Saturday, September 13, 2014

Signs Everywhere

There is a story I love about an old, pious man who hears on the radio that a flood is coming.  His neighbours knock on his door and ask if he would like help getting to safety. “No thank you,” he replies.  “My God will save me.”  The waters begin to rise and spread across the street and the fire department offers to carry him out.  “No thank you,” he replies.  “My God will save me.”  The water continues to rise and young man rowing a boat sees him in the window and calls out to help him.  “No thank you,” he replies.  “My God will save me.”  This flood is worse than the one in Minden and the old man is forced out onto his roof.  An army helicopter drops a bucket down for him but the old, pious man again refuses the help.  The night comes, the stormy weather worsens and the man slips away.  When he opens his eyes he shockingly finds himself in heaven.  “What?!?” he demands of the angels.  “What am I doing here?  Where is God?  I have always followed the laws, given, and received, everything that’s been asked of me.”  He finds his Maker and asks:  God, why did you let me down?”  And God shakes his head and replies: “Let you down?  Are you kidding me?  I sent you a warning on the radio, had two of your neighbours, the fire department and the SWAT team come by and still you refused help.  What more did you expect?” 
One of the things I’ve learned on the White Trail is that signs are everywhere, so if I need help, I just have to look around for it.  I don’t fully know who or where they come from, but I do know when I relax my shoulders, release my jaw and slow my breathing, somehow a ‘popcorn trail’ appears.  A sprouting acorn will remind me about patience and renewal, a baby bird will remind me of our vulnerability and need to help each other out, and a pink elephant will make me laugh and lighten my mood.  Sometimes it feels like Mother Nature herself is nurturing me, and if I just open myself to receive help and encouragement it’s always there.

I began giving Nature a way to communicate with me through “Animal-Speak,” Ted Andrew’s book on animal totems.   He writes about the meaning of animals, birds and insects from his Native tradition and tells what it means if they show up in your life.  That book was a good education for my imagination because it hadn’t occurred to me this kind of intimacy was available.  In the beginning I referred to it every time I saw a rabbit, deer or turtle, but now I put myself in neutral, as R.D. Lawrence used to say, and ask the animal, flower or bug, etc., if it has a story for me.  Sometimes a word or idea comes and other times it’s just a feeling like appreciation or encouragement.  I don’t limit myself to communications only from nature either.  If I need help in making a decision I’ll ‘happen’ to turn on the radio and gets guidance from the lyrics of the song playing, or I’ll overhear a conversation in the checkout line at the store, or I’ll see an actual sign in a gift store with a phrase that speaks to the challenge.
I know this sounds odd, but all the great literature informs us that we are all One.  The way I try to make sense of this is to think of the world as a person and the organs and systems as different groups in the animal kingdom all with different function vital to the whole.  If something goes out of balance, one of the systems or organs will step up its job to return the body to homeostasis.  So, just as all the organisms in the body know what they need to regain health, so too do all the organisms on earth intuitively know how to help each other so we can all live in harmony.  Maybe this is what synchronicity is about.

There really are so many signs around us.  Sometimes they point to our heart’s desire, sometimes they whisper an answer, and sometimes in asking us “What more do you expect?” they remind us to just get on with things!

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