a traditional galician celebration

While working in Galicia we stumbled upon the celebrations of one man Julio’s 60th birthday celebrations. There was an open fire inside which was the center of attention and the basis where the traditional foods were prepared. Everyone was bawling due to the heavy smoke indoors, which made for some hilarious moments.

Raw cheese resembling a mix of yoghurt and cream cheese, delicious beef patties in a thin, crisp bread resembling Indian Chapati, roasted chestnuts, grilled ham on Spanish bread, as well as a birthday loaf with surprisingly little flavor but good looks nonetheless.

The wine was flowing richly, as was the Galician cider and gin. The Galicians definitely live life in the best of ways. And how proud they are of Galicia! And in my opinion, within good reason.

Music was being played by many; traditional Galician songs and instruments, the bag-pipe, flute, accordion, tambourine, and eventually even a wooden cutting board with rolling pin – for the instrument-less such as yours truly. And every song was played with the utmost passion, and I mean: passion.

There was also dancing, in my case trying to dance, in the traditional Galician style.

All of this in a kitchen that is over 200 years.

It was quite dark inside, and I had consumed a bit of wine and cider, so apologies for less quality photos.

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The man in the center celebrated his 90th year last month.

This man in the middle celebrated his 90th last month.

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wood nymphs aka giggle fairies

While I write this the wood nymph walked by, smiled and said: “Hello, beautiful.”

At Omega there are two fairies that roam around, they giggle continuously and they take care of all of the flowers here at Omega.

One of the fairies looks like Pocahontas with butt-length hair, she is always smiling with huge pearly white teeth, mocha colored skin, she is very giggly and kind, and she is the fairy that teaches the Munay yoga class. The other fairy has bright red hair with milky white skin, she giggles all of the time as well, and always seems to be in her own world.

The fairies also spread their love in other creative manners around campus, there’s a manifestation jar with paper and pens, so that you can manifest whatever you want and then put it into their with feathers decorated jar that is inside of a wooden bird-cage. The fabulous beings have also placed a gratitude tree near the sanctuary, you can write down what you’re grateful for on an ornament which you can then hang in the tree. Yesterday, in honor of the new moon, they placed a moon with little notes hanging from them, you could grab the one thing that you need, varying from radiance to genius to brilliance.

Munay yoga, is a calm, but effective yoga class, which is very much focussed on feeling beautiful. During the yoga class we get to grab an animal card which has an explanation. I picked a ladybug, which represents abundance and this is, according to the card, flowing my way. At the end of the class she placed a note which we saw upon opening our eyes after meditation:
You are beautiful just as you are, the only thing you need to change about yourself are the thoughts that you aren’t good enough.
With a beautiful flower placed along side of the note.

a day at omega

It might be difficult for people to imagine what it’s like to live in a community such as Omega where you live (in a tent) and work (without pay) with all of these people. Why would you do it? Because you learn a lot! There are so many staff classes, there’s never a dull moment. It’s the perfect place for people in transition, who don’t know what the next steps in their life might be. People are generally here to grow, learn, to live in a nurturing environment with like-minded people and to be of service to all of the participants that are here each year.

And boy! There are many classes for staff indeed, there are multiple yoga classes a day, qi gong, tai chi, dance movement, meditation, kirtan, sadhana, centering classes, women’s sharing circle, drum groups, improv theater, conscious communication, body awareness, soul soil, and so much more!

Just to give you an example, today I started my day off with an hour off meditation in the sanctuary, then breakfast, then Kundalini yoga on the hill with the amazing teacher Oliver from Germany, then lunch (pad thai!), then mindful movement, then Munay yoga with the wood nymph, then Ishta yoga, then dinner and then in the evening there’s a Tonglen meditation.

Of course there are days when I work 8 hours and am only able to take a class or two, but even then I’m grateful for being here, for being of service and I am cherishing every minute of Omega life. And don’t get me wrong, there are days when it’s difficult living in community, and work is difficult, etc. but that’s just life in general. Without the downs there wouldn’t be any ups.

Please read this beautiful poem that was read to me today:
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oh and I saw a little bit of this today:
groundhoggy

poppies

peonies

groundhog

first impressions of omega

I have arrived, and it’s wonderful!

So far I have been doing lots of yoga, getting to know my fellow seasonal staff-ers, enjoyed a shamanic music experience, meditated, got settled in, learned about the mission and values of Omega, and of course had my first day of work.

The people here are lovely, there are many seasonal staff-ers, I believe there’s about 60 of us, and the people I have met are great and all seem to have an amazing story of why they are here, how they got here or goals in the future.

On arrival day the weather was beautiful and sunny, it was the perfect day to explore and acclimate to the surroundings. We are in the middle of beautiful nature, there is a large lake. Spring has just popped out here, the leaves on the trees are nearly filling the space, lots of the trees are in bloom and many plants are as well. Just walking around this place creates a calmness inside.

It will rain a lot here in the Hudson Valley, actually while I write this it’s raining out.

My work at Omega is supporting the faculty; hundreds of teachers come to Omega every year and the team that I work for supports the teachers in their every needs. Today was my first day of work and there is a lot of detail that goes into this particular position, it’s so much fun! I walk around with a walkie-talkie and I drive around on a golf-cart. Bliss.

The food is amazing, it is all farm to table, which means extremely fresh and healthy local produce! It’s great not having to cook, but having a delicious buffet meal three times a day. There’s kale, collards, brussels sprouts at every meal, there’s hummus, beans, there was kitchari, porridge, beets, there’s always a salad bar. The list goes on!

It’s interesting to see the balance between living in community, and Omega being a business. It’s very down to earth and serious as one would expect, but then there’s the community aspect to it which is a more laid-back and new-age lifestyle. In my opinion the best of both worlds. I think my background and experience is why I was placed in the department that I was placed in since I can understand the business aspect to it very much.

Last week I had taken my first Jivamukti class at Union Square in NYC, and this week I got to meet the co-founders! We got to ask them any questions we wanted to and it was so inspirational to hear them speak to us.

More later, including photos, it has been a little overwhelming so far so I haven’t popped out my camera much.

revolución!

Our planet is, sadly, crowded and dirty. We haven’t been taking care of the planet – on the contrary – for generations. I have faith in our generation; I have come across, and keep running into so many people from all corners of the world who have a similar vision of how to treat our planet going forward. We share a vision of what we should be doing to help the planet, basically by doing anything but make it worse. I have faith in all of these people, and I hope that things might change.

I myself have made quite the shift from working in fashion and publishing to a health and environment conscious lifestyle. Now I am a certified yoga teacher, I have recently enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I will learn about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I’m about to work for seven weeks at the Omega Institute where I will deepen my yoga practice, take various courses, and learn about sustainable living at their sustainable living center, in return for all of this I will work for them. In the eyes of some people, a crazy hippie lifestyle, but to me, this is a logical way to live my life: knowing that what I do is contributing to the betterment of our planet and humanity.

My vision is not unlike many young people I have spoken to: living a more ‘off grid’ lifestyle, living self-sustained, utilizing technology (instead of technology using you) for the betterment of our planet and educating others on these subject manners. It is these people that make me have faith in the fact that our planet will be headed towards a greener future.

In the long run I would love to open a retreat-center, where visitors can come to learn about sustainable living, nature and foraging, creating your own beauty products, organic farming, simplifying life, cooking with fresh produce, growing and eating herbs for health, and to do yoga and meditate. Basically lessons on how to live a healthy lifestyle for yourself and the planet, with hopes that visitors will go back home with improved lives and teach others as well.

I have much to learn about all of these subjects, and am eager to do so. I can feel the energy of our planet shifting from a humanity that is ignoring the facts, to a conscious humanity focussed on love.

Let’s join this revolution! It’s time to free mother nature from our wrong-doings, let’s treat her as she should be treated: with love and compassion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you all to live an off-grid lifestyle, and I really don’t mean to preach, this is more a of an appraisal for our generation. You don’t have to go out and become a hippie or a yogi to help save our planet, just try and live a little more consciously. We can make conscious decisions when buying products, use less chemicals, and smile, bring positivity into our lives because positivity is contagious.

Revolución!

omega adventure

Next week I will be departing on a seven week Omega adventure! I will work and live at the institute, and during my time there I will get to study and enjoy the beautiful nature during my free time.

The Omega Institute is an institute of holistic education, there are many different workshops given there varying from spirituality to sustainability, and much more. Many people from all around the country (and world?) go to Omega for a short period of learning and relaxing. There is much to do and see, and I am utterly in love with the concept.

I’m very excited to be joining the part-time staff! There are approximately 200 people working at the Omega Institute as part-time staff and I very much look forward to meeting them. I will be working as faculty staff, which entails that I will be hostess for the many teachers that will stay the week/weekend, making sure they have all they need and everything goes according to plan.

My work-days will be from Thursday to Sunday, which means I will have the rest of the days off to learn, explore, deepen my yoga practice, meditate, learn about sustainability, eat organic and vegetarian food, go on hikes, socialize with fellow part-time students.

Of course, I will share with you things I encounter or learn along the way.

Want to check out the website? Omega Institute

Wish me luck!