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Get in Tune with Changing Times

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." — Charles Darwin

We are so often at the mercy of change. A drive across the United States assures one of that. Mountains have moved, volcanos erupted, animal species and humans departed from their original homes, in some cases extinct. And yet, as the panorama unfolds out the window, as one stands at the precipice of mountains overlooking rivers and plains, it is clear that our best chance at survival--and ideally an even sometimes joyous surviving-- is our ability to adapt.


It is amazing to look at life in the rearview. One can see so much change, so much that has happened, and with the reflection of hindsight it is extraordinary. Sometimes, change can be almost imperceptible. Sometimes we fail to notice. Children grow and suddenly they are adults. You might have made markings on the wall to keep track, and photos certainly show clear changes over months, years, decades, and yet the sum total of change can seem like a shock. How did it happen? Where did the time go?


I revisited The Omega Institute recently after many years. I first signed up for a writing workshop there in the fall of 2010, for my 40th birthday, and then revisited it a number of times over the years for workshops, the last as a Juno Women's Leadership Resident in 2019.



The Lake at Omega's Rhinebeck campus


As I walked through the campus, I recalled how scary it had been for me to stay in one of their tent cabins by myself. I remember having to calm myself and push aside horror movie scenarios as I stepped off the lit path into the dark woods to find my rustic open-air cabin. I recall how trepidatious I was as I walked to the bug-filled bathroom in the middle of the night alone.


It embarrassed me that I was so wimpy. I had the notion of "getting lost in the woods" for my 40th birthday and had instead paid a fair bit for a cot at a retreat center. And yet...the first morning of my stay I set out into the woods. Not a seasoned hiker then, I didn't think to look for trail markers. I just walked along happily, proud of myself for going off alone into the woods. I had no compass, no phone, nothing. After a bit I realized I should head back so as to make it to breakfast before my workshop began. But as I turned and began to walk, I realized it was not so simple. I walked a bit and did not recognize the path. I was completely lost. As I screamed out for help, only the white bushy-tailed bucks leaping beyond me into the glen could hear me.


It was a lesson, surely, one the Omega receptionist had acknowledged I would likely learn when I told her what I really wanted was to get lost in the woods.


"People tend to find what they're looking for here..." she'd said, and her words rang in my ears along with my own mothers': Be careful what you wish for.


But it was a valuable lesson. Sometimes no one else can help you. Sometimes you find yourself--truly or proverbially--alone in the woods, and you have to rely on your own self, your own deepest intuition and instincts. I did after a time find my way, humbled by the experience.


The beauty of a place like Omega, and other retreat centers and venues that hold self-improvement workshops is that one walks through the doors with an intention to learn and grow and change. One has sought out this opportunity, opened oneself up to change, and that alone is valuable.


In subsequent years, I pushed myself to stay in a tent by the lake, and grew to love wandering around in the dark at night, fearless of spiders and the other creepy crawlers who joined me. I learned how to follow trail markers (mostly) and have since then become an intrepid traveler, alone and with others. My son and I have just completed our third cross-country trip, visiting the country's national parks and camping in its forests and along its amazing rivers. I have changed mightily since that first experience at Omega and my return visit, stopping to notice and reflect on my growth and change since I first decided I wanted to be more self-reliant and resilient, is worthwhile.


What changes lie ahead we can not exactly know. Some will be of our own choosing and some will not, but either way we will do best to try to listen closely to the winds of change, and determine how to sway and bend and try to enjoy the dance!!


I am available for one-on-one sound meditation sessions to help you foster the listening necessary for growth and change. I am also available for private group meditation sessions for personal or professional peace and reflection.


I will be offering a two-hour Sacred Bloom Guided Sound Journey at Gaia NoMaya in Brooklyn on July 21st from 7-9. For tix: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sacred-bloom-guided-sound-journey-tickets-677064176177

May your blooming process be beautiful, even in its moments of difficulty. Reach out if I may be of service with the sacred ritual of sound.


XX

Steph

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