Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Discoveries, Day by Day

Use these links to see a sample schedule & events calendar
Every day at the ranch brought new opportunities to take classes of all kinds: fitness, therapeutic, spiritual, intellectual, artistic - and they were spread throughout the 30+ acres among a variety of gyms, pools and lounges. 
Each space was perfectly adapted to its purpose, and fit well within the landscape of live oaks, palm trees, flowering shrubs, lawns, herbs and flowers. 
There were tile pathways, rock walls, patches of shade and sun, pools, gazebos with benches, swings and seats scattered purposely around the ranch.
This statue sits at the entrance to one of the gyms, where I took yoga and stretch classes. Everything at the ranch is designed with an eye for beauty, peace, mindfulness and comfort; there is interest and pleasure for the senses everywhere.
One of the first classes which Mom and I took was to learn to make a prayer arrow, reflecting our intention for the week. Here is a photo (courtesy of the Ranch blog and Kate Anas) of a prayer arrow:
write a goal for yourself or a prayer for someone you know, or it can even be a thank you put out into the universe.  Tim provides all the supplies to make the prayer arrow; a stick or branch, yarn, crystal, feathers, dried herbs and rice paper.  First we picked out two feathers for the end of the arrow.  Then we wrote our intention on the rice paper which we wrapped around the stick.  Then we wrapped the yarn around the entire stick so that you can’t see the rice paper and it also secures the feather to the stick.  When that’s done, you pick whatever dried herbs you want (I picked lavender and sage, each herb has different spiritual properties) and tie that to the stick along with the crystal.  The crystal actually creates energy to give life to your intention. - See more at: http://www.rancholapuerta.com/2012/08/30/creating-a-prayer-arrow/#sthash.e7WfIfCD.dpuf
The arrow is made according to a native custom, with specific materials, each with symbolic meaning (a stick, feathers, yarn, rice paper with your own prayer/intention written on it, fresh herbs, a quartz crystal). The act of making it is peaceful, and sets and carries your intention; it does not matter what you do with the arrow once you have made it. This class was taught by Tim Hinchliffe, the artist who creates the intricate "yarn paintings" which are displayed in many of the ranch buildings. This is one of my favorites:
Note the butterfly motifs - one of many signs from Katie
I spent the days in classes practicing yoga, stretch, tai chi; I experienced crystal bowl therapy and hypnosis, took classes on Mexican history, ranch history, wellness and Pilates. I hiked nearly every day(sometimes twice a day), led by experienced guides.

We spent an evening listening to the founder of the ranch, Deborah Szekely, who is in her 90s and full of lively, witty, good health - living proof of the wisdom of her vision, and her late husband, Edmond's, philosophy.
Modeled on the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral
I walked the labyrinth in meditation on many days, and the reflexology path once (barefoot). 
Ouch! Those stones on the reflexology path do deep work on bare feet; it is interesting to really feel the sensation of rocks underfoot, laid in different patterns, as you walk on them with your body's full weight.  

I explored the paths throughout the grounds in meditative silence in the afternoons, while mom rested. There was always something lovely to see, smell, feel and hear.

Rancho Tres Estrellas, the 6-acre
Rancho Tres Estrellas, the 6-acre organic farm


Karen said...

Such a lovely, lively, rejuvenating place. So glad you are sharing about this experience. Can you explain the labyrinth in more detail? I have always been curious about that. It is all fascinating.

Elizabeth said...

This post fills me with peace. Thank you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I actually feel more rested and peaceful just reading this….what a wonderful retreat for you and your Mom.