About this OM symbol

by Kim on July 21, 2013 · 37 comments

Brian and I were backpacking in Torres del Paine National Park, a pristine and stunning wilderness area in Chile’s Patagonia region. Friends had flown in from the U.S. to join us. We were having a grand time. But I was preoccupied.

It was November, Thanksgiving, and Brian and I had been traveling for almost six months. We were moving through South America at warp-speed and we’d become tired and road-weary. Ahead of us loomed another missed Christmas (our fourth consecutive Christmas away from family). We were homesick and lonely. We talked about giving up this traveling thing.

In just six weeks we were scheduled to travel to India. I was terrified. In India I had committed to driving a rickshaw 3,500 kilometers through the country, from Rajasthan in the north to Kerala in the south. It was an unsupported adventure in a rickety rickshaw. I’d be traveling with two women and, alone, we’d be picking our driving route, finding our own accommodations and navigating the crazy roads of big cities like Mumbai. It sounded suicidal.  All rational parts of me were telling me not to go. But there was a deeper place in my soul that believed something was waiting for me in India and that if I could just push through the barrier of fear I might find something essential there.

I felt torn and anxious. I hiked alone with my thoughts and my mind turned over all of the reasons I shouldn’t go to India.

I have a simple prayer that I whisper whenever I feel lost and unsure of the next step:

God,” I say, “Please guide me. And please give me the wisdom to know when I have received your guidance.”

So I hiked through the park and I said my prayer. I walked. I prayed. I worried.

After a few hours of walking we reached a clearing and stopped to take in the icy blue beauty of Glacier Grey. The wilderness around us was pristine and untouched. We posed for pictures and then sat in silence as the glacier cracked and ice crashed into the water.

Glacier Gray Chile

Glacier Gray Chile2

Glacier Gray

We sat in that space for awhile, thrilled by the roar of the ice as it broke free of the glacier. Eventually we stood to leave and as we did my friend Patrick reached down to pick something from the ground. He dug beneath the rocky gravel and when he stood again he held something small in his hand. Silently, he opened his fist. There in his palm was this OM symbol.

OM necklace

I stared jaw-dropped at the tiny object in his hand. What were the odds that this tiny, silver charm would be here in this isolated environment? What were the chances that, as this abandoned necklace lay beneath dirt and rocks, it would catch Patrick’s eye and he would dig for it, then wordlessly offer it to me? I picked the OM symbol up off of his hand and put it in my pocket.

We began walking. I closed my eyes. “Okay, universe,” I said, “I definitely got the message.”

So I went to India and India transformed me. One day I will tell the story of how.

Now, I wear this OM around my neck to remind me that the universe has my back. And I wear it as a celebration of the thrilling fact that life is magic and filled with things so big that we cannot explain or understand them.

There are no coincidences. This I am sure of.

OM.

OM necklace

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel July 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

“Please guide me. And please give me the wisdom to know when I have received your guidance.”

I can’t tell you how much I love this prayer. I think the hardest thing is receiving the message. There are so many messages around us in our daily lives, but how often are we ready to receive them?

The OM always reminds me of Siddhartha, which I just read late last year. Especially this part: Gazing into the water, “all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life…then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om – perfection”

Sometimes I don’t know what it all means, but I have to remember that it all flows together and somehow I’m a part of a bigger picture than my mind can comprehend. I’m so glad you understood and were ready to receive that sign. From my point of view, you’re definitely on the right path, however hard it might be.
Carmel recently posted..HARMONY

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 5:54 am

Man, I really need to read that book.

Thanks Carmel for all of your love and support. XO

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Patti July 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, but I have lived my life for years and years with the belief that everything happens for a reason. We may not always be privy to the reasons, or the reasons may become clear somewhere down the road – we don’t know, but for sure there is a reason why everything happens. Sometimes I’ll ask myself, “Why did I take this path and not that one?” Usually the reason, that I didn’t see at the time, will become clear to me. Even if it didn’t impact me personally, I was supposed to cross that path. Sometimes those paths are really (really) difficult and as I struggle through them I keep telling myself that one day, the reason will become clear to me. And then I usually argue with myself and say, “I sure as hell hope so because this ain’t fun!”

You were supposed to be in that place at that time – you just were.
Patti recently posted..Route 66 & President Lincoln ~

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

It’s like that quote from Steve Jobs about only being able to connect the dots when you look back… you don’t always know why something is happening while it is happening, but later (sometimes years later) you are able to see what all of it was leading to.

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Alissa July 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Great story, and a great reminder that things always work out the way they should
Alissa recently posted..Four reasons we no longer buy or use Lonely Planet guide books

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

Thanks Alissa.

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Ashlie July 22, 2013 at 1:33 am

I recently stumbled across this again – I love it! It seems appropriate here. No coincidences just the universe conspiring on our behalf :)

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one would have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” (W.H. Murray)
Ashlie recently posted..We’re Splitting Up

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 5:57 am

Yes, that’s a lovely quote. Thanks for sharing it Ashlie.

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Josie Leung July 22, 2013 at 1:43 am

Nice and inspiring story. I’m glad everything worked out in the end. Im looking forward to your India post.

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 5:57 am

Thanks Josie. Man, it might take me years to write that India post…

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Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) July 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

Wow, what an amazing story. The universe truly did answer your prayer Kim. I can’t wait to read the India story.
Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) recently posted..How we spent 3 months living in paradise

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thanks Paul. I still sometimes can’t believe it happened!

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Rhonda July 22, 2013 at 7:25 am

Yep… no coincidences… we just all need to be brave enough to let the universe guide us where we’re meant to go.
Rhonda recently posted..Foto Friday

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Agreed.

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SJ July 22, 2013 at 7:57 am

I really needed to hear this today. Thank you. And the prayer is beautiful, learning to recognize when we’ve received the message is key.

Your search for truth, wisdom and light inspires my own…

Om Shanti

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Thanks you SJ. I’m glad the story found you at the right time.

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) July 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

Love that you carry that totem with you and, I love the story behind it even more!

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks deep in existential contemplation, and have vacillated wildly from thinking that everything is connected and that karma is the number one operating principle of the universe, to going hardcore science nerd who thinks deep down that everything is random. I am like a pendulum over here, but leave it to you to bring me some balance.

Have you read any of Scarlett Thomas’s novels? Her most recent one, Our Tragic Universe, while not perfect is a really fascinating look at the purpose of fiction and storytelling and how we as humans gravitate toward stories because of our desire to view things in terms of cause and effect. Her books are definitely more of the metafictional, metaphysical vein like Milan Kundera but I love how they always give me such big issues to mull over.
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Zen and the Art of Photography

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I have never read any of Scarlett Thomas’s novels but I will definitely add them to my list. Our Tragic Universe sounds really fascinating. Thanks Steph.

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Sarah Somewhere July 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

Beautiful, Kim. I have just started to believe that instead of ‘signs’, God is truly everywhere and everyTHING and when we align ourselves with that knowledge, we ‘see’ it everywhere. OM xxx
Sarah Somewhere recently posted..One more day

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Kim July 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Ah, yes, that makes sense to me.

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Christine | Oatmeal Bowl July 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Awesome! God is handing you a treasure hunt. With very significant meaning. :)
My prayer before I go on a trail, do something that takes courage, or before I go to bed, “God, wrap me in your love and protect me.” And many times I ask for God to give me guidance, too. Nice post.
Christine | Oatmeal Bowl recently posted..#Adventure4Life Trip: My Wild Journey

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Kim July 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

Yes, a treasure hunt. I never thought of it like that but you are right.

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Rachel July 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

That is incredible! The more I travel, the more I find myself believing in fate and destiny–sometimes in a spiritual and religious way and other times in a more secular way. I’m right there with you on this one, you were meant to find that necklace then and there. What an incredible story and I love what it represents to you now. I hope to read about how India changed you sometime soon as I leave for India in just a few weeks!
Rachel recently posted..Man of Teal

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Kim July 24, 2013 at 9:22 am

Ah, have an amazing time in India!!! Keep an open heart and prepare to fall in love. I think about India every day.

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Jessica July 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Wow, that’s really an amazing and powerful symbol which obviously meant so much to you at that point in your journey. Nice post!
Jessica recently posted..Travel Research: How do Locals Feel about the Practice of Slum Tourism?

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Kim July 24, 2013 at 9:22 am

Talk about the universe hitting me over the head on this one… it’s a hard sign not to recognize :) Rarely does it happen like this, I think. Usually things are a lot more subtle.

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jade July 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

this gave me chills! thanks so much for sharing. the glacier photos are incredible too!

safe travels : jade
http://www.accidentaltouguide.blogspot.com

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Kim July 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

Thanks Jade. And, yep, that Glacier was amazing.

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Victoria July 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I’m spending my morning moments reading your blog and this post is my favourite. My faith is in development right now, and this post was a wonderful inspiration. Thank you Kim.
Victoria recently posted..Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it: Energy 101

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Kim July 31, 2013 at 6:34 am

Victoria, it’s an honor that you are spending your morning moments reading. I’m glad this post found you.

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TammyOnTheMove August 1, 2013 at 2:42 am

I definitely think that the universe is looking after people. Some things are just too much of a coincidence, just as when you found this necklace. I am glad you found it actually, otherwise you may have gone back to the US and I couldn’t read you blog anymore. :-)
TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Hiking boots review: Atmosphere boots by Mountain Warehouse

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Kim August 1, 2013 at 7:16 am

Ha, I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t find that necklace… would I have gone home? I suppose we’ll never know for sure.

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Swaps August 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Hi Kim,

I am new to your blog and reading through old posts. What a beautiful story and pictures too! Not sure if you know but your necklace also has Lord Ganesh in it :)

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Kim August 25, 2013 at 5:58 am

Yes, I do! I put my Ganesh charm on there… Ganesh is a talisman of mine, the overcomer of obstacles and the protector of scribes!

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Swaps August 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Awesome! I am born and brought up in India…have lived in US and now migrated to Oz :)

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Kim August 26, 2013 at 7:26 am

You’ve been around the world!! I love India, it is one of my favorite places on earth.

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