Have you ever asked for a sign to help point you in the right direction? If so, you probably believe that sign will help bring you happiness? And you have an understanding on how asking for a sign is supposed to work. But, if you haven’t then here is a little run-down for you.
Basically, you ask to be shown a symbol that you have defined as meaning something. For example, I have used seeing wild dolphins swimming as a sign confirming that I am on the right track for my personal and business goals. I see them occasionally on my morning walk on the shores of Old Tampa Bay, but it has probably only happened about 6 or 7 times in the 23 years I have lived here. To me, this seems like a strong sign, because it doesn’t happen very often.
My aunt used a sign to decide if she should endure chemo treatments after fighting breast cancer. She told my uncle, while they were on their usual walk, that if the blue heron that they sometimes saw was there on their walk that day, then that would be the sign to say no to chemo. If the heron wasn’t there, she would have chemo.
The blue heron was there that day, she did not have the chemo treatments, and her cancer did not return.
Sometimes, signs can be confusing or take forever. I have waited months for signs sometimes. Looking back, I wonder if that was too long and if I should have changed course. But, at the time, it seemed just fine to me. I didn’t mind waiting and I didn’t put a time limit on it. I was clear and patient. I was moving in the direction that I clearly wanted to.
Lately I have been ruminating on my career choices and how they fit into my life and my purpose. I got pretty specific with my signs.
Right off the bat, there were days and days of rain. This brought many puddles and along with it raindrops slowly dripping from the huge oak trees in my yard into the puddles, creating many ripples. I thought OK, there’s the sign, but I remembered that I had included another part to this sign. I would need to start making some good money to be able to sustain my business (I’m not talking huge money, but probably $1000-$2000 in the next month or so.)
Of course, I had been working on several things along the way, not just waiting for the signs. I was gathering information and taking steps that made good, calm, clear sense to me. In my heart, I had been leaning towards returning to teaching, for many reasons. But, while writing this on the plane back from a family funeral, I realized that I didn’t think I had seen a Monarch butterfly, my sign for returning to teaching.
Within a minute, the lady next to me on the plane, turned the page of her magazine and there was a big Monarch butterfly. I think it may have winked at me;).
My memory promptly reminded me that on my way to a teaching job fair, I thought to myself that I would like a sign, but I didn’t want to rely on it. I wanted to make good, clear, calm decisions for myself, so I didn’t really need a sign.
As I turned on the radio, I thought maybe a song would be a sign. But, I had no idea what song would mean anything to me. It would have to be something with a big impact. The first song that came on was “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon. This is a fun song that I had used for 2 years in a row, because I liked it so much, in my beginning of the year video for all of my classes.
It seemed like a great sign to return to my old school. But, quickly I forgot about it as I went into the job fair and had two great interviews and enjoyed hearing about an awesome new school!
Then my memory showed me yet another sign. On the way to my son’s weekend long football tournament, I was weary of trying to decide what I wanted and I thought to myself, it would be awesome if someone at the tournament would just offer me a good job that I would like and would fit me. I smiled to myself and I didn’t really think it would happen.
I’m sure you can guess roughly what happened…in the first few minutes of setting up for the tournament, in walked two friends of mine from my old school. One of their sons was a freshman, now playing on our junior varsity team. She gave me some insight into a couple of possibilities and encouraged me to come home to my old school.
That made 3 signs pointing in that direction.
But…I remember back to a year ago when I was first embarking on a new journey. I had signs that pointed in the direction that I wanted to go. On one day, there were more dolphins swimming along the shore than I had ever seen and they stayed nearby for a long while. I was sure this was a sign that I was going in the right direction.
Looking back now, I wonder if we ask for signs of things that we really want and then our brains scan the environment searching for those signs. They pop-out just like if your friend gets a new car and then suddenly you see that same model of car all over the place.
My theory is that we are asking for confirmation of what we truly want. We see the signs and we keep going in the direction of what we truly want. It is like flipping a coin to help you make a decision and then checking in to see how you feel about the coin flip winner. If you are happy with it you keep it, if not you switch, so in reality you are just figuring out what you really want.
There is a scientific concept called confirmation bias, which is when people would like a specific concept to be true and so they kind of convince themselves it is true. This bias leads people to stop gathering facts when the evidence so far confirms their hopes. This sounds very similar to asking for signs to me.
But, I maintain that if asking for a sign helps us move toward what we truly want then it is just as esteemed as a super sign from the universe or from God. Taking action on a goal can be incredibly valuable and lead to immense happiness for having tried.
Now, I am wondering if perhaps, God doesn’t really care which way we go, he only wants us to be happy, and he loves and supports us unconditionally, so it doesn’t actually matter which way we go. All of the choices could bring us happiness.
As for me and my decisions, I intend to make decisions out of clarity and calm while honoring myself. I’m not positive which way I will go, but I fully believe in the words of David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney that “everything’s gonna be alright” in the end. God loves us unconditionally, there’s no need to stress or worry.
P.S. Writing this, I notice that I am writing as much to help myself, as to help anyone else. This is usually the case. Thank you for participating in my healing and I hope that it serves you as well.
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I was a school teacher for 20 years and am a lifetime soul learner. I am still a teacher, just a different curriculum.