happy friday the 13th!

itsy bitsy spider, Canon Digital Rebel

A friend of mine named Ian Kellett just did something truly amazing. He is a film student at Montana State University and was the first person to film a new species of monkey in the Bolivian Amazon. A brand new species! You can check out a great article about it here and a picture of the monkeys here. They are actually auctioning off the right to name this new species of titi monkey to raise money for the national park where it was discovered.

One of the most inspiring parts of this story however, is that over 10 years ago, when he wrote his college entrance essay, he described his ideal scene. He wrote about what he would love to be doing 10 years from now and said, “I would love to be hiking through the jungle with a group of scientists discovering a new species.” And that’s exactly what happened 10 years later.

I am so inspired by this story… and it brings up an interesting question. Do we manifest these things in our lives? Did Ian have this desire and therefore create a reality which included this special dream? Did he work tirelessly his entire life so that this set of circumstances would appear?

Or was it his destiny all along? and he had some intuitive sense of that. And when he wrote this essay, he was tapping into a truth that was already written.

Such big questions for a friday. Maybe we should be relaxing.

But I’m curious. Do you believe we create our world completely based on our free will or is there some destiny in the mix?

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”
– Victor Hugo

Follow on Facebook Follow on Instagram Follow on Twitter Follow on Pinterest

Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. cindy

    I think we all have multiple destinies and our free will merely pulls us towards the ones we desire most. It’s always such a wonderful thing when someone finds themselves there- what a truly blessed friend you have!!

  2. slierk

    Write it down, make it happen, baby! I’m a firm believer that we “manifest these things in our lives” . . .although I rarely have the discipline to practice that philosophy . . . this is a good reminder for me to sit down, slow down, think, write it down, set some goals and visualize the reality I’d like to create (or help create, perhaps).
    Thanks for posting this story. It _is_ truly amazing, and so motivational for me right now.
    Way to go Ian!

  3. Kate

    I defer to Bono for this one: “She’s gonna dream up the world she wants to live in / she’s gonna dream out loud.” I believe eventually you realize you are doing and being the things you dreamed up. I wrote a story when I was 15 about how I would be ten years later. Aside from NOT living in Dublin, Ireland and meeting Bono, I am that person I dreamed up. I am exactly how I said I’d be. I believe someday I will write and rock out and meditate in India. I believe someday I’ll have to re-write my mondo-beyondo list because I’ll be living it.
    Go, Ian! That’s so incredible.

  4. jenn

    amazing how sometime we are thinking the same exact thing. wait until you read the email i just sent you.
    this is a great question… part of me believes there is a master plan for us already and if we are still enough and we are living the true lives we are meant to be living we notice that plan. we do in fact live that plan.
    but, i also belive we have a say in what happens in our lives… if i continue to say we have no money then i will have no money. if i can allow myself to see the blessings in my life and notice how our needs are being met then i belive they will continue to be met.
    my boss is always saying “what we think is what we say, and what we say is what we do.” “even if we are only thinking it, it effects our actions.” i agree completly.
    i think if we ask the universe for what we need, not what we want, but what we really need we are given that. it doesn’t always come in the exact form or shape we thought it would, but we are heard and we are taken care of.
    thank you for reminding me of this before my weekend started. what a great thought to carry with me this weekend.

  5. Julia

    Amazing post! How awesome is the power of our intentions and dreams! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  6. laura

    Hi Andrea,
    Wow, a new species, that’s fantastic. Sometimes I think the Victorian’s were spoilt because they discovered so many new species but maybe there is hope for us all.
    I think we definitely have a say in our destinies, whether it’s our destiny five minutes from now or five years from now.
    For instance, choosing on a particular day to not walk home from work the same way you walk home every day can have all sorts of wonderful consequences like bringing you into contact with someone you had been thinking about but hadn’t seen for years and would have continued not to see had you not choosen to change your habits.
    Or, empowering yourself to change a situation you are not happy with, like a job, or where you live, or choosing not to be saying sorry all the time!
    When you choose to make a change, all sorts of new horizons and vistas open up to you, ones you wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t made a different choice.
    I often think about what my life would be like if I had worked harder my first time in college and got better grades, I’d have a different job, be living probably in a different city, probably in another country. But then I wouldn’t have met my fiance, wouldn’t be getting married in september, wouldn’t have gone back to college to do another degree in something I much prefer. I might not be happy with my life, as I am right now and as I know I will be two weeks from now when all my exams are over. Then I’ll be THRILLED with my life.
    There is a plan for us probably, a discrete line, but life isn’t discrete it’s continuous, and we deviate a little from the line. Then we end up with a correlation rather than the exact scheme originally planned. But the trend is still there. With adventure mixed in.
    My mother sometimes says to me “I always knew I’d have children, but I couldn’t have had three nicer children” and i say to her, “sure you could have, if you had been given different babies, how would you have known about us?” (we’re adopted) “No. They wouldn’t have been as nice.” she says. “Even if they were your own, even if you had given birth to them?” I ask? “Especially not then. I got the best three.” And she is so definite.
    Ian’s destiny was probably always there, but he could have got to it as a film student or as a scientist. But he got there anyway.
    Life, you may think you have to follow a certain plan set out for you, but there are different routes, and the unexpected deviations are sometimes better. We create the different reality. But we get to where we are going in the end, after a more eventful journey. Destiny is the P?age. Our own manifestations are the Route Nationale. I know which is more interesting!

  7. celisa

    perhaps it’s a mixture of both free will and destiny. there are moments in my life where i say “YES, this is exactly where i’m supposed to be!!”. it’s a feeling you get. i might have made the decisions to get there, but it might have been my destiny all along. it goes the exact opposite too though; the times my life seem chaotic and disoriented i usually (eventually) realize that i am not where i’m supposed to be…i’ve lost my focus…my way. so i guess i don’t question anymore..i just trust life.

  8. hungaro

    I don’t know which way it goes – for me I knew where I wanted to live when I was 12, and it was very far away, and it was really unrealistic, and now I live there, and my life is quite what I thought it could be.
    And actually, professionally, I am doing what I thought would bring me success, and money, and prestige, and I realized that I would like to do other things, and might be better suitable for those.
    Anyway, I think I would be close to your friend in terms of fulfilling the dream, accept a part of the dream I grew out of.

  9. Steph

    Thank you for sharing another wonderful story, Andrea! This was exactly what I needed to read right now. Many congratulations to your friend.

  10. Michelle

    Well I would have to say that I don’t think your question has an either/or answer. I think it’s both/and. I think we each have a “blueprint” within ourselves of what would work for us and what wouldn’t, what would light our fires and what would leave us truly bored to tears. Some call it our essential self others call it our true self still others may call it our spirit. But added to that is our ability to choose and our gift of free will. I think it takes both working together, communicating in harmony to get us to our fate, or destiny, or highest calling, or fullest potential (whatever you choose to call it.) Thanks for always making us think.
    And by the way…
    I loved the photo from yesterdays post (looking right into the heart of the rose.) It made me want to crawl right into the center and take a nap there while the fragrant, velvet petals cradled me. You are so talented!!! Thanks for showering us all with it.

  11. Carrie

    Whoa – that’s deep stuff for a Friday. 😉
    Have a good weekend. I owe ya an email! 🙂

  12. Avrille

    I’ve come to several crossroads in my life where i needed to make a choice about my path. I choose one way and not the other. Sometimes that choice works out. Sometimes it doesn’t, and oddly enough, i find myself magically on the path i didn’t choose. It seems that it really didn’t matter which way i went. I ended up on the right path either way. Sometimes we take big detours. There is great hope in that. I never need to worry about making the “right” choice. I just need to make a choice.

  13. Lisa

    I was just thinking how this is somehow related to the Mondo Beyondo Lists some of us created and even posted. Perhaps what Ian wrote on his college entrance application was Mondo Beyondo. I’ve heard that if you write something down it makes it some outrageous percentage more likely to happen (can’t remember the exact number…). It’s as though when we release our intentions to the Universe–things we can’t see or even imagine start working in our favor.
    I think it also has to do with getting fully in touch with our essential selves…and being willing to follow our hearts rather than always wanting to please others or appear to be socially acceptable or whatever.
    I totally love it that this happened for Ian…it makes me believe it’s possible for the same to happen for all of us, ya know?

  14. Beth

    We create our own reality. The world is in us! We just have to choose the reality we want and make it.

  15. sharon

    Many moons ago I drew an illustration of my dream studio. I wanted a computer and art table in a well lit space. I drew in a window and a view of the city skyline. I found that picture yesterday as I was moving from an office I kept since 1988. I held the primitively drawn sketch and looked around the room and it was all there like I wanted it. The art table next to the Mac G5 a window above it, just like I drew it. Now my intention is to make a new drawing with a beach outside the window and a fax machine printing my approved designs for a liscensing company!

  16. Laurie

    For me at least, the answer has proven to be somewhere between destiny and my own defining spirit. I know that it was my destiny to die 13 years ago. I had always believed that I would live just a little while. Although I was diagnosed with no disease until the age of 11, I first commented that I would die young at 7. Not seeing any depression or cause for alarm, my family just attributed the comments to little kid weirdness. My early teen years were healthy, but I never denied that I had a great sense of my own mortality. Then it seemed almost overnight that I was suffering a long illness and undergoing over 20 surgeries that left me looking more like a raggedy ann patchwork doll than a 21 year old human girl. One night my mother witnessed me recount my life to an unseen man in my hospital room. She recognized that I was saying goodbye, that as I celebrated the memories that had once been my healthy life I was also letting go of the pain that had somehow replaced them. My doctors rung their hands and openly admitted that all their efforts had failed. And then it happen. I died on the operating table. It was wonderful to not be bound to my hurt body. But as I was aware that I was dying an unknown strength cried out of me. I saw that death was good, but I turned around anyway. I sank back down into the body that was betraying me. I came back to life, for better or for worse. Destiny was bested by free will that day. It’s hard to say how I know that I lived because I chose to live. But it’s true just the same.

  17. kim

    I was just having this conversation the other day. I was quoting a Paul Simon lyric “Baby you think too much” and that is my manifesto. Who knows? Let go and just go. Live. We may or may not create our own destiny…..but we should dream and imagine all that we can be. It could all happen. Just like that. *snap*

  18. joy madison

    I heard about this on NPR a few weeks ago! Too cool!
    I fully believe in providence! and destiny.

  19. Colleen

    I believe that every person comes into this world to fulfill a purpose only God (or the universe, if you like) completely knows. Our job is to strain to hear that music within, that leitmotif, even when so much else gets in the way, and to follow it with our dance. Destiny and free will are in such a dance with each other in all our lives.

  20. Sonia

    I believe both: we create our world based on our free will but sometimes there is some destiny in the mix: hazard, luck, accident, may change a life! Whatever, the C. Phillips’s quote is great: “Destiny is simply having the vision to realize your dreams and the perseverance to keep working towards them”.

  21. Anja

    I don’t believe in destiny. And I think the fact that we have absolutely no way whatsoever of knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow mindblowingly scary. Yet we all keep on living, in the hope of the present. And there’s something very beautiful in that too…
    Apart from the philosophy, what great news with the monkeys! Well done Ian!!

  22. jack

    i dont believe in destiny. i think that we can all make our dreams come true. by working hard, taking risks, paving our own way. your post came just at the right time for me, andrea. because i just quit my dead end job and am diving in headfirst on starting anew. these are my first steps down a road that i am creating. a road that will lead to me having my own photography company, having a job that i will actually learn from and LOVE going to every morning. so, to me, the only destiny there is is the one that you make for yourself. if you sit there and do nothing, you wont just happen to find something new in your life. you can’t just wake up one day and be living your dream.

  23. Marilyn

    Aw, jeez, you would have to do a post about this…right after my sent-a-year-ago email to myself just arrived from futureme.org. And I was trying to avoid thinking about it…ha! Guess that’s no accident. Your timing is always ‘perfect,’ A. 🙂

  24. Lu

    I think our life was intended to be led by destiny, but we sometimes screw it up making decisions that are not the best for us. I am working harder at asking God to lead me and bless me in the areas of my life where I need it the most. Sometimes, we can not leave everything up to our free will.

  25. Jennifer

    I think it might be a little of both. For me, I think what it comes down to is this: do what you love and love what you do. Not that I’m actually doing that myself right now, but when you live your life like that, it makes things a lot less scary.

  26. ali

    Have you read Paulo Coehlo’s book The Alchemist?
    Fits this story perfectly 🙂

  27. Kate

    [That spidey picture gives me the shivers!]
    Manifestation is the truest thing I know. Energy is everything. You’ve actually been somewhat of a teacher to me in that way–your post ages ago on making lists is my favorite.
    The other night I was talking to my boyfriend about being scared that maybe I’d never get published. He said, “If you want it badly enough, it will happen. Or, you’ll find something else you’d rather do.”
    I said, “There’s nothing else I want to do.”
    He said, “Then you’ll find a way to make it happen.”
    So true, so true.

  28. Tracy

    I’m a frequent lurker to your blog…this is my first comment. It is somewhat intimidating to me to add my voice to the conversation in this online artistic space. But, I’m working on being braver in my life 🙂
    I think it is hard to parse out the influences on a person’s particular actions. Some things we control…some we don’t. Some we think we control,but we really don’t. You can get dizzy trying to figure out if something is “meant to be.” Have you ever had the experience of trying to make a big decision between two paths? Everything that you experience in that time frame becomes a “sign” in one direction or another. For me, I generally get an equal number of signs in both directions.
    What I believe to be true is that if we have a vision of what we want,like your friend does, we are far more likely to get it. I think many of us have a vague sense of the kind of life we want to live. But I think if we can articulate it to the point where we can write it down, we are far more likely to make decisions that support our goal. Even without realizing we are doing it. We start to see the opportunities that were there all along. And we take them.
    I don’t know why this is. And I can’t say that I’ve had this experience. But I’ve heard of too many stories of this happening and gotten this advice from too many people I respect to ignore it.
    Of course, this idea is not foolproof. Bad things happen to good people, unfortunately. And a superficial vision – one that we can’t buy into wholeheartedly as a motivator for our lives – is not likely to guide us either.
    Right now I’m at a crossroads…and I’ve been stuck here for a while. And I think this is what I need to do. Work out a vision for myself. I tell myself I haven’t done it because of time constraints…thought constraints. But I think I really haven’t been able to work through my resistance yet.
    Apparently Tuesday is the day for deep thoughts for me! 🙂 Thank you for inspiring me on this Tuesday and thank you for sharing your work with us. I’m a huge fan.

  29. Kate

    I completely agree with you, Tracy. You said it so perfectly: working through your resistance. I have been sitting here…contemplating a possible move to NYC in August…wondering why I cannot move forward with myself and my writing…and that’s it. I am pushing through my own resistance. And my resistance has got the consistency and strength of rubber.

  30. Ann Benoit

    im a firm believer that when we clearly present our intentions to the universe, that it accordingly arranges events/circumstances/opportunities to meet those intentions… the trick is just to be aware and receptive to these things when they happen, since opportunities can easily be missed. I don’t believe in one destiny per se, but multiple destiny’s that are the result of free will decisions

  31. amy

    Boy have I enjoyed reading all of the comments to this question!
    I love that you pose this question Andrea.
    I believe that everyone has the power to manifest what they want in their lives. Set your intention and start walking towards it. Consistency is key! Follow through!
    For some reason when the calendar turned 2005, I felt compelled to shake things up in my life — begin an experiment of sorts. I decided that I would spend the whole year testing the power of my my mind…quantum leap thinking, if you will.
    I say daily affirmations, live in the moment, created a visual “treasure map,” created a manifesting board for the new year, and became more attuned and driven in creating my art.
    This has brought upon a peaceful knowing in myself. I wholeheartedly believe that through intention and mastery of the mind one will create their hearts deepest desire.

  32. LMG

    Wow- this is very weird. I didn’t read this post carefully friday, and didn’t read the comments. And just by chance decided that tonight (tues) was the night I was going to stay home and write down what I WANT, where I want to be going and how I am going to get there. This post deals with exactly the questions I’ve been asking myself. After a traumatic break-up in a long-term relationship, I’ve been fighting life and fighting the world. I have felt hopeless and have felt like giving up. But something inside of me feels like I have a job to do and I want to seek it out. Thank you for these postings. They will help me as I make plans tonight….

  33. Theresa

    I try not to think too hard about whether destiny is a question or an answer. makes my head hurt. but I know that whenever I’ve stated something boldly like that, it has come to pass.

Ready for your next creative adventure?

Download the Mondo Beyondo dream generator!

Latest from the blog

CSP #82: We Should Get Together with Kat Vellos

CSP #82: We Should Get Together with Kat Vellos

Listen in to this great conversation about adult friendship with expert Kat Vellos! Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships. She’s a speaker and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better...

read more

self guided e-courses

Choosing Ease

30 days of ease, joy and cultivating wonder

I believe that when I’m creating from a place of ease and buoyancy I am actually in flow – in alignment with myself and the Universe.

Capture the Magic

Rock your camera-phone - and discover that beauty and joy are everywhere.

The very best camera is the one that’s with you! I’ll show you how to get on your own path of joy and delight while learning photography skills along the way.

mondo beyondo

What does your heart truly want in 2020? 

What if you could name your dreams and desires for 2020 and create a plan to make them reality?


Get your FREE guide to experiencing more wonder + joy!

Hop on my mailing list to get weekly-ish inspiration, updates and your free downloadable PDF: 9 ways to experience more wonder right now. I'm so glad you're here!

You have Successfully Subscribed!