Learning Life Lessons at Miraval Arizona

While I’ve been hearing great things about Miraval Arizona (Tucson, AZ) for years now, one thing that has always piqued my interest has been the Equine Experience. The session involves working with horses to discover behavioral patterns and help participants live in the moment. Well, I love horses, and I also realize I don’t live in the moment nearly as much as I should. So, during a recent visit to this divine destination spa, I made sure to sign up. The first thing we did was groom the horses and walk them around the pasture. Many people get held up when it’s time to clean the hooves—it takes single-minded focus to get the animals to lift their heavy legs—so I was a little nervous when I approached my trusty steed, Elvis. But I tackled my task with focus and determination (and, quite frankly, several years experience working with horses when I was a little girl), and he happily obliged. Needless to say, I got a little cocky when it was time to enter a practice ring and direct a horse in a circle by only using my body language. Turns out, I wasn’t nearly as adept at this exercise. I was able to get the Elvis to move, but I would look ahead to where I wanted him to go, and he would immediately stop, turn around, and stare at me. We did this little dance for about 10 minutes—all with the same results. Then it was time to sit down with my equine expert, Caroline, and talk about what happened. She explained that horses live in the moment and that by thinking several steps ahead, I lost my immediate focus—and Elvis’s attention. She then asked me to relate this to my life, and I have to admit, I often think three, four, five, and 10 steps ahead of where I am. At the office, this pays off—we work on the magazine three months in advance, and I’m always pondering the next issue, the next cover, the next feature. But in life, I definitely need to stop and smell the roses and appreciate my friends, family, loved ones, and experiences. It was a wonderful lesson, and now, even a few weeks out from my trip, I try to be more mindful and more appreciative of the life I am living, right now. This was just one of the many wonderful memories I made at Miraval. Tune in to the November issue of American Spa to learn about the exciting new Andrew Weil, M.D. Integrative Wellness Program, and keep your eyes on one of our fall 2011 issues, where we will be covering the brand-new spa that is about to break ground. And if you get the chance, get yourself out to Miraval—it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

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