Unless you leave room for serendipity, how can the divine enter?

Joseph Campbell

I believe that Spirit is all around us, not just in the brick and mortar buildings of our established religions. Consequently, I have looked for and found messages in the sudden appearance of animals, birds, numbers, friends, songs, and many other forms of Divine media. One symbol of encouragement that has meant the most to me is feathers. There is a Native American belief that finding a feather directly in front of you means that you are on your path—your actions are in alignment with your Divine spirit. More times than I can count, during those three years that my husband and son were so ill, I would look down and find a feather on my path. Although the rational, skeptical side of me (admittedly, rather a small part) could argue a number of reasons for the placement of the feather, there were times that no reasonable explanation could suffice to explain why, at that moment when I was in the most need, a large white feather, in the middle of a hot Dallas parking lot or in the midst of a busy shopping mall, would appear in front of me. Sometimes I picked the feathers up, other times I just gave thanks for the reminder that I was not alone, that God,the Universe, the Divine was with me on this journey, I was doing something right, and that I was loved.

Watching for Signs

Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out and The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, talks about the amazing number of people who have sent her stories about the signs they had received (often bluebirds and cardinals), many times in response to prayer or other need. She suggests that signs are one of the ways that we can listen to the wisdom within us that is connected to the Divine.

  • Be open to the possibility that the Divine, however you imagine it, is sending you messages of encouragement and love.
  • Pay attention to things that occur around you repeatedly, when they occur and the conditions under which they show up in your life.

If there is a pattern, decide what it means to you and if it feels encouraging, integrate it into your life by noticing it, journaling about it, or just giving thanks when it occurs. We all need positive reinforcement, especially in crisis. Open up to the possibility that the encouragement and reinforcement your soul needs as you traverse the crisis can come in unusual and unlikely ways.

 What have been some signs of encouragement that you believe were sent to you when you needed them the most?