It’s time to take the next step.
These words were part of a billboard advertisement on a train platform that I saw while on my way to Manhattan. When I read the words I knew in an instant that I was meant to see them and they were meant for me. Not that every sign or billboard has to mean something to everyone, but when the universe has a message for us, one that has been given to us more than once — then sometimes a billboard is needed.
The words were a stark reminder of an experience that I had a year ago; climbing a fire tower in a forest preserve in upstate New York. I recall how I had been looking forward to climbing the tower to get birds-eye photographs from the top of the tower on that early spring day. And, I recall how I couldn’t make it past the first set of steps. Everyone around me kept saying to just look straight up. After many tearful pleas of “I can’t”, I eventually made it up another set of steps and then another – just to the height where I needed to be to get the pictures I wanted. They weren’t the shots I’d hoped for, but they would do.
Shortly after that day there was a moment in a shopping mall when I had that same fear of taking the next step, but this was going down an escalator. I felt sheer panic, as if I would fall rather than allow the escalator to gently deliver me to the first floor. Perhaps I didn’t trust the process? I did eventually get down after about half an hour. It took a while for me to go down other escalators after that day, as well. Eventually, the fear wore off when I acknowledged the message. The message was about taking more control of my life; being unafraid to take the next step.
So, on that early spring day that I saw the billboard on the train platform, I thought that I’d come a long way in the last year – on different levels. I felt like I had conquered a giant. I am a warrior goddess slaying her fear. Or did I speak too soon.
Later that day, as I was shopping in a store in Times Square, it happened again. I got to the top of the down escalator; fear of taking that next step. I was confused because I thought I’d gotten past that. Maybe there was one more step to conquer. This time I knew it wasn’t fear that I felt, but uncertainty. How do I make that next step? Is it the right time? I needed clarity.
The universe – God, my guardian angels or deities – was pushing me to my next level or goal. The billboard was a sign: it is time. The spiritual challenges that we face and the signs that we get are different for everyone. For me it’s taking the next step and knowing when to take it.
*all photographs taken by Leslie Sheridan