It seems the universe is often showing me signs. Reminding me that depth, insight, and beauty are ever present in my life and are most often found through the small, seemingly inconsequential things that appear at unexpected moments when I feel most lost in minutia or the rush of daily living.
One such sign (literally) appeared this morning on my way to the gym when, like every day, I drove past a small baptist church in our neighborhood. I don’t know anything about this little church or the community that it serves except the newly constructed building with an outdoor digital LED welcome sign and message board that rests squarely on a busy street corner, at a stoplight, visible to all passersby. Now typically I have zero patience sitting in traffic or waiting at stoplights. Seriously, I would rather drive 3 miles out of my way than wait for a long line of cars to move or a red light to turn green. However, this morning as traffic slowed and the 10 cars in front of me pulled to a stop at the red light near the church, I realized, despite running late for a 9:30 body pump class, I was not feeling impatient at all. No anxiously tapping on the steering wheel or checking my phone clock for the tenth time as I wait to turn onto the small quarter-mile connector road that leads to my gym parking lot. Instead, my gaze turns to the church message board on the corner that reads “Until you turn loose your present, you will never receive your future.”
As I sit in my car waiting, my mind wraps around these words and the obvious play on “present” and “future”. Reflecting upon my own life, I feel gratitude for the daily practice of meditation that I began many years ago. I know how important it is to be present in the current moment in order to create a desired future. Meditation has taught me how to recognize the present moment, allowing the future to unfold one day at a time in unexpected and amazing ways. This daily practice of going inward has also allowed me to let go of some unhealthy behaviors. Nine years ago, shortly after I began meditating, I became aware of a big block in my life and was guided to give up alcohol. What a game-changer that was! Yes, chopping wood and carrying water are a part of life. Now I’m simply grateful to have an ax and bucket at my disposal in order to chop and carry each day.
The corner light is now green and I approach my final turn to the gym. I take one more glance at the digital church sign. “Until you turn loose your present…” Hmmmm…. a curious phrase. I’m now picturing in my mind a colorfully wrapped gift box, tied with a pretty ribbon, and topped with a large silky red bow and I realize there is more to this church meme than I first thought. Turn loose my present and gifts, I thought. Use my talents and skills, share my wisdom and truth. Again I’m remembering pre-sobriety and how I searched relentlessly for my life purpose, for insight and wisdom on how to lead a spiritually authentic life filled with joy, compassion, abundance, and understanding, only to come up short in a repetitive cycle of search, sip wine, rinse and repeat – until I began meditating. Then the insight and wisdom came, showing me that alcohol was a one-way downward spiral and that I needed to make a change. So I continued meditating and got help from a like-minded alcohol-free community. In other words, I began to share myself with others in authentic ways, trading personal stories of struggle, love, and hope. Soon, my future began to unfold in ways I could never have imagined. People and events showed up to help guide me forward. Creative opportunities arose seemingly from nowhere. I began to use music in new and healing ways, fulfilling a dream of opening up an Energy Medicine studio in order to help others. I found myself being of service simply by sharing myself, my gifts, and my journey. This morning, yet again, the universe was giving me a sign through the words on this little church message board, taking me out of my momentary angst of traffic and reminding me to share myself with others, be of service, be present……. turn loose your present, you will receive your future.”
– Mary Casey Bowers, October 2022