Fortuna – the fickle Goddess of luck!
Dora in Roma circa 1992…
Don’t ask me why, but I was looking through an old box and found this photo of myself. The year is 1992-93, I was 16 years or so, during a lovely trip in Rome. Nothing like gazing at yourself unexpected from a 25-year distance. I would never have thought that I end up as a business owner, teaching yoga and living in Seattle!
We live in a meritocracy. Living in a Western Industrialized Nation, we believe that if we work hard, we will have a good life. Sociologists have shown studies that folks who reached their goal in life (having a good family, good job, nice house) believe that they have done so on their merit. But folks who were not able to reach their vision often feel that they are somehow lesser than, that they somehow lost, some say they did not have good luck.
Ancient cultures were much more well rounded and kinder in their vision of life. The Roman Goddess Fortuna was often a center of prayers because folks were keenly aware of the element of fortune in their lives.
Life is unpredictable, where you are born, are you in prosperity or wartime, what kind of people you encounter, what your genetic code dictates, who is driving next to you on the freeway… Our lives are a slave to Fortuna infinitely more than we recognize today. Yes, hard work matters, but Fortuna is fickle.
I like to resurrect this ancient god; Fortuna when I recite all things that I am grateful for in life, remembering never take anything for granted, and allowing empathy and understanding for the less fortunate.
Willing to hold Fortuna in your heart will allow you to find a softer approach to hiccups and setbacks in life. I am not saying don’t do everything that you can do; I am not saying don’t hold yourself responsible. Oh no! Please do learn, but also know, that we are not fully in control.
My life has taken some unexpected turns in the past, and I certainly did not end up where I imagined as a 16 years old European girl. But what a journey, fickle, twisted, heartbreaking at times, but endlessly rewarding at other times.
May you always remember to honor Fortuna in your life,
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