Be More by Doing Less: How I Learned to Slow Down at Sunrise Springs

Photo taken by Eric J. Keller @soulcatcherstudio

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As soon as I stepped onto the Sunrise Springs Resort property, the volume lowered. The high desert wind made Cottonwood and Russian olive trees kiss their leaves together as if they were saying shhhh. Guests took each step mindfully and watched the ants below take food to their friends. Others lounged in soft rustic red hammocks, swinging in the shade near the mineral repose pools.

Some ate farm to fork leafy green salads and sipped fine wine from Blue Heron restaurant, overlooking the still pond where a mother duck led her pack across. In the distance I could see a Chi Gong master teaching a guest intentional movement in the grassy medicine wheel.

In a world that constantly rewards us for speed and multi-tasking, it can be difficult to slow down and do one thing at a time. The Awakening Journey package at Sunrise Springs allowed me to do just this.

I hadn't lived in Santa Fe two weeks when I connected with talented photographer, Eric J. Keller @soulcatcherstudio , who put me in touch with powerhouses, Amy Tischner and Caitlin Jenkins of @simplysocialnm. As I would be a great fit for their influencer event at Sunrise Springs Resort and Spa.

I immediately accepted their invitation to attend the Awakening Journey package at this world-renown resort. Besides knowing I would love to work there doing healing work one day, I knew very little about the details. My gut gurgled as if it were starving to say yes. And that's all I needed.

Three weeks after moving to Santa Fe, I caught myself red-handed pounding pavement like Olympian sprinter Gail Devers. I had driven and moved across the country, found a place to live, interviewed countless times, auditioned for teaching, attended three trainings for my coaching and yoga business, and given myself little downtime.

Some days I came home from my marathon sprint so exhausted, all I could do was lay horizontally on the couch and catatonically watch Netflix.

This opportunity was like seeing SLOW DOWN in giant red spray paint letters on the highway overpass as I sped mindlessly in my smooth black Volvo.

My Awakening Journey itinerary at Sunrise Springs was intuitively crafted to include a massage, an intuitive coaching session (even coaches need support!), ayurvedic culinary workshops, yoga, ojitos mineral soaks, delicious food, connecting with other like-minded folks, and more.

There were 12 of us in the Awakening Journey staycation. Each person (including myself) said something along the lines that they had accepted the invitation knowing they desperately needed to take time for themselves and rest.

I arrived at our Moon House Lounge welcome dinner as dusk breeze reminded me to breathe deeply. The beige blue light sparkled my wine glass as I snacked on asparagus wrapped in bacon and a balsamic vinaigrette that melted in my mouth.

Mara Beauvoir, the resort manager, called our group to a circle around a white traditional adobe fireplace and benches decorated with puffy pillows that reminded me of the cotton ball dusk clouds.

Jessica Ibarra, a spiritual guide, introduced herself and gave each of us mini-readings. Her brown pixie cut was almost as piercing as her dark hazelnut eyes. Jessica wore a flowy white halter dress and swayed side to side as she told us she doesn't sugarcoat messages. She simply repeats what she hears from the other side. I thought this is my type of mystic woman! She told one guest she was a gypsy and another a witch, and that they needed to embrace the power of making roots and magic.

When it was my turn, Jessica looked right into my pupils and said I was a warrior in many lifetimes past and fought with St. John Paul.

"Put down your sword. You need to cry, don't be so strong, or it will make you sick."

After everyone had a reading, we sat at a long wooden dining room table adorned with white linens, candles, and flowers. Different conversations formed amongst us and small talk didn't sit with us. On our first night, we talked about everything from the trauma of losing parents, to the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, to Tom's Robbins Still Life with Woodpecker.

When we finally forced ourselves to leave dinner the cool breeze accentuated my senses as we walked and wondered at the darkness that illuminated stars. I cranked the AC, fell into the plush white bed that cocooned me, and settled into a deep sleep.

The next morning I took my time waking. I stared from my balcony into the green juniper and cottonwood trees and sipped coffee until it was time for yoga. Alexis Cintron taught the class. A beautiful curvy Latin American woman with a platinum blonde pixie cut. The Vinyasa class was much softer than my usual heated power class. My body thanked me afterward with energy in the tank to write and soak in desert rays in silence by the pool. My skin soaked up the thermal tea of Vitamin D until it was time for my coaching session.

Jade Gonzalez, intuitive counselor, is as wise and compassionate as she is authentic and beautiful. She wore a long sleeveless leopard print dress, belt that accentuated her feminine waist, and her long silky brown hair down her barebac. Immediately I felt at ease as she sat like a lounging mountain lion in the chair across from me and shared messages she received in meditation.

"You have asked for help and are never alone. Pay attention to your dreams. Follow your dreams. You are a wild woman and are sometimes misunderstood. Don't let that— don't let anything stand in your way."

Jade pulled spirit animal cards for me and illuminated the need to reassess certain relationships in my life. The door to the roof was ajar and afternoon sun spilled onto the wooden floor like golden locks of Rapunzel hair. Every time the sporadic breeze brushed my face, I softened. Even though I was still damp from the pool, I relaxed more and let the comfy beige couch hold me.

I gave Jade a big hug when I left and we exchanged information to be fellow wild woman friends. As I sauntered back to my room and watched the trees sway in what certainly looked like sexual arousal.

I let these messages sink in with the Vitamin D as I munched on my late lunch outside. Why was I always in a rush? The high desert trees do not rush to slurp up water when it finally rains. Instead they harbor it in their roots, share with other trees in need, and patiently prepare for full bloom.

Before our final dinner, I went into Blue Heron restaurant to charge my phone. I had been so in the moment, my phone was constantly on the verge of dying. Ironically I was able to be here by taking photos and sharing my story on Instagram.

Rocky Durham, the world traveled chef, and Ben Lincoln, the sommelier manager, offered me a complimentary glass of champagne. They sipped with me while I waited. Even the restaurant staff was intuitive.

I savored each sip of celebratory carbonation and then sat outside and relished the sacred paraje (resting place) of Sunrise Springs. The hazy dusk light warmed my skin as I watched lime-green bugs hop around the mineral pools.

After dinner, Stephanie, a beautiful thin brunette who looked like she stepped out of an Italian fashion magazine, sat with me on my hotel room balcony. Under the navy blanket of sky glittered with stars, we shared stories of hardship and heartbreak and laughed at our shared insurmountable loss.

For our closing ceremony the next morning, the entire group learned the Four Winds Dance with Concha Garcia Allen, a fierce medicine woman from Oaxaca, MX. Each segment of the dance was named after a local animal. The horse, the rattlesnake, the raven. With certain shuffles, we released HAs, caws, or pounded our fists into the air.

Dancing in this sacred place, the wild woman within me finally felt free. Sometimes, we can only run wild when we give ourselves the freedom to slow down.

Barrett Freibert