Life is a dream, like the song says. But you can awaken inside the dream and begin to dream courageously—you can even transform your experience of reality.

Imagine that your life is a solid cord of light extending backward into the past for many lifetimes. In the now, today, this cord separates into countless threads from which you weave the future. Each thread represents a possible future, one of your many destinies. Some of these futures are more likely than others. One thread leads to your waking up to discover that you have won the lottery, but that is not very probable. Follow another thread and you’ll see it leads to your dying young from heart disease. That is a more likely future for you if this condition runs in your family.

The threads where you have the greatest freedom are your destiny. The strands where your health or your love life has been selected for you by your genetics or your upbringing are what we call fate.

Visualize a bell curve showing the odds of a person becoming a top-performing athlete. Seventy percent of the population will turn out to be average athletes, 10 percent will be very poor ones, and 20 percent will be exceptional. Odds are you and I fall in the fat part of the curve: we are average performers in the athletic field. If we want to improve, we must practice diligently and redesign our lifestyle so that we might possibly become exceptional athletes.

Now imagine that this curve shows the risk for Parkinson’s disease. Seventy percent of the population has an average risk of developing this disease. If we want to lower our risk of Parkinson’s, we have to design our diet and lifestyle for health. The beauty is that you can change your destiny by making different lifestyle and dietary choices than you might have if you were resigned to what you think of as “fate.”

When you dream your world into being, you break out of the fat part of the bell curve. None of us wants to become a statistic. We want to be exceptional, to lead extraordinary lives. And we want to age well and die healthy. That requires us to make a conscious decision to live differently and better our odds. To live an exceptional life, you must transform the dreams that keep you trapped in mediocrity at the center of the bell curve, repeating the nightmares of your family history.

The Laika speak about a silver book we were all born with, one that came written with the challenging story of our life. In this book our fate has been cast and the story line is unoriginal. But there is also a golden book that is filled with blank pages. When you pick up your pen and begin writing in the golden book, you start dreaming an original destiny that was never permissible by your birthright.

The most powerful way to start authoring the golden book of your life is to practice the giveaway. Ask yourself: How can I give? How can I bring beauty and healing to others? How can I practice being of service to all beings? You avoid the life in which you get to retire early or make the most money or have the biggest house, because that life is a dead end.

This dream may not be the easiest one to manifest. On the contrary, these dreams are often filled with tests. If you select the dream that leads to the summit of the holy mountain, you are going to have to ford raging rivers, become lost in the forest, and hike along the edge of a precipice. If you select the dream that leads to the meadow where the cows are grazing, you will gaze at the distant mountain longingly, feeling the call to test yourself, but too busy scraping the cow dung from your boots to move forward toward your calling.

The Greeks believed that three Fates delivered your destiny on the day of your birth. Clotho spun the thread of your fate, while her sister Lachesis handed it to you, and the third sister, Atropos, cut the thread with her scissors. The length of your thread determined the length of your life. The Fates were deities, and there was no way to change your fortune: You could only grow to accept your lot in life and carry your burden with as much grace as you could muster.

The shaman believes that when you become the author of the golden book, you cease being a character in the dream, beholden to a script that you did not write. You are the master spinner of your fate. You can change anything, as long as you do it from the level above the one where you observe it.