I was first introduced to Eastern Spirituality and the Om mantra in the 1970’s, a time when my addictions were in full bloom, and prayer and meditation were foreign and somehow threatening concepts. Yet the word drew me in a surprising and almost mystical way and remained in my head during the dark years before I began my recovery. It would pop up, unbidden, calmingly, at what seemed like the most surprising moments!
I understood better in the 1980’s when I began climbing and trekking in Nepal and Tibet: hearing the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum over and over; hearing Om chanted by itself, chanting the word myself and experiencing directly the power of its sound; learning what the sound is for Hindus and buddhists and other Eastern spiritualities. Om is the supreme and most sacred syllable in Sanskrit. It is believed to be the original primordial vibration of the universe, after the big bang. It is uttered as a mantra and in affirmations and blessings to connect all living beings; to awaken our awareness that we are all One. Now I understood why Om had felt so powerful to me from the first time I heard it spoken.
I have used the Om a great deal in my life for many years: in my meditation, in jewelry, in art work, in chanting, even in my business logo as you see below. When I began Life Coaching, I grounded myself with an Om chant or Om Mani Padme Hum before each client session, feeling my heart open in connection to all. When I created the logo for my business, I wanted to incorporate Om and the idea of Life Coaching. Here is the result:
More recently I have also been drawn to the spiritual ritual of the Vision Quest. A Vision Quest is an experience of deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit. For thousands of years different forms of the Vision Quest have been practiced by various tribal cultures throughout the world. In modern society we have forgotten our inherent need to honor important times of change and renew our lives. The Vision Quest Wilderness Passage offers us this valuable opportunity.
It is a time to be in Nature with only minimal equipment, water to drink, and no food. It is a time to pray and meditate and be with Nature and Spirit in a way that is not possible in our daily lives.
There are numerous reasons why people embark on a Vision Quest: to mark a significant life passage;to heal and release past emotional wounds; to move through grief and loss; to celebrate the transition into marriage; to find work that has more fulfillment and meaning; to reconnect with the earth; and to discover a deeper meaning about one’s contribution to the community of all Life. Knowing and declaring the intention for the time alone is part of the Vision Quest itself.
For my most recent Vision Quest, my intention was to declare my elderhood and step into it fully. Part of that process was dancing: allowing my soul to move through my body, releasing old habits, releasing the ways that no longer worked for me, releasing the old and inviting in the new.
In all the eclectic ways I bring spirituality into my life, dance is my primary spiritual practice. For me, intentional free-form dance (also known as ecstatic dance) connects me to Spirit and to the Oneness of us all, and to my own Higher Self more strongly than any other practice.
I danced the sun down all 4 nights on my Quest: hearing and feeling the music, watching the sun move below the horizon, sensing the movement of the critters around me, dropping into my body and being.
On the last night of my Quest, as I sat in meditation in the dark after dancing for more than an hour, I heard in my heart the words, “You are Heart Dancing”. My whole being settled into calmness. I had been given a spirit name; one that spoke to the very heart of how I connect with Spirit and Nature and People.
I knew I wanted to include Heart Dancing somehow in a new logo. And I didn’t want to let go of the Om. And I had no idea how that could work. I wear a ring engraved with the Om of my logo, and one day I was noticing the ring, kind of playing with it as we sometimes do. I moved my hand in a way that rotated it 90 degrees to the left and… the Om became a dancing heart!
The logo on the website now depicts two deeply personal symbols of my spiritual journey, the Om and Heart Dancing, weaving back and forth with one another. Run your cursor over the logo at the top of any page and watch them dance.
What symbols are special for you on your spiritual journey?
The Story of the Logo Margo Chisholm