I remembered how to exhale at Omega Institute, and my glimpses of peace, connection and hope became gazes. But I’d grown so accustomed to darkness, I had no recollection of what to actually do with so much light. Serenity, a state which had once been my natural one, actually felt uncomfortable.
So I did what anyone whose habituated neurological and emotional patterns have attuned to drama and trauma would do. I went looking for my next hit of adrenaline.
For the first time since arriving at Omega, I checked my email’s spam folder, where messages from my ex awaited my relapse. This was not a conscious choice. Despite a long career supporting people with addictions, I was in very strong denial that I’d developed my own. The signs were blatant, but who gets addicted to abuse?
His most recent email informed me we’d received an appointment date for something I’d agreed to help him with, back when I was doing crazy things like getting married during Mercury retrograde.
Despite everything I’d gone through, I still cared deeply about this man. Part of me wanted to go back to Florida the following month, for the appointment that could help him create a better life for himself and his son, who I cherished beyond words.
But to honor that commitment, I’d have to break the one I’d made to myself, to continue showing up for my healing. I was feeling stronger, but not yet strong enough to see him – at least not without falling into the same patterns I was at Omega to recover from.
My very survival seemed to depend upon saying yes to myself, and no to the appointment, since I didn’t know that I’d survive another round of our dynamics. The trauma had already taken quite a toll on my endocrine and nervous systems, as well as my life.
To someone who hasn’t experienced the cycles of abuse with someone they love, or who doesn’t have decades of people-pleasing and codependency coded into their systems, the answer might seem quite obvious, the choice an easy one to make. But I hadn’t even said no yet, and already I felt the suffocating guilt that would accompany his response.
“Why does this have to happen now?” my inner victim lamented. It felt like the worst timing ever.
For the first time since I’d arrived at Omega and remembered how to sleep, I tossed and turned my way through the night. I gave up trying at 4 a.m, and set off across the pitch-black campus, for Amrit Vela sadhana – pre-sunrise yoga and meditation. The beautiful class helped me get out of my head and into my body, trading the crushing pressure of the future for the soothing caress of the present.
After sadhana, I went to the dining hall, happy to be one of the earliest birds. As I was enjoying Omega’s soul-nourishing breakfast and the beautiful autumn sunshine on the deck, a woman from another workshop asked if she could join me. After discussing how much we loved our workshops and Omega, we somehow established that we shared a spiritual center across the country.
“You must be so excited to see Reverend Michael!” she said, referring to Michael Bernard Beckwith, my spiritual teacher who I hadn’t seen in person in a couple of years.
“I don’t know when I’ll get back to LA,” I replied, thinking she must have assumed I lived in California. “But yes, it will be so amazing to see him again when I do!”
“Aren’t you going to stick around for his workshop?” she asked with a puzzled look.
I’d been amazed by the timing of my Kundalini teacher, Guru Jagat’s trip to New York, and the path which had led to Omega (detailed in my last post). Now, on the very day her life-saving workshop was ending, my other teacher I’d prayed for was set to arrive!
I was no stranger to manifesting miracles; people who aren’t yet skilled in the art of conscious creation have a hard time believing some of my stories. But my vibration had been so low for so many months, I’d forgotten what it felt like to allow life to line up in such a glorious way.
I’d also forgotten one of Reverend Michael’s most important teachings: life is always unfolding for good, despite appearances. Sometimes the blessings come in very cleverly disguised packages, which we want to slap “return to sender” labels on as quickly as possible. But life is always happening for us, and our evolution.
I’d forget this profound Truth again and again, as we all do until we awaken more fully. I was in the eye of my personal storm; the darkest portion of my dark night of the soul awaited in my not-so-distant future. That is when I would experience the most challenging and painful awareness blackout of my life.
The teacher who could provide my inner flashlight to guide me through it, and help me find the answer to my more current appointment dilemma was on his way to Omega. But how was I going to see him without attending his workshop?
I’d only met Michael Beckwith a few times by that point – a quick hello after a service at Agape, or at a book signing after a workshop. We didn’t know one another, at least not on the physical plane of existence. It wasn’t like I could just pop in and ask him for advice, or at least so my mind insisted.
Thankfully, my time at Omega was helping me disentangle from my mind!
To be continued…
For part one of this Omega story:
I’ve made the earliest posts about my journey through abuse available again, and will add more of them soon. Click the link below to read where the experience that inspired my mission began. That post was written five summers ago, about 15 months before Guru Jagat led me to Omega for the start of my healing adventure!