Over the past 3 years I have had 3 separate falls resulting in broken bones. Yes I realize I don’t have a great sense of balance (as hard as I work on it). But I also know that these accidents have stopped me dead in my tracks.

Fifteen years ago I had my first major fall resulting in 3 surgeries over several years. This too forced me to make some big decisions, like postponing grad school. It also gave me the opportunity to learn how to accept help from others. After all, I always felt it was my job to help everyone else.

If you have read this far, you are probably thinking, “she’s another one of those woo-woo women”. Noting that I have enormous respect for women who venture into the subconscious and other altered states (yes you Licia Morelli), nothing could be farther from the truth. I am an evidence seeker simply learning to trust my intuition.

So today as I sit with my broken rib forcing me to sit up straight, outside at a lovely café, enjoying good coffee in the hot sun, it occurs to me that every time one of these accidents occur, they also provide a chance for me to ask, “What am I missing here? What am I not paying attention to?”

The answer, it turns out, is everything! I get focused on my work, my family and all the to-do chores. I blue sky 2, 5 and 10 years ahead and I itch to think of my next big trip to Greece. When this happens, it means I am not living completely in the moment. I let myself get side tracked. I call it not living within myself. It is a state of mind, body, emotion and spirit. I know it. I have been there. Some people practice yoga or meditation to get there. Others run long distances. I prefer to mindfully remind myself that in this moment the world is perfect. This moment will never happen again, so enjoy it and live within it.

Which brings me to my propensity to fall. Falling is my sign; the one that tells me in big bold red letters to STOP. If I had been mindfully living in the exact moment when I fell, it may very well not have happened. I read the sign as, “I am not paying attention!”

What I do with that sign is completely up to me. I can choose to ignore it and keep forging ahead, OR I can use it as a clear reminder that I need to center myself and come back to the present moment.

I know we all have signs that appear. If we decide to see them and how we choose our response is completely individual. So I ask you to think back on key events in your life when you knew deep down something wasn’t right but you moved ahead anyway. What signs appeared prior to the event. What would it have been like if you had read the sign? Now take that learning and watch for the same signs that appear on your road. What will you do next time?

So where is the woo-woo in all of this? Nowhere! This is actually about paying attention and using our awareness and intuition to guide us forward in a way that is uniquely perfect.

What are your signs? How have you used them to chart your course?