Friday’s Focus—Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs….the clocks moved ahead, the flowers are budding, Easter candy has been on sale since February….all signs indicating that Spring is around the corner (at least after the next predicted snowfall). There are always signs around us, guiding us, informing us, playing with us. How often do you notice them?

If you’re on the road, notice license plates and slogans on trucks. Listening to the radio, notice if a song or a chorus resonates with you. When you’re watching TV, talking to people, or reading a book, become aware of any word, phrase, or idea that keeps popping up (“That’s the third time I’ve heard that today!”).

Make it a game! Sometimes the Universe uses what’s around us to reveal answers to a particular question or something that may be on your mind, while other times, what we see is just a fascinating reveal of simple patterns. One of my favorite authors, Robert Moss, talks about this regularly and it is the focus of his book Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life. He calls these reveals, sidewalk tarot. Be aware of your thoughts and aware of your surroundings as you go about your day and see if the Universe doesn’t have a word or two to offer you.

Last September, I wrote a post called “Don’t Stop Believing,” about keeping the faith and hope alive even when you can’t clearly see the path in front of you. What inspired me to write that piece was my going through a difficult time where it seemed that every area of my life—from job to health to family was being squeezed. You name it, and there was an issue or at least a concern with it.

During that time, the song of the same name, by the group Journey, kept popping up during some of the deepest experiences I’ve ever had in playing sidewalk tarot. I started to notice that moments when I’d get lost in thought of “How am I…?” “Where are we…?” Journey’s song, “Don’t Stop Believing” would come on the radio—sometimes from the beginning, sometimes the middle, and sometimes the tail end, but just enough of the notes for me to recognize the song. I heard it so often during these times of personal questions, I couldn’t help but notice it had long crossed the line from coincidence to message.

One particular afternoon I’ll never forget, my husband and I were people-watching from a bench in the center of the town we’ve been talking about moving to. We dreamed and schemed about how we can arrange things and make this our new home. At that time, there was no clear way that we could see it happening, so we kept pleading our cause to the Universe.

As we continued to sit and talk about the house we would have and what we would do once we moved there, a blue pick-up truck came into the local traffic queue and in the most perfectly-timed sidewalk tarot orchestration I’ve ever seen, the truck drove past us, and through it’s open windows we heard the undeniable voice of Steve Perry belt out those three words “Don’t Stop Believing.” That was it for me. Not only was it the appearance of that song, but what stunned us was of all the lyrics, it was those specific three words that we heard as the truck passed directly in front of us as if in answer to our questions. I didn’t know how but I knew  from that day things would work. Six months later,  we’re now in the process of moving to the town we’ve always talked about.

There were other moments  when those three specific words showed up for me, and now looking back, I can see that it was always during the times I needed to hear them most. Because I had become aware of the message, each time I heard them or read them, I was able to take a moment and just close my eyes and say ok. I wasn’t alone.

Signs can come from anywhere and everywhere, from an image in the clouds to a phrase in a commercial. Sometimes you’ll see the signs when you least expect it and other times when you’ve specifically asked for them.  I hope you use today’s Focus to go out and play and see what the Universe has to say to you today—Is it an answer? Is it a new opportunity? Is it a new pattern? Whatever it is, just Don’t Stop Believing!

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Keep Your Monkey to Yourself

Don’t invite other people’s monkey’s to your circus. In other words, don’t let other people’s attitudes affect your day. I woke up early this morning to get some coffee at a local popular cafe, which at 7:20 a.m. was already filling up with tourists. I exchanged a bit of chitchat with the girls behind the counter and moved on to the next table for the milk and lids.

I stayed near the edge of the wall to keep the majority of the table available to the other patrons. As I searched the canisters for the soy milk, I had no idea that this guy had come up on my right and in the 12 inches of space I left between me and the wall, had put his coffee down. It wasn’t until my elbow made contact and I heard a “grff.” that I realized someone was there.

Startled, I looked over and saw that I had knocked this guy’s hand enough to spill a little of the coffee he had, on the table. I quickly gave him a once-over to make sure nothing was spilled on his light-colored clothing (which, thankfully, was not). As I profusely apologized, I caught the micro-moment of annoyance on his face. That nailed me. He was not very friendly about the mishap but brushed it off saying it was alright and reached beyond me for some napkins. I gathered my things and ducked out of the cafe feeling bad and well, like an idiot.

It was not my fault that this guy found the smallest nook to be able to place his coffee’s down without even saying “excuse me” or anything else to alert me that he was there. What happened was exactly why I chose that end of the table and left the rest of the table open and available.

I came to realize that whatever was behind that micro-moment really had nothing to do with me. I don’t know what was going on with him or what monkey’s were in his circus but I was damned if I was going allow his attitude to ruin my day when I really did nothing wrong. It could have been so easy to let this morning’s exchange fester and turn into a full-blown, “I’m such an idiot, I should have known someone was going to try and squeeze into that space,” but I refuse to take on whatever he was dishing out.

I wanted to share this experience in today’s Focus as a reminder that not everyone’s attitude and annoyance have to do with you. Each one of us has our own story and circus, and it’s enough to deal with our own monkey’s without taking on someone else’s.

#takingitdeeper

Castles in My Mind

Inspiration struck early this morning driving me from my sleep and directly to my computer. I had no idea what was buzzing in me to get out but I just knew something was there. I settled down in the peace and quiet of a new day in this New Year and opened to a blank page. Immediately I was a witness to what my fingers typed. Words were dictated through me. It was one of those magical moments when I truly felt like a vessel and I was happy to be at least cognizant to realize that what was happening was because of something bigger than me. It is a haunting reveal that has come from somewhere deep and wide. I wasn’t going to post this but then I changed my mind and so here it is:

I hold the key but you hold the door.
Which gets me the freedom I so long for?

The walls around me are made of stone and brick,
I’ve tried to knock them down but still, they’re too thick.

I plead with you and beg you to release me; let me go,
but I fear that I’ve failed to convince you as your silence tells me so.

We did have our memories, our smiles, and our joys,
but you’ve changed, as have I, and I’m no longer your toy.

I bribe you, I beseech you, I cry out your name
but the walls they still hold me, prisoner in this cell of my pain.

One day it comes when I give up and give in.
As I collapse to the floor,
I wonder how much more can I take; will I ever win?

With one last effort I raise up my head
replacing failure and exhaustion with a prayer in its stead.

I lean on the wall from my weakness and pain,
and as I rise slowly, I see each stone has a name.

The names are Crazy and Lazy and Stupid and Slow.
I remember—all these words—I remember, I know.

I stared at the words finding more with each turn.
Each stone, each piece, their insults sting and they burn.

Slowly, I recognized the writing on the walls.
It was me who wrote them, and thus built this here space, my words lining the halls.

Enough! No more! I shouted, my words echoing back
as my fists I pounded out a full-fledged attack.

I found a crack in the wall and dug my fingers in deep;
I pushed and I pulled now fully awake from my sleep.

First one stone then another, soon the sun shone its way in.
I poked my head through the hole finally seeing from the darkness within.

The stones now fell faster breaking free of their walls,
as I pulled and I tugged, opening a hole in these halls.

At last I stepped through and crawled on my knees,
as the birds sang their songs and the sun shone through the trees.

Still dazed and confused, the sweetest air I now breathed,
I didn’t understand any of it, most of all the why me?

I picked up a stone, its carved words read clearly now,
I finally understood at the whys and the whens and most importantly the how.

The room I was in was a prison of my making,
and when I cried out to you it was really me I was forsaking.

I believed in those words of hate, shame, and fear
and I surrounded myself with them, I see it all now so clear.

There was never a door, I didn’t build one you see,
but what I still had that made the difference was in my holding the key.

I was once my own prisoner with my beliefs as my walls,
but I decided right then I’ll never go back to those halls.

I found in me the freedom to use kinder words,
no longer fearing I’d be looked upon as being absurd.

I picked up each stone from my past years’ abode
and threw them far and away from what used to be my home.

The rubble left behind of my dismemberment,
holds no sadness or shame, instead happiness and content.

Onward I walk now with more freedom than I’ve known,
my past will stay past and only good thoughts will I own.

I know as you read this, you saw your story in me,
so remember dear reader, you too, hold your key.