Tucson, Ariz., Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

Apr 1, 2013
2013 / April 2013

I was surprisingly at ease given the circumstances: laid out on a massage table in a guestroom-turned-spiritual-center while a seemingly sane person jumped, whooped, hollered and waved feathers over my prone body.

With my eyes closed, I could feel the movement around me as Dr. Tim Frank, a licensed general practitioner and hospice physician with a specialty in psychoneuroimmunology, uttered unrecognizable guttural sounds and banged on a drum. Occasionally, he’d call out my name, “Lisa!” while beseeching my ancestors to gather around me.

What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing.

A graduate of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Ariz., Frank embraces his Cherokee heritage and its indigenous healing practices. The two — naturopathic medicine, drawing on science and nature, and age-old Native American philosophies — come together at Miraval, a destination spa resort near Tucson, Ariz., where Frank is noted for two unique wellness experiences.

I had arrived at Miraval a couple of days earlier, looking forward to morning hikes in the Sonoran Desert followed by afternoon massages in the expansive spa. I planned to work in a few yoga classes, practice my meditation skills and participate in a seminar or two; but Frank’s signature treatments caught my eye, and timing was on my side: Due to a last-minute cancellation, I was able to book a 45-minute Samadi Healing Ceremony on short notice.

The past couple of years have been challenging on a personal level. I’m proud I faced each challenge with courage and resolve, but my psyche took a bit of a beating. Instead of embracing each new day, I noticed myself worrying about what might go awry. Not in an overt way. It was just a nagging question mark always hovering at the back of my consciousness.

Aromatic herbs are used to cleanse the environment. © Miraval

Aromatic herbs are used to cleanse the environment. © Miraval

The Samadi Healing Ceremony, a blend of relaxation methods complemented by Native American drumming, acupuncture, Reiki and reflexology, promised transformational healing. To me, that meant opening the door to release counterproductive thoughts and energy. I was willing to give it a shot.

My session began with a meeting of the minds. Frank and I sat in facing chairs as he told me about his background and encouraged me to share my thoughts and feelings. I’m usually pretty good at sharing in a safe environment, but I found myself struggling for words. I couldn’t clearly identify what was going on inside me, but I knew I needed to find balance. Frustrated, I followed Frank’s direction to recline on the massage table while he cleansed the room of negative energy and placed an eye pillow over my eyes.

My first introduction to meditation was nearly 30 years ago — and I took to it like a fish to water. While others around me struggled to calm their minds, I easily followed the instructor’s advice to “watch my thoughts without judgment” and “push them away like fluffy clouds on a clear day.” While I don’t practice nearly as often as I’d like, I prefer to do yoga with my eyes closed, turning my consciousness inward.

I had no reason to believe the Samadi ceremony would be any different. I expected to meditate while Frank did his healing dances and chants. I’d walk away renewed.

Not so much.

I struggled to feel comfortable. I worried about sabotaging this rare opportunity. I judged myself. I judged Frank. “It’s all smoke and mirrors,” I thought. “This is ridiculous — even for me.” I berated myself for buying into the malarkey.

Then I felt an almost physical shift. It was just a nudge, like that just-before-you-fall-asleep moment. But I hadn’t moved, and I wasn’t asleep. In that instant, I felt walls fall away. Believe me: I know this sounds out there, but the walls dividing past, present and future fell away. Nana was there. Eileen was there. Ann was there.

I tried to stretch the circle, mentally inviting other loved ones who’ve passed before me to join, but it wasn’t authentic. I could feel Nana, Eileen and Ann. I could only imagine Bumpy, Gram, Jack, Clint and Uncle Dan. I was a bit disappointed, judging them now for not being with me in that moment.

It fell into place in a flash. Past, present and future are all the same. I saw two hands, fingers stretched open, passing up and down through one another. It’s all the same: Past, present and future are connected in ways we who live in the present will never understand. Worrying about what might go awry is futile.

I was surprisingly at ease given the circumstances.

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

5000 E. Via Estancia Miraval
Tucson, AZ 85739
tel 800 232 3969
miravalresorts.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Sep 21, 2019

Movie Night at The Logan, Philadelphia

What’s better than an open-air movie night in the summer? A free one hosted just blocks away from fun nightlife, restaurants and swanky activities around every corner, maybe?

TAP Air Portugal Adds 15 Flights Each Week From U.S., Canada

TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020,  a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.

Feature
Sep 21, 2019

Southwest Adds 2020 Hawai’i Flights

Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to, from and within Hawai’i, beginning mid-January 2020. The airline will add a new daily service between Sacramento International Airport and Honolulu (HON), plus new non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) and both Kauai (LIH) and the Island of Hawai’i (KOA).

News
Sep 21, 2019

The Luxury Collection Welcomes Eighth Property in China

The Luxury Collection welcomes its eighth property in China with the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. The property is situated in the capital of the Guangxi Province, in a high-rise landmark building in the business district.

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

Daily
Sep 21, 2019

New Luxury Residence Hotel Opens in Tribeca

AKA, the luxury hotel residence brand, opened its sixth property last month, AKA Tribeca —formerly the Smyth Hotel.

News
Sep 19, 2019

Best U.S. Cities for Oktoberfest Celebrations

WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Feature
Sep 19, 2019

Qantas Will Start Using a Dreamliner on Santiago–Sydney Route

Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.