Imagine a day where the most taxing decision you have to make is whether to take a class in tai chi or yoga. That’s what I found myself pondering one recent morning when my friend Linda and I went to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., an upstate New York town recently made famous by the nuptials of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.
In the end, I opted for tai chi and saved the yoga for later that afternoon.
Everyone comes to Omega for different reasons. The center offers more than 350 workshops on everything from mindfulness-based eating and relationship building to Indian cooking and tarot card reading. Some people come to heal from a painful divorce. Others come to recover from illness. Still others come to bond with families, spouses and daughters.
Me? I came to Omega to escape the pressures of daily living that we all face. Demanding deadlines. Bickering children. Never-ending bills. A weekend of R&R seemed like the perfect prescription.
With no televisions, phones or Internet access, it was easy to unplug from the chaos of our daily routines. Without technology, it was easier to enjoy what was around us at that moment.
But it was hardly a weekend for doing nothing. Linda and I started the weekend by kayaking around Omega’s small private lake. We enjoyed meals made of locally grown, organic foods. We admired the flower and vegetable gardens, napped on the beach, and took classes in psychic energy and stress reduction. We perused the small shop that sold everything from jewelry to yoga attire, and sampled lavender ice cream in the café that always smelled of freshly brewed coffee and baked goods.
My most amazing feat of the weekend however, was the half hour I spent in the meditation sanctuary, where I did nothing but contemplate my breath. Meditation is harder than anything I’ve ever tried. But it was much easier to meditate in that hilltop sanctuary than it ever is at home, away from dusty bookshelves and the responsibilities of life.
No, I’m not a shill for the Omega Institute, just a happy customer who thinks everyone should take the time to find some peace, if only for a weekend. The key is giving relaxation a place on our to-do list. Preferably near the top.