Road Trip: Miraval

The view is spectacular – I savor the moment before focusing on letting go of my fears – physically, mentally, and emotionally. The hardest part is releasing the rope. Breathing deeply, I count to three and let go. I fall fast like a roller-coaster ride at its peak, before barreling down. Eyes closed tight, wind whips against my body. My screams echo in the air as everyone rejoices below. I pry open my eyes, grinning, swinging side-to-side like a pendulum. “Let go!” shouts someone. I don’t. “Try one hand!” shouts another.

Slowly I let go one hand. The feeling is liberating. Cheers follow. Confidence builds. I repeat the move with my other hand. The clapping grows louder. In minutes, it’s over. I’m handed a swimming-pool noodle in mid-air so the instructor can reel me back to safety. My legs shake as I descent the ladder; my palms stained with blood – fresh wounds from nails piercing my flesh from my death-grip around the rope.

Later, we share our experiences in a circle – some even shed tears. Ninety minutes ago we were total strangers. Now, we’re all changed – forever bonded in our common quest to ditch our fears & live life in the moment.


As a reward, I’m getting a spa treatment! The choices at Miraval are endless, luxurious, and, yes, just little pricey — Aqua Zen ($150), a Thai massage ($155-$225), a Thermal Detox Mud Wrap ($195), or one of my favorites, a Hammam Ritual Spa Treatment ($195). My rough skin is exfoliated away with a mixture of coffee, crushed sugar, almonds and lemon essential oil. They don’t use salt – it’s too sensitive on freshly shaven legs. Despite my therapist’s tiny build, she’s strong, sloughing away dead skin with her bare hands – no loofahs allowed. Then I’m covered with jasmine rose rhassoul clay to draw out impurities and wrapped in warm towels while a quince and orange blossom spray is misted over your body. Startling at first, my senses awaken. After a shower in my private room, rich tangerine fig body butter is slathered on my body. My skin soaks it up like a sponge. It’s utterly heaven, worth every cent!

The Realization

I’m embarrassed to admit – I reached my “a-ha” moment not at the spa, but at a lecture with world-renowned psychic Maggie Garbarini (the 90-minute group session is free with your night-stay; $350 if you want a one-on-one reading, which I skip). At this last lecture, I uncovered my true fear. I thought my goal was to heal my heart – ditch the remnants of my bitter divorce, my ex’s betrayal, the loss of my 3,000-sq-ft home. But I discovered I let that go long ago. My true fear was something deeper – something I’m not ready to share with, just yet. But it’s something I’d never expect to uncover on a spa retreat.

Rates start at $595 per person (based on double occupancy), which includes an over-night stay, a $130 spa resort credit, all gourmet meals, non-alcoholic drinks, and access to unlimited activities such as fitness or yoga classes, chef cooking demonstrations, outdoor adventure and challenge programs. Check out their website or call 1-800-232-3969 to take advantage of offers such as 5th Night Free Package and the More the Merrier.

Love It:

Swing and a Prayer rocks! It’s exhilerating – forcing you to dump your fears and live life in the moment, Miraval’s main mantra.

Like It:

Hammam Ritual Spa Treatment exfoliates the body and soul.

Leave It:

The booze – it’s expensive and you’re better off drinking the delicious smoothies and the fresh mint lemonade, my personal favorite. It’s only 50 calories a glass! Okay, the point is moot after I drink 300 calories worth in a day!


A spa retreat like no other. A great place to confront your fears in a safe, comfortable, non-judgemental environment. A place to reconnect with Mother Nature and yourself.

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