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Do you believe in omens? Signs? Portents? Do you seek them out?

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe in much supernatural. Science is mysterious and beautiful enough for me. But I do believe that the mind creates connections even when they’re not really there. We tend to complete a circle or any other shape when it is presented to us incomplete. We look for designs, hope for inspiration, divine and otherwise.

The Talmud (primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology) says, “We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.” (The italics are mine.) In other words, we see the world uniquely through our own eyes, and through the prism of our own experiences and character. Sure, that makes sense. But we also have a need, a biologically built-in drive, a wiring to see patterns — whether or not they’re actually there — to attempt to create order out of chaos. It’s just what we humans do. From a pattern on a leaf or a design of a sea shell, we can create connections and sequence all of nature, or at least believe it to be so.

Even when it comes to big decisions, we seek validation. Say you don’t know if you want to buy a used car or a new one, perhaps you may be tempted to look for help from the universe. It’s not like you’re depending on certain circumstances to guide you to make up your mind. But, we look for assurance — help to confirm that we are on the right track. If the next car you see happens to the exact shade of burgundy the car you were looking at back at the dealership, it would be comforting to have that as validation of your opinion — that the stars are aligning, and the path forward seems clear.

Being human, I am not exempt from this need for assurance in my choices. I look for signs that back up my decisions, for coincidences that show the guiding hand of the universe. And sometimes, even with small, inconsequential decisions, I go even farther than just reacting to signs as they appear. Sometimes, I ask for them to help guide my way.

“If I see three Jeeps on my drive home, I will definitely call my cousin to ask how his colonoscopy went.”

“If I hear the word ‘volcano’ today, I will absolutely treat myself to an ice cream cone from my favorite ice cream place. If I don’t hear it, I will forego ice cream until another day.”

“If it rains tonight, I will do the laundry in the morning. If not, I’ll just do it later.”

And it is amazing how often I am rewarded with such symbols. Actually, most of the time. If you seek, you shall find. If you expect them, they appear, as if by magic. And who is to say that I am not more attuned to the music of the spheres, more aware of my surroundings — paying more attention to the minutia around me? Honestly, why shouldn’t I be more mindful, isn’t that what living in the moment mostly about?

So next time, when you are looking for a sign, look no further than within — and you will see things as you are.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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