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.
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
Read This Next
2013 Airline Of The Year And Hotel Of The Year
2013 / December 2013Dec 5, 2013
All Reads on This Topic
Read Them All
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko in Japan Introduces Spring Experiences
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko in Japan offers travelers exciting experiences this spring. Opened in July 2020, the property overlooks Lake Chūzenji and Mount Nantai in Japan’s Northern Kanto region. With cherry blossoms (Sakura) set to bloom in April, the area is the perfect destination for a spring getaway.
Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win
Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!
New Limited-Time Bonus Offers from Scenic, Emerald Cruises
Scenic Luxury Cruises and Emerald Cruises currently offer travelers savings of up to $500 per cabin and a 50 percent reduction on deposits on select 2023/2024 river and ocean itineraries. The offers are available through March 31 and can be combined with others, such as early-booking savings of up to $1,500 per couple and a Pay in Full bonus that includes free or reduced airfare options.
The Cape Ann Museum Announces Major Edward Hopper Exhibit
This July, The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts, hosts Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape, the first major exhibition to explore Hopper’s connection to Cape Ann during his formative years as an artist. Visitors will be treated to 65 works that include paintings, prints and drawings assembled from collections housed at Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; private lenders; and other institutions.
Enter to Win $500 and Get Six Months’ Free Access to the New GT App
Now through May 8, sign up for a free six-month trial of the Global Traveler app and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card of your choice for Amazon, Apple or American Express.
March 2023Mar 22, 2023
Global Traveler Celebrates the 2022 Winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey Awards
Travel is back and better than ever! Last year brought a big boom to our beloved industry, and we were thrilled to celebrate the best of the best in December 2022 as we honored the winners of our 19th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, located downtown at LA Live!
Austrian Airlines to Bring Back Flying Chefs
DailyMar 22, 2023
Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf Review
eFlyer ReviewsMar 22, 2023
eFlyer DealsMar 22, 2023
Brown Hotels Celebrates Beachside Greek Resorts Reopening with New Offer
In honor of the seasonal reopening of its beachside Greek resorts, Brown Hotels offers a generous 25 percent discount on all bookings made by the end of April. This discount can apply to Brown Hotels’ beachside properties of Isla Brown Corinthia, Brown Beach Chalkida, Brown Beach Eretria and DAVE by the Beach Loutraki.
FXExpress Traveler of the Year
FXExpress Traveler of the Year Contest 2023
eFlyer DealsMar 22, 2023
Air Tahiti Nui Announces Limited-Time Sale on Flights from LAX to AKL
Through April 24, passengers booking a flight with Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) enjoy round-trip fares from $974 per person in Moana economy class or $2,394 in Moana premium class.