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Trip of a Lifetime

A caregiver digs deep and finds renewal on a special Road Scholar trip to New Mexico

  • As I explain in my column, this trip offered several restorative approaches to stretch our minds and our bodies, including yoga. The instructor asked us to first write down our intentions for the session. Clear intentions make things happen. I decided to take this practice home with me, and I try to write my intentions every day now. 

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  • We enjoyed yoga in a yurt (a portable round tent). Our group had a wide range of abilities, but the instructor was able to adapt the session to all of us.  

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  • As I walked and meditated along this labyrinth at Ghost Ranch, a retreat and education center, I made a surprising connection with my late mom. By the time I reached the center, my tears flowed, releasing years of grief, loss and fear. Darla, our group leader, offered me a comforting hug.  

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  • Sharon Franco, a literature and writing professor at the University of New Mexico, led us in a robust discussion of women writers of the Southwest, whose common literary themes have included the call of nature, searching for meaning and longing for bliss.            

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  • The desert’s vastness put my challenges in perspective, and I somehow felt safe and supported. Big doses of nature often bring me balance and energy.  

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  • We spent one night at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa (about an hour north of Santa Fe), where we were greeted with a spritz of Lavender Stress Relief spray. It was just one of many ways this trip allowed me to relax and receive.    

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  • I floated in the unique clay and mineral springs mud pool at Ojo Caliente before cleansing in the mineral springs pools.    

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  • We all soaked in Ojo Caliente’s legendary hot mineral springs, a sacred site for generations of Native Americans. My stress melted away as the soothing waters washed over me.                

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  • We had some outstanding Southwestern cuisine, including this guacamole, made fresh at our table at Gabriel’s. We also enjoyed a demonstration at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where we got to eat the fabulous meal afterward.

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  • On our final day, Patricia Padilla, an eighth-generation traditional native healer (known as a curandera), told us that we all have healing abilities and gave each of us a blessing.

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  • This was truly a special experience that renewed and recharged me. I hope it will encourage others to apply for Road Scholars scholarships for caregivers, so they, too, can enjoy a well-deserved break and recharge their energy for their caregiving journeys.

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