Re-Emergence (revised blog format, with new added info in Right Margin: Back to Better Endings!)

I went for a haircut a week or so ago. At first, I felt like reality had shifted; like I had stepped into a parallel reality.  No one was wearing a mask! I had walked in wearing one but realized it was okay; still I had to ask,

“Can I remove this?”

                “Yes.”

My stylist Stephanie told me later that she is scheduling people based on their vaccination status. Some days, all are in masks, but not on a day I would be there, as she knows I have been fully vaccinated for over two months already.

Carousel, Festival, Fun, Ride, Fair

Life is returning to some semblance of the world we inhabited before the Pandemic Time.  And yet, in many parts of the world and in some pockets here as well, the threat prevails.

Kids and college students and their teachers will return to their classrooms. Summer camps are reopening.  Restaurants feel safer; I am even shopping on my own again, sometimes masked but not necessarily so, with little trepidation.

Still, what was altered in the fabric of our lives while we were in quarantine? Are we the same people as before? What do we need now of each other?

Carnival, Fasnet, Swabian Alemannic

images are from pixabay.com

 I did not mind being masked.  If I am being honest I must admit I rather liked it.  As a person whose tendency especially in my younger years has been to be introspective, at times to the point of being introverted socially, I have felt some comfort in hiding my face behind a mask during these uncertain times.  I share this because I assume I am not alone in this.  Many of us have found not only a degree of safety but also of comfort in the anonymity of masks and social distancing. As well, through the technology of Zoom and other social media platforms, we have connected somewhat more closely—if not physically then emotionally and spiritually—with people we choose to be closest to. Cloistering and Clustering have intertwined, though this has also unfortunately created greater rifts between groups.

Now that we are to re-emerge; to remove our masks and step closer to one another, I wonder if it will ever feel as ‘normal’ as before.  At this stage I rather hope that masking may remain an option, protecting against flu and common colds in public spaces. 

Yet yes, I am open to gradually relax my own distancing; to re-enter into and to embrace community.  My dog Sophie is ahead of me on this; as always on our daily walks but it seems more demonstrably of late, she approaches everyone to administer love and joy, weaving me back into the fold.

Pink Flamingoes (Set a Sign to Follow Your Heart)

Flamingos, Birds, Couple, Pair, Flight

Some four to five years ago as I was just beginning to consider the prospects of retirement and relocation, I decided to set a private sign that I would see if I was meant to relocate.  I chose pink flamingoes as my token sign because this image was not very common where I was living then in Colorado.  I have used this approach one other time and it was very effective then, so I made my inner postulate to see pink flamingos as an affirmation it was time to leave and hopefully with some indication then of where I should move to after my retirement.

I did start seeing pink flamingos more frequently than I had noticed them before, and sometimes at odd times. Not that this sign was a major impetus for retiring relatively early, but it did help buttress my resolve.  This sign seemed also to show up in ads and such in a way that suggested a certain direction of movement: back East rather than, let’s say, to Florida (though that was not out of the question for me and is where pink flamingos might be more expected). 

Flamingo, Bird, Silhouette, Pink, Nature

I retired except for part-time online teaching in 2018 and relocated to New York state, near to where one of my sisters lives and at the time near where my mother was in a nursing home. This was home turf for me since I had moved Out West from Buffalo, NY over forty years earlier. I first moved to one town I had researched online, Ithaca, for about 9 months. It was nice and I was happy to be able to continue teaching there part-time, but I soon realized it was not my final retirement destination. I started seeing pink flamingoes again when I thought about moving elsewhere, and that next move was to a lakeside community in Canandaigua, still in the Finger Lakes, translated from Iroquois as “the chosen place.”

My second move was also good, and I enjoyed lakeside living for a year and a half in a small, nestled community of largely retired folks like myself. But when the pandemic struck, I started feeling restless again, and isolated in my remote little patio home, and I realized that this was still not my deeply sought destination.  I started visiting and thinking about my original, high school hometown two hours away, a quaint but active community centered around a performing arts center and nestled near a river and a lake, just across the border from Canada.  I sold my lake house, packed up and moved with my pets again, to rent the house where we are living now.

Flamingo, Water, Pink, Sky, Bird, Sunset

I am Back Home (at least in the physical world sense), and it is exactly where I want to be.

A few weeks ago, I went for breakfast at a great little diner up the road a bit from my new home. Although the diner is in the countryside and not very near to any body of water, I realized the theme in all the pictures on the wall was pink flamingoes! This time the sign felt like a confirmation: that this is where I was meant to be moving to, all along. Since then, I have been seeing pink flamingoes quite a lot in my little hometown: at stores, in peoples’ yards, and lately, filling the screen when I turn on my desktop computer.

I haven’t always thought that this practice of setting up a personal sign and paying attention when you see it works. I have had other friends who have used it effectively for themselves through the years, and now the two times I have used the approach, it has worked very well for me too.

Flamingo, Dusk, Sunset, Roseus, Nature
images are gratefully from pixabay.com

But why?  The practice of choosing a private sign is I think a way of working with your own inner guidance or with your higher/ superconscious awareness.  It sets up a suggestion that lets your unconscious mind and your spiritual consciousness work together in tandem; it can align you with your deeper Self, with your own inner compass, helping guide you to find your own North Star.