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Getting My Self-Care On at The Crossings

30 Jun

infinitypool_banner

Note to self: Even the most beautiful, fluid, tranquil place in Texas can not protect you from the harsh rays of the sun if you forget to put on sunscreen.

A couple of weekends ago my friend and I decided to take a self-care day at The Crossings here in Austin, TX. For years I had been meaning to go there to take a class, relax, rejuvenate, meditate and sleep. Ironically I, well, never had the time. Even after my friends Renee and Carrie insisted it would do a world of good for me, I still couldn’t get it together. After a week of sleepless nights due in equal parts to a restless toddler and my own inability to unwind from the constant inner chatter, I couldn’t take it anymore. My life had become a whirlwind of reading, writing, cleaning, working, Mommying, wifing, organizing, planning and doing. Mostly it’s all just a blur of constant doing. I’m done.

I’ve been lucky to have always been surrounded by women who are all a bunch of smartypants overachiever types. And I’ve seen this group transform over the years from obsessively working to making time for the art of self-care. Yes, it’s an art because real self care (not just facials and truffles) is a series of choices planted in moments of clarity and true purpose. For me, maybe parenting finally pushed me to it, but mostly I think it’s a choice– an awakening that happens when fatigue, doubt and “being stuck” just won’t do anymore.

So I was grateful when I got the chance to take a day to get my relaxation on.  First, we meanderedspa_hallway200x200 along a trail dotted with beautiful small gardens bursting with native plants, seasonal herbs and wacky sculptures both whimsical and beautiful. We made our way to the pool area where a marvelous infinity pool would be our BFT (best friend today). Before we jumped in, we had an intense few minutes in the spa steamroom which made jumping into our BFT all the more satisfying. The spa building was a glistening mixture of eco-friendly materials, original artwork and maze-like hallways that added to the private and mysterious feel of the space. We were secluded.

I took a water aerobics class (well, it was a brave effort to get my circulation going) while my friend looked absolutely blissed out reading Vanity Fair and lounging by the pool. I quit the class (I liked it, but I wasn’t in the mood) and we sat in the hot tub talked about life, creativity (a little business) and relationships. It was nice to unwind at a pool without the threat of a two-year old hurling himself into the deep end screaming “Crash!!”

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In our spa robes and wet hair we went to the dining hall for an organic buffet and had an amazing, healthy lunch on the outside patio shaded by majestic oak trees and overlooking a stunning view of the Texas hill country. The veggie quesadillas, curried squash bisque, spinach salad, roasted potatoes, and other delights left both of us feeling very nourished and extremely happy.

sanctuary2After lunch we took a golf cart tour of the facilities. Honestly, it was way too hot to really enjoy being outside unless you were two feet from the pool or a cool shower. So the golf cart would have to do. Our guide Buddy was very friendly and knowledgable and he took us straight to the labyrinth and non-denominational chapel/meditation hall called Solidago Sanctuary. Though only a few years old, it was built with an eye toward the ancient, and it felt that way. I particularly loved the open garden embraced by stone high walls creating a spacious, yet cocoon-like outdoor retreat.

We then had a chance to peek at a room– unfortunately we couldn’t stay the night, but if you happen to attend a wellness retreat, a conference, a wedding or just want to get away, you’ll have simple and elegant accommodations most likely with that pristine, treetop view of the beautuful surrounding hills. The room we visited felt like a quiet treehouse escape. I happen to love that none of the rooms have televisions. “That’s part of the experience here,” Buddy confirmed. Nice.

He took us back to the pool and we spent a little more time there… probably a bit too much because we were both burnt red like free range lobsters saved by PETA. But before we left we checked out the charming spa store and book store filled with unique goodies including jewelry, audio books and every lotion and potion you’d ever need.

It was a good day, at first brought on by a need to aggressively relax but evolving into an active and pleasing foray for all of one’s neglected senses. The mind got a rest, and the senses went to town.

So, yes, I recommend The Crossings as your personal escape… just wait until the triple digits subside and you can enjoy the full range of outdoor offerings.

For this perfect mini-vacation:

Day passes for just $35 a day Monday through Thursday, $55 a day Friday through Sunday.

Your Crossings experience includes:

  • Access to the resort facilities including the infinity edge pool, steam room
  • Two miles of hiking trails
  • Daily activity classes
  • A healthy lunch
  • Breath taking patio views

Reservations required. For more details call 877.944.3003

Good Vibes: Happy Mother’s Day Already

9 May

This video celebrating mothers cracked me up so bad, it actually makes me look forward to it! Viva Mama!

Good Vibes: Free Online Inspiration

27 Apr

yogi

My colleague Pamela Theresa Loertscher Ph.D. showed me where I can read a free online copy of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda at Ananda.org. They have a nice section there where you can read a variety of inspirational books free of charge online. Check it out!

Good Vibes: I Love Oracle Cards

24 Apr

I’m relatively new to the world of oracle cards and what they are designed to bring to a personal development/meditation/self-awareness practice. The only cards I really ever had any experience with were tarot or regular playing cards when I would get a psyhic reading once a year.

2375_c1But after I read “Ask Your Guides” by Sonia Choquette I discovered the accompanying oracle cards and I was intrigued. The card meanings were gentle, clear and above all extremely relevant. I was incredibly impressed with the overwhelmingly pure insight that Choquette provided in the guidebook that came with the deck and thought “how can something that looks like a Valentine’s Day gift include such simple and sustaining advice?” This is amazing! Whether I am pulling one card or doing a simple spread, I always find crystal clear guidance from my spirit guides, particularly if my own mind chatter or physical exhaustion is preventing me from hearing these messages through meditation.

druid-deckI am also a big fan of animals and Celtic folklore, so I had to check out The Druid Animal Oracle Deck created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. Inspired by Native American medicine cards, this uniquely Celtic take on power animals has managed to build on the past while exploring the changing tradition on Druidry in ways that are compelling, rich and accessible. A combination of real and mythical animals (there are several dragons), the card deck is really inspired by an understanding of psychology and well as traditional lore. The illustrations by Bill Worthington are beautiful.

I also love Doreen Virtue’s decks which at first seemed a little too “out there” for me. But I was guided to get both the “Messages from Your Angels” and the “Ascended Masters” decks from my extremely gifted neighbor and from a medium, respectively. 3047_c1What I’ve experienced is that all of the decks synchronize so perfectly when I ask a specific question. I am able to go from deck to deck seamlessly and find information, guidance and insight which is inspired by great spiritual masters who have passed or highly beings or streams of thought– the angels– who can provide positive perspective which I sometimes have difficulty grasping through my personal ego lens at given moment. If anything, the cards have the ability to efficiently direct me back to my true still small voice inside that resides separate and apart from the ego that wishes to direct me through hesitation, fear and worry. The “Ascended Masters deck “includes gorgeous paintings of 44 male and female cross-cultural deities, such as Ganesha, Merlin, Saint-Germain, Apollo, Pallas Athena, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Jesus, Moses, Yogananda, Green Man, and Kuthumi. The enclosed guidebook gives expanded explanations of each card’s meaning, and a brief history of each ascended master. As with each of Doreen’s oracle-card decks, the messages for each card are positive, accurate, and life-affirming.”

maya-deckI also discovered an unconventional deck that leaves the world of angels, fairies and animals behind. The Maya Deck by Dr. Ronald L. Bonewitz features carved illustrations by Achim Frederic Kiel. Being from the Southwest U.S. and part Mexican-American myself, I was very interested in understanding how my Mexican heritage could be represented in something as esoteric as a card deck. Then, of course, Mexico is a culture that celebrates magic, mystery and beauty. Mayan daily culture was driven by spiritual beliefs. They lived in a state of constant divination, forever communicating and listening to guidance from gods and heavily influenced by the power of numbers. This deck reflects those influences and the accompanying 80-page booklet makes it easy to intrepret simple three card spreads.

Cards are tools only– they have no inherent power other than being the microphone for Source Energy to communicate simple human truths in order to keep you in the current of universal truths that can positively impact our experience on the physical plane. In my experience, there is no separation from “out there” or “in here.” It’s a beautiful thing to be plugged into universal intelligence and positive personal development tools like these are uplifting and energizing to the seeker.

Good Vibes: Move Your Boogie Body 1982

19 Apr

OK, so in 1982 I was in junior high and my biggest concern was whether or not I was ever going to meet Paul McCartney. I didn’t even have the slightest conception that I should be striving for a Boogie Body. But in this Jazzercise clip, the near 40 year-old me is thinking a) what is this lady on that she feels so good and b) I need to get me some.

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