Saturday, April 27th at American University, SELF Magazine is sponsoring an amazing fitness event, “Workout in the Park”~ Yoga, Crossfit, Pilates,… and the list goes on! See you there for a great day of health.
Handel’s Messiah was performed 3 times this week-end at the Washington National Catherdral, last night I was fortunate enough to see one of the performances. I say, “see” as I had front row tickets, located on the side of the magnificent altar. Which was really like having back stage passes, or a seat at a private rehearsal. I had an insider’s view of the concert that the other 2000 guests did not have privy to. My direct line of vision was the animated face of Conductor, Michael McCarthy. He is physical, emotional, gracious, alluring, fun Conductor, and brought to life the music Messiah. For me, it was not just multitudes of voices and violins that held my attention and imagination, it was that the Messiah was acted out with the raising of the conductor’s eyebrow, or directional signal with his hand, a grin, and intensity of musical expression. Hallelujah in deed!
Just an hour west of Washington, DC, The National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes is tucked away in the quiet woods of the Catoctin Mountains. The Grotto is part of the Mount St. Mary’s University but feels worlds away. Once you park and get away from the construction of the new visitor’s center, the pilgrimage begins through wooded paths that lead you to a circular reservoir, a 100 year old chapel, the grotto cave area, amphitheater, dozens of mosaics and a climb to the cross of Calvary. It is peaceful and touching as you see people reading in a quiet spot, or filling up their empty gallon jugs with holy water, praying, lighting candles, standing in front of a saintly statue, or on knees in the chapel.
The last time I was at the Grotto of Lourdes, I was collecting holy water for a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. The only container I had in my car was an empty water bottle. So I filled it, prayed, drove back to DC and gave it to her. The bottle of holy water accidentally put into the refrigerator by one of her nurses, and later that week, she ended up drinking it. Luckily it did not make her sick as it was from the grotto, (where the water is unfiltered) but I am happy to report, a year later she is cancer free.
Just spent an amazing day in Yellowstone National Park! No spas (like we know them to be) but 1000’s of thermal hot springs. Great to see the new growth of forest after fires, and herds of Bison. My new favorite find is Dragon’s Mouth Springs~ and it actually looks, smells (rotten egg) and sounds like a dragon!
In Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (just north of Jackson Hole) there is a 100 year old log cabin chapel, The Chapel of the Transfiguration. Visitors walk under the bell tower to get to the front door on a pathway surrounded by sage. Inside there is a picture window over the altar that looks out to the tip of the Grand Teton mountain range, and this view is the focus of this small chapel. The altar is a simple log structure with a log cross. Not much art work is on the walls, nor needed. There are 2 stained glass windows, a printed sermon from a Pastor dated 1940’s, a water color painting of the snowy chapel and a prayer request book which is mounted to the wall.
As I read through the prayer request book, (and wrote my own) it was outstanding and very intimate what people were requesting. Some shared marriage problems, or prayers for families in need, cancer victims, sons and daughters who were based in Afghanistan, good weather, and safe journeys. It was great to see children’s writing or Japanese alphabet or a paragraph written in French. The prayer request book, feels like the soul of this small Wyoming chapel. We are all travelers who seek peace, well being and hope for others.
After spending about 45 minutes in the Chapel of Transfiguration… it truly lived up to its name.
This summer the valley of Jackson Hole is alive with Yoga and mediation classes. FromInversion Yoga to Akasha and even the Wildlife Museum is hosting free classes on Thursday! Jackson provides a great back drop for your practice and meditation community. Last Thursday I went to a free energy guided meditation in Wilson at Spirit Book Shop. Join Oneness Meditation July21-22 for a Deeksha blessing and meditation. See you there!
Rancho la Puerta’s organic garden is in full swing! Hiked out last Thursday for the “breakfast hike” and was served the usual wonderful fruit, chocolate muffins, eggs, oatmeal, as well as… veggies. We had swiss chard, a sweet potato jam, and a variety of just picked greens. As we were leaving the garden to hike back, one of the Mexican gardeners, pulled up a couple of carrots, rinsed them off and gave it to us to eat. I have never eaten a fresh picked carrot at 8am in the morning. It was, needless to say, delicious and bursting with sweet flavor and energy. We also tasted stevia, which tastes better fresh then in the liquid form you buy at the health food store, and I sneaked a few strawberries. It is quiet at the garden with a great view of Mount Kuchema (which means, High Exulted Place)… and that it certainly is!
I was fortunate to be a guest at the Karkloof Spa- I work in the hospitality and spa industry and am happy to share with you the sanctuary that Fred Worner and his team have created for the guests. (which is often hard to find and difficult to create- but it is has happened!) The vision is truly for the guest to find peace and tranquility in the middle of a stunning game reserve, Thai spa, lodge and villa/cottages. Basically, you can do whatever want to do, whenever you want to do it… be it eat, drink, game drive, bike, walk to the falls or spend the day at the spa. There is no pressure to be somewhere at a certain prescribed time- the guest creates their own timing- and that is such an important part of the “sanctuary” feel.
The guest journey starts the moment you drive over the first creek/waterfall at the reception area. The sound of nature and water sets the tone for peace… and a few animals such as rhino (a new baby was born about a month ago- adorable and special moment to experience) frame this pastoral picture. Check in is simple, and you are made to feel at home with the resort is yours at your finger tips. The decor is lovely, complete with a wine room that you can select South African wines, to the library, bar and living spaces that have been created for you relaxation and viewing of the mountains, water and animals… and some inner reflection.
I recommend that you spend a lot of time in the spa- very unique and special to have Thai therapists performing your treatments- one of a kind experience to bring the specialty of the Thai culture to the specialty of the African experience. There are water treatments everywhere in the spa- so take time to enjoy.
The meals, service, staff, living spaces, spa, and game drives at Karkloof Spa are five star… but you must stay at least a WEEK!
Today at the National Press Club, author of the series, “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” Alexander McCall Smith gave a lively, at time hilarious, and provocative talk about his new book, ” The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection”, followed by Q&A and book signing. He has that joyful dry British (Scottish) humor with sparkle that fills the room. I do believe that if he ever stopped writing, he would be a perfect stand-up comedian. So creative, generous, a maybe a bit wicked. (in a good way) In attendance was the Botswana Ambassador to the US, Ms. Tebelelo Seretse~ who gave a passionate speech about the people, natural resources and many successes of Botswana.