Is it a sign…or just a butterfly?

I love to take long walks—the greener the area, the better. By that, I mean, the more trees, the better. Throw in a river, or even a creek and you have one happy camper. And by camper I mean “glamper.” LOL. Alternatively, if I am somewhere by the sea and the water is a good temperature, I like to just walk along the shore, letting the waves sweep back and forth across my feet. So I cannot choose, sea or woods, I love them both. I love to spend some time in the great outdoors because it gives me a peaceful feeling that is just priceless. See this week’s video on my YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/rT0MXBXbs7E

Recently, I have been taking some long walks around the neighborhood, looping back and forth to get to a certain mileage goal. If I am walking alone, sometimes I listen to music, astrological updates, or audio books, but at least some of the walk will just be spent listening to the sounds of nature, and observing my surroundings. Sometimes I notice things that I haven’t seen before, or I become overwhelmed with amazement and joy to hear what I call the “symphony of the trees.” Right now it is October, and because we are in a place where you can observe the seasons change by the way the trees change color (yes, there are places in the world where this does not happen), walks provide you with an exceptional view of nature’s artistry.

One day as I was walking, I could hear the wind rustling the leaves. Birds were chirping, and it all sounded like a beautifully orchestrated piece of music. The sunlight shimmered through the leaves, and felt warm on my skin. I closed my eyes for one second, and when I opened them, a huge monarch butterfly flew close to me. I have seen either this butterfly or a similar one before, and it usually has been when I had a particular question/thought on my mind. I wondered, is this a sign? 

If you know me, then you probably know that I love unicorns and butterflies. Butterflies have always appeared to me as a sign of something happening in my life—some personal transformation or just an abundance of reminders—stay on track, stay in the flow of things, remember the beauty that exists all around us. Butterflies also spark memories of loved ones who have passed away. Once a butterfly landed on me, and I remembered my grandfather in that moment. It almost felt like a reminder that I was not alone, and to remember where I came from. Butterflies also remind me to remember that small actions can have larger impacts. Like the actual butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect is an underlying theory within chaos theory—chaos theory being a branch of mathematics that focuses on chaos. It is closely associated with the work of American mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who in the 60s did research that showed how a small change in initial conditions in one location, like a butterfly flapping its wings, could have a larger and different outcome somewhere else. In the example from Lorenz’s research, a butterfly flapping its wings several weeks earlier could have a role in a tornado’s formation somewhere else.  I need to remember that somethings the small actions that we take in the present, can actually help to significantly change and alter our future. I did not know that taking one class in law school would alter my entire career path. 

I feel that the divine/universe/God/insert your preferred term here, is always trying to have a conversation with us. I do feel that we are able to co-create with the divine, and I do feel that we are often getting signs, but sometimes we aren’t paying attention—or it is just not time for them to come into our conscious awareness. I remember a time in my life when I wished the skies would just open up and someone or something benevolent would just tell me what to do. While life does not quite work that way, there are some ways that we receive signs, and there are some good mechanisms for tapping into understanding them and gaining more clarity.

Speaking of signs, I just received a book called, “Man and his Symbols,” by Carl Jung. I had written down in one of my notebooks that I should read this book. I never actually got around to reading it, and then in recent weeks, I have seen no less than five mentions of this book in either virtual talks, conversations, or other books that I have read. I do not believe in coincidence, personally, so I took it as a sign that it was time for me to read this book. I am sure I will let you all know how it pans out!

There are at least two other times in my life when I have felt the presence of someone who has passed away in the form of a sign. When my great aunt passed away in Jamaica, one of the things that I kept from among her possessions was a bright green dress. She wore it often, and it reminds me of her. I can close my eyes now and see her standing in her tropical and lush garden wearing that very dress. Her garden was a home for many beautiful birds and butterflies, but hummingbirds were a staple there. On the day of her funeral, on several different occasions, I saw a humming bird that was the exact green shade of her dress. It made me feel a sense of peace and calm knowing.

On another occasion, I was in Italy—a few of my colleagues turned friends and I had just done part of an ancient and not well-known walk called the 12 church walk. We had hurried to St. Peter’s to meet the rest of our group because we were going to get a tour of the Vatican’s Apolistic Library. I turned on my phone for one second, and was flooded with messages that one of my favorite uncles—my uncle Harry—had passed away in Jamaica.

Uncle Harry 🙂

Tears rolled hard and heavy down my cheeks. I had to get myself together though, and I remember when we were right in front of the library’s doors, I looked down and there were three white feathers. There were no birds around, and I remember Anita saying, “Dude that’s your uncle sending you a message.” Later I would research that white feathers were signs from your angels of “peace, protection, love, and light.” Seeing those feathers there in that way was comforting. My uncle was a Sagittarius like me, and he loved to hear of my explorations and travels. I may have been miles away from Jamaica, but he was and is always in my heart.

Before we talk about different ways of receiving signs, I think it is important to remember that we can ask for a sign. Maybe you have a decision to make about something, or need clarity and guidance. Asides from practicing trusting your intuition, you can solicit divine help. Divine help means that you are willing to relinquish some control and trust that things could be better than you envision. It means that you are willing to trust that you and the divine are co-creating something beautiful.

Just ask…. I know a lot of people, and they come from a diverse array of religions/spiritual practices; I think asking is universal to all. “Dear God/Goddess/Divine/Universe/Infinite Intelligence….thank you for your guidance and love. Please send me a sign that is clear and that makes sense to me and my sensibilities.” You might even add by a certain date, or you can say, “if I see a pink hippo,” then I will know. Adding a date/time is helpful because you might not get the sign, and that is also a sign, and very much “ok.” So you’ve asked, now what?

There are a variety of different ways that signs could appear in your life. 

· From actual signs. License plates, billboards, and more. Once I said, “I need a sign,” and looked up, and was standing in front of a sign shop. The universe has a sense of humor.

·       The animal and insect kingdom: I mentioned butterflies and hummingbirds before, but there are so many others as well. The author Ted Andrews has a book called, “Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small.” You can look up whatever animal or insect has come into your awareness to see what they are trying to communicate to you. Early on when I was having anxiety about putting my blog and Youtube channel together, a ladybug appeared on my desk. When I looked up the message it said, “The ladybug has always been a symbol of good luck. Ladybug asks you to make yourself useful and spread happiness around you. It invites you to push your limits and believe in yourself.” Message received!

·       Dreams. Dreams are often one way in which we receive important messages. If you have a hard time remembering your dreams, you can ask, “Please let me dream and remember my dream.” I have been bad about logging my dreams in my dream journal, but sometimes I call my grandma and ask for her help interpreting the messages. She is very wise and helpful with deducing everything from location, colors, people, and possible meanings. 

·       Music/Sounds: You might hear the message in a song. Or you may hear a particular sound at a particular time that might be helpful. You may hear a door knock—could that be opportunity knocking at your door?

·       Physical items: Coins and feathers are two things that come to mind. Once when I was younger and had applied for a job that was a bit more lucrative than previous jobs, I kept wondering and then asked. Show me a sign that this is the job. On the day that I got the call, almost everywhere I went, I found several coins. To me coins are a clear sign of prosperity lol, so I will take it!

·       Repeating Numbers: This is a favorite one of mine. A few years ago, I started becoming very aware that I was seeing repeat number patterns. I did some research, and discovered a whole world of people who were in the “repeating numbers club.” Everything from 11:11 to 444. Numbers and mathematics are at the foundation of this entire universe. (One day I will chat about numerology here). For me, whenever a big change is coming my way, I will see a lot of 5’s. When I feel scared about something, I see 444 (your angels are with you), and if I need a reminder to check my thinking—well I might see a reminder about that. There is a lot out there on this topic, so do your research and follow what feels right for you.

·       Emotions and feelings are also another sign. Whenever something feels makes me feel worried or uncomfortable, that is usually a sign that something is off. When I feel at peace and calm about something it usually is a sign to proceed. Learn how to trust your intuition—it is a superpower in these times. 

When you have asked and either have gotten a clear sign or gotten no sign (which I mentioned is also a sign). Sometimes not getting what we think we want is a huge blessing. I could write a whole book on that. Anyway, remember to say a word of thanks and appreciation for the guidance.

In the week ahead, I hope that you find and receive some clear signs about a beautiful present moment and future unfolding for you. May the stars shine brightly over your week!

Move your body…and maybe drink some water?!

Not related to the topic, but I love the picture hahaha. Taken by me on a recent walk!

By now, it should come as no surprise that I love to talk about wellness and overall well-being. In this space, we have discussed, meditation, sleep, creating a sacred space and healthy boundaries, tending to your spirit, and so much more, but there is another really important part of wellness and overall well-being that I want us to talk about this week. That is our physical well-being. Are you moving enough? What are you putting in your body for nutrients? Are you drinking enough water? Are you comfortable in your own skin? See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/vnfBpT0AQmQ

It has been said that our health is our wealth. As we make our dreams come to life with our vision boards, goals, and plans, we also need to make sure that we are going to be around to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We want to make sure that we have the energy to take action on our goals, and the physical energy to be able to participate in enjoying our life. I struggled for many years with body image, and trying to control my weight. I pushed myself to lose weight, went on diets that probably did more harm than good, and ended up with a knee injury that still is with me to this day. Want to know when it is going to rain? Let’s ask my knee.

Even with losing weight, I realized that some of my own perception of self was in the mind. Other health related issues occurred with me that cause weight gain, and I felt disappointed in myself and some depression at how things were going. I will be honest here, I am also a really good cook, and I really enjoy a good meal. I am not the person you take traveling if you plan to eat salads the whole time. I want to try the local cuisine; I am a foodie at heart. Therefore, I know that some of my physical health requires me to do things in moderation. As a Sagittarius, my sign is ruled by Jupiter—the planet of expansion. We are the sign that knows how to overdo things. With that in mind, and that awareness, it allows me to enjoy delicious things, but also to know when to stop.

You can be where you want to be as a goal weight, and still feel insecure about your physical health and about your body image. It is a work in progress, and an ongoing one where you will consistently have to say, “I am going to love myself as I am,” but “I will also work to live a healthy lifestyle.” There is a lot that changed in my own life when I said, “I am cultivating a healthy lifestyle so that I can….” And you can finish that sentence for yourself. In my case, I want to be able to have the energy that I need to enjoy life as much as I can. I want to be able to work and support myself, but not feel drained to the point where I can’t go out and enjoy some time with family and friends. I want energy to work on my creative projects, and I want to feel able to participate in life.

I want you to finish the sentence…

Movement is also an important factor for my sign—in fact, for all fire signs. A practicing medical astrologer who I admire told me that it is essential that as a fire sign I move my body. It stirs up the warmth that my sign is known for and helps to get my blood pumping. The symbol for Sagittarius is the centaur, which is half man and half horse. The analogy there is that we need to tap into that animalistic instinct and run and move.

If you are wondering how you can get more physical activity into your life, I suggest a few things:

A) Try a variety of things. Not everyone is going to resonate with you but try. Try yoga, dancing, walking, running, biking, Zumba, weights, rock climbing, or swimming to name a few. When you try something, make the determination for yourself on whether or not you like it. 

B) Get the right equipment. There are some activities that you don’t need to make a big investment in. These days, you can watch free workout videos on YouTube. However, if you are committing to an activity, then get the proper equipment. It makes a big difference. I enjoy walking/light jogging. It is imperative in my case to have good shoes. Right now, the brand I highly recommend is Brooks. I have the Ghost 13 for women, and it feels like I am walking on a cloud. Bad equipment can cause injuries, or cause you not to get the results that you desire.

C) Don’t be afraid to start. Take one-step at a time, and just keep going. If you fall off the wagon, get back up and keep going. I have a journal where I write down what physical activity I did, for how long, and roughly the amount of calories that I burned. I write down my rest days, and whether or not, I took my vitamins. This process has helped me with consistency, and it helps me to have something to look back on and feel proud about. 

D) You are not in competition with anyone except yourself. Do this for you. Do this for your health. Do this for your dreams. 

E) Some days will be rough. There will be days when you don’t want to do anything. Get up and go anyway. That is literally half of the battle. If you don’t feel proud of you, know that somewhere across the ethers, I feel proud of you. Also, remember that you can do hard things!

Everyone has their own set of needs, wants, and desires, but when you are making your vision, please remember to include a space for physical health. Physical health also includes making sure that you are drinking enough water and getting the right types of foods into your body. I am confident that you can do some good research on proper nutrition. Some things that I have found that work well for me.

A) Get a proper breakfast. This really helps to get the day off to a good start.

B) Take your vitamins. Talk with your health care provider to see what your needs are. Some of us need extra Vitamin D, especially in the wintertime. I started taking a prescription strength Vitamin D supplement over a year ago, and it has helped with everything from my mood to my energy. B vitamins are also good ones to have in the cabinet! 

C) Eat the colors of the rainbow. I heard this bit of advice once, and put it into action at the grocery store. I can actually say that it helps with getting in fruits and vegetables and making it fun! This is all a work in progress, but small steps can take you where you want to do. 

Now one of the most important parts of what I want to talk about is water consumption. The other day I felt some body pains—nothing that I would consider serious, but I just felt creaky, like a door hinge that needed to be oiled. I also felt a bit thirsty, and intuitively my brain said, “You aren’t getting enough water.” Drinking water is not second nature to me. In fact, if there is a choice between water and anything else, I will probably choose the anything else. Especially ginger ale. I have such a love affair with ginger ale. Recently I made a plan that I would at least have one day of drinking my required amount of water. I wanted to know what pure hydration felt like. LOL!

Was that eight cups of water? So 64 ounces? Ok…I know that the adult humans are 60 percent water and that our blood is 90 percent water…but how much water do we actually need to consume to essentially stay alive. Well the librarian in me wanted to make sure that I found the right amount, so I did most people would do… I googled, “How much water should I be drinking daily?” Easy enough question, but as I soon found, there is not an easy answer. It depends. It depends on factors like:

• Do you exercise frequently? You may need more water than recommended to cover the fluid loss from sweating. You may also need to consider a beverage that adds electrolytes to your body to help replace minerals that you lose when sweating.

• What is your environment like? Do you live somewhere hot and humid? That may require that you drink more water.• Are you pregnant or breast-feeding? You may need additional fluids to help stay hydrated.

• Are there other health issues going on with your body? Do you have a cold? That may also require additional hydration.

• What is your current weight? You may need to drink more water depending on your weight.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that adequate daily fluid intake is: 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men, and 11.5 (2.7 liters) cups for women. 20% of this will actually come from other foods and beverages that you drink.

If you don’t drink enough water, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out your normal functions. Signs that your body is probably dehydrated are: dark yellow urine, headaches, dizziness, trouble concentrating or focusing, dry mouth, dry eyes, dry lips, increase in body temperature, rapid heartrate, and feeling thirsty. Dehydration can also cause low energy, make your feel fatigue, and your skin can become vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.

Your body needs water to carry out some really important functions like:

• Getting rid of waste

• Forms saliva and mucus (Fun fact, saliva helps us digest our food; drinking water also keeps the mouth clean, and our breath smelling fresh).

• Keeping your body temperature normal

• Keeps the skin healthy and beautiful

• Lubricating your joints

• Protect sensitive tissues (It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and more. Drinking water is involved with the production of hormones and neurotransmitters that impact thinking and reasoning).

• Stabilizes blood pressure and heartbeat (A lack of water in the blood makes the blood thicker and increases blood pressure).

• Carries oxygen and nutrients to your cells

• Aids digestion

• Helps the kidneys (Water dissolves minerals and nutrients which allows these to get to the parts of the body that needs them. Water helps the kidney to flush waste products from the body).

• Potentially lowers the risk for diseases like: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney stones, and high blood pressure.

• Water also impacts your brain functions: Specifically, staying hydrated can boost mood and mood stability, improve concentration, improve cognition, aid memory, prevent headaches, and even reduce stress.

My tip for drinking more water? Just do it! Whatever works best for you! (However, think about stopping an hour before bed)! So all of this to say please consider your physical wellbeing as well. It is part of the great equation, the great balancing of our lives, and as Arabian proverb says, “He who has health, and he who has hope, has everything.”

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you be hydrated—you beautiful, capable, but dehydrated human!

Rome wasn’t built in a day… Patience young grasshopper!

Roma capitale (Photo from WordPress)

Over the past few months, I have written about so many topics that relate to living our best lives. Self-awareness, reading, meditating, travel, vision, and so much more. It has been an honor to share this content with you, but there is another side to it–by putting this information out there, it also helps me to remember to apply it. If I don’t take my own advice, lol, I know that one of my friends or family will remind me of the things that I have said, and encourage me with the things that I am working on in my own life. In the midst of living your best life, you will have to deal with some of the harsher realities of life and we have talked about that as well—disappointment , fear, failure, and other things. Nevertheless, whenever any of these things happen, promise me that you will pick yourself up, shake yourself off, and keep moving forward. This week’s YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/2o5sfXKuf8U

This week, I want to talk a bit about patience. Recently, I was lamenting to my younger sister—ok I was complaining—about how long it was taking me to see the results for something that I had been working on. My younger sister Ali is an amazing human; she is magical like a mermaid, and definitely, a wise sage filled with wisdom that makes me think she has been here before. She always knows just what to say and when to say it.

Little sister extraordinaire ❤

I remember once I was going through a very rough time, and we were sitting in my car—it was a very cold winter day, and I am sure that I was crying. She said to me, “What season are we in?” I was confused, but looked at her, and said, “Well we are in winter. I mean it’s pretty obvious, it’s hella cold.” And she said, “Is it obvious?” and I said, “Yes, Ali, it is…” and she said, “What comes after winter?” and I said, “Spring.” And she said “Exactly. Right now at this very moment, you are having your own personal winter, but I can guarantee you that after winter, will come your spring.” I was quiet. I had to let the words sit with me; I needed them to touch my spirit. She was right of course—after that personal winter, came my personal spring, and a lot of things bloomed right when they were supposed to. It wasn’t obvious to me that I was in winter, but to anyone observing my life, they could see it, in the same way, we can feel the chill of winter.

Spring, 2019 DC, Tidal basin by me…

It reminds me of a poem by Albert Camus, “Invincible Summer.”

My dear
In the midst of strife, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. 
In the midst of chaos, I found there was within me, an invincible calm.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me, there lay, an invincible summer. And, that makes me happy. 
For it says, that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger…
~ Albert Camus

Each season of our lives has a purpose—I am convinced. Some of my most remarkable breakthroughs in life came after a personal winter. You never really know how strong you are, how capable, how adaptable you are until you are called to be. Know that when I say these things, I also mean that you may realize that you do not have to be strong, capable, and adaptable all by yourself. Sometimes, it means that you allow others to help you. No man is an island after all, or so they say. 

So here I was recently, lamenting to Ali about the time that something was taking, and she says very calmly and matter of fact, “Chill sis, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Naturally what happened after that was that life gave me all sorts of reminders and signs that sometimes we need to be patient. I am not a naturally patient person, but there have been moments in my life, where I have seen the need for life to play out according to divine timing. As I like to tell my own friends, the things you want are out there, but you don’t want them before time. If you have ever tried to eat unripe fruit, you know that it can have dire consequences. It is the same when we try to get or do something before time. 

We do live in a society where instant gratification has supplanted the need to wait for anything. We can get almost anything that we want quickly, if we are living in certain parts of the world, and especially if we have certain resources. Even still, we have instant access to so much information, and the ability to connect to people worldwide quickly. Yet, there is also a beauty in allowing things to grow organically. There is a beauty in the “wait.” I have mentioned before that my family is from the country part of Jamaica—the beautiful Portland. Being in Portland is like being in an actual rainforest by the sea. It is green, vibrant, and lush. In the place where I am from, people have a deep connection to the land. Before she passed away, my great-aunt used to tell me, “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.” My grandfathers both did farming and there are so many important lessons from agriculture. 

1) All soil is not created equally—be mindful of where and what you are sowing. 

2) When you plant a seed, you cover it, water it, and allow the processes of nature to unfold. You don’t come to the seed every day and say, “Why haven’t you grown yet?” You allow the process to unfold. Sometimes we need to do the same with our own lives.

3) You may not tell everyone that you have planted something—and there are some things in your own life that you must allow to grow in silence. When the time is right—perhaps when you can see the flower or plant, then you might decide to tell someone else. The reality is that not everyone shares your vision, there will also be people who might feel jealous of your ability to plant, and so you protect your dreams by allowing them to grown in silence, or by telling the people who will water them with love and support.

 4) When you plant something, you are trusting in the potential. Ralph Waldo Emerson says that, “The creation of a thousand forests lie in one acorn.” It is also said that we should not despise small beginnings. Further supported by the Chinese proverb, “A journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step.” You must start if there is something that you want to achieve. Thinking about it great, but it is better if you do it. Many years ago, I wanted to go back to school. Several people questioned this because I already had a law degree. Someone said, “Oh, you are working, so it is going to take extra long.” But I felt the desire burning in my soul. I went back to school in what was a particularly stressful time in my life, and studied Library and Information Sciences. I took two classes per semester while working, and graduated before I knew it. That course of study not only led to some exciting adventures and experiences—including a trip to Italy that included a tour of the Vatican Secret Archives, but that also led to an academic publication, and work as an adjunct professor. If I listened to everyone else, if I hadn’t started, none of the other things that have helped make my life feel personally meaningful would not have happened. 

5) Your crop can fail, but you can plant again. Failure is something that can happen with planting anything! In Jamaica hurricanes, or a drier than normal season, have wiped out entire harvests. It hurts, and in some cases, it comes with financial implications. However, I have never seen a farmer give up because of a bad harvest. Instead, they plant again, and make contingency plans for when something happens that they didn’t plan for. I heard a talk with Denzel Washington, and he said, “If you haven’t failed, that means you haven’t even tried.” He talked about showing up for an audition and not getting it, Ok, he didn’t get it, he just went home and practiced for the next audition and the next. Failure happens. I have experienced failure many times in my own life, and when I have—yes, I cry—because I am a water bucket, but I get up and try again. My favorite, Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

6) One day you will take a look over what you have grown—your garden, and you will be proud. Be proud of yourself. It is ok to be proud of yourself. We need to normalize this!

Many of us see social media and we see the “highlight reel” that people post. Most people are not showing you the hard work that they are putting into making something happen. They are just showing the beautiful outcome. Anything that you devote yourself to opens you up to being vulnerable, to having to put in the work, and to possible failure. But there is also the possibility of success and of doing something that feels meaningful and worthwhile to you. Most people that you see as successful are not overnight successes, they honed their craft, they practiced, and most of all they were consistent. 

Picasso and Mozart did not become who they were in one night. They practiced, and became masters in their field. Robert Greene, in his book, “Mastery” said that it takes 10000 hours to become a master at something. He also said, “To the extent that we believe we can skip steps, avoid the process, magically gain power through political connections or easy formulas, or depend on our natural talents, we move against this grain and reverse our natural powers. We become slaves to time – as it passes, we grow weaker, less capable, trapped in some dead end career. We become captive to the opinions and fears of others.” “This intense connection and desires allows them to withstand the pain of the process – the self-doubts, the tedious hours of practice and study, the inevitable setbacks, the endless barbs from the envious. They develop a resiliency and confidence that others lack.” Don’t skip the steps. Be consistent. Consistency outweighs talent and inspiration every time. Dwayne Johnson said, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

So all of this is just to remind you that if you have something in mind that you want to start, or if you have started something and haven’t yet seen the results that you want to, please remember that as Ali said, “Just chill, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Keep showing up, and your success will come. Sometimes, the great mysteries of this universe remind us that timing is also an important factor. So you want to be prepared because, “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” I am rooting for you, and reminding you that somethings need time to grow, and when they do, it will be worth it! May the stars shine brightly over your week, and be it be a beautiful one indeed!