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Finding truth in Arizona

Nov 16, 2017

Finding truth in Arizona


“When you are authentic with your intention, you will grab the horse’s attention,” advised Wyatt, the founder of Equine Therapy, a “fear reduction and values clarification” course that involved exposing your fears to a set of strangers. The program, titled, “It’s Not About the Horse’, is a self-reflection course with a pony named Cracker, a therapy animal said to only connect with those who approached him with vulnerability and intention.


When you are authentic with your intention, you will grab the horse’s attention.

On my turn, I approached Cracker with confidence and intention, a feeling that was short lived when I found my touch to be ignored. Despite my child-like adoration for animals and a life long quest for truth, something in my nature had failed to convince Cracker of my character. Wyatt, assessing the situation, peered through his gallon hat and called me over.“Share two things about yourself that you’ve never shared with anyone”. The question solicited an involuntary burst of tears, which frankly, due to the pressure of an unfamiliar audience, could have equally been prompted by “What would you like to eat today?” In the blur of my response, Wyatt indicates, “Now you’re ready to see the horse”.

I have just spent the last few days at Miraval Resort, a 400 acre wellness ranch sitting on the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The resort is a new age hot bed for those seeking spiritual clarity or simply a break from the pressure and connectivity of daily life. Upon arrival, there is no cell service to be found, no laptops to be seen, and no flustered parents or children in sight. Here was a place where spending the day in yoga pants was encouraged, where words like “crystal healing” and “ayurveda”, which once triggered skepticism quickly became rituals integrated into my practice. Miraval is a place where the resounding advice to “let go” was both physical and mental.

I spent my days detoxing from the impurities of social life. I spent one morning receiving a Rasayana with an Ayurvedic practitioner, an eccentric man who taught me about the three different doshas, a system that categorized energies believed to govern the body. He customized a treatment applying ghee butter, dosha oil, and some herbs that he packed away as my souvenir, its name and purpose slipping through my mind as my heavily oiled and buttered body was wrapped in an infrared blanket. It triggered the deepest relaxation my muscles have ever felt, an experience that can only be described as a deep massaged burrito.

I met with a Shaman named Lolita, a spiritual practitioner of Native-American descent who called on my ancestors to guide a reading. She hovered over areas of my body which stored memory-related anxieties. Laying on the massage bed, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of cynicism. The entire process defied logic and reasoning, but still I tried to keep an open mind. Offering little interaction and history to go off of, Lolita was able to read me like a journal entry. Through her touch, we exchanged energy, a warmth that was well received in some areas of my body, and some not at all (my head refused to respond).  All doubts disappeared during our “extraction”, where she forewarned me, that the next sensation might feel strange, but that there was no one else in the room but us. I felt a current of warm energy flow from my waist down to my feet which she held with her hands.

For those who are not ready to confront your demons, fear not, because Miraval isn’t all just inner workshops. The resort offers meditative activities, from Vasudhara, a water treatment that involves receiving a Thai massage floating blindfolded in a warm pool, to mantra meditations, led by some of the wellness industry’s most influential thought leaders.

And if all that sounds too woo-woo for you, the gourmet, organically farmed meals (which are complimentary per reservation), award winning spa services, and serene landscape is reason enough to go. There’s one thing for certain: you walk away knowing more about yourself than when you came in.