Notes From a Weekend at Omega

Travel, whether it’s just a weekend away or a 4,100-mile road trip, is one of my great loves. And whether I am alone or with my beloved husband, travel brings with it a multitude of adventure, new experiences, and sometimes craziness.

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a weekend writing workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY this past weekend. The workshop was incredible. I, however, was in top form when it came to my infamous clumsiness. Omega does not provide bed linens in the dorms, but since I go there every year I have a set earmarked for just this purpose. I got there on Friday early enough to set up my room so I could relax a bit before dinner. So I’m making my little twin-size bed and I’m trying to get the last corner of the fitted sheet tucked in. But because there is a dresser wedged against the top of the bed I have to lean, I mean really lean over to reach that last corner. As I’m leaning I realize I’m going to lose my balance. I try, in vain, to catch myself before I fall over and bonk my head against the wall. Hard. Not hard enough to see stars but I did notice a few question marks travel by, like what the heck just happened. That evening’s weekend session was a bit hampered by my pounding head.

On Saturday morning I got up and within two minutes—two minutes—of rising I had plugged up one of the toilets in the dorm. This is not a good thing any time, but when there are two toilets for a dorm housing 12, this is really not cool. I got dressed and sheepishly walked to guest services where I hung my head in shame as I admitted my sin.

On Saturday evening I went into the cafe to get my nightly chamomile tea. I reached into my backpack for my contraband stash of Splenda (Omega serves only natural everything), but I hadn’t sealed the zipper bag earlier in the day. As I took the bag out a shower of yellow packets floated to the floor. They covered the area in front of the hot water and coffee to the point that I was holding up the line. I kept picking up and picking up, one lone packet after another until one of the staff members and a lovely young woman from my workshop helped me to get all the packets back into the bag. Ugh.

On Sunday morning, I went back into the cafe for some coffee. As I tipped my wallet sideways to put the dollar I had received as change away, all of the loose change in my coin compartment rained to the floor. There was a lot of change in there, and it landed in the exact same spot in which I had created my Splenda puddle. So I was staring at the same patch of floor, this time looking for shiny coins. Again someone came to help.

But all of this is just the latest in my adventures in clumsiness. What is really relevant is the workshop itself, in which I entered a room with 18 other people, individuals as diverse as this great country of ours, to write. To simply put words onto the page that would ultimately change ourselves and touch one another. One piece I wrote was particularly well-received. I got a hug from the workshop leader and had at least six people come up to me individually to tell me how good they thought it was. I didn’t expect any of these kind words, but I received them as graciously as I could.

Ultimately, that was what the weekend was about. It was about a workshop in which the leader created a safe space for 19 creative souls to write and share and become a group who welcomed and were grateful for the muse who shared the room with us. It was about coming together no matter where you come from, who or what you are, or what you believe in or don’t. It was just about the words as they floated onto the page. That’s all. Regardless of my toilet-plugging, spilling-my-stuff-on-the-floor personality, I went and I wrote my heart out.  Who knows? Maybe the head-bonking helped me write better. All I know is that I arrived home happy and mentally exhausted, joyfully awaiting the muse the next time she is willing to share a room with me.

Thank you, Omega. Ever onward until I see you next year.

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