Why does your passport have holes in it? This is the question that made my stomach drop like it does in a skyscraper elevator. It’s the question my husband asked innocently as he went to check us in the night before our AM flight to Victoria, Canada for the trip we’d been looking forward to for months. “No, that’s my expired passport.” I said. “Where’s the new one?” My stomach dropped again and this time I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. We always keep our passports in the same neatly organized passport wallet and didn’t even think about checking it to make sure everything was there. From 10pm-2am we proceeded to rip apart our apartment looking for that damn passport. We searched every wallet, purse, jacket, junk drawer, storage unit, and car nook and cranny humanly possible. We looked in places we had already checked 5X over thinking we would find it (the definition of insanity btw), but NO LUCK. This was the night after the amazing Staycation Series Spring event I co-hosted so I was still coming off the high and my husband had just finished up a major consulting project and a VERY long week (he even created the mocktails for our event). I had also wrapped up another fulfilling month in my virtual group coaching course and finalized details for two upcoming events. Needless to say, this vacation was supposed to be a well-deserved celebration for both of us and we were craving it! I didn’t want to give up so at 5am, we brought my ID, expired passport, birth certificate and SS card to the airport because we’d heard getting into Canada was easier than other countries and my sisters friend had once gotten there on an ID (it was Sunday so all passport offices and expediting services were closed). In less than 5 minutes I was turned away with a hard “NO.”
Soooo, I had to let my husband go to Canada without me because this was an all expense paid getaway from a gin brand that he collaborated with (think fancy hotel, couples massages, high tea, whale watching, bike riding, distillery tours and 5 star meals). I returned home defeated, sleep deprived and depressed only to find out Josh had accidentally taken both sets of house keys with him. After crying out like a crazy person for my neighbor in the street, he finally came over and helped me break into my own home. I finally got into bed and cried for an hour straight. In February I got food poisoning the morning of my best friends wedding in San Francisco and missed being a bridesmaid… and now this? What did I do to deserve this? These were the thoughts running through my head.
Shortly after, I received a text from my husband saying there was no way he was letting me stay home and be miserable (and probably work), and that he was booking me a hotel for 3 nights in Palm Springs so I could lay by the pool, go to the spa and shop. I felt like I didn’t deserve such a treat but the room was non-refundable so I packed up on 3 hours of sleep and drove to Palm Springs. Long story (a little) shorter, Hotels Tonight did a great job making the hotel look nice and it was the opposite. The minute I got there, music blasted out from the pool part going on and foot long Vegas style cocktails surrounded me. The non-smoking room I was in smelled like a cigarette butt and the room shook every time a car drove by. The view was of the street and a bunch of drunk people standing outside smoking. I felt even more depressed and alone. This amazingly sweet gesture from my husband was not at all the way either of us had envisioned it. I had booked myself into a spa day the next afternoon at Two Bunch Palms so I decided to see if they had any rooms available and they did…for the next two nights! I stayed one night in the first hotel and decided that the next day I would start fresh! I was running on fumes anyway and besides the drunk people outside my window, I slept like a baby and promptly woke up and drove straight to Two Bunch, just in time for the 10am yoga class! As soon as I got to the property, I took a huge inhale & exhale….I was home. The grounds were filled with palm trees, cactus, natural hot springs and mini lakes with ducks waddling all around. As I walked down the path to find the yoga dome, I snapped a photo of this girl meditating as ducks made their way into the pond…it looked like peace and serenity, and I finally smiled.
On my way to yoga I met an older lady named Leslie and her friend Toby. We got to chatting and I told her my story. She decided it had to be documented and proceeded to grab my camera phone every chance she got and take a series of candid blurry photos so I could remember the time I was “brave enough” to take a solo trip to Palm Springs. A few of her photos below—I love Leslie!
I have to admit that first yoga class felt more like a bootcamp taught by an ex-drill sergeant. The lady was fierce and fiery and her class was anything but relaxing and I thought “oh man, and the saga continues…” But I think this was the universe playing one last cheeky joke before opening the gates to PURE BLISS. In that moment I thought of the phrase “this isn’t happening to me, it’s happening for me.” There’s a reason I didn’t get on that flight with Josh and this must be it. And to top it off my parents and sister came together to treat me to the room and spa treatment so that I could fully relax. I wanted to say that I didn’t deserve it, but ultimately I knew it was what I needed (maybe even more so than Canada) and for that, I am endlessly grateful. To tell you about the next 2.5 days would take up the length of a book so I’ll show and tell through photos and captions. To truly unplug I decided to delete the Instagram & Facebook apps off my phone and commit to only checking my emails twice a day. And let me just say, YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. It’s amazing.
Two Bunch Palms is an oasis that I will be dreaming about and using as my quarterly solo retreat from the city. I love that they take a holistic approach to conservation and sustainability and that every aspect of their property honors this. They use produce grown locally in their restaurant, irrigate with recycled water, use biodegradable cleaning and treatment products, and generate electricity from 100% renewable sources!
Spa Treatment with Erin. When I got to Two Bunch I was suffering from the worst stress/emotional headache and Erin happened to specialize in working on pressure points and head, neck, and jaw treatments. Who knew? She showed me how much tension I was holding in these areas and used firm pressure and adjustments to release the knots which to be honest, was not comfortable but wow, did it make a difference! Within the course of the hour my headache went from an 8 to a 2! I walked away feeling so much better and armed with some really empowering information. She believes people need to engage in “jaw self-care” because when our jaw is tense, we tense up our shoulders and actually shorten our diaphragm and therefore, make it much harder to breath which is the very thing that releases tension in the first place! More on this in another post but there are jaw massages, cupping techniques and exercises you can do on a daily basis to help you find relief….
Art Classes. Included in the price of the room are a series of daily exercise, art and spiritual classes. Creativity is an area in my life that I feel needs a lot more attention so I signed up for both the stone art and stencil painting classes. In the stone art class, our teacher started with a beautiful visualization meditation and explained that we would be painting with the hand we don’t write with . She explained that if we paint with the wrong hand, there’s no way to “mess up” because we’re doing it the wrong way anyway. In this way we remove the judgement and self-criticism that comes with art. Genius! She also played the most beautiful Spanish guitar music and reminded us that art to music is even more powerful. One of the girls in our class shared with us that studies have shown that 10 minutes of art is equal to about 20 minutes of meditation which was of interest to me since I’ve struggled with finding a meditation practice I love. I’ve also never considered myself to be artistic but realized that something as simple as painting a stone or using a stencil to create our own vision is art too! When I got home I ordered some paints, brushes and stencils and can’t wait to try this as my form of meditation once a week!
Hot Springs. Two Bunch Palms is famous for their natural hot springs which have been flowing under the surface for 600 years! The unique composition of this mineral water is world famous for its therapeutic and mood-enhancing properties: low in sulfur and rich in lithium. As soon as I stepped into the waters, I felt instantly calm and even more rejuvenated afterwards. They have three large teak tubs where you can adjust the natural mineral water temperature and a bunch of other beautiful concrete mineral water soaking pools. I hopped between all of them and just laid in the water, focusing on my breathing and taking in the gorgeous natural desert surroundings!
I never left the property of the hotel so their restaurant was the only place I ate the whole time. And when they had the best fish tacos EVER, I obviously had to order them every single day! Intuitive eating is all about checking in before a meal and asking yourself “What do I REALLY want? How do I want to feel?” It’s funny how the little demon voices pop into your head and say “should you really be eating tacos 3 days in a row? Is all that corn a good idea? What about the carbs?” And what’s even more fun is when you tell them to “STFU because that’s exactly what you want!” I ate those tacos slowly and savored every bite as I read my new book and sipped on my favorite Ginger Kicker made with fresh ginger, lemon, soda, and agave. Although I asked them to hold the agave, popped in a few drops of my own liquid stevia & added some fresh mint. ;)
YOGA with Lisa Marie. Remember how I told you about the drill sergeant the first day? Lisa was the opposite, thank goodness. I took her yoga class two days in a row and loved that she started each session with a breathing meditation, asking us to answer three questions: “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “How can I be of better service?” We chose an affirmation we wanted to set the tone for the class and I chose “I am letting shit go” and “I am calm.” Lisa also used the Wim Hof Method which is a breathing technique created by the world famous, Ice Man. The exercises are focused on deep and rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, described by Wim as ‘controlled hyperventilation or power breathing’ and are followed by a retention time, where you hold your breath for a x amount of time. By practicing the breathing exercises, you are releasing more energy, influencing your nervous system and changing various physiological responses. You are inducing voluntarily a short stress response which ultimately will lead to more resilience towards everyday stress, mentally and physiology and feeling more in control. I definitely felt a difference in my anxiety levels afterwards!
Reading, journaling, relaxing. It was so nice to have no plans, no reservations and no-one waiting on me. I woke up each morning and spent time journaling and reading from bed. One morning I walked down to the pond and laid down and listened to a guided morning meditation on my phone. There’s something about being in nature with the birds chirping, and the sun beating down on my chest that really did it for me. I think this is something I could get used to! I laid by the pool, took an aquatic yoga class and swam laps one afternoon which I am excited to return to this summer! I took myself to dinner at the restaurant each night and chatted with neighboring guests, read, journaled my thoughts and drank the Dry Farm Wines I packed along with me! I haven’t felt so connected to myself and my thoughts in a really long time and by the end of my stay, I was fully recharged and my mindset had done a 180. I went from feeling depressed, anxious and alone to being excited by life, happy, relaxed and reconnected to myself and my purpose, my passion and my “why!”
Moral of the story: We have the power to change our reaction to the world. Life can throw us curveballs and even though they may be challenging, they are usually there to teach us a lesson. And if we choose to listen, we. can make magic happen. I am grateful for this lesson and even though I missed a vacation with my PIC, he still had a great time and this mishap served as a motivator for us to save up for a real international vacation….one that is longer than just a few days! It also empowered us to get super organized because I STILL haven’t found my passport so the mystery is yet to be solved. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason but sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to comprehend the reason. I’m so thankful to my husband, my sister, and my parents for pushing me to have this experience (and helping me make it happen), and to myself for being open to a new path. Much of what I experienced and learned at Two Bunch Palms, will be things that I use to better serve myself and others, and in many ways, it’s the trip I needed more than 3 days of eating, drinking and go-go-going in Canada…I also think my husband probably had a better time without worrying about his wife passing out at 10pm ;) Have you ever had an experience like this before? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to her your stories so please share with me via this post on Instagram!