Thursday, June 5, 2014


Back in March, I was contacted by a very famous spa, the Miraval Resort.
It turns out that an incredibly lovely friend of mine had nominated me for a new program that Miraval had created, called Miraval Gives Back. You can read all about it here on their website.

And they'd selected ME as their very first recipient.
(Winner doesn't seem quite right. So "recipient" will have to do.)

The program is particularly directed at someone who is undergoing a "life challenge" and could use some personal time to "find balance and make positive, lasting life changes."

It was quite a lovely shock, and we scheduled my visit to the resort for the end of May.

I've never been to Arizona and I've never been to a spa. So this was a whole new world for me.

And I was not disappointed. What a place. What a world.

The stark beauty of the Arizona landscape was remarkable to me. I've never been in a place that felt or looked like that, and I marveled at the wildlife, the cactus plants, the beauty of the rocks and mountains. (Oh....and the heat. Oy.)

Painting is so much more fun when someone else cleans up.
I did yoga and I did tai chi (in a 98 degree pool!). I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner and a lot of fresh juices...and as many desserts as possible. I had a hot stone massage and a water massage and a facial and a body scrub. I swung from a 35 foot high swing. I piled rocks. I drank tea. I listened to the sounds of the Himalayan singing bowls. I meditated. I breathed. I walked and hiked. I painted and talked. I read and lounged and smiled and cried.
ME! Swinging!

Yoga with a view is quite incredible
It was healing and beautiful. And it reminded me how much I love my family and being with them, which is a nice way of saying that I missed them a lot. It was a place in which Sam had never been, and yet it was so full of him. It was exactly the kind of place that he would have loved. Bugs galore, lots of rocks to collect (once he collected so many rocks at the beach that I could barely push the stroller back to the car - he had loaded them into the basket and I didn't realize it!), and there was even a marked turtle crossing, although I waited there for quite some time and didn't see hide nor hair nor shell of a turtle.
Is this for real? I never saw a turtle. 
All the feathers that I saw, including the dream catcher one (top right) that greeted me when I sat down to check in.
One of the hardest things for me to consider is all the experiences that Sam will never have with us. We can never again share new adventures with him. He is frozen, forever, with the experiences he had. So it has made me a little fearful of the new, the next, the upcoming. How can we have a new first day of summer without him? How will we begin school again in the fall without him? How will we celebrate milestones and major life events without him? But the newness of this Miraval experience helped me to see that, hey, I can do new things. And I can take Sammy with me into the newness. Wherever I go, he's just a fact. New and old, he's there with me. And I am so grateful for this learning.

To my family (especially Michael!!) and work, who allowed me the time and space to travel and experience this...thank you.
To the Miraval team that welcomed me and cared for me, thank you. I am so moved and appreciated by this monumental gift that you gave to me.
To my friend Julie, who nominated me in the first place, I am beyond words at the incredible way that you lifted me up. Thank you. 
Cactus Selfies - I actually tested out the prickles on most of them too. Ouch!


  1. Sounds wonderful.
    May G-d give you strength, health and humor.

  2. Beautiful. (And I love the cactus selfies!)

  3. You deserved this. i'm so happy for you. Sammy going with you everywhere you go from now into the future is a beautiful image. Bless you.

  4. Sammy "frozen," but still warming our hearts, a world of sharing, thank you for taking us along, too.

  5. I am happy you were able to get away a little bit. you swinging, looks amazing!
    wishing you and your dear family many brachos. ( blessings.)

  6. What a beautiful post. I'm glad that you received this gift -- and that you were able to feel how Sam was there with you.

    I can tell you that even though I never met him in person, he is in my heart everywhere I go.

    Shabbat shalom to you and yours.

  7. What an enlightening post. Wonderful that you had some time for reflection without the hectic day-to-day problems. Testing the prickles on the cactus sounds like a Sammy thing for sure.