A few years ago, I sat down for a catch up session with one of my favorite people in the world. Howard is my Dad’s best friend and the father of one of my closest friends, Casey. He is one of the many really cool old dudes I’ve made it a point to hang out with.
It was 2011. had just finished graduate school. I had made the spontaneous decision to postpone a "9-to-5” for an “I’ve-just-been-in-university-for-6-years” sabbatical in Australia.*
*Let's be honest, I never planned to work the 9-to-5 ;-)
“Let me tell you a story, Rae.”
One of my favorite things to hear from Howie. This is gonna be good, I thought to myself.
“I had met the love of my life. I was terrified.”
The only problem, he explained, was that the person he had fallen for happened to be someone other than his wife. His wife was someone with whom he had been married for many years. She was a woman that he loved and that he had created a family with.
He, a successful business man, a loving father, a community leader, had found himself at a major crossroads. Would he choose to stay with his wife or decide to follow his heart, breaking up his family in the process?
Not sure which path to choose, he went outside to walk and clear his head. After walking for over an hour, he threw up his hands.
“I felt lost and afraid. So… I surrendered. I asked for help.”
Lo and behold, in that moment, a lone bird’s feather floated down from the sky, landing in the palm of his outstretched hand.
“I knew it was a sign. It was a sign to follow my heart. This was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. But I went for it. And not once have I ever regretted it.
Follow the signs of your life, Rae."
To this day, these words still echo in my heart.
Since making it my purpose to “follow the signs,” incredible things have happened in my life.
Had I not decided to pay close attention and follow the signs on my path, I would not have woken up to the magic of the world all around me. Paying attention to my present moment experience and the journey of self awareness have been critical pieces on the path of mastering this practice called life.
It is a challenge to follow the flow of the world around you if you are asleep at the wheel.
I'm sure you feel called to make a difference in the world. There is a burning in your heart, a desire to be a part of something greater than yourself.
Or perhaps you cannot even think that big right now. Maybe right now, you're primary focus is just on getting through the day and feeling some semblance of "okay."
Either way, your development (AKA your transformation, your ability to thrive, your spiritual evolution) will always call for courage and a willingness to face your fears. Because quite often, "following the signs" will defy all logic and reason. It will require you to take great leaps of faith. It will ask you to trust yourself. And that will be friggin' SCARY stuff!
But it's time for you to break out of your shell and grow.
The reality in which we are currently living is requiring you to wake up. It is calling for you to align with the grace that exists within and all around you. Waking up means honoring the pain you feel and the suffering you see in the world, while simultaneously disavowing your need to be defined by all that. It's seeing the patterns and rhythms and cycles around and within. It's a commitment to living embodied, connected to the intelligence of your physical form.
Because just in case you were not aware, there is magic unfolding here in this very moment.**
**and each moment hereafter.
There are constant messages being offered as divine guidance on your path.
As you begin to heed these bits and pieces of guidance, you will begin to feel more authentically you. You will cultivate a stronger intuitive relationship with the experience of your life. This will lead to an ease, a trust, and a greater flow. The signs you receive will offer you a physical situation, a playing field if you will, to assist you in challenging your own beliefs, to support you in cultivating courage, and helping you towards living more fully in the present moment.
"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature."
Pay attention—because these messages can come in many different forms.
For some, they may seem like coincidences. To many others, they are magic. This magic can be something as small as calling someone at the same moment they call you, or seeing the same book title over and over again. Or, they could be grander visions or ominous dreams.
One day last year, I had such a vision while sitting in a hammock in the middle of the Amazon jungle. I had been living in Peru for several months working at a plant medicine healing center (which, BTW—I was led to completely thanks to following the signs).
Suddenly, I was transported. I found myself walking down the famous malecón boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I was around colorful paintings displayed on easels: street artwork sold for public consumption. Then, as quickly as the vision arrived, it left me.
"How strange." I thought to myself. I hadn't considered Mexico an option in my future plans. (But then again, following the signs doesn't take much regard to your plans.)
Not long after, I found myself back in Mexico, pursuing my budding "art" career (truth be told, I thought it was ME selling paintings on the malecón).
After living in a close knit community for several months in Peru, I was feeling a bit socially isolated. So, I reached out to a friend over Facebook chat.
"You should sign up for Tinder." She told me.
"What the hell is Tinder?"***
***Yes. I had been living under a rock.
I pulled it up on my phone and signed up for an account. I wrote up a brief profile, making very clear that my interest was to just find friends.
I wasn't on there a couple weeks before loosing interest and deleting the app. It felt strange and convoluted to me, looking for friends on an application known for casual dating and hooking up. But, that wasn't before I had given my personal phone number out to a handful of people. One of those people was Alberto. Some of you may know him as my fiancé.
Yep. I met my fiancé on Tinder.
BUT—and this is a big but—there's more to the story...
The first time I actually saw Alberto was when I was walking my parent's dog Leo on the malecón, right in front of where the art vendors set up shop everyday (remember MY BIG VISION in Peru?!).
He was smiling, riding his skateboard down the boardwalk. At the time, I felt insecure introducing myself with sweat soaked clothes and a beet-red face (it was about 90 degrees that day). And, I'll be honest, I couldn't remember the guys name for the life of me.
So, I let my fear decide. I didn't say anything.
He proceeded to text me a few times to make plans, but I made excuse after excuse before his advances fizzled.
Cut to three weeks later, I'm walking down a busy street in Puerto Vallarta when I turn, and who's walking next to me? The Tinder guy!
I considered this pretty "freak" reunion in the street as a sign to accept Alberto's invitation to his birthday party a week later.
Needless to say, following the sign to come back to Mexico took a great deal of courage—but it led me straight into the arms of my beloved.
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"Following the signs" may come in the form of repeating images, numbers, faces, names, or places. For instance, a number I see all the time is 24. After I shared the latest episode of WildSoulTV last week, I saw 24 EVERYWHERE. Feeling expansive upon seeing that number, I knew it was a sign that I was on the path.
"Following the signs" may even mean experiencing an episode of anxiety or depression. For me, my “mental illness” often surfaces to tell me things. Often, the message is that my focus has become misplaced, that my heart is not aligned with my actions, or that I’ve begun taken things too personally.
Yes, this may seem radical. I know the idea that mental illness can be a "good" thing may seem a little, well, crazy.
Hear me out anyways.
Click to tweet » "Open your eyes and follow the signs."
We so often shoot the messenger, not realizing the symptom has a very important message to give us.
Perhaps instead of killing off the symptom this time, you might do something different. Maybe this time you choose to follow the signs, learn the language, and surrender to the call of your wild soul.
Because, really—What have you got to loose?
In keeping an open heart and a spacious mind, I ask you...