge is that doing this is a lot harder than it should be. In order to be open, I must be willing to let go of all those plans I had for myself upon college graduation. All those goals I thought I was supposed to achieve. I have to leave a space for my destiny to come to me. That’s especially hard for an obsessive-compulsive pack rat like me because I have way too much shit in the way. Perhaps then I can take one final lesson from Lost and learn to let it all go. And perhaps it’s not just me that would benefit from doing this, but our entire planet.

From what I’ve been able to gather, a lot of us are finding ourselves in a place we didn’t quite expect to be in. In fact, it almost seems as if the entire world has drifted off the path it had been travelling on for decades. Since this path is the only thing most of us have ever known, the idea that the world is heading into unknown territory can be a terrifying concept. But what if the path we were traveling on for all these years led to a brick wall? As painful as change can be, not changing just might’ve been a lot worse.

Since the 1970s, we’ve been saying that we wanted to be a society that didn’t rely on fossil fuels, one that instead relied on renewable fuels from the sun, wind, and water. But in the 40 years since, we’ve done little to create that reality. So, instead of us being proactive, scenarios were created to bring about the same results in ways that would be reactive. Whether brought on by god, the earth, or our collective unconscious, we created an unpopular war in an oil-yielding country, an unpopular oil-hungry president, and topped it off with a giant oil spill to help give new energy to our quest for renewable energy. As an extra incentive, the reality of global climate change has been making itself increasingly known. Just last week, not one, but two tornadoes and a macroburst swept through New York City. What the hell’s a macroburst? I dunno, but Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Sometimes, things have to get worse before they get better. I think that’s exactly where we are now with the environment, but also other issues such as health care, politics, and the economy. Many of us are also there in our own lives. And I think the trick to dealing with it all, is to let go of expectations and have faith that everything will work out in the end. That doesn’t mean that we have to literally do nothing. It means we have to step outside of our cluttered comfort zones so we can actually accomplish something with much less effort than all our day-to-day crap seems to require. Once we are all working towards one goal that’s in line with our collective destinies, things will go so much smoother. Of course, you can’t pave a new road if you’ve got a ton of clutter in the way. You must first clear a path. Only then will there be space for your new direction.

For me, that means beginning with the physical stuff—cleaning up much of what I’ve been holding onto in my apartment, in my emails, and back at my parent’s house. Once I remove all that stale energy, there will be room for new energy to flow in. I also need to let go of expectations I had—for my career, my family life, even my destiny. But don’t confuse letting go with giving up. The trick is to have high hopes, but low expectations. Continue to have the vision of where you’d like your life to be. Just don’t depend on that result for your happiness. Be happy now and your life will follow. Be grateful for what you have. Be proud of your accomplishments. And don’t dwell on your failures. Remember, out of rejection, comes direction.

There is an amazing, fulfilling future waiting for you, me, and the whole world. It’s just that we’ve been blocking its arrival. We block it with all the junk we hold onto—the physical, mental and emotional. Let it go. We block it with disappointment about where we are compared to where we thought we’d be. Let it go. We block it with all the work we do to try to get to where we think society wants us to be. Let it go. We block it with our compulsion to make more and more money to try to catch up to the skyrocketing cost of living. Let it go. We block it with our focus of having to buy the next gizmo so we can be up to speed with the latest trends. Let it go. Let it all go.

Let it all go and feel free. Feel light. Feel happy just by being you. Then inhale. Inhale as a lighter, freer being. Perhaps free for the first time since you were a child. Remember what that felt like? Remember that feeling of playing on the playground? Of jumping into bed in your footsie pajamas? Of waking up to watch Saturday morning cartoons? Of eating Halloween candy that was still left over a month after Halloween? Remember when a week off from school felt like a lifetime? When show and tell was exciting? When you felt pride carrying your new lunchbox? When you were able to play using nothing more than your imagination? Inhale those moments. Once you have cleared a path, envision the life you wish to have. But be okay with it not coming, because it might not, and then what? Will you still be content with you’ve got?

It’s okay if life didn’t go like you thought it would. In fact, it’s better. When life goes as planned it’s predictable—boring. A life with twists and turns and hidden surprises and ups and downs is far more interesting. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, there is a version of you who had a life where everything went right. Where you got the perfect life and everything you’d ever wanted. And you know what? I bet that version of you is miserable—miserable because you had it too easy. You weren’t challenged. You didn’t grow. But the current you, me, and the rest of the world have grown quite a lot. And we’re about to do a helluva lot more growing in the next few years. That’s good, because we will then be able to handle whatever challenges come our way. The perfect version of you won’t be. He or she will fall apart, not having developed the skills needed to deal with such challenges.

Good things are coming our way my friends. Know that they are and allow them to find you. Clear a path and leave a light on for them. And if and when they do arrive, don’t get too clingy or you’ll scare them away. Just as with anyone you’d like in your life, it helps to be open and appreciative, not demanding or needy. Follow these steps and you just may find yourself chilling with good things real soon. And if you do, ask them to visit with your friends too. Because anything you let go of, will eventually come back to you in some form. Just decide what form it will be and leave it up to the universe to decide the best way to make that happen. It may not be what you expect, but it will probably be exactly what you need.

May your inner spark grow to light your way,



The long-awaited orowriter.com website and The Layman’s Answers to Everything blog are now up and running! My hope is that they will allow all of us to benefit from each other’s wisdom with posted comments and exchanged ideas. For updates on new columns, videos, interviews, and more, join The Myth of Lost Facebook page or follow me on Twitter!

New Friends:
If you aren’t familiar with my books, here’s a brief synopsis:

The Layman’s Answers To Everything is a spiritual comedy (or spiromedy) about an unlucky guy who believes he’s meant to do something amazing, but has no idea what it is. After experiencing many challenges and meeting a bizarre cast of characters, he stumbles upon secret messages hidden in TV, movies, and music that are aimed at guiding humanity. Using these messages, he starts a new religion that changes his life, and ultimately, the world. This is so much more than just a story though, because throughout the journey, we learn how to discover and fulfill our own destiny using the clues of the universe that are all around us.

I truly feel this book is going to make a real impact on the world, and set into motion a spiritual domino effect that’ll help change it for the better. And judging from the way the world is heading, I’m thinking that changing the way we’re heading would be a good thing, no? If you don’t agree, or would just prefer not to get any further emails from me, just let me know, and I’ll take you off the list—no hard feelings. Of course, I can’t promise that my book won’t track you down and find you anyway, but you have a while yet to worry about that.


The Lost book is called, The Myth of Lost: Solving the Mysteries and Understanding the Wisdom. It not only reveals a solution that explains all the mysteries of the show, it also explains how the show’s wisdom can be applied to our real lives.

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The Layman posted at 2010-9-21 Category: Diary of a Layman

4 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #1Jordan @ 2010-9-22 09:22 Reply


    Another great post.
    Keep it up, brotha.


  2. #2neil @ 2010-9-23 01:22 Reply

    This was amazing. I’m so glad I am able to share in your wisdom. It truly made my day a bit brighter today.

  3. #3Jill @ 2010-10-5 12:11 Reply

    Always a joy to read about your views on this crazy thing we call life. I share your sentiment of letting go but wish it was easier to do! Can’t wait to read the next!

  4. #4The Layman @ 2010-10-6 17:05 Reply

    Jordan, Neil, and Jill, thank you for posting and I’m glad that whatever was channeled through me was also resonated with you! And Jill, I guess if letting go was easy, we wouldn’t all be so challenged with it, myself included. The good news is that since it does require effort, we feel that much better when we are able to do it.


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