“Just give me a sign, any kinda sign” is a line from one of my favourite films of the 1980s, a wacky Steve Martin film called The Man with Two Brains. The events that follow are of course ridiculous and hilarious but also they prompt me to reflect upon the serious issue of my health. That might sound like a bit of a stretch. I’ll explain below.
“Just give me a sign, any kinda sign”
In this scene, Steve Martin’s character asks his dead wife (via a painting of her on the wall) whether there’s anything wrong with his feelings for another woman. He says to the painting;
“Rebecca, if there’s anything wrong with my feelings for Dolores, just give me a sign”
Then we hear load cries of “No, No, No…”, the walls shake, the lights flicker on and off, high winds whip up, the painting of Rebecca spins and the wall cracks. After all this, Steve Martin says;
“Just any kinda sign. I’ll keep on the look out for it… Meanwhile I’ll just put you in the closet.”
An he proceeds to take Rebecca’s picture off the wall and put it in the closet.
It really is a very funny scene. I found that someone has recorded it and put it on YouTube – you can see this at the very bottom of this page if you like.
The interesting thing here is that, based on Steve Martin’s last comment about putting the painting in the closet, he’s well aware that his wife has given him a sign, but he’d rather not take any notice of it because he really wants to have a relationship with Dolores.
How often do we ignore pretty clear signs right in front of us?
Relating this to our lives
I’m not pointing fingers here at anybody except myself. When I reflect back on my life, I can see many occasions where there were very good signs right in front of me, yet I chose to ignore them because they didn’t suit me.
Just give me a sign – excess weight
One of the clearest signs is putting on weight when I eat to much. It’s probably one of the clearest signs in our society today. Nature or the universe, whatever you prefer, is giving a very clear sign here. When I eat too much, and especially too much poor food, I put on weight quickly. It’s a pretty clear feedback mechanism. I could observe the extra weight and say “oh, oh, I’m eating too much” and cut down, but instead I went looking for excuses. I ended up trying to convince myself with all the standard arguments like “I’m heavy set”, “it’s genetics”, “I’m not lucky like those thinner people”, etc.
Actually, I just thought I was happy with the lifestyle I’d fallen into and didn’t want to do anything different. But I couldn’t admit that to myself.
More and more weight goes on, nature tries to give us a bigger sign that we might notice. Eventually, this might turn into a major health problem we can’t ignore.
This is what happened to my father. He was putting on a lot of weight until he was diagnosed as a type-2 diabetic. Then he had to radically adjust his diet. He got his weight back to normal and controlled the diabetes with diet alone. Eventually the signs coming from nature got to the point that they couldn’t be ignored.
Even though this must have been very difficult for my father, this experience was a real help for me. In my forties, I found I was in a similar situation. Badly overweight and getting bigger. Nature must have been pretty fed-up that I wasn’t noticing the signs right in front of me. Luckily, memories of my father made me think “why wait until I get type-2 diabetes before radically changing my diet? – why not change it before?”.
I’m very lucky that it looks like I’ve caught my life situation just in time. Many thanks to my father.
Just give me a sign – sleepiness
Another classic sign from nature that I ignore often. At some point in the evening I start to feel tired and, obviously, I need sleep. Nature is telling me that sleep is the most important thing for me right now. However, I ignore the sign (most often) and try and just do a few more of the things (for example, writing a post like this one) I was hoping to do that day. Not very smart I guess. Maybe nature will give me a bigger more shocking sign before too long (better take my own advice and get more sleep!).
Just give me a sign – stress
Something I bring on myself most of the time is stress. I know that I mostly do this to myself by trying to do too much, taking too much responsibility onto my shoulders and by aiming for perfection. Nature constantly sends me a sign that this way of living is not good through the feeling of stress. When I’m stressed, I know that my heartbeat is a little elevated, my breath is shallower and have have tension in my shoulders and neck. When it’s really bad, I start to feel pressure in my head, especially around the temples and the eyes. This tends to build up during the day and by the time I arrive home, I’m often not in a good mood.
That’s no way to live is it? And nature is telling me that every day. It’s a clear sign. Yet, I ignore this sign a lot of the time because I’m trying to “get a lot of things done”.
As I write this, I feel rather stupid. What am I doing? I’m not living life the way I was made to or the way I’d like to. Who’s life am I trying to live? (a question for another time)
Just give me a sign – hangover
This is an easy sign to understand. It’s clearly related to over-drinking the night before. Nature is giving us a really loud sign that all that alcohol is very bad for our bodies. It’s trying to tell us not to do it anymore in the best way that it can.
Even though the sign is very clear, we all like to ignore it because of the “fun” we have the night before while drinking. I put fun in quotation marks because we think we’re having fun, but I’m not sure that it’s real fun. We’re willing to do something that we know is bad for us in search of fun and in the hope of fitting in with the rest of the crowd. I know I’ve done exactly this many, many times.
Just give me a sign – more subtle variations
Then there are many signs that are not so obvious, but we know they’re there and we try to ignore them. You know when you’re mean to someone and there’s that deep feeling of guilt? You know you’ve been bad. That guilt is a sign that I’m not living life in the right way.
Then there’s persistent aches and pains – a sign that something isn’t going right in our lives. Rather than look for a pill to cover up these signs, we could try and find what’s wrong, behind it all, and learn why nature is sending us the sign.
One last sign that I get regularly is that bloated feeling after eating too much rich food. I’m mostly on a raw diet these days and I feel really good when I eat raw and don’t eat too much. However, when I eat out occasionally, there’s a little voice in my head that says “go for it, eat a lot, you deserve it, you eat so well most of the time”. After I do this, I feel bloated and “blah”. Even the next morning I have a sort of food hangover even if I haven’t drunk much alcohol. This is a clear sign that that sort of eating is not right for me, but I tend to ignore it because I think I enjoy it from time to time. Some part of me enjoys it, but it’s clearly not enjoyable for my whole being.
What are we putting in the closet?
Now let’s go back to Steve Martin’s funny scene in A Man With Two Brains. I could be asking the universe to “give me a sign, any kinda sign” and then ignoring the clear signs the universe throws at me. Actually, I’m just looking to have a clear conscious while I go ahead and do whatever I feel like I want to do. I don’t want to be given any signs to stop doing what I think I like.
Any signs we see we tend to carefully put away in a closet. A closet of excuses and justifications. Eventually, the signs will get too big to put in the closet and we’ll have to take notice of them.
I’m trying to keep the closet door open now and comprehend all of the signs that nature and the universe so kindly provides. It’s not an easy task, but I think it’s worth the effort.
There’s an endless list of personal signs that we might have stored in the closet.
It could be really helpful to us all to share them in the comments below.
Related Links – Just give me a sign
- A description of the movie – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_with_Two_Brains
- All of Steve Martin’s films – http://www.stevemartin.com/stevemartin/film.html
- How did I lose 75 pounds?
Just give me a sign – video clip
Normally, I don’t like promoting videos like this that have been taken from somebody else’s product but, in this case, it’s a short clip that will probably only increase the chance of sales of the original product. So I hope it’s ok with the owner of The Man With Two Brains.
If you want to rent the movie or purchase a DVD copy, you can try the two links below. Full disclosure – if you purchase from these links I get a small commission.