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Omega Institute Campus

Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY 

A highlight of summer was attending a poetry workshop at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. This beautiful 200-acre spiritual and educational center in the Hudson Valley has long been on my yearning list.

I wanted some formal training in poetry writing and found Richard Blanco’s weekend workshop–The Poetry of Expression & Connection: What A Poem Can Do for the World. President Barack Obama selected him in 2012 to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. He’s published several books which I devoured before the workshop. Richard’s website describes his writings as “possessing a story-rich quality that illuminate the human spirit.” They do that and more and that is why I keep one of his books in my reading basket at all times.

We met Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. Our class was small with twelve students, perfect for a workshop atmosphere. Richard’s approach in writing poetry is using the five senses and having pin point descriptions. Our first assignment was to jot down three things we might write a poem about. I selected London, Grandma’s Table, and Family Farm. Then we chose one and worked on a list of the five senses with five descriptions under each one. The springboard for the poem was set. Each class session we reported back on specific assignments relating to our poem in progress. What was invaluable was hearing the instructor’s remarks to the other students as well as our own.

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

In the evenings, I returned to my little cabin in the woods and worked on a poem about my relationship with grandma. One evening when I sat on the porch I heard a rustle and a deer appeared at the corner of the cabin. I am not sure who was more startled! When he saw me almost touch him, he ran off before I could snap a photo. Over a decade ago Sacha, my life coach recommended Omega to me, knowing my soul would be right at home in the simplicity and beauty of this space. It indeed was.

Choosing this poetry instructor, this class topic, and this retreat location was not happenstance. Thank you grand universe for orchestrating this life-altering experience. I will write poetry the rest of my life.



You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

One of my favorite birthday cards is this amusing cat card from Aunt Betty. The crowned feline got me wondering about our pets’ birthdays. Please join me in welcoming my special guest Linda Sacha, the expert on birthday celebrations and the author of Queen for a Day.

Sacha, congratulations on Queen for a Day! First of all, what would you like readers to know about Queen for a Day?
Queen for a Day invites every woman to be clear that the day she was born is a day worth celebrating. Striving to be perfect mothers, bosses and mates, today’s women often find themselves overworked, underappreciated and daunted by sarcasm about aging. After I reclaimed my birthday, I was compelled to share the extreme joy of taking back this most important personal holiday and how it affected all of my life. When a woman fully embraces her day of birth she’s reconnecting with her heart. Queen for a Day is a handbook that guides readers, just as the subtitle conveys – Recapturing Your Happiness one Birthday at a Time.

I understand you have a dog. What can you tell us about Trixie?
Trixie is an intelligent, entertaining, compassionate human who resides in the body of a white, 12-pound Chihuahua! It’s our first dog in 31 years of marriage and we wonder how we didn’t have this experience of unconditional love, trust and fun in our lives sooner.

What do you think about people celebrating a pet’s birthday?
Celebration is about being alive and in recognition of the magnificence of life and love. So when we have loved ones in our lives that are pets – how perfect to celebrate them if it brings you personal joy as well.

If you don’t know your pet’s birth date, what date do you recommend using?

The day they arrived in your life, you gave them their name, or they wiggled into your heart. My vote is just pick one and make it official. My husband says, “Every day is Trixie’s birthday!”

How can we make our pet the Top Cat or Top Dog for the day?
Choose to do special things that make YOU happy too and tie in with your loves of life. My friend Monica is a great baker, so she makes homemade treats for her dog using different fun cookie cutters that she collects throughout the year. My brother-in-law is a wonderful chef and makes his pets a special warm breakfast concoction of their favorite ingredients. Trixie’s love of life is riding in my husband’s truck so they celebrate with extra rides. I’m not sure who’s happier Trixie or my husband.

What is the most creative pet party you have heard about?
About 2 years ago we were visiting Florida towns to determine where we wanted to live. We were having lunch in Deland and met a man who told us, “Oh you’ll love it here– my wife and I just moved here and we knew it was our kind of town when we saw the annual pet parade on Main Street!” Well we’re here in Deland and they win the award for the most creative pet party – the costumes, floats and fun are a great celebration of fun.

Thanks Sacha for being with Catnip Connection today. You have given us great ideas on how to celebrate with our pets. I wish you continued success with Queen for a Day and may you long wear the crown!
Thanks for inviting me. This was lots of fun!

***Sacha has generously offered to give an autographed copy of her book to one lucky winner! If you would like to be automatically entered into the drawing, submit a comment on this post. One comment per person please. The deadline to enter the drawing is Sunday, April 4 at 11:59 pm EDT. For an additional chance to win, you can blog, tweet or share on Facebook about this book giveaway and leave a link in a Catnip Connection comment.***

Queen for A Day – Recapturing Your Happiness One Birthday at a Time is available from Gotham Books at all bookstores and on-line retailers. Visit Linda Sacha to learn more about Sacha and the joy of being Queen for your day.

Bountiful Blessings!

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