There is something to be said about taking your time to get something done or doing things in your own time. When you’re not shackled by the social constraints of time frames created by humans, you’ll walk around feeling lighter. Your work is more fulfilling. You’re more aligned. There’s a weight that is lifted off your shoulders. And by social constraints I mean everything from no longer having to rush to get to and from work, to letting go of arbitrary dates by which you’d like to reach a life goal (i.e. being married with kids by 30, graduating college at 22, etc.).
Over the past few months, since I’ve moved into my new home, I have been seeing an unusual amount of slugs. I find a slug in my bathtub about once every two weeks, and last night (ON THE FULL MOON) as I was about to enter my building, I noticed about 10 of them in front of my building door. All in different stages of development, some small and some big, and I won't lie, I was creeped out by the sheer number of slimy worm like things out there. A quick google search about slugs and snails led me to articles explaining that they’re more commonly seen in humid, moist, warm areas along coast lines - which made sense with it being summer, our area experiencing heavy rain and flooding, and our proximity to the body of water near D.C. However, my initial thought about why I was running into them so often was mostly informed by my own personal beliefs rather than science. Also, it’s important to note that I have not come across a single snail, only slugs, and said slugs I’ve only seen inside my home or in front of the door to my home.
As a person for whom religion has not been very forgiving or accepting, I’ve come to view my need for spiritual resonance in a more broad light. Now, instead of learning what to believe or how to believe, I choose to believe in everything working together to inform us of God’s love and light through connections - or as others might say, the universe as an active force that leads us down the path that is meant for us and attracting what is meant for us to us. Everything is connected. That being said, I saw the slugs as an omen or a sign that the universe was telling me something. And what is the spiritual significance of the slug might you ask? The slug is supposed to represent letting things go and slowing down. “The slug is determined, strategic, strong, persistent and wise. In dark times, it knows when to act and when to withdraw. The slug needs nothing for it is always moving to where the rewards are” (Symbolism of Slugs, 2014). Like I said, they came out in hordes last night and were just waiting for me to get home BY THE DOOR FAM (on the full moon which is supposed to be the perfect time to release what doesn’t serve you). Since they’ve been trynna catch me at home, i specifically searched for what that means and all signs point to rest and release. And it‘s important that I add that this message also coincides with my recent dreams. I’ve been having nightmares about death and death in dreams is supposed to represent the end of something in your life. Like a door closing or something coming to an end. A change.
Because slugs have both male and female organs, they are said to symbolize the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. And as such not only are they seen more as spiritual beings than earthly beings by cultures and beliefs around the world, but they are also a good sign of fertility because they lay hundreds of eggs at a time and can mate freely with any other slug. In Animal-Wise: The Spirit Language and Signs of Nature, Ted Andrews calls the slug a “totem messenger” that is supposed to open us to a higher being. He says the slug shows that “A new path is opening...the Hermit Path and its symbols and imagery place before us opportunities to become a new person. On a spiritual level this path stimulates a greater commitment to spiritual life.” This interpretation only catches my eye because aside from slugs, I’ve also been seeing a lot of butterflies in random places too (like today on the train, one butterfly flew onto my shoe) and butterflies are used as symbols for spiritual rebirth and transformation.
In this regard, I took my continuous contact with the slugs in my home as an omen to let go of things that no longer served me, to slow down and rest rather than overbook myself, and to focus on my relationship to the higher power I personally subscribe to so as to be able to recognize the path that best serves me. I’ve been reading books that greatly resonate with me spiritually, and this omen further solidified what I’m realizing about life and the world around me. It further amplifies Paulo Coelho’s words in The Alchemist that everything is connected via this invisible force from the universe that propels us down our own personalized paths of self actualization. And coincides with Don Miguel Ruiz’s words about society’s dream of reality serving as a smokescreen that keeps us blind to our own realities of self, in The Four Agreements. Even the podcasts I listen to, all seem to randomly have episodes specifically crafted with these messages (Jay Shetty’s On Purpose podcast episodes numbers 247, 255 & 263). Everything I read or listen to connects and informs the next thing effortlessly, like it’s been specifically crafted for me by my God.
Two years ago I was practically begging for this kind of guidance from a spiritual being and now I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m ready to listen and connect the dots. I now realize that back then, I was not ready yet to accept this information. I hadn’t done the work on myself, processed my experiences, sat with my feelings rather than run from them, given myself the chance and time to be alone, changed my perspective, or become open to learning and receiving. At the time, I wasn’t ready to take in what I needed to transform and evolve. I wasn’t open to my truth yet, and I’m not saying I’ve figured it all out already, no I’m actually just getting started. I really know next to nothing right now and still have so much to learn, but now I’m more malleable and willing to receive information I wasn’t ready for before.
I saw a quote recently that really resonated with me and where I currently am on my journey that goes well with all this; “life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” And that’s exactly it. Before I was searching for my all elusive purpose. I was looking for answers in the wrong places, when in reality all I needed to do was look inwardly. Once I started figuring out who I am and how I came to be, the universe (God’s active force) started showing me signs confirming those things.
It all began when I started reading The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, which was a lot of work because I was answering the questions she posed about the harm I’ve inflicted upon myself as well as the harm others have inflicted on me. It helped me write down truths about myself that I hadn’t even given thought to before, and it helped me really look inward. Then I read Pussy Prayers: Sacred and Sensual Rituals for Wild Women of Color by Black Girl Bliss which was way more radical in its messaging than The Body Is Not An Apology. It also posed several questions which I answered for myself as I read, and it tested my ability to be open to different perspectives and information regarding what I deemed to be spiritual and holy. It completely upturned my ideas about sexuality and pleasure being taboo or unclean and made me come to terms with what I deemed to be my femininity and what womanhood means to me. Those two books laid the foundation for me to recognize that I am an amalgamation of the people I’ve come in contact with throughout my life (or as Don Miguel Ruiz puts it in The Four Agreements, we are all mirrors reflecting light off each other because we are all beings of light). Again, “life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself,” and this is why we gravitate towards or are attracted to the people around us. Because we see a piece of ourselves in them, and sometimes it’s something we, ourselves, don’t even recognize we already possess.
It wasn’t until I sat with myself and did the work necessary to learn a little bit more about myself that I came to be able to listen to my God’s signs and omens. It wasn’t until I actively stepped towards the path of self awareness and healing that I was able to actually SEE. And it’s such a crazy thing for me to realize that my wish for a spiritual guide from two years ago has finally come true. As the people on the internet would say, I manifested this. And my manifestation only came true after I began my path towards healing and self awareness. But don’t get it twisted, I’ve literally only just begun my path. This is just the tip of the iceberg for me. I am still a baby. I still have pain to get past, failed connections to grieve, wounds to heal, habits to break, reactions to unlearn, and perspectives to learn. I’m literally a spiritual child right now. Not completely self aware, still fumbling through life, making mistakes and super afraid. But I’m recognizing how far I’ve come and celebrating my present self because she’s traversed some seriously muddy waters and had some crazy shit happen to her. This Me deserves some accolades for the work she’s done via therapy and self reflection.
The tears, the fears, the pain, and grief was all worth it for her to be here just coming to BE. Because We are simply here to BE. To experience and to live. And living life can look like a lot of things. It can look like being of service. It can look like finding joy. It can look like learning. It can look like creating. It can also look like healing. Whatever we are pulled to at any given time throughout our lives, that is what life is about for us. People worry about purpose. They worry about intention. They worry about impact and the end result, but do you remember hearing that “life is about the journey, not the destination”? It always sounds so clichéd and makes you want to roll your eyes, but really when you sit with yourself in the moments of solitude you allow yourself to have, you realize that the process/experience/journey/path really was what made you feel the most alive. Your hard work and determination, the people you met and connected with, and the things you learned sometimes all culminated into beautiful creations, make you take pause and be in awe of your capabilities. You become surprised and proud at how far you’ve come only at the end, and the time spent and memories made are of most value in the end.
So like I previously stated, there is something to be said about doing things on your own time. You cannot rush the process, and you have to grow through what you go through in order to fully understand.