18 November 2008

"If you could read my mind, love"-- Gordon Lightfoot

I've been thinking lately about writing about my time at Omega. There's so many stories. Not funny stories but life isn't all laughs, people. Okay, it certainly should be, but maybe you can give me a pass today.

Reya's post about being psychic has egged me on. Reya has certainly demonstrated her abilities and it's pretty cool. That said, I think everyone has the ability to be psychic. I think most of us move at too fast a pace most of the time to register all the things we know at that level.

Years ago, for about six summers, I visited Omega. It's not for everyone. It's basically summer camp for adults and it's pretty earthycrunchy. Often people go there when they are in transition--they've finished one chapter of their lives but they aren't sure what the next chapter should be. It's the perfect place for that.

I found that the more I was at Omega, the more I knew on a psychic level, because you slow down there (simple schedule, minimal commitments, no TV, no computer, no cell phone signal) and you are literally in touch with the earth (you walk everywhere and you're in buildings with screens so when the birds sing you hear it and when the humidity goes up you feel it.) Weird little things would happen on a pretty regular basis.

A very simple example...

The dining hall is where 500-700 people at a time come to eat three times a day.* It's centrally located on the 80 acre campus so you're likely to pass it even when you aren't going for a meal. One night, I finished my dinner early and took off out the front door to head to the bookstore to peruse the shelves.

As I was leaving the dining hall, which was basically a HUGE screened-in cabin, I had this image flash in my brain of all the people in the dining hall singing, like in a beer hall during Octoberfest. It seemed to me an odd thing to pop into my brain. The dining hall was still crowded with people. They weren't singing, they were talking.** I'd never heard singing in the dining hall.

Half an hour later, I am heading back from the bookstore en route to my tent, and I pass the dining hall and there is singing coming from inside. Lots of people joined in song.

This kind of stuff happens all the freakin' time at Omega. Often at a more profound level. I like it. It's like suddenly spotting a deer in the trees. The deer's clearly been there but now you're seeing it. A little freaky but nice.

On a related tangent, I like Christina Baldwin's "The Seven Whispers":

  • Maintain peace of mind
  • Move at the pace of guidance
  • Practice certainty of purpose
  • Surrender to surprise
  • Ask for what you need and offer what you can
  • Love the folks in front of you
  • Return to the world
Move at the pace of guidance. I take that as: slow down and really see what there is to see/know what there is to know.

P.S. Okay, you read through it even though I told you in wouldn't be funny. So, here's something that amused me, maybe it will amuse you, too. When I mentioned to my mother that I would be staying in a tent for one of my trips to Omega, she was concerned. The conversation went something like this:

Mum: You're gong to sleep in a tent?

Me: Yes.

Mum: Alone?

Me: Yes. I'll be alone in the tent but I'll be in a campground area so there'll be other people camping there, too.

Mum: Do you have a lock?

Me: A lock?

Mum: For the tent. So people can't get in while you sleep.

Me: These are very cool people. I'll be fine.

Mum: *making worried sounds*

Me: They have security patrols there.

Mum: *still making worried sounds*

Me: I'll take a lock.

Mum: Good!

I saw no point in explaining to her that the tent was fabric and if someone really wanted in, they could just cut through a tent wall. Mum is so sweet.

* I know this number because I always signed up to work when I was at Omega (like in Dirty Dancing the most interesting stuff is going on behind the scenes) and I spent one of my work details doing dinner prep (lots of chopping) in the dining hall. Most exhausting job I ever had. But I learned a lot that I've used since (use sharp, good quality knives; clean up your station between events; keep the trash bin accessible while you work; don't stop to ask why--just clean it up; try to leave things better than you found them; etc.)

** With that many people talking at once, it becomes this wash of white noise: "wallawallawallawallawalla..."


Kate said...

Whereas your experience at Omega was totally different than the experience I had when I was in treatment, similar things happened. I learned to slow down. To listen to myself and the world around me. To listen to the voice of my higher power.

Whenever I need to slow down, I just picture myself there, or - this is even better - I can just go there and meditate and learn to listen all over again. Psychic? Spiritual? It doesn't matter what you call it. We've all got that inside of us if we only stop long enough to listen.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

I miss slowing down and listening to myself. Thanks for reminding me I need to be doing that again...

fiona said...

Thanks for sharing.
I also think it's part of a parenting skill we are loosing and am not sure how to fix it. For as long as I can recall I have been able to take great pleasure sitting or strolling on the beach. The air, sea, sounds...
In Scotland this year I was "sea gazing" to the chorus of "Mommy come on, Mommy what are you doing"
Tried to explain but was met with "shit she really is nuts" stares.
I'm working on it.

f.B said...

I don't think travel should count as anything but work-related unless it actually lets you rejuvenate. If you don't come back feeling like you made a difference - mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatever - you might as well have not left.

And I totally agree that we're capable of more than we're brave enough to admit. Like being ultra-aware of your surroundings and the people in them makes you worse. I would just hate to know how to use all of my faculties - boring.

brian said...

Like Tewkesbury, thanks for reminding me that slowing down is a good thing. It seems that I have a hard time making time to "shut off" lately.

Something about a mother asking if you have a lock for your tent when going camping is so typical mum, but also hilarious.

Matt said...

If Omega is like Octoberfest...sign me up.

GreenCanary said...

I don't think I've ever slowed down and listened to myself. I'm not sure I know what myself sounds like.

Kristin said...

Tempted as I was to post the same comment about deja vu twice, I'll say it once. I kind of live in that state. Deja vu.

I'm not sure if slowing down helps or hurts (me), though. I can hear myself pretty well at full speed ahead. Might get a little deafening with more of me.

I also tend to hear other people before they know what they're saying. Unfortunately, though, sometimes I don't like what they're saying. Either way it really freaks people out.

Kristin said...

I figure it's just being aware of my surroundings. Watching. Listening. I meant to include that in my little essay there. (Sorry about the verbal vomit. I find the topic fascinating.)

Narm said...

Are you the oracle from the Matrix? I'll take the red pill, please.

Mike said...

"The dining hall is where 500-700 people at a time come to eat three times a day. It's centrally located on the 80 acre campus so you're likely to pass it even when you aren't going for a meal."

I was at a place like this once myself. It was called the army. I don't want to go back.

lacochran said...

Kate, f.B: Well put.

J.M. Tewkesbury, Brian: When I feel compelled to write something, I figure somebody needs to hear it. Maybe just me. :) If it helped you, I'm glad.

Fiona: At least you still hear your kids. So many parents appear to go deaf. And I agree, the sea is very restorative.

Matt: Ha! Good one!

GreenCanary: I'm guessing you have a lovely tweet.

Kristin: I'm glad you shared your thoughts on this.

Narm: Come in. Have a cookie and bend a spoon.

Mike: They sing in the army, too! :)

zandria said...

Very interesting that you did that! That's something I'd probably be up for doing, just to see what it's like. :)

Too funny about your mom and the lock on the tent...sounds like something MY mother would say!

lacochran said...

Zandria: It's an amazing place in the gorgeous mountains. If it draws you, go.