Follow the universal signs.
This is a concept I feel an intense calling to share. The faith-based notion of trusting that there is a guiding hand constantly working for you is tough to wholeheartedly believe in. But whatever your life looks like right now, especially if it’s one you’d like to change or mold, I urge you to open yourself up and trust there is a plan. You are being constantly directed, re-directed and, if necessary, pushed into the right path for you.
If I could write this entire post as a letter addressed to my younger self, I would. There is no shortage of heartache from which I may have saved myself. But life is about living and learning ... and then applying those lessons. Emphasis on that last part.
As I sip ginger tea on my comfortable couch in the cottage I now share with my loving partner, it has never been as evident to me that I was destined to be exactly here. Sharing the most important lessons I’ve learned is something I have always yearned for the courage to do. I truly believe that every action, and even inaction, I’ve ever taken has led me to begin writing for The Emerald Journal.
I grew up with a white picket fence upbringing. We weren’t exactly wealthy, but mom and dad loved each other and we lived very comfortably. My sister and I were loved unconditionally, given too many gifts on Christmas, Disney trips any time we wished, we were even allowed to name my dad’s labrador-pit bull dog, Dopey, after our favorite fairytale dwarf. The bulk of my growing pains came in early adult life, and everything that brought me exactly where I am as I type this magazine entry started with a textbook.
A Spanish textbook to be exact. Spain is my family’s country of origin and it’s a language I am embarrassed to speak because I stumble through it. These are the reasons why one crisp morning many moons ago in Gainesville, I picked up a discarded Spanish book at the bus stop. Normally, I’d walk right by it, but this book was left upright as if someone had placed it purposely in front of the bench. I glanced down at the book while listening to music on my iPod. Once I realized what it was, I started to browse the poetry and then I shoved it in my bag and left for class.
Later when I had a break and was lounging at the university Starbucks, I opened the book and flipped through it again. That week was open enrollment. Pictures of Spain entered my mind. I suddenly wanted to go back to my family’s home in the mountains of Asturias. I was in college, pretty broke and there was no way I could afford it, but I decided to take the Spanish class anyway to be prepared, just in case. Once I followed this sign, a series of coincidental events transpired that would ultimately send me to Spain just a few months later, a trip that would change my life. It is only now that I can see the randomness of these occurrences were not random at all, they were well-orchestrated by destiny. That trip to Spain opened my horizons, both in life and love, and eventually caused me to meet the wonderful soul sister with whom I’d begin The Emerald Journal. There were many signs beyond that, some I followed, and others I ignored, at times I didn’t feel as aligned with the universe. I am proud of each and every one of those choices.
Another by-product of this trip was a growing friendship with a fellow free spirit who would go on to become my partner. He used to tell me I spoke universe. Most people our age didn’t speak like that, and I always felt so grateful I could talk this way with someone. I didn’t know it at the time, but accepting his invitations to get together and have intellectual and spiritual conversations were signs themselves. He was one of the people I met along the way that seriously encouraged and understood this notion I believed that there are signs everywhere and if you listen to the world, it will tell you where your path is.
Following the signs and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you are vital to living a life on purpose. Finding that purpose can only happen when you are attuned to yourself and as a result of that alignment, the universe as a whole. When this begins to happen, you will start to notice the signs. Some will appear as mere coincidences, like that book I found, while some are more blatant.
Paolo Cohelo, a world renowned writer (famous for “The Alchemist” among many other works) is an apt pupil, raging advocate and humble preacher of following the universal signs. A paradoxical mix of science and religion, Cohelo speaks of this notion with passages like:
“I think God talks to us through signs, which are a special language we can only learn through belief and language.”
These clues, which can come in the form of a stranger’s words, something you find on the floor or a phone call that comes in at just the right moment, are the signs we should be looking out for. The universe, God, whoever you believe is that guiding hand for you, is constantly speaking to you through a conversation you may overhear, the advice of a close friend, a book that comes into your life right when you need it. This universal guidance is all around us. Paying more attention to our dreams, intuition and coincidences will lead us to live happier lives. It’s a seesaw-like balance of finding the signs and letting them find you. Paying attention vs. straight up searching.
When I reflect on this history, it’s still crazy—in the most wonderful way—I ended up where I am. This isn’t the life I’d imagined for myself years ago, especially at that bus stop. It’s a life I honestly thought I’d be afraid to live. Beginning to seriously trust that there is an invisible hand that has your back—even when bad shit happens—is not easy. Some days I question my decision-making, my gut, everything. Ultimately though, the bad things became space for good things, and the fear of people’s judgement became insanely strong confidence in who I am. I always knew I wanted a loving partner who supported me in every way and a career realizing my dream of helping others through writing. By following the signs, the universe granted me that and much, much more.