As I mention in my blog post Seven Questions on the Road to Change, I came up with seven questions to help fellow travelers find their path on the road to rewire. Today’s post addresses the timeless question: How do we know that it’s a sign? How do we know when to heed the message? For me, it all started with an acorn.
My parents moved to the US from Sicily (I was born in the US), and we lived in the Bronx in a close-knit Catholic Italian neighborhood until I was a teenager. I often felt awkward and unattractive and uncertain of myself when I was a teen, and became even more miserable and out of place in Westchester, without my Bronx friends and familiar surroundings.
One day, when I was feeling particularly depressed and lonely, I went for a walk in the woods, hoping for some peace and quiet—a respite from my loud family—and a place to smoke a cigarette. In a moment of desperation, tears running down my face, I asked God to show me a sign. Like a surreal movie scene, I saw a beam of light, and as its warmth surrounded me, an acorn fell through the light shaft.
I couldn’t believe it and asked again, “If it’s you, please send another sign.” And another acorn fell. Instead of trusting the sign, I panicked! “What is happening? Are we being invaded by aliens?” I asked. To my surprise, I heard, “No, Rose. It’s just Me.” Almost immediately I was immersed in the knowledge that God loved me. It was a profound and comforting moment amid my teenage angst.
I ran home, excited to share this new connection with my mom, a devout Catholic who prayed the Rosary every day. Her face was impassive as I told her my news, and I was crushed. The next day, my father called me to his study to ask, “What’s this I hear about you talking to God?” Like a one-two punch to the gut, I felt my self-esteem crumble and my ability to find answers to life’s important questions permanently unattainable.
Embrace Your Gifts
All of us are born with innate gifts. Intuition is one. Yet all too often we question those gifts and doubt ourselves, even when we know something in our hearts to be true. Perhaps we doubt ourselves because we were raised to follow our parents’ examples, to adopt their faith as well as their ethics and guiding principles, as opposed to uncovering our own truths. There are many reasons that we ignore these gifts.
One truth I have learned is that we are all like acorns—hard to crack on the outside but filled with innate potential to grow into a sturdy, beautiful tree in our own right. What gets in the way of this growth are the other messages we have heard all our lives, usually from people with authority, that enforce the feeling that we aren’t good enough, that we can never do something. If we crowd our minds with these ideas, it’s hard to see the signs.
We can know that the signs are real if we:
- Let go. We can’t know everything. Let the universe show us what it will without judging its gifts.
- Don’t predict the outcome. Any good scientist will say this. Try to stay objective.
- Trust. Know that the answer will present itself without our having to do anything.
- Hear what others have to say.
- Decide for ourselves what is right for us, not what others expect of us.
The acorn is a powerful symbol, especially for me. It came at a time in my life when I was feeling hopeless and wanted to feel God’s presence in my life. That little acorn started me on my journey to rewire. What is your acorn?