The secret is to stay open.

I have learned to be open to the magic, to leave a window open for it to fly in, whether as a gentle breeze, a strong wind, a bird, or even a dragonfly. Life will bring me what I need, even if it’s not what I think I need or believe is possible.

A magical visitation

Let me tell you more about being open to the signs. One day when I was revising my “12 Questions to Help You Find, Remember, and Do What You Really Love,” reflections questions that are at the end of my book, and a dragonfly entered my open-air home. It flew up to the skylight and tried to get out for hours, its wings buzzing incessantly as they struck the hard surface.

Later in the afternoon, still working at my desk, a bright green hummingbird with a red beak entered the house and flew to the window. It too tried to get out, along with the dragonfly.

The dragonfly I couldn’t reach. I didn’t try. I found it dead probably from exhaustion the next day. I felt sad and somewhat guilty.

The hummingbird, whose buzzing was louder, compelled me from my desk. Speaking gently to the bird, I waited for it to see and recognize me, which it did.

I put my hand out and the hummingbird tried to land, then stumbled on my palm. We tried several more times until the bird calmly rested on my open palm. Gently enclosing the hummingbird with my other hand, I walked to the open door and released it.

Mistakes or messages?

Were these visits simply “random mistakes” by the dragonfly and hummingbird? Or were they sacred messages from the Divine?

Both of these creatures are among the most iridescent and enchanting. Both were attracted to the light, which signaled a way out, but in reality, wasn’t the true path to freedom.

The diversion from my planned activities was special, beautiful, sad and enchanted. Among other realizations, it made me aware of how I am missing Life and the Beauty of Nature that is all around me when I sit at my desk for hours on end.

I know intimately what it’s like to hit against those hard surfaces, that skylight that I think is the way out but actually isn’t. I even ask myself and my clients daily, what is SOCIETY’S definition of success, productivity, good-enoughness?… and what is OUR values-driven knowing about OUR vision of success, for US?

Here’s what I learned from this magical visitation

1. The energy of life will enter to change things, always even better than my original plan

I used to make a gratitude list, and every day, at the end of the day, I would make a list of 10 things that I was grateful for from that day. Without fail, one or more of these 10 things would ALWAYS be something I had not had planned in my schedule. They were wonderful, additional surprises, like this hummingbird visitation.

I learned that even with my best agenda and intention, I don’t control life; the energy of life will enter and change things, sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically, but always better than my plan.

2. I will still fall into old patterns and habits AND I can be gentle with myself when that happens

When I used to have all my food sensitivities, if I just ate one tiny thing wrong, it would change how I felt immediately and change my sleep, my energy, everything. For a long time, every morning I would wake up and say to myself, “What did I do WRONG? What did I eat WRONG yesterday? …oooh, I did it WRONG?”

But…I remind myself that those thoughts are NOT allowed to take over because I have decided these negative thoughts are not welcome and not helpful.

Because I am a creative being with free will, I can learn from life’s lessons and change directions. I have that freedom of choice and possibility. I return to being gentle with myself and with life. Feeling the grief and embarrassment, I lick my wounds, forgive myself, and then get up and keep moving.

3. Changing and improving one’s life is not a linear process

Life is a perfectly imperfect journey with ups and downs, twists and turns, frightening ledges and glorious vistas.

Before I lived where I live now, in an indigenous village in Mexico, I had what everybody would consider a “perfect life.,”  well, according to North American standards. I had money, a house, all the trappings. But then the visions to move to Mexico started.

I was called to live in a place where traditions and connection with nature are alive. These things, these traditions, this breathtaking connection with nature, was exactly what I was missing in my life in the States.

It was frightening because I had to let go of my illusion of financial security and let life take me where it took me.

I learned to expect the unexpected with its lessons and gifts with open arms, curiosity and gratitude.

4. Be open to the accompaniment that shows up as magic

The experience with the dragonfly and hummingbird finding their way into my house continues to ring in my heart, poignant with gratitude, and reminds me that even when I’m unbalanced, life is so wondrous and generous as to pay me a gentle visit – even though.

Even if I am heading down a dark path, or in a dark hole, there is mercy and grace.

I am not alone in the creation of my life. It’s not all on me to do it right and perfectly. If I listen to the signs, there is help and a way out and forward.

Opening your window to opportunity

Feeling into the flow, listening to the signs, coming back to being gentle with ourselves: these options are always there.

We just need to open our window–even a tiny bit–and be aware.

I invite you to share: How do YOU receive signs?

Robin Rainbow Gate is an intentional and simple living coach for midlife women, offering courses and simple living retreats at Take Good Care of You Wellness. She is the author of Calling Myself Home: Living Simply, Following Your Heart and What Happens When You Jump, —a memoir for those that crave a simple lifestyle and wish to live according to their personal values. Since 2006 Robin has lived in an indigenous mountain village in Mexico where she continues to learn from elder teachers and traditional healers.


Image courtesy of Marcelo Matarazzo.