This post is about signs. Looking for them. Spotting them. Trusting them.
‘Seems right to start things off with a sign that showed up for me recently.
Just over my computer monitor — smack in front of me — is a print by Brian Andrea of StoryPeople. Here’s what it says:
I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, You can start any time now. & then I said is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.
When I sit down to write — whether my weekly newsletter, a Medium article, or a blog post, I have spent days in advance. I decide on the topic. In this case, “signs.” I gather things: quotes, definitions, thoughts that flit through my mind, a story that comes to me. Then, at a set time on my calendar each week, I begin developing form, structure, and hopefully something meaningful and relevant for you! This post was no different: five days of “collecting” on my chosen topic before I sat down to compose.
And then, then, I saw the print. The one I quoted. The one that sits smack in front of me — just over my computer monitor — every day and all the time.
That felt like a sign in and of itself!
Signs are everywhere. But that doesn’t mean I always see them. Even — and maybe especially — when they are right in front of me.
How many times do we miss the signs that are ours to see, listen to, and learn from?
I don’t want to miss them. I want to walk through my days certain that signs are everywhere, mine to discover and cherish:
- 12:34 on the clock
- The flower growing in the crack on the sidewalk
- The clouds
- The sun
- The book that came in the mail
- The podcast episode I can’t get out of my head
- The limp houseplants asking to be watered
- The dust on the TV
- An empty water glass
- Cold coffee
- Unread emails
- The bill that came in the mail
- The lump in my throat
- The tears in my eyes
- The catch in my voice
- The dream I just recalled
- The chocolate I crave
- The shoes I still haven’t put back in the closet
- The text from a friend
- The to-do I keep procrastinating over
- The print on my wall — smack in front of me
I could go on. Clearly.
What’s on your list? Your whole world is filled with signs. You deserve to keep track!! I’m sure of it. It’s said that signs often appear as confirmation of the things we are interested in, what we’re pondering, what we’re questioning or wondering about. Sort of like when you decide you want a red Mini Cooper and then you start seeing them everywhere.
Yes, we can read meaning into pretty much anything (a la my long list above). And I suppose it’s possible we can take it too far. But I’d rather lean in that direction than worry about it. Here’s why:
When we trust that “the whole world is filled with signs” that long to be seen and are speaking to us, we walk through our days with heightened curiosity, a profound sense of openness, and a general spirit of receptivity. Doesn’t that sound far more lovely than the alternative?
We have opportunity and invitation to walk through our days as though we are in the middle of a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. What might be possible with that level of anticipation and joy?
It feels important to name that signs can be hard things — not always surprising and pleasant; sometimes difficult and painful. Maybe more often than not.
Fear is one of the most significant (and consistent) signs of all; an invitation to profound and powerful discernment!
Fear is a sign that says our worry or anxiety or obsessing matters and deserves to be paid attention to. Fear is a sign that helps us know we’re on track and moving in the right direction (or it wouldn’t have shown up in the first place). Fear is a sign that calls us to courage and levels of self-trust we would otherwise not know, make manifest, or rely upon!
Other significant (and hard) signs include: resistance, procrastination, frustration, rage, sarcasm, despair, consumption and, and, and . . . It’s not about getting rid of these things, purging them somehow from your life. No! It’s about coming to see them as signs in and of themselves, as invitations to meaning and understanding, as opportunities to discern what is calling you deeper into your own life.
Whatever you feel, whatever your emotions, whatever is showing up in your life is a sign that invites you to step more and more fully into the wisdom that is already and always yours — into discernment. I’m sure of it.
It’s true: the whole world IS filled with signs. Sometimes hanging on the wall right in front of you. Sometimes hidden and waiting to be found. Always taking you deeper, and then deeper still. And what you’ll find there is far more glorious than an angel in black tights. I’m sure of it.
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