I have always been a person who likes to be in control. When I say that, I don’t mean I love bossing people around or that it is my dream to work my way up to the top of some corporate or political hierarchy. What I mean is that I like to make plans and I like it when things go according to my plans. But—spoiler alert—it turns out life doesn’t usually work like that. And the more I think about it, the more I think the best plan of action is to accept the fact that there may be some other plan for me than the one I have for myself, rather than fighting against it. After all:
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell (or possibly E.M. Forster.)
Here are a few examples of when some outside force seems to have appeared to nudge me in the right direction:
1. Stop doing so many things!
Three times this year, I got knocked out by a nasty illness for about a week. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the fact that my job has me working with lots of kids (who are around lots of other kids and often lack personal hygiene skills). The thing about this that is rather curious, though, is that right before two of the times I got sick, I had been feeling really strongly like I needed a break from doing so much. But I didn’t take one. I kept going because there were always more things that needed to be done. So instead of listening to my body’s gentle nudgings to take it easy, I ignored it until it shouted “HEY YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” and then pretty much forced me to follow its instructions. The first time I got sick, I really couldn’t do anything at all except for lie in bed and lie on the couch and lie on the recliner. The second and third times were pretty bad too. And even though I felt terrible physically, it was so refreshing to just not do anything. So why do I have to wait for a virus to tell me to take a break? I don’t! And what I’ve learned from this scenario is that I shouldn’t.
2. Slow down and change your underwear. (Just so you’re aware, this story does not involve any bodily excretions.)
I recently had one of those mornings where it was really difficult to get myself out the door. I woke up later than I intended to, dealt with some wardrobe malfunctions, forgot to pack some important items, misplaced my keys. etc. These mornings generally set the day off on a less than ideal note, so I try to avoid them as much as possible—but they inevitably happen sometimes. This particular morning, as I was rushing out the door, thinking about how I was probably going to be late for work (and also trying to remind myself to choose love by not stressing about it), a postal worker drove up my driveway and handed me a package containing some underwear I had ordered a few days before. Later that day, the little hole in the pair I was wearing turned into a huge ferocious monster hole. I choose to interpret this chain of events as a sign that 1. it’s ok I didn’t get out the door as fast I thought I should have, because I would have not received the underwear in such a timely manner, and 2. it is officially time to throw out the old underwear with the holes.
I’ve determined, from these events and others, that signs from the universe can show up in any number of places. Sometimes they show up in our bodies, which are much wiser than we often give them credit for. Sometimes they literally show up in boxes at our doorsteps, and sometimes they show up in our underwear. Wherever they may appear, I’m trying to be more open to them. I’ll let you know how it goes.
With openness and flexibility,