The excitement at the Kabbalah centre was palpable - the words 'Are you going??' were included in every conversation weeks before the event and a positive response was met with elation. As for me, I was curious but cautious. I have bungee jumped and rock climbed and land yachted and sailed and skied and scuba dived. It takes a lot to get me excited.
In truth, the trip was an emotional roller-coaster. I could recant the whole event which would probably take a few days to read... but decided that the Highs and Lows would suffice.
High: Buying an extra half hour of (sleep) time by not ringing the bank to tell them I was travelling to the US the following day. Ah, it would be fine. Never had a problem before.
Low: Arriving in New York with no dollars, having two cards rejected by a cashpoint in JFK airport, then realising that I did not have my bank's phone number to hand.
High: Receiving a phone call from my credit card company under suspicion of being a thief who had both stolen my credit card AND my mobile phone (I just love the dead-pan security questions) and then having my credit card unblocked for use in the US.
High: Attending the Cancelling of the Vows connection - which destroys any negative energy I created by not keeping my promises. Yippee!
Low: Feeling really overwhelmed by the presence of 3000 people and not having a close friend to hand. Really feeling the absence of my sister who had planned to be there.
Low: Sitting through hour upon hour of connections and lectures on Friday night and not feeling like I was taking anything in, and hence would not gain anything from being there. Feeling totally preoccupied with where I was going to stay, having not properly sorted my accommodation.
Low: Dinner at 10:30pm (but my body clock said 3:30 am) which was preceded by the blessing and consumption of ten different types of food, which in turn was preceded by the Washing of the Hands and Hamotzi blessings. There were 2500 people and 8 Hamotzi/Washing stations. This is where I start to lose patience.
High: Being offered a room share by a really lovely, bubbly Aries.
High: Joining in with the song and dance at the end of the meal.
Low: Wondering whether the force of 2000 people jumping on the ballroom floor might have headline consequences. I have never felt a solid floor ripple like that before. I trusted that the Light would never allow the entire Berg family to be wiped out in one go.
Low: Going to bed at 1am feeling uncomfortably bloated and jet-lagged.
High: Waking up at 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 with the sneaking and subsequently confirmed suspicion that I had developed the ability to shit through the eye of a needle. No longer feeling uncomfortably bloated.
Low: All Day Saturday. The connections went on and on. I was reduced to nibbling bread and drinking water for fear of losing control of my bowels and this left me feeling a tad weak. The jet lag started to kick in and my thoughts were that I should never booked Rosh Hashanah. Every time the crowd broke in to spontaneous song, I wanted to scream. Did these people have no concept of time? Don't they know that lunch was meant to be an hour ago? Oh not another bloody song. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, sing a tuneless prayer, sit down, try to get your consciousness in the right place otherwise it won't bloody work. What on earth have I got myself dragged in to? It was an effort to think positive in any way, shape or form.
High: Chatting to several people at dinner and discovering that they had felt the same way too. Understanding that as the Day of Judgement goes, this is par for the course.
High: Waking up on Sunday morning feeling incredibly positive for no apparent reason whatsoever. Fully participating in the 5 hour long connection, standing up, sitting down, concentrating as best I could, not thinking about lunch for a second and standing on a chair for half an hour, clapping and singing throughout a spontaneous sing-song, wishing it would never end. The difference was incredible.
High: Singing 'Salaam' (my favourite, favourite song) with 3000 people at the end of the connection.
High: Bursting spontaneously in to 'Salaam' with ten other people in a bubble lift, all singing at the tops of our voices and in harmony.
'Salaam' means 'Peace' and goes something like this... very catchy.
The whole weekend was strange from start to finish. From the most hideous darkness to the most astonishing Light - neither of which I felt I could control.
As for whether the connection has made any difference to my life, let's just wait and see. All I know is that usually when I fly home from the US I have jet lag for days, and this time there is nothing. So if I'm starting as I mean to go on, that's a good sign...