In the warm, early morning hours of summer, I usually savor a freshly brewed cup of coffee before throwing on my sneakers for a nice, brisk walk. I try to get out on my road as early as possible before the day becomes a real scorcher. As the sun rises above the horizon, there is very little traffic on my road except for the birds flying overhead. Along my route, there’s a long, undeveloped stretch of land where trees, bushes, and fields line the sides; it’s my favorite part of the walk. I relish the beauty of nature and have started to use this time to learn something new or be reminded of something beautiful from someone wise. I stroll with one earbud in to garner inspiration for the day and continue to appreciate nature in my other ear. Lately, I’ve been into Ram Dass, the awesome (sometimes acid-dropping) hippie/lecturer/wisdom sharer from the ‘60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, etc. (He just recently passed.) He is also the author of the infamous book and phrase “Be Here Now.”
As I was strolling down my street a few weeks ago, smiling at one of Ram Dass’ self-deprecating stories, I came across a beige, canvas glove on the side of the road. This may not seem very odd except for the fact that it had the word “NOW” inscribed on it in black marker. I was literally listening to the “Be Here Now” guy when my eyes fell upon a piece of apparel that signaled the same theme that I was hearing in my head (and earbud!). I stopped in my tracks—literally. The word “NOW” completely illuminated for me in the dirt. Was this a sign?
I didn’t question how the glove got there. I just accepted it as a message meant for me along the way. Somehow, my heart sensed that I was the intended recipient. But as I stared at the word “NOW” scrawled on the glove, I wasn’t exactly sure what it referenced. Nowwwwww…what? Was it a reminder to stop right there and be fully present in that moment? Was it a reminder to take that sense of “presence” into every moment going forward? Was it a little “Hello, thanks for listening,” from Ram Dass or the space his soul had migrated? Or was it a nudge to do something more, to stop putting off whatever I had shelved but knew was important and attend to it now? Should I start writing that next book—now? Finish the course I’m working on—now? For a moment, I felt like I was in an old Batman TV show and the Riddler had just jabbed me in the stomach. BAM! ZAP! KAPOW! I stood there paralyzed with awe, confusion, and bewilderment running through my veins.
I took my phone out and snapped a picture of the glove and began to turn the word “now” over and over again in my head as I walked home. I never entertained the thought that the glove may have just been the victim of a forgetful owner or of a strong wind in a neighboring yard. For some reason, I knew that the glove was exactly where it needed to be for me to discover it. The Universe had given me a sign, a gift. Because it seemed appropriate on so many fronts in my life, I embraced it as an over-arching reminder to be fully present in the moment and to take action in those areas that had immediately bubbled up in my mind and heart. I felt grateful for the sweet cue from beyond.
Signs can pop up in any place, at any time—on a walk, in a store, on a drive—wherever the Universe chooses and whenever your heart is open to see them. They are reminders that you are connected to something greater and that wisdom abounds. They are wondrously personal, and only you will know when they are meant for you. A few weeks ago, about a mile away from my home, the Universe reminded me of the beautiful space of the present moment, the moment I am in right now. It also reminded me to act. I only needed to open my heart to see the sign.