16 July 2013

15 – Powerful Reminders When You Least Expect Them

I like books and movies about how people, things and events are interconnected. The Celestine Prophecy is one of my favourite books. I enjoyed the movies Signs and Jeff, Who Lives at Home for similar reasons. They suggest nothing happens by chance and that keeping an eye out for subtle yet resonant messages can help us better navigate the murky waters of life. 

Such messages can serve as powerful reminders of important things to do. And they often arrive when and where you’d least expect. I’ll share two recent episodes. Maybe you’ve had similar experiences. If so, it’d be great to hear about them.

The first I mentioned when discussing living yourself to death. I went to a university library back in March to do some novel writing. The only other thing you need to know about my visit to the washroom is what was scribbled on the door of a bathroom stall. Amid the lewd comments and jokes two words stood out:

Be unstoppable!

It wasn’t written in huge big letters. It easily could’ve been lost amidst the dirty jokes surrounding it. But the content of the sentence made it stand out like an oasis in a desert.

I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head. I wrote it in my notebook as soon as I got back to my desk. It just made sense to me. I’d finally started doing the writing I’d been imagining for years. But I was also starting to fret for the value of the book I was writing. Doubt was creeping back into my heart as I wondered if all the effort would really be worth it.

But reading ‘Be Unstoppable!’ put the wind back in my sails. It reminded me to never stop pursuing my dreams and to keep doing the things I love. I don’t know who wrote it, and I don’t know if they had specific intentions when they did. But I’ll say a big thank you to whoever that person is, wherever they may be.

The second episode happened just this morning. It drove me to write this essay. I got up at quarter after five so I could walk out of Herring Cove to the shoreline and watch the sunrise. I got down there by twenty to six.  I sat on the rocks for more than an hour, watching the sun fade from a deep pink into bright orange and then a hot white as it rose. The stripe of rippling orange light it cast over the water faded into yellow and then shining silver. Small flocks of seabirds flew past every now and again. A large oil tanker steamed past as it made for Halifax harbour. Satisfied that I’d gotten an eyeball’s worth, I headed back home.

The main road back into the village runs alongside the small cove before veering right up the hill past the church. I turned left on to my road and walked past the junior high school. I glanced at the school’s billboard. It says this:  

Take the time to look up at the clouds.

My first thought was, ‘that’s a great message to send the kids off to summer holidays with.’ And I kept walking.

But I hadn’t left the words behind. They echoed through my head the rest of the way home. My second thought was, ‘that message is a perfect match for my morning.’ I got home at quarter after seven, made some breakfast and set to work on this essay.

I thought about the message on the school sign some more. I’m starting a new job next week. I’m excited about it. However, it can be easy to get caught up in the initial excitement of starting something new. We all know what that’s like. Without realizing it, we can start neglecting other important aspects of our life. We often forget to look up at the clouds when we're smitten with the new.

I took the message on the school sign as a reminder to stay focused on the clouds as I begin something new. Call me superstitious if you like. Just don’t call me Stevie Wonder. He’s magic that can never be bottled.

Reminders aren’t just reserved for mundane, everyday chores. Sometimes we need reminders about the really important things too. And sometimes they arrive from unexpected places and in unexpected ways. 

So no matter what you do, be unstoppable while doing it. And take in the scenery while you're at it. You might see more of the signs you need to better guide your own journey. 


  1. Tahlia Meredith23 July 2013 at 00:08

    Great advice - sometimes we get so set on being unstoppable that we think 'keep your head down and power on.' This is a great reminder that we need to balance it out with looking around us as well!

  2. You're right Tahlia. Finding a balance between the two is crucial. Sometimes hard work needs an easy break. Thanks!


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