You were born. You’re going to die. You’re going to experience pain and suffering.
Once I went to a psychic who read my palm on Venice beach (ok, maybe more than once), she told me all sorts of things about the kind of life I was destined to have. Love, money, success, happiness, business ventures. Are these things that may happen or will happen? We read our horoscopes, we go to psychics, we throw the I Ching, and we create beautiful tales of secret prophecies. Or we coldly deny any possibility of prediction. Does everything happen for a reason? Is the path laid out before us and regardless of our choices we will wind up where we were always intended to be? Or are we dropped into a vast and empty canvas with the freedom to paint whatever we want?
Both perspectives have some comfort and some angst. If we aren’t in control then we can stop giving ourselves so much shit but then that would mean we don’t have any control. If we are in control that means we have the freedom to do whatever we want the flip side being that if we don’t do it then it is our own fault.
All of these things are true. You are born into a specific situation and you are going to die, those things are pre-determined and whether they were caused by the karma (actions) you accumulated in a previous life is a little irrelevant. You have the hand you have. That hand is going to impact your life and the choices you have to make. If you were born into a privileged situation with access to healthy food, clean water, safety, an able body and a community and society that supports your color, gender and sexual preference then your choices will be very different then one who was born without those things.
Your path is laid out, it starts with your birth and ends with your death, there may or may not be more after that but that much is clear and true. In between get out your paints and paint, the canvas is yours, make the most of it.