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Finger pads touch, palms gently resting against each other, beads draped around our fingers, gazes focused as we chant.  And before long, voices harmonize, hearts soften.  The mood in the room is different now.  As time passes by, the women tend to become more aware of each other’s well-being whether or not they know one another.  Mrs. G, 80 years old, gets out of her seat and without a word returns with a glass of water for the person who is leading the chant.   Lynne places food offering on the altar and lights the candles.  We immerse ourselves in the chant for two hours.

My thoughts also change from a list of what I wish for to encompass others: family, friends, other women, and all of humanity.   Don’t get me wrong I am notorious for wandering thoughts, but I try to come back to the present moment as I catch myself drift off to the list of tasks that need to get done for today, tomorrow, etc.

In the end the brave ones share their internal experiences.  Jayne, a lover of outdoors, feels the natural elements more vividly the deeper she gets into her chanting.  For me it’s all about light.  Beams, globes, rays, or showers of light.  That’s what I send out to you.

When I think to my past, I remember spirituality always existed in my own family and those years that I set my cockiness and dogmatic mind and made time for practicing I had more peace and focus in life.

Our fast paced lives have managed to put our cores, the part that we really need, on the back burner.  It’s a life of noise and action.  We are busy with work, TV, exercise, etc.  The external stimuli have drowned our interior voice.

You don’t have to chant.  Find what works for you.  If you have time for Facebook, then you’ll have time for you.  Spend ten minutes less on Facebook and enjoy your own heart.  Just be.  See what happens.  Over time you start finding your own answers because rest inside you and just need a little trust to be heard.

Some of us have grown up watching our parents and grandparents practice.  Think of when they communed with whatever they believed in.  Remember how unwavering they became in the face of calamities?  It was as if they had roots in the ground or hearts in the sky.  Either way there was a sense of strength about them.  My grandmother had two sons fighting in the Iran/Iraq war and I never saw her fall apart.  She’d look up at the sky and speak to her divine with such conviction and purity that if I were God, I would personally grant her whatever she wanted.  That’s what years of practice does, though.

Yet today, some woman takes our spot at the gym and it sets us off.  Or, in my case, I have an article rejected and the first thing that comes to my mind is: “I can’t chant today.  Need sugar.”

We feed our body, exercise to be physically healthy.  But there are more dimensions to us.  Let’s take care of them too.

Besides, according to an article in US News: “spiritual acts appear to lengthen life expectancy, strengthen immunity, improve the body’s response to stress, and boost other measures of physical health.”

Here’s to sensing calm amidst calamity.