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Faith & inspiration for a new beginning: What's in a name?

I took a leap of faith and finally moved, with my dog Jack, to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Mexico. It might seem like an odd choice given that we are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic.

I had prepared to move the previous March. But three days before I was due to depart, news reports began warning the public about the seriousness of Covid-19, so I put my move on hold. I had sold most everything and given notice to my landlords, but I was very fortunate to be able to stay with a good friend for several months, trying to ride out the pandemic.

When it became clear that the virus was going to be around for a long time, I felt that I no longer wanted to put my life on hold. Reports from SMA indicated that the city was taking appropriate precautions and their Covid-19 numbers remained fairly low.

Now Jack and I spend many of our days under one of the umbrellas in the courtyard at the Instituto Allende, a visual arts school with a long history in SMA. I can enjoy the tranquility of a quiet SMA while I work on my blog, since many expats have gone back home and tourism is down due to the pandemic. Those of us who are here recognize that this is a blessing for some and heartache for others. There are far fewer people vying for tables at the outdoor restaurants, so you don't have to wait to be seated, but fewer customers means fewer dollars to support local businesses.

The name of my blog, "Magenta Rules," came to me one day as I was pondering what my favorite color had become. I'd gone through yellow, red, orange, and turquoise stages, but I realized that I was now, once again, most drawn to the color magenta. In my teens, magenta had been my favorite color. I just like looking at it. Magenta feels warm and sensual and deep. I've always loved color. I remember how excited I felt as a kid when I got my first big box of Crayola Crayons; 64 different colors with a built in sharpener!

In the house I am renting in SMA (furnished, with some decorative objects), there is a magenta glass ball on the fireplace mantel that I love to look at. Sometimes that's all it takes in life. We can find pleasure in the smallest things.

I was self-conscious about calling my blog "Magenta Rules." What does that even mean? My rational mind was trying to overrule my subconscious mind to try to make sense of something that was seemingly non-sensical. The name had merely popped into my head. When I looked up the meaning of the color, I found that magenta signifies universal harmony and love, and emotional balance. How nice is that? And anyway, one of my goals in this new phase of my life is to stop being so self-conscious!

It's handy that I happened to retire in a city where magenta bougainvillea grows abundantly. All I know is that it makes me happy every time I see those magenta-colored flowers. My Spanish teacher told me that, according to her mother, bougainvillea brings good luck. I also discovered that in Feng Shui, because the Chinese believe that the plant resembles auspicious dragon's scales, it can help create joyful energy. So, apparently, magenta bougainvillea is a good combination.

When I first arrived in SMA, my priority was to locate housing. In between searching for long-term rentals, I wandered up and down the streets discovering places I had not been to before. One morning, soon after I arrived, as I wandered into the center of town lost in thought, I looked down and saw a single bougainvillea blossom in the street. I thought it looked so beautiful lying there by itself, contrasted against the pale blue-gray stone. And I realized, "Hey! It's magenta!"

Two days later, as Jack and I made our way into the center of town to have breakfast, I came across another single magenta bougainvillea flower on the path before me, and again, I was struck by its simple beauty. I began to think that maybe I was being guided. I should be confident in the name I chose for my site!

I decided to play a little game. If I came across one more single magenta flower this morning, I would consider it a sign and would stick with "Magenta Rules."

Jack and I found a dog-friendly restaurant with an outdoor courtyard. As I sat waiting for my breakfast to arrive, a leaf fell on my head. I looked up in the direction it seemed to have fallen from, to see a stone statue of a monk on a pedestal that I hadn't noticed before. I loved the image and took a photo. As I began to edit it, I saw something else I hadn't noticed: There was a small bowl at the bottom of the pedestal, and inside was one more single magenta bougainvillea flower!

Indulging in my game served as a tool that helped me trust my intuition. I know there are signs all around me if I pay attention. Practice makes perfect. I've been envious at times when I've heard stories about people who routinely follow their gut instincts.

Although I've had moments of clarity, there have been many more in my life where I spent too much time and energy vacillating between different choices. I remember hemming and hawing about whether it was the right decision to move to SMA, and how excited I was once I finally made the decision.

Some people are good at trusting their instincts and others struggle. How often I have heard someone say "the writing was on the wall," or "I just didn't recognize the signs." It seems to me that what this gets down to, is paying attention and then having faith in our ability to make the right decisions for ourselves. Whether it's noticing external signs that light us up and evoke strong emotions or whether we heed our internal gut feelings, either one can give us the courage to take action.

Events had been unfolding that led me to believe that I was on the right path at this juncture in my life. I think that paying closer attention in order to recognize the signs before me, trusting that I notice them for a reason, taking action, and then having faith that whatever the outcome, it was necessary to do so in order for me to take the next step in life, is important. For me, this requires slowing down. Not long ago, I was in a corporate environment where speediness and the ability to multitask were highly prized attributes. Not so in Mexico -- it's a good place to learn to move at a slower pace.

It's a choice we make, where to place our attention. I think now about the people and situations in my past that I wish I had given more attention to. Going forward, I would like to be brave and choose to believe that if I am still enough to really see, if I am quiet enough to really hear, and if I stay open enough to take in information that seems foreign or counterintuitive without letting it define me, I will be guided in directions that are the most beneficial for my continued growth. We shall see!

This ladybug spent almost an hour with me when I was studying my Spanish at the Instituto Allende one day. They are said to represent good luck, good fortune, and love. Periodically I stopped what I was doing and watched as she made her way around the table, and it made me smile. I think she purposely wanted me to notice her. She seemed to know where she was going, but was in no particular hurry. She made periodic detours and would then stop awhile for no apparent reason. An onlooker might conclude that she had no plan and perhaps she had lost her way.....


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