Well, I’m back in the real world.
After splitting the last four months between the land of nature and the land of meditation, I’m back on the streets of New York City, doing my best to emotionally tie the summer months up with a pretty little bow.
But let’s be real, that’s not going to happen. And so, we press on.
As I look back on where I was before the summer started, wrapping up teaching seventh and eighth graders, I’m so grateful for the twisting, confusing, and unexpected journey that I went on from June to October. As always, as soon as I was able to get perspective on the situations I was in by stepping out of them, I was able to see the beauty and meaning in them.
When I left Yellowstone National Park two months ahead of schedule, I knew very little about what was ahead of me. All that I knew for certain was that leaving the troublesome situation I found myself in, where I could barely stand to wake up in the morning, was worth well worth it. Where I was heading wasn’t the most important thing, what I was getting away from was–a strange feeling, for certain.
The Omega Institute, the logical place for me to come in for a crash-landing after a cross-country drive, flight out of O’Hare, a week in NYC, and a stopover in the Adirondack Mountains, was an overwhelming blessing. While I was more than certainly being directed in by peaceful, welcoming ground control, my smoking engines and faulty steering had me thinking things would be more troubling than they were. And so, after a week or two of squirming, I started to see where I was–exactly where I needed to be.
This was a foreign yet intriguing feeling.
Nevertheless, I went with those feelings. Took ’em by the hand and charged forward. The work I found myself doing was almost identical to the work that had pushed me to the edge in Yellowstone. I was still working with food, I was still juggling the relationship between guests and employees, but this time was completely different. Completely. The surface may have looked the same, but the tone underneath was the opposite of what I had already live through.
As I got into the groove of the work, I decided not to look in the direction of confusion anymore. I was opting out of seeing the issues in the work and instead was focusing on the positives–and there were many. It was an honor to be a piece of the whole Omega community. It was fun to get to know the people in the kitchen and on the dining staff. When the guests and other employees would come in for their meals, they were polite and grateful, which was refreshing. They said things like “thank you”. One woman even came up to me and elaborated on how she appreciated how I “kept everything together”, and that wasn’t even in reference to anything in particular, just for shuffling food out onto the buffet line and wiping down the counter.
There was love at Omega behind the scenes and in front of them. I was ecstatic to be a part of it. It was so good that I moved from not caring about the fact that I was making zero dollars an hour to appreciating the fact that I was making zero dollars an hour. Once again, I was back into the groove of volunteering, where not getting paid felt more like it was because I was priceless rather than worthless.
I’d much rather make $0.00 an hour and feel needed and loved than $4.50 an hour and be treated like that’s my worth.
And so, my two months at Omega really turned my runaway summer around. I coasted into the station. I reorganized myself emotionally and mentally. I let the love back into my life. I just allowed it to come back in. It was never really gone, of course, but I was able to see that it had never left in the first place once I recalibrated.
So that’s that. The love is back. The summer has concluded. And now, I’m ready for the next big thing.