True story: the number one thing I’m direct messaged on Instagram are photos of the Wienermobile. And I LOVE it! It always makes me day to hear that someone felt a greater sense of connection in the world by seeing the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. And there’s always something meaningful about receiving the message at the time I do as well. The Wienermobile is one of my spirit signs!
When I share this fact, people often want to know, How does a hot dog shaped car invented in 1936 become a language between me and the Universe?
I’ve always been open to signs since my adolescence. I started using them to develop a relationship with deceased loved ones and then, it feels to me, general spirit guides – unseen forces in the Universe that know my highest path and want the best for me. This led me to read the book Signs by Laura Lynne Jackson, her appearance on goop lab and her work on the recent Netflix show Surviving Death. I love and highly recommend these resources that have given me more anecdotes and insight that has helped me understand and appreciate my natural inclination to accept and communicate with signs.
I’ve learned from all of the incredible stories and wisdom from these resources that, for many people, it’s not common to be naturally open to signs. It’s typically loss and the eventual surrender we all must face in that journey that opens our consciousness to afterlife and the possibility of relationships with the spirit of someone we loved as a living person, or simply spirits in general. What I love in the stories of others who have shared their experiences with signs is how opening up to receiving them and then encountering them can be a big turning point in the grief process and a step forward from the total confusion and despair many of us face in loss. It’s inspired me to share my own story and how I relate with signs from both people I knew before they passed and general spirit wisdom.
FEELING OPEN TO RECEIVE
My first spiritual sign was easy to identify. It was under the Christmas tree in a neatly wrapped jewelry box almost every year I was alive.
My grandfather always called my Mom his “bug.” Each Christmas, he loved to find a beautiful ladybug – an enamel pin, a charm for a necklace or desk accessory made from Swavorski crystal. When my grandfather passed unexpectedly when I was 15, the real ladybugs started appearing. One night, my Mom and I cried in her bed and we noticed one little ladybug, hovering right over our heads on the ceiling. One would be on my car door after a hard day. When I pulled my wedding veil out shortly before walking down the aisle to get married, a ladybug was resting peacefully on top.
My grandfather and I were so close, typically speaking with or seeing each other almost every day before he passed. He was my guide, and at that age in my life, the person I downloaded many of my perspectives and lessons from. He was an extension of myself. While a ladybug could have reasonably appeared in any of these places naturally, I could tell the ladybugs were him because when I saw them, I felt a momentary return to a feeling of wholeness. Nothing was missing, he was right here the whole time.
When his wife, my grandmother, passed away a few years ago, she didn’t leave as overt of a clue as to how she might appear. (As we walked the priest out of the home after he visited before her death there was a ladybug right over the doorway.) My Mom said almost casually she would be a butterfly, which at the time perplexed and disturbed me. What gave us the right to decide how our ancestors would speak to us? I’ve come to understand now how natural this is, and with the understanding that our deceased loved ones are still with us as spirit, these requests can be heard.
My grandmother lived at her own pace of life. She adored children and loved herself and others with little luxuries. She loved to gift me plush robes, cozy slippers, candles and chocolate. When my intuition is trying to remind me of the benefits of nurturing myself and my family this way, I often see a butterfly. I had lunch with her so many times when I was distracted, generally haggard or worried and she would remind me to take care of myself first. I don’t have that voice across from me anymore, but when I tap into it inside of me it’s so assuring and magical to see a butterfly as external validation that she’s there.
My grandmother’s house was her world. Shortly after her passing I was suddenly determined to move out of our home of nine years. After years of browsing, I knew nothing was available, but I still couldn’t resist the overwhelming urge to check. The very top listing had every crazy standard we had for a new house. It was in our budget and connected to my parent’s house via a biking trail. When we showed up for the first showing I opened the car door to a butterfly flapping right in my face! And just to be sure, while emotions were high as I walked out of our first home for the last time, I closed the front door and the largest butterfly I’ve ever seen was resting there, wings spread open.
FINDING MY SIGNS
As much as I love to connect with ancestors through ladybugs and butterflies, I’ve loved cultivating a deeper relationship with the Universe by discovering signs and letting them find me.
I’m asked how something like the Wienermobile became a spiritual sign for me. I believe it begins for me with noticing. When I’m observing the world more, I naturally feel less like it’s my job to run it. I slow down. I look for patterns, coincidences and surprises.
Why do I see the Wienermobile so much? What is the connection between the moments when I’ve seen it? What I was working on? What I was feeling? What was the story I had in my head about life?
Growing up, I never saw the Wienermobile. It was mythical and magic. As I began a career in public relations, I started to understand the correlation between what I find to be magic and the career path I had taken. I love making something out of nothing. I love turning simple things into big, joyful things. A hot dog shaped car can be trivial or truly magic. It’s really how it’s presented and the story is told. I’ve walked up on the Wienermobile in Marfa, Denver, San Antonio and all around Dallas. It’s even visited my house!
I notice I see the Wienermobile when I could use a reminder of my gifts and how they relate to my calling and work.
Am I remembering the importance of magic in life? Am I creating magic for others with my current work? Am I leaving life open enough for it to make some magic for me?
Another odd sign that makes total sense to me is a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. My first steady job was on a Ford car lot when I was 15. Ford had just re-released the Thunderbird in a special edition. I was in love with these cars, especially the classic ice blue color. I believe 15 is an age where we start to see things out in the world and tell ourselves, “Now that’s how it will be when I grow up.” At 15 I knew the plan for my life and it definitely involved driving that car.
These days, I’ll be driving or in a parking lot and see a beautifully maintained, ice blue 2002 Ford Thunderbird sitting in front of me. I love seeing them. And I can feel a little tap on my shoulder from my 15-year-old self, wanting to check in and see if she would be happy with the life I’m living today. A lot of times, I need to take a look in the mirror.
What stories have I let in about who I need to be? How am I giving my life away to other people? What do I need to be doing to see a life I’m proud of?
To be honest, I’m different from a lot of people I know. It can be hard and even lonely to feel a need for wisdom or advice but know what I want for my life is different. Who can advise me on how not to follow a path but make an entirely new one? Many good humans love and support me, I know, and in special instances I believe Wienermobiles and Thunderbirds do too. They catch me off guard and tap me into a deeper wisdom inside of me that I know is there but often overlook in the day-to-day.
Noticing, observing, reflecting on and allowing in my signs has helped me create a story of why they come my way and what they’re here to tell me.
THE ONLY KNOWING FOR CERTAIN IS I AM NOT ALONE
After the rain comes the rainbow, right? I love seeing rainbows as a sign that the storm is ending or the winds are changing. There are few things I love as much as when we get a big rainbow in the city. We are urbanites, typically too busy to pause for anything. When we get a rainbow in Dallas, that’s all I see on my social media feeds. The most cynical people I know will post a photo. Rainbows feel like a big exhalation. They’re so special to me.
From that, I could often think receiving a sign meant “things were working out,” which for me can easily get confused with the idea that my desired outcome for a situation is about to happen. Often though, the opposite is true and I see more signs before or during hard situations. For a while, this even tempted me to distrust the communication. I would be in a tough spot and get a sign, then tell myself it meant the plan as I knew it was happening. The disappointment from the fall out was harsh.
I know now, though, signs show themselves to me not to confirm my plan but as proof that even on those days when I think I’m alone, or a fool with no path, I’m hardly that. In fact, I have guides the untrained eye can’t even showing up to support me. I’m not down and out. I am saved.
Sometimes I see a sign as something great happens and sometimes I see one as the worst case scenario is playing out. They’re both times we long to know we’re not alone and that we’re watched out for, which is exactly how I feel when I see one of my signs.
COMPANIONS FOR THE JOURNEY
Another way I started working with signs was going back to the practice of noticing, this time at the animals around me, and starting to research totem animals.
First, there was Pizza, the frog that lived in my garden this summer. I entertained my curiosity around his presence and read about frogs as a totem animal as a sign to take the leap into our dreams. Pizza’s nightly presence became one more reason not to throw in the towel of my pipe dream to create my business. I often went outside as a break from staring at my computer all day, trying to rationally understand how my dream would work. And good ol’ Pizza reminded me I would never see how it turns out if I didn’t go for it.
As part of my work to stop forcing my plans and start releasing expectations, I stopped fighting to win. It sounds like a great idea until I really wanted to send that one last text or to try that final idea to prove I was right. In these moments, I noticed lizards – a totem animal for adaptability and surrender, willing to leave their own tails behind to move forward in life. My lizard friends motivated me to surrender my perceived losses and allow myself to lay down my arms and get back to feeling good. The gains have been unimaginable.
The last few months, I’ve been stripped of so many of my attachments – ideologies I felt safe in, places that made me comfortable and friendships I labeled as permanent. They were roles, relationships and ideals I used to build my identity around outside myself. It’s been so daunting I’ve literally felt my head spin, but necessary work towards a life of freedom where my only attachment is to myself. For some reason, number sequences have been really helpful in allowing loss to continue to look and feel like a new beginning to me.
Do you ever see 11:11 on your clock and feel like there’s something special there? How is it that I need to glance at the clock every single time a sequence of the same numbers is on the dial – 11:11, 2:22, 5:55? They also appear on my calendar dates, my car GPS and expiration labels I’m forced to stare at while eating my lunch alone. Even Saint Augustine wrote often of the use of numbers and their appearances in sequences as a way to understand the harmonic nature of the Universe. This sequence of numbers can spiritually remind us that, even when feeling the most alone in new beginnings, we are surrounded with spiritual care. Every time I’ve seen this I’ve desperately needed to know the vulnerable place I’m in is where I need to be. The little numbers are markers on the new trail I’m carving for myself.
MY SPIRIT COMMUNITY
It’s felt like all I’ve done lately is shed layers. I’m dreaming bigger than I’ve been trained to be comfortable with. I’m trying things I said I’d never do. I’ve learned how to check my self-doubt, but the triggering feeling I’m still working on is loneliness. Social isolation doesn’t help, but it was coming in strong long before we were at home. As a wise friend put it, I’m lonely for self as I dig deeper into who I am and what I’m meant to be.
My lonesomeness is in the physical world. When I look beyond the natural limitations of us humans, I see my support team: ladybugs, butterflies, frogs, lizards, numbers, cars and whatever else decides to join our faith posse. I am not alone. I do not need to know the path to be able to breathe easily in the knowing that I am on it. I am surrounded.
In December 2019, we prepped the house for our daughter’s sixth birthday party. Like any Mom, my girl is my entire life. As her birthday approaches (and the number climbs higher), I always have a moment where I’m cornered into looking at the trajectory of my own life and how it came to be. I remember being a little girl my daughter’s age: the dreams I had for my life then and the sorrows, hardships and the loss I had to face to mature myself into a woman who is capable of mothering a member of our next generation.
I pause and realize everything that’s happened to me in life had to come to pass so I could have the privilege and joy today of taping plastic tablecloths and icing a homemade Barbie birthday cake for my daughter. I pause and let myself wish for a magical world where everyone – those living and those who raised me who have passed – could be here to see how it all turned out.
“Mom!” my girl cried from the front room, “It’s a ladybug! Your grandfather.” I smiled, and then, as our guests arrived, tried to act like it was completely normal that she then picked up the ladybug and began talking to it as if it really were my grandfather standing in our living room.
She gave the ladybug a tour of the party, “And these are the plates we bought, and here’s the cake my Mom made me. I’m so happy you came!”
The past year has proven that I cannot protect my girl from loss, uncertainty or loneliness. The more I interact with the spirit world, though, the more I understand that the depth of which I feel alone is dependent on if I’m defining community by people I can tangibly see.
I believe we can create companionship and dialogue with those that exist beyond this plane. By introducing my daughter to my practice of consulting with signs, I hope to offer her a support system that can love her and be with her beyond my human limitations. Together, as her friends rang the doorbell, we took the spirit of my grandfather outside, watched him open his wings and cherished the reminder that we never have to wish he was here as he took off into the horizon.
Do you have a spirit sign? Share it below! I love hearing the ways we connect with consciousness!
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