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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From Where I Sit

I’ve been feeling very restless the last few weeks. Most likely because the intensity of my day job has substantially increased recently and I have been tethered to the computer daily, mired in the learning curve of java, html, and creating Web pages in a deeper level than I ever knew, or care to, for that matter.

I sit in my home office, surrounded by monitors and keyboards, and after hours of intense focus of staring at the computer screen, sometimes I need to look at something more 3D, so I’ll look out of the one window that is in the room. From where I sit, I can just see the top of the garage roof and an audience of trees behind it. The view is especially lovely when it snows or rains.

My eyes follow the raindrops or the snowflakes as they cascade from the sky and turn the tree tops into white-laced forests or drooping branches, saturated with moisture. If it’s a clear day then I watch the clouds parade by. And if I tilt my head just right (or slink down in my chair, just so), the roof disappears and all I see are the trees and it’s then that I imagine myself  in a place far, far away.

When I feel particularly antsy, I get up and walk to my living room window where, now in the winter, I can see the lake across the way through the bare branches. Sometimes I can’t resist the lure of leaning on crossed arms against the sill, with my forehead pressed against the glass and just watch the play of the sun on the water, letting it mesmerize me and lull me into a quiet space of prayer and meditation.

As a yoga teacher, I learned that yoga lives just as much off the mat as it does on. Some say more so—doing asanas doesn’t make the world go around but following the wisdom of the teachings of Yoga does. As a Shamanic practitioner, I learned the importance, and yes, I’m going to say necessity, of reaching out and connecting to the energies of nature and the Universe; our ancestors, guides and teachers is essential if we are to grow individually and collectively as a human race and maintain and sustain a thread of creativity, abundance, and positivity. Some days, I’ll admit, it is an effort—yogically and shamanically but it’s an effort that is worth making.

I can’t let my days be completely ruled by fear and obligations of unknown and yet to be learned work skills. Yes, I need the work—I have bills to pay like everyone one else. But I see clearly now, more than ever, that when we allow one thing, one aspect of our lives to overrule and push out everything else that is a part of who we are, a disconnect happens and we get into trouble and the restlessness, feelings of unworthiness, insecurity, and general unhappiness kick in. I can’t keep going like that. I won’t. It’s time to get reacquainted with balance again.

I will still do what is asked of me and fulfill my obligations but on new terms.  I am actively rededicating myself to my practices and bringing them off the mat and into the world and I am birthing it with drumming, and rattling and dancing with the ancestors.

There is always so much to do, places to go, people to see—an abundance of distractions and with only so many hours and energy to do it all, I will let my window gazing—arms folded on the sill and forehead against the glass if need be, to lead me into the prayers and meditations and practices that will get me there. Back to balance, back to home.

One Day Last Week

One day last week, I got home before my husband, so I had the house to myself for a while. It had been a hectic few days so it felt like a guilty pleasure to change into my sweatpants and just sit and relax without having to move right into making dinner or starting laundry. Sitting quietly on the couch, I had the TV on low, tuned into a British medical drama I’ve always passed by but thought this would be the perfect time to watch it. So there I was, letting my senses and soul knit themselves back to normal as I let myself get lost in the lilting British accents when I heard a distinct whhhhoooooossssh THUMP.

I tend to hear weird noises in my house (who hasn’t?), but sometimes things have moved on their own here before and I also grew up in a house that was spiritually active so I’ve always been around bumps in the night, or in my case days also. After hearing the noise, I still jumped and thought “What now?” It didn’t take long to find it and I laughed after I got over my shock. A book my husband had put on the bookshelf a few days prior had slid off the top shelf and landed on the floor. The title? God will Provide. No kidding. It was a book on the lives of various saints that we both enjoy and have always loved the title. Huh. I left the book where it was to show my husband and sat back on the couch. There was no reason why it had fallen from a secure spot.

I couldn’t stop smiling. What a great message. I really wasn’t scared. Who would be with a message “God Will Provide”? Yeah sure the delivery of the message was a little unusual but I was willing to look past that. A short time later, a smudge feather I’ve used in many Shamanic practices that had been sitting on a drum across the room suddenly flipped over end to end with a soft whoosh of the feather and landed on the floor. That one I caught out of the corner of my eye and so witnessed the whole cartwheel. This one startled me a little bit more. There was no reason—no breeze, no gust of wind, no open window, open door, no nothing that would explain that flip. It wasn’t even a sliding off but it flipped end over end. Again, I was shocked, but feathers are very special to me, and this feather, in particular, and I went back together a long way so I knew it was motivated to move by a good energy.

I told my husband about the book and the feather when he got home and asked him if he thought there were any logical reasons that he could see why they had fallen, and he admitted no, there really wasn’t. These two occurrences have stayed with me since then and I’ve wrapped myself up in the comfort they’ve left me with the loud and clear message that I am not alone and that no matter what happens, “God will Provide” and the feather falling told me that my guides and helping Spirits were around.

I thanked whomever it was that helped deliver the message (and yes, accepted the signs from only in the highest good). I have some otherworld helpers for sure and to me it doesn’t matter which one of them did it but rather I am grateful for the message. It was timely. There are days I pray from the knees on my heart for peace, grace, and strength to do whatever needs to be done and sometimes the prayer is just one of thankfulness for the new day and to see what I will learn. Messages of confirmation or love or support from the Universe or whomever, aren’t always that direct to many people or me I know, so the fact that it was so exacting really told me a lot. It was a spiritual slap upside the head to say “Hey! It’s okay! Don’t worry. Things have a way of working out.”

Sometimes I have fun and I outright ask, “Show me what I need to know for right now or for today.” And then I let it go, but without a hitch, at some point I will come across an advertisement on a truck, a vanity license plate, overhear a part of a conversation, something that will just root me to the spot that fits in perfectly with what I may need to hear. We hear what we need to hear in many different ways. So if you’re praying for something and you don’t think you’re getting an answer (yes, sometimes not having the answer is also an answer), be open to what crosses your path and see if you don’t find that answer in the most surprising places.