Interpreting signs

Blue dragonfly near where I sat at today's Pow-Wow

Blue dragonfly near where I sat at today’s Pow-Wow

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know that I’m a big believer in signs. If you’re new to reading my blog…well now you know that I believe in signs πŸ˜‰ I always look and ask for positive signs and I do my best to not believe in bad omens. I honestly feel that when you put positive energy out there, positive energy returns! The same applies to negative energy which is why I try so hard to see the bright side of situations.

I consider myself fortunate that the powers that be quite often send me exactly the sign I ask for. Sometimes I’m quite specific in my sign requests and when those are answered on-point I’m sure that’s my dad’s spirit flexing his afterlife muscle to help and reassure his little girl. There have been times when I don’t receive a specific sign and while I like to believe that it hasn’t happened yet or that I missed it, it’s entirely possible that I wasn’t meant to receive that sign because what I was looking for just can’t be accomplished. That can be rather hard for me to accept, especially when I wanted with all my heart to see that sign and be given hope for a particular outcome.

I think there have also been times when I interpret signs incorrectly. Translating signs isn’t an exact science after all and it wouldn’t be any fun if it was. But I do the best I can and continue to believe in positive outcomes. For me personally, it’s important to have faith in something. To be able to hold onto hope for a brighter future even at life’s lowest moments.

Today I saw several positive signs in the forms of dragonflies near where I sat, butterflies along my path and a hawk circling in the sky above the park.

Another dragonfly in the center of the circle.

Another dragonfly in the center of the circle.

Hawk circling above the park.

Hawk circling above the park.

I believe the hawk is one of my most powerful spirit guardians and animal totems as I see one almost every day. I even saw one circling in the sky of Boston! Seeing a hawk reminds me that I’m never alone and tells me that I’m on the right path. Watching a hawk means looking up and as I believe in always looking where you want to go, things will continue to soar upward!

The hawk I saw circling the skies in Boston.

The hawk I saw circling the skies in Boston.

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Simple truth

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It’s been a long day of traveling to get to my warmer destination in Florida but I was reminded of a very simple truth during my first flight of the day. That truth is that no matter how thick, dark, gloomy and snow-filled clouds can be, the sun is always shining above them. The light is always there, even when you can’t see it.

Butterfly Sightings

While mowing my lawn yesterday I saw several butterflies, all different sizes and colors. There were tiny ones that looked like mini-monarchs and larger ones like the Yellow Swallowtail. Β I had to bring my mower to a complete stop more than once to keep from running over the lovely little creatures. They didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by the roar of the engine or the grass spitting out the shoot.

One of the small butterflies in the grass

One of the small butterflies in the grass

Butterflies are more than just beautiful insects to me, they’re a symbol of renewal and hope. The summer after my father’s passing there was a bumper crop of Monarch butterflies. Every time I saw a Monarch I felt like it was my father watching over me. There were a couple that lingered into the cooler weather and one even climbed onto my hand when I found it huddled clutching to the grass unable to fly in the strong, cold wind.

The Monarch that climbed onto my hand

The Monarch that climbed onto my hand

Seeing butterflies as symbols can be somewhat traumatic though when I’m driving in my car and they fly in front of me. I can’t really swerve for butterflies safely. Last spring there was a huge migration of small brown and orange butterflies called Red Admirals. I was driving home from work one day and the air was filled with them. I couldn’t swerve to avoid them all and there were already several that had been hit and were blowing across the road and I started crying as I drove. They were just out flying, trying to find a mate and they were dying in large numbers. That was not a good afternoon for me.

I emailed one of my close friends about how awful that drive home was and he understood because he knew all about my love for butterflies and what they mean to me. That summer he took me to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in South Deerfield, Massachusetts and it was an amazing experience! Being surrounded by so many different butterflies that were in no danger of being struck by cars or other moving objects was very healing for me.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, South Deerfield, MA

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, South Deerfield, MA

That experience was also a little bittersweet. I looked at all the butterflies around and I was trying to take pictures with my outdated Droid phone and I knew I wasn’t capturing their beauty. I knew my father would’ve been able to capture the wonder of it all on film and I began to keenly miss him. I am embarrassed to say that I sat on a bench and started crying. I had sunglasses on but apparently they don’t hide tears as well as I thought. My friend came over and comforted me as best he could and then an employee came over to ask what was wrong. She was carrying a large lizard and suggested that I pet him, so I did. The lizard then jumped down from her arms rather gracelessly and that made me laugh. I am not meant to be sad for long, my father doesn’t want that for me.

The lizard that leaped

The lizard that leaped

As my friend and I sat on that bench a brown and white butterfly landed on first his head for several minutes and then briefly landed on my hand as I held my phone. That was the only butterfly to land on me that day but it was enough. It was reassurance to me from my father and the powers that be that I was okay and that I was on the right path in my life.

Butterfly that landed on us

Butterfly that landed on us

I highly recommend a visit to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. It’s very educational for children and enjoyable for adults as well. There’s more to see than butterflies and you always have to be on the lookout for the button quail that dart about. Spend an hour there and escape the hectic pace of life to find a bit of peace among silently fluttering wings.

Several butterflies flying over the warmth of heat lamps

Several butterflies flying over the warmth of heat lamps

Tree frog showing me his best side

Tree frog showing me his best side

Glasswing Butterfly - one of my favorites!

Glasswing Butterfly – one of my favorites!

Should you ever see me walking along or mowing and I suddenly stop to look over at something, you can bet I’ve spotted a butterfly. I’m taking a moment to admire and appreciate the beautiful flying artwork created by the amazing imagination of Mother Nature.

Confidence is Natural…

Mr. Bluebird perched confidently on my pine tree.

Mr. Bluebird perched confidently on my pine tree.

Confidence. The Oxford Dictionary defines confidence as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” A very apt definition. To me, confidence is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. Perhaps everyone struggles with it at some point in their life. I often worry that if I am too confident in myself I will come off as conceited. Conceit defined as “excessive pride in oneself.” It can get rather confusing…to me anyway. Then again, I’m a human.

On my drive into work this morning I saw a red-winged blackbird sitting on the tiniest twig of a branch. He was rather calm looking and didn’t appear to have any fear that the twig was going to break and drop him. He knew his wings would catch him if the branch broke. He had confidence in his wings, or perhaps it’s just natural instinct. I envy animals and their instincts and I highly doubt they ever suffer from low self-confidence, worry, doubt or self-deprecation. Seeing that one bird sitting there started the wheels of thought in my brain and when they start, they’re hard to stop.

That blackbird didn’t spot that twig from the sky and think “I wonder if that will support me? What if it breaks and my wings suddenly malfunction and I drop to the ground? What if all the other birds laugh at me?” He probably thought: “Branch. Perch.” and accomplished exactly what he wanted to. No doubts, no fear, no worries, just action. That bird was confident in his abilities as a bird because he knows no other way to be. I envy him. I continued on this course of thought…

I always see hawks circling in the sky or perched on the wires between telephone poles. They’re searching for prey or resting from their last meal. When they spot a mouse, small bird or other oblivious impending victim they don’t think “What if I swoop down, misjudge my aim and miss the prey? What if the prey spots me and runs away? What if my wings get tangled and I tumble and fall gracelessly onto my head? Would my fellow hawks see? I’d never live it down! Would the prey come back and laugh at me?” They just dive and either get their prey or they don’t. If they miss, they’ll try again without a second thought and without a loss of confidence. That’s how they know to be. I admire them.

I am opening myself up for some ribbing from friends by saying this, but I then thought about squirrels. Those bushy-tailed rodents are always running across the road, scampering across wires and climbing trees. They quite often make great leaps from tree to tree and run the tightrope of wires spanning the road. Do they pause on the branch or wire and think “What if I gauge the distance wrong and miss the branch? What if I swish my tail incorrectly and topple from the wire? What if the car doesn’t swerve with screeching tires when I pause in the middle of the lane?” They just act, confidently and quickly. Their lives aren’t long enough to waste doubting their own abilities and there isn’t room in their devious little rodent minds for useless worry. I’m almost jealous. Almost.

It’s spring and therefore mating season among the birds in my yard. The male birds are constantly strutting around puffing out their chests and flapping their wings as they sing what must be a beautiful serenade to the female birds. They’re very competitive and chase each other away every other minute. Their instinct is telling them they need to mate so they do it. They don’t perch in bars, scan bird dating sites and spend hours fretting about having every feather in place. They do what they do and expect it to work and it must since there’s never a shortage of birds in my yard. They’re confident that they can get a mate because that’s how it has worked for countless years.

In my constant quest to be more confident in myself, I’m going to take lessons from the animals I observe around me. There is a balance and power in the animal kingdom that I’m certain can teach me quite a lot. I’m confident that when I stop tripping over my own worries, doubts and fears I’ll finally be able to spread my wings and truly fly…and perch on the tiniest branch of hope without the slightest fret of falling.