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I went to a social gathering recently of the non yogi type with my Om necklace and I had quite a few people asking me “Are you 30 years old because your necklace says 3 – 0.”

“Thank you for asking. I am not 30 years old. I bought this necklace from my recent trip to Bali in early March of this year and it is a sign of Om, the Universal sound,” as I said and smiled warmly.

Then one of the girls said, ”Om, That’s interesting. No pun intended…”

I laughed and we went on talking about life in general, and living life.

After that night, I went home and reflected my journey thus far with “Om.” My thoughts brought me back three years ago when I was going through my 200 hours of yoga teacher training and why “Om” and chanting became an intricate part of my yoga practice.

One of our mentors, who falls under the Iyengar lineage, had us not only chant “Om” but also chant a gazillion invocations and another gazillion Patanjali sutras for twenty minutes before we start our physical asana practice. In the beginning, I dreaded these chants and sometimes I even felt restless as we went through the songs.

“What’s the point of chanting?” as I asked my friend who had previously attended the yoga teacher training.

She said, “For what it’s worth, just explore the sounds and vibrations in your body when you chant.”

For the first month of chanting, I thought it was useless and that we should just skip all of the “Num, num, yum, yum” sounding vowels as none of it made sense to me. I even tried to avoid my mentor’s classes because I just did not like chanting.

For me, chanting Sanskirt was not only hard to enunciate, but I couldn’t understand any of the meanings behind what I was chanting for. There is translation right below each chant, but I was also too lazy to look into the meaning so I never really took the time to understand what I was chanting to.

Worst part was that our mentor highly suggested us chanting as a part of our finals before graduating as a yoga teacher.

“Oh did I dread chanting…” I thought to myself. I kicked and fought chanting, in silence, the whole way through my yoga teacher training.

Something happened during the third month of the teachers training. When we finish chanting The Invocation to Patanjali with “Hari Om – my salutations to Thee,” my mind felt at ease. I felt like a sense of relief, a soothing energy that flowed from the top of my head, down my heart, and permeated to my entire body.

I felt whole and centered – one heart, one soul, one mind, one body, and all together as one. There was nothing to be attached to. The list of what I wanted – new car, new gadgets, new clothes, more money, etc, all went out of the window. I felt lighter, less stressed, blissful, content, and happy just where I am. I don’t need to keep up with “The Jones” and I didn’t need to have million dollars to be happy. I was no longer suffering from perpetual wants and needs of material things.

Instead, I am thankful for what I have in life. My family is in good health. I am in good health. I also have some amazing friends, teachers, and many more amazing people who I will meet along the way.

Was there something in your life that you did not enjoy doing in the beginning but somehow you stuck with it, and now it is a part of your life? I love to hear from you about your story as well.

“Hari Om. Nameste” – my salutation to Thee. I see the divine in you, and you see the divine in me.

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There is an old fable about a young fisherman named Captain Jace who lived in Piraeus, a city south west of Athens 1000 B.C. ago. His philosophy in life was ahead of its time as he focused on living life instead of avoiding death because he believes that everyone has their time on earth.

“Anyone can die anytime, at any second, and even choke to death from a sip of water. If it’s not time to die, it is not time to go,” he always says.

Many wise elders thought he was purposely chasing after death.

His response to them was, “I am living life! What are you doing wasting yours?”

Although Jace seemed confident on the outside, he did have a dark side to him. He drank mead as if it was water. In his mind, bliss was getting drunk so that he can escape to another world, another dimension of “made up” happiness, because he was in so much pain. It did not bother him if he would wake up face down on the cobble stones in an alley somewhere next morning after drinking all night. He thought he can drink away his pain so that he can forget about the loss of his parents to the Mediterranean Sea when he was eight years old.

When Jace was in his early twenties, he had a very successful fishing business and all the locals wanted their hands on his catch because he would always bring the best seafood. He would voyage to parts of the dangerous sea, strong currents and hidden corals, where no other fisherman would risk their lives to go to find the catch. A few others have tried to compete with him only to have drowned.

“You won’t die as long as you stick with me. It’s not time for me to go yet. Therefore it’s not time for you to go either!” as he boasts to his First Mate, Matthias and his crew.

One autumn day while he is singing his same usual tunes coming back to port, a beautiful blond woman at the port caught his attention. Elena was a tall and slender 5’8” sixteen year old with bluish green mesmerizing eyes to match the color of her dress. Without hesitation, he approached her like as if he had approached many other women before. Except this time, he knew she has caught his heart. They quickly got married within the few weeks of meeting each other despite of Elena parents’ disapproval. She was madly in love with him and there was nothing her parents could do to talk her out of it.

Life was splendor for the first few years of the marriage and his business quadrupled. Elena even convinced him to stop drinking as well. Since his business was doing well, he and Elena lived comfortably where he had a choice to retire to stay home with her.

Instead, he tells her, “I love the sea too much and I don’t want to give it up.”

For him, it is always a hunt, a conquering of man against nature, and to test his immortality against the angry seas so he thought. Deep down inside, he was really looking for his lost mom and dad all these years who’s ship capsized somewhere around the north of the Cyclades Islands.

Elena would always wait for him at the dock on the days of his return except for this one day in summer. When Jace did not see his wife, he went into a fury, a rage that no one can control him or calm him down. He kicked every wooden boxes, woven baskets and barrels that were in his path as he walked on to the dock. After he was done kicking, he ran back to his fishing boat, grabbed all of the twenty two baskets of fresh catch and tossed all of them overboard. No one was able to stop him, not even Mathias.

On the sprint home, past arguments with Elena and negative images of his wife flashes before him. In one scene, he re-lived the event where she yelled at him about how she haven’t felt love from him for a long time.

“All you care about is your fishing expeditions,” she screams.

He yelled back, “I’m trying to provide you a comfortable living. How can you say such things? Why can’t you just appreciate what I’m doing for you?”

In another scene, he imagined her cheating on him with another man in his bed. The more he visualized them together, the more exacerbated he became.

“How could she cheat on me after I risk my life providing food on the table?” he had thought.

These negative thoughts kept stacking one on top of another as he ran towards home.

When he arrived in front of his house, he kicked the front door open with such immense force that doors just parted and fell into pieces. His three servants quickly ran to the side of the house as they know his temper well. They did not want to be in the path of destruction. He searched every room to find Elena but she was not home. He grabbed everything that was breakable in the house and smashed them all on the ground. His was so focused on his rampage that he didn’t notice the shrapnel from the porcelain vases and pieces of limestone from statues on the floor had lacerated multiple places of his feet. He picked up all of the fifteen bottles of mead in his house and left alone with a trail of bloody foot prints towards his boat, alone in the dark.

Within an hour of his departure, dark clouds rolled into the port of Piraeus. The storm brought with a heavy down pour and thunderbolts lit up the sky as if it was day time. Under normal circumstances, even Jace would think twice before sailing out in such foul weather, but he did not care whether he lived or not. His intent was to drink every bottle dry. Jace was in so much pain that he just wanted to be somewhere else but here.

The storm progressively picked up and a fierce gust of wind snapped the main mast in half as if it was a thin twig from a tree branch. The break of the mast did not even flinch him at all. Jace was determined to drink his pain away. The large waves continued to pound his ship over and over as if a blacksmith was trying to shape an amber sword with a mallet. The final wave, a 55 footer, came in and smashed the boat into multiple pieces. Captain Jace went overboard and was sucked into the turbulent wave. The last thing he saw before leaving this world was the dark blue color of water as he slowly drifted to the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

Elena was supposed to come to the port that afternoon but she had lost track of time while praying at the temple. The night before Jace’s return, she had a nightmare that her husband was swallowed by the sea. She went to the temple that morning to pray to the Gods for her husband’s safe journey home. By the time she was ready to leave, the heavy rain blocked her path from returning to her home safely.

After the storm passed later that night, she hurried home next morning to find Jace’s best friend inside her house.

Matthias said, “Where have you been? I have been looking all over for you.”

He told her that he was not able to find Jace and the only things he could recover were the remains of his boat washed ashore. Elena’s heart dropped and broke into pieces like the shattered porcelain and limestone on the floor.

Even though many years have passed since Jace’s death, Elena had always felt his presence around her as she aged into her twilight years. She always felt that he was there to protect her as a guardian angel. Elena could still feel Jace’s presence at the side of the dock where she would always wait for his return.

Jace has been chasing after the past, the lost love of his parents. He never realized that love has always been in front of him and within him. If we constantly chase after what we think is missing in life, we would miss out on what we already have right in front of us.

Had Jace took the time to appreciate Elena’s love, would this story have unfolded differently? Had Jace stopped blaming God for taking his parents away at a young age, would he be able to see that God was trying to teach him a lesson of independence?

– If today was your last day on earth, what would you do or say to the people that you love or had loved?

– Would you still hold your grudges against them?

– Would you still yell at them?

– Would you forgive them and send love and light their way?

– How would you live if today was the last day of your life?

– What if we were to try and live like this everyday?

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Thank you Katy Perry for inspiring me to write this story.