Longing for "OH-me-gah"

Think back to this week last year. Where were you at? What were you doing?

Last year at this time I was on the other side of the country, wandering around 300 acres of lush gardens, towering trees and rolling hills of jubilee green grass. I had no access to a TV, radio, computer, phone, entertainment headlines, red meat or venti quad mochas.

Basically, I was freaking out.

Patrick and I had got hired to teach a week long shrine-making workshop at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. People (corporate types to working moms to bohemian hippies) from all around the country enroll in courses there ranging from tantric lovemaking to yoga to creative writing to puppet making to meditation to African dance. Celebs like Natalie Merchant go there to chill and people like Jane Fonda are faculty members.

The place is gorgeous and totally cut off from life as we know it. Patrick and I usually don’t consider ourselves “city folk”, coming from Phoenix and all, but that week we discovered we were more pampered artists than starving artists. We were given a small no-frills cabin in the woods (think Friday the 13th with no deranged killer on the loose), they blew a fog horn three times a day for vegan meals that were grown on the premises and served in a dining hall that was two strenuous Hamburger Hills away from us, and they didn’t believe in killing bugs so we often had to negotiate with golf ball sized mosquitoes when ever we walked outside. In the morning was Tai Chi and after dinner was meditation. I wasn’t quite ready for either of those, but I adapted to everything else. We arrived on a Sunday and on that next Thursday, we got sooooo excited because that morning they were serving cheese with the eggs. CHEESE!! At the time it was such a thrill!

Our students were awesome. We had a group of ladies from Philly, NJ, NYC and we bonded better than e6000. Our course was in shrine making, so the highlight was a huge community altar we created for Dia de Los Muertos. We taught everyone how to make Mexican tissue flowers and sugar skulls, except the air was so moist, they couldn’t harden. The east-coasters found our southwestern rituals fascinating. One night we opened our doors for all the campus to come and partake and many did. We still keep in touch with Tracey, a children’s book author from NJ who was in our class, but we’ve lost touch with everyone else. All our students had all been to Omega before and knew the deal – so it was entertaining for them to listen to Patrick and I whine like sissies about being away from the land of three digit temps and chimichangas. One day Tracey soothed our spirits and took us into Rhinebeck for burgers and beer. It was better than cheese with the eggs!

As much as we had fun at Omega – or rather “OH-me-gahhh” as the meditation instructor would say – we were quite happy to come home to Phoenix.

Now here it is exactly one year later and I get choked up on the memory. I didn’t realize how much it brightened up my life until we were home and back in the daily routine. My Omega experience is what inspired me to start this blog. If you go to October 2003, you’ll see my postings on all the details right after they happened. Man, I miss it soooo much….

I’m not sure what the point of my story is here. Wait. I do know. It’s a big world out there, so many wicked cool things to be discovered. And it’s all at our fingertips. You just have to make the effort to try them. Do something out of whack for a change. Never in a MILLION years did I ever think I would enjoy a rootsy place like Omega, but I LOVED it. It changed my life. I’m so glad I did it. Otherwise I would have never done strange things like tasting milk right from the cow, or eating a delicious chocolate cookie that has no yeast, or walking up and downs huge hills at least 3-4 times a day, or sitting in dirt surrounded by a circle of trees, dreaming about the world, and noticing the color patterns of tiny bugs crawling around on the ground. (Here comes the choking up part) I wish I had appreciated my time there more, because I haven’t been able to capture that vibe ever since. One of my goals this year is to write up a new proposal for a fantastic week-long workshop and hope that we get invited back.

My train of thought now is to try and do the opposite of what first comes to mind. Just to shake things up a bit. Just to recapture the feeling of being excited at the thought of having cheese with my eggs.



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* All content/photos copyright, © Kathy Cano-Murillo, 2008.

Love & light,


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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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