Omega in Action | Page 26 | Omega

Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Permaculture Homesteading: How To Live Off the Grid While Staying Connected

5 years 1 month ago

The confluence of peak oil, loss of biodiversity, and widespread pollution from carbon-based industries all point to the growing need for an alternative to our way of living. Using natural, scientifically based approaches, the worldwide permaculture movement addresses these issues to develop a healthy, vibrant, more sustainable model we can all use—right at home.

During this 5-day workshop, leading permaculture teacher Andrew Faust shows us how to live off the grid, while staying connected to our communities and the world. We learn to:

  • Turn our home, farm, or cabin into a self-sufficient, low-energy-use, off-the-grid dwelling
  • Use natural energy supplies like passive solar and gravity-fed water systems
  • Detox our home and clean indoor air with plants
  • Develop organic, biodynamic, and biointensive home and rooftop gardening techniques
  • Turn wastes into resources with gray-water sumps, composting for home and garden, and eco-outhouses


What's in a Name? The Meaning Behind "Omega"

5 years 1 month ago

Why call it Omega? Elizabeth Lesser shares the significance and meaning behind the name based on the works of the Teilhard de Chardin.

People often ask us about the significance of Omega’s name. Our name was chosen from the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, a visionary Jesuit priest, scientist, and philosopher. Born in France in 1881, he served as a stretcher-bearer for four years on the frontlines of World War I, studied and taught paleontology and biology, and received his doctorate from the Sorbonne. His interest in evolutionary science troubled his Jesuit superiors who banished him to China for 22 years. During those years he became an expert on Asian paleontology and was among the discoverers of the Peking man. Forbidden by the church to publish, his posthumously published books marry science and religion, technology and ecology, and psychology and spirituality. Teilhard’s interest in the unity of all thought, faiths, and cultures inspired us in the early days of conceiving Omega Institute.

Teilhard believed that humans and the Earth itself are moving toward a state of planetary unity ruled by the power of love—what he called “the Omega point.” “The day will come, he wrote, “when after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Late in life, Teilhard de Chardin was sent by his superiors to live in New York. He died suddenly, on Easter day in 1955, and was buried on the grounds of a forgotten Jesuit monastery on the banks of the Hudson River, far from his native Paris. When we found the property that is now Omega’s Rhinebeck campus, we had no idea that we would discover, just miles down the road, the gravesite of the man from whose writings we had taken our name. It is one of those wonderful synchronicities that Teilhard de Chardin would have found meaningful.

Earth Day Celebration with Oakwood Friends School

5 years 2 months ago

In honor of Earth Day, students from Oakwood Friends School helped out in the garden and took a tour of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, one of the greenest buildings in America.

Carla Goldstein Speaks at Women, Power, and Peace: Leadership in a New World

5 years 2 months ago

Omega Institute's chief external affairs officer and director of the Omega Women's Leadership Center, Carla Goldstein took part in a panel presentation for Women, Power, and Peace: Leadership in a New World at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

“Leadership should not be an imitation art. Women have the opportunity to lead humanity in a new direction. It’s time to say that power should be used to build a world that works for everybody…As Omega cofounder Elizabeth Lesser says, ‘We need to take love out of the closet and bring it along for the power ride.’” --Carla Goldstein

Reciprocity Foundation's Retreat at Omega

5 years 2 months ago

Nonprofits are increasingly unable to find adequate resources to respond to the growing needs of society’s most vulnerable populations. Omega is committed to serving those who serve others through our annual Service Week grant program.

Each spring, we award grants to nonprofit organizations—small and large, local and global—to come to our campus for working retreats that support and strengthen each organization’s ability to serve the community.

In 2011, the Reciprocity Foundation was one of the grant recipients. An organization dedicated to helping youth overcome homelessness, isolation, trauma, and hopelessness, Reciprocity brought 5 young men and women to Omega for a 3-day retreat in order to shift their belief in what was possible. This moving video was their way of saying thanks.

Omega Service Week grants are by invitation only and include accommodations, meals, a private meeting space, use of our facilities, and one hour of free managerial consultation with our Service Week partner, the New York Council of Nonprofits. In 2012, more than 20 nonprofit organizations with a focus on either working with young women and girls, or providing safety-net services in the Hudson Valley are expected to participate in Service Week.

For more information about Service Week, contact Marta Szabo at

To support Omega Service Week and help those who help others, contact

Omega to Celebrate Achievements of Women in International Women's Day Global Celebration

5 years 3 months ago

 “Join Me On The Bridge” Events Planned at Brooklyn Bridge & Walkway Over the Hudson

 RHINEBECK, NY– Held annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political, and social achievements of women around the world. Omega Institute today announced that it will join two of Women for Women International’s 3rd annual, Join Me On the Bridge events. Carla Goldstein, director of the Omega Women's Leadership Center, will be speaking at the Brooklyn Bridge event, which is sponsored by What BETTER Looks Like. Omega staff will participate in a solidarity walk across the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie,New York, which is sponsored by the Women's Leadership Alliance of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“For more than three decades Omega has been providing interdisciplinary opportunities for women’s growth and development in all aspects and at all stages of life. Over the past 35 years, Omega has seen more than 600,000 women come through its doors. We are proud to show our support for women by joining in these events,” said Goldstein. “Today is both a celebration and a call for action. Women around the world, fromRwanda toNew York City, will stand together and speak out for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world for everybody.”

The first International Women's Day took place in 1911, more than 100 years ago. The theme for 2012 is connecting girls, inspiring futures. In 2012 the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, best known for its annual Women and Power conferences, will offer two programs aimed specifically at helping women and girls advance. This year’s Leaders In Service for Women and Girls will support nonprofit organizations serving women and girls’ needs and interests. Omega’s Young Women and Girls Collaborative will support the development of future leaders by cultivating the strength of young women and girls through its leadership training program.

To register for one of Women for Women International's Join Me On the Bridge events, visit To register for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's event at Walkway Over the Hudson, visit

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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OWLC Global Scholars Spotlight: Mel O'Gorman

5 years 4 months ago

The Omega Women’s Leadership global scholarship program connects us to global women leaders who are actively engaged in creating a more just world. One of our recent scholars, Mel O'Gorman, is the founder of Shingiririai Trust, a grassroots community organization in Zimbabwe that delivers psychosocial support for orphans and vulnerable children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Mel reports that recently more than 175 children graduated from the Shingirirai Early Childhood program and that "the appreciation from the community is translating into more financial support, and that the program is now on its way to becoming self-sufficient." Mel hopes to return to Omega one day. We are honored and grateful for the opportunity to offer our support to such an amazing woman and, through her and Shingiririai Trust, to the families and communities in Zimbabwe.

Learn more about our Global Change Scholars program.


Parade or No Parade, Returning Veterans Face Uphill Battle

5 years 4 months ago

Omega Honors Veterans With Four Unique Programs to Address Complexities of Mental Health and Reintegration—Scholarships Available 

RHINEBECK, NY – As reported by the New York Times, in response to last week’s parade honoring the New York Giants, a growing coalition of veterans, elected officials, and other public figures are calling for a parade to honor veterans returning from Iraq. Whether a parade takes place or not, advocates point to a difficult road ahead, as veterans are faced with complex issues as they attempt to reintegrate into society, and deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Omega Institute today announced it will offer four unique programs for veterans in 2012, and scholarships for veterans of any war.

“We see a critical need to support returning vets beyond what the current system is equipped to provide. The road to healing from the trauma of war is complex, and we are honored to offer veterans and their caregivers opportunities to aid in their recovery and reintegration,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega.

For more than 20 years, Omega has been engaged with veterans and family members dealing with issues of PTSD. This year Omega will convene some of the nation’s most forward thinking health experts and veterans’ advocates, to collaborate on best practices in healing modalities in an effort to help more veterans get treatment, more quickly. Additionally, in response to the rise in sexual assault, homelessness, and other issues servicewomen face, Omega will offer a new program specifically for female veterans and active duty servicewomen. Scholarships are available for Military & Veteran Women’s Healing Retreat and The Costs of War, Violence & Denial: A Retreat for Veterans Living with PTSD.

2012 Programs:

The Costs of War, Violence & Denial: A Retreat for Veterans Living with PTSD

April 18–22. Open to veterans, their families, and friends. Scholarships are available.

The attempts of traditional counseling and therapy, although valuable, often leave spiritual wounds unaddressed. This veterans retreat teaches many different forms of meditation as a path to healing. Author and Zen Buddhist monk, Claude AnShin Thomas, shares his inspiring story from Vietnam combat to Buddhist practice as a road map for others trapped in cyclical patterns of response from any type of traumatic experience. This retreat is open to people of any religious or spiritual tradition. For scholarship information, please visit, or call 845.266.4444, ext. 180.

Veterans, Trauma & Treatment: Best Mind-Body Practices: A Professional Veterans Conference Addressing Resiliency to Recovery

October 12–14. Open to health-care professionals, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, and counselors working with veterans suffering with PTSD and their families.

This conference brings together an unprecedented gathering of experts in trauma and the treatment of trauma for veterans using complementary and alternative medicine. The conference will also touch on resilience studies, and some remarkable trauma prevention work being undertaken with combat and noncombat soldiers. Join Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and other extraordinary keynote speakers and workshop leaders who will discuss many complementary and alternative mind-body approaches. For a complete list of presenters, visit

Teaching Yoga in Military Communities, Part 2: Advanced Teaching Skills for Addressing Combat-Related Issues

October 14–19. Professional training for yoga teachers. Participants need to complete Part 1 (teleseminar) before attending Part 2.

As the United States military adopts more evidence-based, mind-body approaches and seeks to hire competent instructors, specialized training focused on military culture and combat-related conditions will be a great benefit. This 5-day certification program for yoga teachers, provides a solid foundation in the art and science of teaching yoga in a military setting. Seasoned teachers, with medical, mental health, and military backgrounds, who have significant experience teaching yoga to servicemen and servicewomen, will train teachers in the effective use of yoga for post-deployment physical and psychological conditions.

Military & Veteran Women’s Healing Retreat

October 14–19. This program, including room and board, is available at no cost to qualified female veterans or active duty women in the military.

With the alarming rise of sexual assault in the military, and many other unique challenges, the wounds of war often run deeper and longer for female veterans. Retired Maj. Nisha Money, former chief of United States Air Force Fitness, and a team of healing arts therapists, along with financial, employment, and life-skill reintegration experts, will guide attendees through a variety of holistic healing modalities and other helpful resources. For an application and complete list of teachers, visit

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.    

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