The Universe has shown up BIG in my life the last year and a half. I am both in awe and the most grateful.
I want to share that I, personally, do not use the terms "universe" and "god" interchangeably. I wholeheartedly respect that others do. However, the concept of "god" has never made sense to me. In seventh grade, I turned to my mother on the way to school and admitted this. This visual of a "man" (as it has been preached to us for so long - most of society refers to god as "He") overlooking everyone never clicked. She did her best to explain "god is everywhere," to which I responded "Yeah - I don't buy it."
I don't say this to evoke a response or an explanation of your beliefs. I understand many people believe in god and kudos to you if you are one of them - I simply am not.
The Universe, on the other hand, has always been a concept I felt in my soul. Throughout the past year and a half, it has shown up for me in ways I never thought possible.
2018 was simultaneously the most rewarding and hardest year of my life. It was my "yin yang" year - the bad only existed because of the good and vice versa. The year started off with news that my grandma had pancreatic cancer. She was going to move from New York to North Carolina so that she could spend the last few months in the nursing home my dad worked at. I spent 16 years seeing my grandmother almost daily. The following decade, once we moved south, we were lucky if we got to see her annually. During her last few months on Earth, though, I was able to spend more time with her than I had in the past ten years. Her death rocked my world - as I knew it would. I did not have this belief of "heaven" to fall back on, to bring me peace. I didn't know where she was - a concept so terrifying in a multitude of ways.
Then, I saw her.
After finding out we were pregnant with our butterfly, my grandma began to make multiple appearances in my dreams. The first dream, I was afraid of seeing her. I woke up with such guilt, not wanting her to feel like I was afraid of her new presence. I was eager to see her again. She continued to show up - but our interactions were short. They were merely me being aware she was there. I wanted to get her attention. I had news to share - we were pregnant - and I wanted her to know.
Dream after dream, I tried to tell her the news, but couldn't. She'd either disappear or I'd tell her something else - only later in the dream to think, "wait - I didn't get to tell her I was pregnant."
A few weeks later, we found out our pregnancy wasn't viable. The day before our D & E, I made the connection to my dreams. I hadn't been able to tell my grandma we were pregnant - I wasn't supposed to.
The next night, once our girl was gone, Adam saw her. In his dream dream, we handed our baby to my grandma. She was overjoyed. She had a piece of us with her.
I know. Chills. And tears. But, bear with me, this is only the beginning.
At this point, as you know or can imagine, I entered a very dark place. I was overwhelmed with grief. I had lost both my grandma and my daughter only months a part. I had turned to reading self help books as a form of meditation and therapy.
A book called "The Universe Has Your Back" by Gabrielle Bernstein kept catching my attention. Not being much for holiday cheer that year, Adam and I had decided to exchange books. Being that this book kept showing up on my social media feeds, I decided to give it a try.
That Christmas morning was the start of my awakening. There are so many beautiful concepts covered in the book that I can't simply do it justice with this post. So, I will pinpoint the one's most vital to understanding this current story.
Throughout the book, Gabby discusses building your relationship with the Universe - releasing your fears to it, praying to it, being open to and asking for signs from it. On this Christmas morning, I remember being overwhelmed by a sense of peace. In that moment, I knew I was going to be okay.
I followed the prayers and practices that Gabby had discussed throughout the book. I allowed myself to let go of control and decided it was time to simply live my life - take it day by day, and call to the Universe when I needed extra support.
At the end of January 2019, I was told the position I was in no longer needed me full time. Rather than turn to panic, I took a breath and knew that the Universe had my back. I took it as an opportunity to be open and receptive to new doors opening up to me.
Not even an hour later, my student teacher from the previous year texted me asking if I'd be interested in teaching second grade. Thank you, Universe.
That weekend, I would celebrate my birthday with my best friend. It had been months since I had a sip of alcohol. Between being pregnant and wanting to conceive, I didn't want to take any risks. I remember texting my best friend saying I didn't want to live in this fear, I wanted to get dressed up and celebrate.
It turns out, she had left her ID at work and couldn't get into her office. I opted for an ice cream date, instead, which was just as lovely. Thank you, Universe.
That Monday was my interview with the new school. Three hours after my sample lesson I was offered the job. Thank you, Universe.
The following weekend, I took a pregnancy test prior to another birthday celebration with friends. Two pink lines. I was overwhelmed with that same feeling of peace I had felt on Christmas morning. Thank you, Universe.
I knew pregnancy after loss wasn't going to be easy. But, I also knew it was out of my control. I'd turn to all the practices I learned from Gabby Bernstein's book frequently, including asking the Universe for a sign.
As I awaited a major milestone - the first ultrasound - fear and anxiety started to slowly creep in. I was hyper aware of all that could go wrong, but knew focusing on that wouldn't bring me any peace - it'd do the exact opposite. I constantly reminded myself I was not in control and to remember the peace I felt the morning I received my positive pregnancy test. Then, the Universe delivered big time.
I had waken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I had fallen back asleep, but only briefly. During this quick slumber I was given a soul shaking sign. In the dream, I was looking at a framed photograph. It was a picture of myself and Adam. Between us, with his arms wrapped around both our necks, pulling our faces close to his, was a toddler boy. I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned around to find my grandma. She says, "It's okay. You can tell me." I respond with, "I'm pregnant." We embrace each other tightly and then I was startled awake.
Cue all the tears. I still choke up reliving this moment. I'm telling y'all. The Universe was delivering big time.
I continued to receive signs throughout my pregnancy. Rainbows to represent the bright season ahead. Owls and cardinals - signs my family who had passed were still with me. They always appeared when I needed them most. They still do to this day.
Whether theses instances are coincidence or my subconscious doesn't matter to me. The peace I've felt and continued to feel as I've built my relationship with the Universe is irreplaceable. It's allowed me to break barriers and build a life that isn't dictated by my anxiety.
Don't get me wrong - the anxiety is still there, and I understand it will be forever. I am human, and it is a part of me. However, it does not define me. It is a reminder of what I've been through, of what I've overcome. It is symbolic of the miracles that can happen when you relinquish control and put faith in yourself - when you decide to let go of fear and give in to love.