The language of signs

Do you believe in signs? I do. Although historically I believed in them as a way to confirm what I thought I should do, as in, “please, Universe, show me a sign if I should do X.” It was another form of seeking external validation and approval. Those signs never came.

Have you heard the saying, chance favours the prepared mind? The quote is attributed to scientist Louis Pasteur. It’s a wise reminder that when we prepare, when we take action, even small steps towards something, the universe meets us in some respect. We can’t recognize the signs or say “yes” to the offers of partnership or for help if we don’t have some well-formed idea of what we want and be actively working towards it.

I’ve written about my recent life changes, some rather big decisions that I made. Most recently to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. You can be sure that I grappled with this decision for a long time, scared in all the usual ways. Would I be able to survive? Would I be any good? Would I be seen as a fraud? And so, I asked for signs to verify that I should follow the direction that I felt deep in my heart and in my guts. I searched everywhere. I watched for strange animal sightings, for numbers to flash in my view, for colours to blur my vision. Nothing, nada.

I gave up on signs and, after a fair deal of soul searching, I concentrated instead on taking action. I took the leap. I prepared my mind for change. I wrote out what I wanted from my days and my life and started to shift my schedule and energy to match that. I took one step and then another. And you know what happened, right?

It’s been barely three weeks that I’ve been at this, remaking my work life, and I have been inundated with signs. I look at the clock and it says 12:34, 2:34, 1:23, 11:11. At least once a day I see some variation of this. I stop typing to check my word count and it says 234 words. I reach for a copy of The Paris Review to read some short stories for inspiration and see that I hold volume number 234 in my hand. I take a break to renew myself in nature and hike the trails and I’ve seen snakes repeatedly. Snakes symbolize transformation.

I could spend days researching what the symbolism is, but the reality is that my interpretation is the only one that matters. The signs are for me and only I know what they tell. They’re saying keep going, you’re on the right path, take the next step and the next. You see signs show up as positive reinforcement when you’re acting in integrity with your purpose and your spirit. It’s after you’ve made the decision and are living the change that the signs appear.

I realized a while back that the place I should be looking for direction and for guidance is inside me. The only sign I’ll ever need to make a decision is to listen to my body. And I do that by getting quiet, by sitting still in meditation, by moving with presence in yoga. I listen and I watch the feelings in my body. Does this idea make me feel tense and tight or open and relaxed? The wisdom of the body never lies, and it can be accessed in every moment. Thank the Universe for that.

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