Friday, 20 August 2010

my contribution to the closing circle for our Everyday Dharma course at Omega Institute

I was asked to share this and am happy to put it on here so that I can easily remind myself of the gifts I received . . .

With gratitude for~

  • kindred souls in this grace-filled spaced connected by a web of compassion and seeking

  • the knowledge that you will all be in my hearts as I practice

  • the natural beauty surrounding us in this space~ the sounds of the families of frogs and birds, the slither of snakes and salamanders, the sway of goldfish, trickling of water and the gentle rain that came down on us

  • the practice: sitting, walking, sitting again, deep acceptance, honoring our benefactors . . .

  • learning to better BE and who I am when I am not the worker-bee, parent-bee, partner-bee and being so blessed to have these daily sessions in which to just BE

  • the divine spirit of our gifted teacher that entered my life just when needed and teaches with such profound ability to simplify the concepts that appear complicated, reassure the confused, explain details and guide practice so as to make it come with ease~ but most of all teaches with her actions, her words, her humor and her gentle nature.  I am healthier and happier for having her in my life these five days

  • the Divine bringing me here and knowing that this is the time in my life for me to learn and experience these lessons and a retreat such as this was so helpful in allowing me to let it happen

  • finding joy in the midst of suffering

  • letting me find the prayer: may my family and all families of the world experience profound healing and come to know joy and compassion in the midst of suffering

I highly recommend my teacher's book~ Everyday Dharma~ which can be purchased HERE

World Humanitarian Day 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A Week of Magic

We have just returned from a place and a time where magic happens, the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York for what they call "Family Week."

I'd like to share a few of the dot points of what was magical for me on this five night, four and a half day retreat and I'll make a separate blog post with what I shared in gratitude at the closing circle of our "Everyday Dharma" course I was in with Lama Willa Miller because I think it explains my personal reaction best.  I could write a book about this experience so my intention will be to continue to blog occasionally about how I am incorporating some of the lessons I worked with during this week of practice.

  • If felt like magic walking into this space and these people because it was so similar to a family camp experience that my older children were able to experience for many years- Lake Geneva Summer Assembly- and in so many ways it instantaneously felt like familiar and like I was coming home.
understanding it will be wholesome local, homegrown vegan and vegetarian food all week

  • Instead of any jealousy or envy, when I was explaining the comparison of both spaces to my 19 year old, he could only express delight that his younger siblings were getting this type of experience.  And now he wants to work Omega during his summer break next year.
Fode- phenomenal drummer from West Africa

  • There is a Springfield person, Rhiannon, actually working at Omega now- we had interfaced at a women's conference previously . . .  It was great to see her in this environment

we ran into each other on the garden path the first day . . . serendipity

  • At the end of the first day, all of our children asked if they could come back every year and make this a ritual in their lives.
First night heading to supper: sense their fear of the new environment?  Not!

  • The amazing teacher that allowed our class, which came from a variety of religious traditions or no religious tradition, to learn how to incorporate this profound practice into our everyday life and into any religious or spiritual practice was magical in her gifted ability to gently guide and teach our group.
My teacher Lama Willa Miller 

  • For me after years of studying mindfulness, meditating, and attempting to practice compassion it was the perfect environment and teaching at the perfect time in my life for very many profound reasons-- and it all came together in a magical way.

Baz's photography class got us during a walking meditation- me on the left

  • The space that allows the children and teens to bond with others and have enriching learning experiences and wild adventures while their parents are doing the same (and can relax with the knowledge that their children are being well taken care of) is almost other-wordly and such a gift for parents AND their kids.

Insect house building

Magnificent storyteller Regina Carpenter

Wayfinders Rocked!

  • All three got to be "the daring young kids on the flying trapeze."  Hard to believe, but think about it-- facing your fear, being in the moment, experiencing exhilaration: priceless.

Freya and Peter Gold

  • At the closing ceremony a very sweet woman sat by me and we talked about our children and experience and she mentioned she had taught a workshop last year.  She was called up as part of the ceremony to lead us in a chant that incorporated chants from a variety of traditions starting with om mani padme hum, a Tibetan chant of compassion, (the bracelet I wear to remind myself to be compassionate) and ended with Gloria from the Christian tradition--eventually all being sung in unison.  Her voice was beautiful and the sound of the melding of a room full of voices resonating was a magical experience.  The night before I had watched as her youngest beautiful daughter had ended her performance with her class on African drumming & dance and came off the stage and fell into the embrace of her older teenaged sister who expressed her pride and sat and cradled her younger sister like a baby.  I was move to tears and wished I had taken a picture and was happy to hear when her mom and I spoke of this that she had captured this on camera and she expressed gratitude that I was able to experience that moment as well- duly noting that, of course, that wasn't always the dynamic between her daughters at home. Incidentally, this beautiful mother-singing-chanting-spirit was the actress Maggie Wheeler from Friends (she played Chandler's girlfriend Janice) among many other credits, and yes, in real life she has a spirited giggle and a glow of joy.  I just checked out her website and encourage you to do the same.  I can only imagine that her workshops would be transformative.  I'm glad my son captured the chant on tape so I can go back to that and be in that moment again and again.
    Maggie Wheeler leading chant- Atticus and Freya on right from their performance
    • Elizabeth Lesser who is cofounder of Omega and dreamed Family Week 25 years ago is a best selling author and several of my classmates insisted I get her book Broken Open and read it as they had the opportunity to hear her do a reading from it; with the three children I was not able to attend.  She was the touchpoint of the week and she has a newer book out as well and I can't wait to read them both.  You can find them HERE.   Blessings to her for having the dream of Omega Family Week.

    Elizabeth Lesser

    Goodbye OMEGA-- we hope to carry you with us in our heart and see you again next year!  Thank you.

    Sebastian 13, Atticus 6, Freya 10 and me at the Sanctuary