Willfully Living | Learning to Follow the Omens
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30 Oct Learning to Follow the Omens

“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you.”

-Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

Perhaps my all-time favorite book, certainly in the fiction genre, is The Alchemist. No other novel has captured my imagination nor inspired as much tangible real-life action as this beloved story of a boy on a journey towards his “personal legend.” I’ve read it at least 10 times over the past 10 years, and every time, I can identify some current element of my life to a new part of the boy’s journey. A month ago, Jaimie and I listened to it again while on a trip to Florida. Near the beginning of the book, he learns of omens–these mystical signs or occurrences that point one in the right direction or provide warning. Some might think of these as coincidences, luck, divine encounters, one’s conscience, or messages sent from the Universe. In fact, an old man tells the boy that when you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. Despite any differences in spiritual beliefs, I’ve found this to be true: there is a universal power that leads, directs, enables, and prods us in the direction of our “personal legends,” when we are seeking good and beautiful things for ourselves and others. Whenever we know our dreams, passions, or calling, these messages appear around us like little easter eggs. Particularly recently, this has been very true for us.

In retrospect, I can see how intricately the pieces are fitting together to lead us to where we are, all because we trusted in the omens along the path and expected them to lead us when we did not see the way out. Often this has required significant levels of trust, risk, intentionality, and an awareness of the world around us. Another passage of the Alchemist puts it this way, “In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.” I think often in life, we get moving too quickly and fail to take the time to look around us–really look– and see how things are slowly changing, aligning, and transitioning us for the next season. In a culture of immediacy and convenience, we’re losing the ancient practices of stillness, awareness, and gratitude, which are required for us to follow the omens.

Omens are meant to guide us along our way. However, when we stop looking for them or plainly ignore them when they’re dancing before us, they will fade in time and abandon us. Thus, I think many of us are living in this world unfulfilled, directionless, and without passion. This, my friends, is a very sad affair. Take some time this week to reflect on the past year or so of life. What moments felt significant, pointing you towards something that made you come alive? What quotes, conversations, books, or movies made you consider your journey’s trajectory? What took your breath away and captivated your imagination for days or weeks afterward? Who have you had a chance encounter with, or perhaps dreamt of, that encouraged something in you that you haven’t thought about in a while? What around you overwhelmed you with its beauty?

These things can all be omens. Begin paying attention to them and the conversations they start, inwardly or outwardly. This awareness will allow you to begin seeing omens literally everywhere. You will begin to see how events align and how certain things that appeared to be curses or misfortunes were miraculously the sources of your greatest strengths and pronounced happiness. The Universe wants all of us to be willfully living, chasing after our dreams, passions, and hopes in an effort to make the world a more beautiful, good, and loving place. I’m learning to trust and appreciate these things and align with them, having so much fun in the process. Won’t you join me?

Will Morgan
willfullyliving@gmail.com
8 Comments
  • Catherine Nelson
    Posted at 09:54h, 31 October Reply

    Insightful post Will, The Alchemist is also one of my nephew Eric Paliuca’s favorite books and on my shelf to read. I often look for the “thin places” as a way for me to describe experiences where I see or sense omens. Marcus Borg in The Heart of Christianity, describes it this way: God, “The More”, is the encompassing Spirit in which everything is (“the one in whom we live and move and have our being”)—God not somewhere else but “right here”. Two layers of reality: the visible world of our ordinary experience and God, the sacred, Spirit. Occasionally, we do experience God shining through everything. Those moments and places are “thin places”: where these two realities meet or intersect; where the veil momentarily lifts, and we behold God. Thin places can be sacred physical locations (Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca,) or anywhere our hearts are opened. Other thin places: nature (esp. wilderness areas), the arts (music, poetry, dance, etc.); any place, activity or person in which the boundary between one’s self and the world momentarily disappears.

    • Will Morgan
      Posted at 21:21h, 31 October Reply

      Please do read it! I think you and Uncle Larry would really enjoy it. Jeremy Irons does a GREAT audio version if you guys are into that. We learned about thin spaces while we were traveling in Scotland, and yes, it is very true that such physical places exist in our world, where the divide between the divine and humanity is so narrow you can sense it. These past three weeks have been perhaps the most difficult I can remember in a very long time, yet it is also the clearest I have seen God moving in and around me in some time. Such a blessed season of life!

  • Bob Baker
    Posted at 12:45h, 31 October Reply

    Wonderful wriing and a wonderful reminder of one of life’s real keys. Thanks for taking the time to share it.. Miss you guys!

    • Will Morgan
      Posted at 21:18h, 31 October Reply

      Thanks, Bob. Miss you as well. Are you still in the Denver area? Jaimie and I would love to reconnect soon.

  • Miriam Lancaster
    Posted at 15:54h, 31 October Reply

    Well said! Life is so much more exciting when one can see the coincidences as part of a larger journey in the universe! Keep writing, Will!

    • Will Morgan
      Posted at 21:17h, 31 October Reply

      Thanks, Mrs. Lancaster! I learned from the best! 😉

  • Becky Lane
    Posted at 19:25h, 31 October Reply

    Excellent! You are wise beyond our years.

    • Will Morgan
      Posted at 21:17h, 31 October Reply

      Thank you, Becky, I’m flattered!

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