"It's a sign!" How many times have we heard this? I used to be that strange kid bargaining with the universe—trying to force signs to happen. "If I carry this candle from here to here without the flame burning out, this is a sign I'll score high on my test." Then I happened to read The Alchemist and I was hooked. I'd found another devotee of signs, and I was never going back. One of my favorite quotes from the book reads,
I don't think that our lives have a step-by-step plan laid out for us. I believe in free will. But I also believe that we receive nudges, whispers, and grace along whatever path we choose, toward what is best for us.
Here's how my journey began:
Sometime in January 2016 I built a love portal for my relationship with my live-in boyfriend. I filled it with all my love, dreams, and intentions for our relationship together. I placed it at the front of our door in a little corner where no animals or humans were likely to disturb it. I buried it in the ground and told no one about it. It was my secret.
In the first week of February 2017, our relationship ended. I was devastated for a lot of reasons. Most of them had to do with how big a fool I had been, how I had ignored all the warning signs, how long I let myself tolerate apathy. I felt this self-hate coupled with crippling anxiety about what I would do next.
You see, I didn't have enough money to pay rent for long. I was terrified—and it wasn't the first time I'd found myself here. We had broken up before, with him running back after four months. I wasn't sure even the second time we called it quits that it was the right thing to do. Until I was.
The sign to end all signs:
A week or so after we had broken up, Valentine's Day arrived: the day of love. I had my front door open, so a cool breeze could float in. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something moving outside. It was a white cat. And it was staring directly at me—while taking a massive dump directly on my love portal, which hadn't been disturbed for over a year—on the day of love, no less!
While it stared at me, all of a sudden I found myself laughing so hard I almost choked. After the cat finished its business, it approached my door, as if it wanted to come into my house. I shooed it away in fear and regretted it almost instantly.
One day at the end of February, I was receiving a psychic reading from one of my most trusted intuitives. (Yes, even an intuitive needs an intuitive.) Toward the end of the reading, she suddenly asked, "Do you by chance have a cat around you? I'm seeing a cat." I couldn't bring myself to talk. When I finally did tell her, she was flabbergasted, too. But in that moment, we both basked in the grace of the universe.
In that moment I knew that ending that relationship was the right thing to do, and the universe came through with a sign for me exactly when I needed it most.
So, what did I do with that? How did that sign inform my life?
There are as many potential interpretations of the signs we encounter as there are people on the planet. But here's the thing:
I know what it meant to me. I know what it was supposed to help me overcome.
See, while the white cat stared into me, it felt like a stern reprimand. I felt like it was saying to me, "Enough is enough. This is over. Where have you been? I've been waiting for you to notice me."
This white cat still crosses my path every now and then. But at some point, I started to see a black cat, too. When I did a tarot reading for myself in March, a card featuring both a white and a black cat popped up.
At that moment, I knew that cat was intended to be my spirit animal. I amped up my feminine spirituality work, journeyed with the cat, slept longer hours, followed anything that piqued my curiosity, and designed my new, independent home with intention. The universe followed suit with the biggest tax return I've ever had in my life and people coming out of the woodwork to help me.
The potential of your life will grow exponentially when you start working with the universe instead of trying to work without it.
Here's how to become aware of the signs in your life:
1. Notice your external surroundings.
Pay attention. The universe can speak to you no matter what you're doing or where you are. Everything in your external environment has potential to be a sign. Just fine-tuning your attention to detail will result in your seeing bigger and bigger signs.
2. You won't always know what things mean at first. That's OK.
Just write them down! Make sure to include how you felt when you recognized the sign. Look back at your notes in a few days or weeks, and I bet the meaning of the signs will become clear.
Three weeks before my relationship ended, my ex and I went to a comedy show hosted by one of my favorite comedians. Every joke this comedian made felt like a shot in the heart because it directly addressed how I was feeling in my relationship. By the end of the show, I was weeping.
This was a sign. But I ignored it at the time. That's not a mistake I'll ever make again.