March 30, 2016

I believe in signs. I think that if we are open to receiving signals from the Universe (or whatever you believe in) we will find our path more clearly laid out for us.

What is a sign, really? It’s either the confirmation we are on the right track (I signed the lease for my new apartment and I found twenty bucks outside right after!) or a wake-up call saying that we’re not (every time I make a date with Joe Schmo I end up getting sick right beforehand).

Belief in signs can range from the cautiously indifferent to the hysterically fanatical.  I consider myself to be on the low end.

what if the absence of signs is a sign

A few months ago, I went to the bathroom at work. It was a Monday morning. I was not in a good mood, which is unusual for me; I was distracted and morose. I chose my usual stall and went to sit down, when something shiny caught my eye.

There were these little trinkets in the toilet!

imagejpeg_3 (1)

Well hello there.

Little copper pieces, a couple of miniature screws, and some other little sparkly metal bits littered the bottom of the toilet bowl, too heavy to flush away.

It was almost as though a little fairy had been making a miniature sculpture and had discarded her remnants there.

Startled, I actually laughed out loud, then leaned in for a closer look. My mood instantly lifted, and something sparked at the back of my mind. These trinkets were a sign. A warm flutter blossomed in my chest; a confirmation from my intuition that I was right.

I thought about those trinkets in the toilet for the rest of the day. They intrigued me, made me wonder where they’d come from, and at the same time filled me with a strange and concentrated sense of hope. I felt a little crazy, but I believed those trinkets had appeared to show me something important. But what?

A week went by. The trinkets in the toilet remained, greeting me on my bathroom breaks. I smiled as I saw them, still deeming them hopeful beacons. I went about my daily life.

I should mention: As this all was going on my life was in utter chaos. Work was stressful; I had a contractor in the fold that wasn’t working out. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. At the same time, our family life was doubly busy, with my step-kids having moved in full-time just a few weeks prior. Life was nuts. And I was feeling out of control.


Another week went by, and I began to feel differently about those trinkets, most of which had still not flushed away. Unexpectedly, I began to resent them: what were they really doing there? Why hadn’t anyone cleaned them up? Why hadn’t I figured out their meaning? Would they ever reveal their secrets to me?

I felt tired, suddenly, and overwhelmed by all of the decisions I needed to make. I sat on the toilet and sobbed.

After crying myself out, I stood up to leave, and took one last glance down into the toilet. Three trinkets remained, stubbornly refusing to flush.

And suddenly, I understood. It was MY responsibility to fix my life. All of it! Why did I need the cleaners to remove the trinkets? Why did I need to agonize over work and family life decisions when I knew, in my heart, what to do about them? Why was I looking for answers outside of myself when I had all of the answers inside?

I hesitated only a moment before plunging my hand into the toilet. The water was freezing, and I quickly scooped up the remaining trinkets before I could fully process that I was inserting my hand into a public toilet bowl.

I stood there, victorious, my hand dripping water, and looked more closely at the trinkets. They didn’t shine anymore; they had dulled. Their purpose had been served.


Carefully, almost tenderly, I wrapped them in toilet paper. I dropped them back into the toilet. And I flushed them out of my life.

Then (after thoroughly washing my hands) I returned to work with a new sense of purpose. I made some decisions. I pushed ahead, following the inner voice that knew what to do the whole time.

The trinkets in the toilet were, as I had thought, a sign of something important:

I am in control of my life. I am in control of how I perceive things. I can change my situation. Sometimes change involves doing un-glamorous things, and getting our hands dirty.

Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed, changing anything feels like beginning a thousand piece puzzle after pulling an all-nighter. We’re tired. We don’t have the energy.  But deciding to just do the crappy, hard thing is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself.

Take a deep breath. Stick that hand into the toilet. Journey on.


About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.


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