• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

August 27, 2008

My Moment of ZEN

woman doing yoga in the forest in the wild on the water

Photo Credit: webphotographeer/iStock

Special Offer

I'm coming with you!" Henry, my 6-year-old, had his bag packed. "NOOO! Uh, I mean, No, darling. Kids aren't allowed." This was an obvious lie — Henry had already seen photos of frolicking towheads on the Omega Center website — but the whole point of my weekend was to get away. Away from him, his twin brother, my husband, my life. At the best of times, I'm a tense person. But when I recently found myself engaged in Stroller Rage — actually kicking a double-wide that had the audacity to pause in front of me when I least expected it — I knew I was in trouble. So off I went to "Intro to Omega Living," a 101 weekend on balancing the body/mind/spirit.

Situated on a former Jewish-kids' camp in Rhinebeck, NY, the Omega Center is no Golden Door: The sandals are Birkenstock, the armpits unshaven, the heads balding with ponytails. But it's been gussied up just enough to attract comfort-craving city-dwellers like myself.

The 10-hour seminar was a taste of the essentials for a balanced, low-stress life — what instructors Cindy Dern and Nancy Plumer called the "five dimensions of health": social, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual (SPIES!). There was an intro to yoga and a lot of movement and relaxation exercises. Here I learned two valuable lessons: 1) I cannot "honor my mood" by dancing with a scarf; and 2) The only way I'll ever be truly "in the moment" is if that "moment" includes sex with James Gandolfini and a quaalude.

Plumer talked a great deal about reframing the problems in our lives. "Everything that is a 'have to' is stress," she said. "Stress happens when you don't have choice." She then suggested alleviating tension by changing all those "have to's" into "choose to's." So, "I have to visit my mother" becomes "I choose to visit her; it makes her happy and I love her."

Perhaps the most important takeaway was the realization that meditation isn't just for flakes. Sure, there's substantial scientific evidence showing its benefits (the Dalai Lama has lectured at MIT on how meditation can affect the brain), but somehow I never thought it applied to me. And I discovered why: Having to focus on any word or mantra sent me into a panic. I must have tried and rejected 30 words in a five-minute exercise. Shockingly better were breathing and visualization techniques that left me, dare I say it, calmer and more centered in just 10 minutes.

Of course, I also learned something that's apparently evident to everyone but me: You don't have to be hysterical all the time to be smart. I'm not sure when this idea sank in; maybe it was the third time a total stranger said to me, "You're like a character in a Woody Allen movie!" But if I'm not a nervous wreck, then who am I?

This much I know for sure: I've been back from Omega for two weeks, and I haven't kicked a single stroller.

For more info, go to eomega.org.

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health News and Fitness Trends
The "Angelina Effect" Doubled the Number of Breast-Cancer Gene Tests

A new study finds her BRCA-1 gene mutation inspired others to get tested.

Primary Protection: The History of the Pill

This little gal has gone through quite the journey.

The Rebel Diet

Born to eat wild? Have an on-again, off-again relationship with healthy eating? You'll love the latest weight-loss news.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.