The week I disappeared.
In December, when I finally made the decision to go, I hurriedly signed up for a week away at Omega for this June. I hoped my quick decisiveness and go-getter attitude would land me a highly coveted private room on campus.
I emailed Omega no less than three time between December and February to double, and then triple check that they got my registration. Sometimes I get nutsy about things like this. I panic that things won't work out, or the computer eat my registration, or some other irrational worry when it comes to make a grand plan, especially one that involves travel.
When I did finally receive the email that confidently listed my lodging as a private room with private bath, I did a little happy dance in my chair and then set my eyes on my fun-getaway in June.
For many curious reasons, the lead up to this vacation, this time away, this retreat to one of my favorite places, has been tough. Clients have been coming out of the woodwork asking for same day, next day, and “put me on a cancellation list, please” level of appointments. Something is happening out there in the world and I don't know what it is, but I do not like what it's been doing to my clients. People are not being nice to each other and my client's stories have been demonstrating an increasingly growing bubble of tension. I have been feeling like this bubble is going to burst and I started to feel like my vacation to Omega was spirit-designed to get me away during the time the dam breaks.
It's not that I don't want to be there for people when they need it... it's that a dichotomy has always lived inside me....
I want to help. I love people. I love their stories. I love seeing the shift in them when they take on a new, more helpful perspective. I love when they surprise themselves with their capabilities.
And at the same time, I strive for alone time. I strive for time just with my own thoughts, just within my own head. I have, several times over the last few years, started to wonder who I would be if I only felt responsible to my own story. This is a balance I have been working very hard find- the pull to help others and the equal draw to retreat into myself.
Things are changing for me, I can feel it. This trip to Omega felt like a tipping point, a time that things would start to get clearer about this balance and perhaps, a new way of engaging as a healer in the world, would start to take form in my mind.
As I approached the end of my work week, I changed my voicemails, put up auto-replies, and secured a covering clinician for the clinical end of my business. I actually felt a slight relief taking shape, but still so much to do before I head to my retreat on Sunday.
“I will fully rest when I get to Omega,” I thought as I hurried around cleaning and prepping. As the end of Saturday came too quickly, it was time to pack. I switched the last load of laundry and swung by the printer to pick up my reservation confirmation that had been sitting in the printer tray for a couple days now.
I glanced down: "Private room reserved for 6/17-6/24."
I looked at my watch. 6/9.
“9... 10. June 10. Tomorrow is June 10,” I counted in my mind.
I looked at my paperwork: "Lisa Williams Advanced Mediumship Course 6/17- 6/24."
I looked at my watch. 6/9.
“9, 10. The 10th. Tomorrow is the 10th,” I rehearsed once again.
My mind tried for a second to make tomorrow, 6/10 into 6/17. I tried to somehow force those two digits- 0 and 7 to merge into one. I waited for a minute for the dawn to break and for the relief to come over me when I realized that I some how was reading it wrong and that all plans were still on and I was, in fact, leaving for my retreat tomorrow, not in another week.
I couldn't make it work. I could not turn June 10th into June 17th and I marched right upstairs with hot flushing panic and embarrassment rushing over me. I shoved the papers in front of Dave.
“Wrrooonnng DATES!!” is all I could say.
He calmly, and with great focus, turned to his computer.
Tippy type, tippy type...scroll...scroll.
He looks up, “Yes, June 17th.”
As I sit and let the waves of “WTF” and “how did this happen” run through me, I just stared at Dave.
He looks back and then covers his mouth with his hand, smiling.
“This is hilarious! This is the kind of funny that happens when someone does something completely unexpected and uncharacteristic of how you know them.” (Dave is taking an improv class. He knows what makes things funny, now.)
I nod, “This is not a Liz Varney thing to do.”
“No, this is NOT a Liz Varney thing to do,” he agrees emphatically.
A "Liz Varney thing" is to check the dates three or four times by now. A "Liz Varney thing" to do is to be anal about schedules and times and reservations, with an irrational concern that something has gone amiss. But Liz Varney did none of those things this time, and she has now taken the completely wrong week off from work.
As the news started to settled in, we confirmed that there really would be no major devastation to make taking a unexpected two week vacation.
And then I realized....there was no where I was supposed to be!
Having been a social worker for almost two decades, I have not only lived my adult life with a clear structure and a clear plan to get all the things done I needed to, I also have always been expected to be somewhere, at some time, to help someone. Everything scheduled by the hour, on the hour.
I have no where to be this week.
I have no one expecting me.
I am not supposed to be at work.
I am not supposed to be at home...
And now, clearly, I am not supposed to be at Omega.
I hang in this strange and untethered space in the ethos with no where to be and no one expecting