Found this while looking for a geocache just before the workshop–perfect start to the weekend.
I had every good intention of sitting down to write a post (“a post,” she laughs) about my whirlwind visit to Omega last weekend. Sitting here trying to imagine how I’ll wrap a weekend of Omega magic into anything short of a dissertation, though, I’m realizing it’s just simply not going to be possible.
There’s something magic about Omega. I felt it during my first trip and have carried a little piece of that magic with me everywhere I’ve gone since. It’s no wonder, then, that I felt a sense of home when I stepped back onto the campus. It wasn’t immediate. My head and heart both told me that KT was supposed to be there with me. I looked around for familiar faces from that first workshop, my head tricking me into thinking I might see them coming toward me down a path or laughing as they walked through the dining hall doors.
But it’s a magical place, and, thankfully, my heart slowly opened to the possibility of new experiences and new connections. I left a changed person, again, thanks to that openness.
See? Fairies afoot!
Places to pause and breathe…
and hidden messages. Magic!
Early this week when people asked me how the workshop had gone and what I had learned, I found myself staring kind of aimlessly at them searching for words that would convince them I wasn’t totally out of my mind. Those conversations went like this:
I had a 7 minute conversation with a (former) stranger. One of the most powerful of my life.
I came up with a phrase. I tested it out. I came up with a more accurate phrase. I tested it again.
And again. Until it spoke the truth.
I stared at an acorn. When I was sure I’d seen it all, I looked again. And again.
It would take days to explain that in a way that makes sense to anyone who wasn’t there. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want to try. There’s something magic about Omega, remember, and part of me feels like those experiences were sacred and deserve the honor of staying in my heart and mind.
I’m happy, however, to share a bit of what I learned:
- The very core of me is drawn to contemplative practice. And yet, I blatantly don’t make time in my day for it. The embarrassing absurdity of this odd contradiction came up over and over throughout the weekend.
- I’ve always feared situations where, as I called it in a previous post, I find that I’m “in over my head.” Last weekend reminded me instead that I can be purely me, with my lack of knowledge and all my grand intentions with no follow-through, and be respected for who I AM, not judged for who I’m not. I can create paralyzing fear, or I can allow myself to be vulnerable and reap the benefits.
- In the midst of mindful people, I naturally slow down–and it’s awesome. It was clear that this amazing group of people really thought before they spoke, and I think that allowed us to interact on a deep level despite only knowing each other for a weekend. It felt much more comfortable than the usual thoughtless, rushed conversations in which I find myself on a regular basis. What a beautiful challenge to bring home with myself! Slowing down! Thinking!
- There is so much power in listening in such a way that the speaker knows that he/she is truly, honestly being heard. Simply turning off the noise and focusing on what another is saying–both with and without words–has transformational power. How often do we go through our days feeling unseen? This is such an easy way to assure the people we meet that we see them–truly see them–and yet we do so so infrequently.
- Yes, it IS possible to stare at an acorn for awhile… then awhile longer… and to continue to see new things. Even for those of us who are attention-challenged. First I saw an acorn. Then I saw all of the shades of brown and green it would take to paint a picture that captured its true hues. I held it with more reverence when I was reminded it held within it the potential to create an entire forest. Others noted symmetry or all of the things they could imagine it to look like.
- There are people with amazing minds and amazing hearts out there across this country (and world!) wholeheartedly engaging in the challenge of enacting change to systems that are stubbornly inert. It was an honor to spend a weekend learning from and with such an amazing group of people.
It’s a blessing to know that in some deep spiritual way, I’ll always find a sense of home there among the trees and the people and the knowledge and the spirit of the place.