Vacations are by their very nature retreats from the hustle of your daily life. But what happens when you get back? Sometimes you have a tan. Or a hangover. And usually piles of laundry. Coming back from Miraval, steps outside of Tucson, is a little different. It has taken me months to verbalize how impactful this trip was on my being. It’s so much more than just a vacation. When you reenter life post-Miraval you have a new perspective and understanding of yourself. It’s a comforting return; everything is going to be all right. Oprah was onto something when she said it was a life-changing adventure.
I knew Miraval would be special from the moment I stepped foot on the property. You see it in the mountains and you feel it in your heart. While there, I met a group of gal pals in their 60s that have been coming to Miraval every winter for the past 15 years, heard from a woman who said a one-hour group session on grieving did more for her than years of therapy and spoke with a fellow solo-traveler who recounted how she was able to recover a memory that led her to understand why she suffered from chronic pain. I also went to dinner in my bathrobe after an Ayurvedic massage. There’s something to be said for indulging in that type of mental and physical freedom. Also, less laundry…amiright?!
While Miraval-ing, I immersed myself in experiences – which are plentiful and always changing with visits from world-renowned healers and experts – and gave myself space to be alone with my thoughts. I journaled the heck out of my stay there and re-reading those raw entries gave me chills. I’ll keep those just for me but the themes of mindfulness and reflection are for us. For you!
We should be meditating more. Here’s the thing: No one is bad at meditation. I kept saying that and finally wellness counselor Lisa Frank reminded me that there is no right or wrong way. You don’t have to clear your head or suddenly stop thinking about what’s on your mind but instead be forgiving to yourself. We’re human beings; we have thoughts! The floating mediation she led me through was possibly my favorite experience at Miraval. I breathed deeply. I cried. I learned. I listened. I try to take a moment every morning to meditate and just be, even if for only 5 minutes.
Do you. It’s not selfish to put yourself first. Yet, as women especially, we guilt ourselves if we do. The ‘i’ in Miraval represents you, the individual. Everyone at Miraval seemed to be seeking something – relaxation, bonding, recovery, confronting fears. And, for the latter, there’s a cable 35 feet off the ground waiting for you to walk across it and shut that shi*t down. Giving yourself what you need is the only way you can truly be there for other people.
Look around. The mountainous backdrop of Miraval is intensely breathtaking. And I think seeing the mountains helped me see more clearly back home. Rather than be on my phone walking (a hazard on tons of levels), I’ve been paying closer attention to the architectural details on buildings and charm of the city. I’ve got a nice library of photos building up as a result. But really, I could stare at these photos from Miraval all day, errday.
Be curious. We should always show up with an interested mindset and openness to learn — in all interactions and roles. There are so many opportunities to do this at Miraval. I took an Intro to Ayurveda class, based on one of the oldest ancient Indian healing rituals that believes human beings are composed of three main mind body principles, a.k.a “doshas” derived from the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth). Accordingly, our unique Ayurvedic constitution helps us understand why we have certain tendencies. I found it spot on and it’s something that I think can help me find balance. Miraval is even considering adding a quick Ayurveda quiz to the website so guests can customize treatments to their ayurvedic makeup.
I also spent as much time as I could possibly in my three-day stay at the Life in Balance Spa. Every treatment was spectacular as was simply sitting in a fluffy robe with a mug of tea gazing across the property into the mountainous terrain. Surely, this is the setting where stress goes to die and clarity emerges.
Miraval is self-love in the highest form and I can’t wait to return!