Active Travel, Educational Adventures, Featured, Going Solo, Lodging

Canyon Ranch Lessons: Spirit


After spending the majority of my college years attending various spiritual camps, festivals, and retreats–many in the very same mountains that shelter Canyon Ranch–I took a bit of a hiatus from all things metaphysical.  And by ‘a bit of a hiatus’ I mean ‘almost ten years’.  Even after such a long absence, I didn’t honestly believe I’d learn anything new in the Spiritual Exploration workshop offered at Canyon Ranch–but I went because, well, I need a break from Pilates (and yoga and aerobics.  I mean really, at some point, a girl’s gotta sit down).

But of course I did learn something.

I learned that by doing things that foster joyfulness, one can have a spiritual experience.

I’m not really sure exactly how this works, but the lovely speaker with the calming voice and presence convinced me well enough that I did what she told me to do that day–I devoted a good half hour to doing something that brought me joy.  And while it is not difficult (at all) to spend time being joyful while at Canyon Ranch, it is a bit more challenging in the real world.  So I set about to create a list of things which bring me joy (incidentally, ‘creating lists’–also brings me joy…)

Things Which Bring Me Joy: The List

-Waking up in a new city or town with a whole day (or even just a few hours) to explore.

-Driving.  Driving anywhere.  But ideally somewhere either 1. new 1. far away or 3. rural.

-Taking photos.  Ideally of new places. (This is how I spent my half hour of prescribed joy while still at Canyon Ranch).

– Meeting new people or spending time with old friends.

– Walking down the streets of an unfamiliar city, alone, at night.

-Feeling the sun on my face, smelling unfamiliar air, or tasting a regional dish.

One of the photos from my joyful photo walk around property.

One of the photos from my joyful photo walk around property.

Which leads me to believe that I am very spiritual.  Because I do those things all the time–when I’m traveling.   I attend the Church of Travel, if you will.  (And believe me, I make significant contributions to the collection plate.)  And like any other spiritual practice, it isn’t always easy–for example, this is being written with my Macbook balanced on my knee from an uncomfortable seat at gate G10 in O’Hare (which happens to be under construction.  Oh the drilling, the constant drilling…), awaiting a flight that isn’t even boarding for over two hours.  Yet I continue to ‘practice’ travel because, well, it is what feeds my soul.

As you can see, I learned a great deal during my short visit to Canyon Ranch.  I hope to return again some day for even more lessons–and ideally a bit more weight-loss, too (after this trip to Chicago, I could use another week of back to back workouts.)

If you haven’t checked out posts one or two in my Canyon Ranch Mind, Body, and Spirit series, please click on those link to read about the other lessons I learned during my five days at Canyon Ranch, Lenox.

Disclosure: I was hosted for part of my stay at Canyon Ranch, and offered a discounted media rate for the remainder of my visit.  However, all thoughts, opinions, and experiences are–as always–my own.  For more about my approach to hosted and media rate travel, please see my Disclosure Statement page.  Thank you.

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