Bats, rebirth, and listening to the universe

A friend of mine recently sold her first book to the publisher of her dreams. She is seventy-one. Coincidentally, I became acquainted with another woman who just celebrated the release of her first traditionally published novel. She is seventy-four. I, myself, was published for the first time when I was forty-six (Finder, November 2010 from Hadley Rille Books.) At fifty, I wrote my first romance (Seeking Carolina, October 2015 from Kensington/Lyrical Shine.)  At fifty one, got another two books contracted with Kensington. Many, many of my writer friends were first published over the age of forty. Put that on the back burner for a moment.

We had a bat in the house the other night. Try as we did to catch it or lure it to one of the opened windows, it just wasn’t getting it. We finally left the windows open and went to bed. The whole thing was a bit harrowing, ending at 3:45 am with the poor little thing injured by my kitties of wonder and squeaking us awake. We managed to capture it and get it outside, but it could only scrabble away. It wasn’t there in the morning, so I’m hoping it eventually managed to fly off. When I reported this adventure on Facebook the next morning, my friend Karin Gastreich commented, “So I’m assuming you’ve looked up the meaning of Bat?”


brown bat

Medicine Cards are a kind of Tarot based in Native American lore and culture. Karin introduced them to me and all the dollbabies a few years ago in Virginia Beach. It became a staple of our trip. I also ended up buying my own set. They’re a tool when you want to focus your thoughts, and a fabulous meditation tool. It is the Bat in this set of cards Karin referred to.

Long and short–Bat symbolizes rebirth. Change. It asks us to listen to the universe, to our inner selves, and not fight the change, this breaking of old habits. I listened, not just for myself and my household, but applied it to the world around me. And this is why these meditation cards are so wonderful–they make us notice things we might not have.

In my household, we are on the brink of many “rebirths.” The kids are no longer children, and mostly out of the house. For each and every one of them, rebirth is taking place in some form. My oldest daughter leaves life with infants behind for the next phase in their lives. My oldest son is between jobs, and searching for his true path. My youngest son, who’d moved out for a job in a town too far to commute to, decided it was more important to finish his degree. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend of nearly seven years broke up, and she is rediscovering who she is. My stepson embarks upon “life with teens.” His oldest is thirteen this November. And, of course, Frank and I step into a new world of being, for the first time, just the two of us. We got a taste of it during the two months our son lived elsewhere. I can say without qualm that I’m looking forward to empty nest.

But let’s take those over-forty writers off the back burner. It is not just my small world on that moment of change. My dear friend, my new acquaintance–reborn in their seventies. Where else is Bat flying? Another writer-friend who just moved from the town she’d raised her children in to a town across the country. Another friend who just launched her new website. Another friend who is out of work for the first time–at age fifty-eight–since she was a teenager. And yet another friend who finally moved into the new house she and her family had been dreaming of, and working on, for three years.

Of course, I was aware of all these things, but Bat made me aware of them in a different way. A collective way. Change is all around us, all the time. We need to listen to the universe and notice the connections. Honor the changes and how they alter not only our own lives, but those around us.


Filed under Family

14 responses to “Bats, rebirth, and listening to the universe

  1. Speaking as your 71 year-old friend, may I say, thank you, dear Terri. Your continuing support & encouragement has been heart-warming; your input invaluable.

    Once I decided I’d been suffering from arrested development for long enough, I suspect it may have been a wee bat, along with the wordbirds, that got me going.

    There are so many of us – women over forty, over fifty, sixty & yes, seventy stepping into our writing power & proving, it’s never too late.

    (If your 74 year-old friend would like to connect with me, I’d love to meet her!)



    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      One of the things I have always loved about Hadley Rille Books is its dedication to female writers and female characters. Eric didn’t set out to be a female-centric publisher, but that is where his reader-heart kept falling. I used to think it was because we got so many manuscripts written by women, and that IS the case now, but it wasn’t when I first started reading slush for him.
      And that’s one of the reasons I’m happy writing romance right now. It’s a welcoming community of writers, readers, and professionals. It’s geared toward women, mostly written by women, for women. So unlike the wider scifi/fantasy world!

      I’ll ping my new acquaintance and give her your name. 🙂


  2. I’m hitting forty this year, and I just said to Keith last weekend, “This is my year of ‘I’m so happy to be _____.'” Fill in the blank. I love the year of Forty. Let me say it again: I LOVE the year of Forty. I hear other people saying ewww, forty, that’s going to be rough! But change is all around me this year. I’m finally becoming myself. And I love it.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You are coming into your own, love! Woohoo! I loved my thirties, but I loved my forties, too. And my fifties are, thus far, pretty bangerang. I wouldn’t be 20-something again for ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!!!


  3. I got a bat card when you read my Totem Cards. I love bats and am a big believer in rebirth literally and figuratively.


  4. We do need to listen to the universe. Thank you for the zen moment, because I spend way too much time in my head.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You should get the medicine cards I have. They’re great for a daily meditation. Pick a card, Read what it has to say, and you’ll be surprised by how many times during the day you’ll feel the echoes of it. Cool stuff.


  5. This post is in dire need of Baby Bat Burritos:

    I adore bats. And if they mean do something strange and new and shake up your world, even better 🙂


  6. Great post, Terri. I love your perspective. 🙂


  7. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    This is lovely, Terri. We have just finished redoing our kitchen here, which is its own sort of change/rebirth, and purchasing a house in a nearby town for my sweetheart’s daughter and her family to live in. My own kids are finding their way in this world, too. Change after change after change. Thank you for this thoughtful post, which really spoke to me.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      These connections they’re everywhere! I’m glad it spoke to you, love. And I’m so happy to know life is being good to you and yours.


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