Somehow, even with my love of fairy tales, I missed the boat when Once Upon a Time debuted on ABC. I recently tried watching it on Netflix and predictably, I’m hooked. (Pun intended for everyone who has a crush on Colin O’Donoghue!)

I loved every season, for the most part (okay, enough with Neverland, already!), but I’d have to say my favorite theme has emerged from this current season. Watching Regina try to find her happy ending gives me the chills – in a good way. Running parallel to this storyline is Rumpelstiltskin (my favorite character) teaming up with the three villains (Ursula, Maleficent & Cruella) trying to find a way to make sure the “bad guys” get to win for once.

So villains can’t win. They don’t get a happy ending. And heroes have to struggle and fight, but in the end, it’s worth it because they get their happily ever after…? These are the kinds of ideas the Once characters are exploring right now.

It really comes down to the age-old question: Are our lives instructed by fate…or free will?

No one embodies the struggle behind this paradox more than Regina. One moment, she is transcending her dark past and declaring, “I make my own destiny!” And in another moment, she gives in to despair, believing that because the magic book has recorded her as a villain, she is doomed to misery.

Our own lives are recorded, as well. I believe we all have soul contracts in which our relationships and circumstances are laid out in great detail, in partnership with all the souls we encounter in our lifetimes. And the storylines of our soul contracts reflect the greater archetypal structure that we see in fairy tales.

And yet, we are as magical as any fairy tale creature. We can spin straw into gold. We can lift curses. We can shapeshift. We can rise from the cinders of a fireplace and end up a queen. We have all the power of the great alchemists, sorceresses and princesses of these ancient stories.

Somewhere within this divine paradox lies the reality of our lives. Personally, I like to think that our soul contracts have an infinite number of expressions – so yes, our lives are predestined, but we get to choose amongst a set of infinite possibilities.

In the end, the destination for everyone is exactly the same: we must learn to empower and manage our souls. So no matter what, within all these infinite choices in all the billions of souls on this planet, somehow, we are all traveling along the exact same road.

Which camp do you fall in? Fate? Or free will? Or both?

Who will get to choose whether or not you get your happy ending?

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