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This Was Magic…

Published on February 1, 2021

Pre-Covid, I was invited, to spend a week giving workshops at Rancho La Puerta, a spa just over the border from San Diego in Tecate, Mexico. I won’t mince words: the place is magical.

Set on 3,000 acres of gorgeous high desert grounds, the Ranch, as it’s affectionately called, allows you to try a variety of programs. Some you’ve heard of like yoga and hiking, water aerobics and tennis, stretching and meditation. Others you may not be familiar with, like pickleball, Gyrokinesis, Feldenkrais, and sound healing. Each week features expert presenters ranging from coaches like myself to authors, chefs, nutritionists, musicians, and doctors. And you can get the kinks worked out at the spa, offering a full menu of treatments. Of course, you can always choose to do nothing and park yourself with a book on a lounge chair by the pool, or a hammock in a shady cove.

But the best part, in my opinion, is the guests. I’ve been to spas in the US like Miraval and Canyon Ranch, and while they’re lovely and unique (and expensive), each in their own way, what they lacked was community. Everyone pretty much stuck to themselves. Sure, you can also choose to do this at Rancho La Puerta, but that’s certainly not the norm. While women come in groups or duos, plenty come solo. (Yes, a few do come with male partners, but the men are vastly outnumbered—I asked a few of the men and they don’t seem to mind!) Women are comfortable coming on their own because they know that they’ll be warmly welcomed by staff and guests alike. No time more so than at meals (healthy and delicious), when most guests choose to sit at communal tables.

The first night, I enjoyed dinner with four women from different cities in the US who have been coming together for years after meeting at the Ranch. On other occasions, I met three regulars from New York City; a mother-daughter duo from Dallas; two sisters from Northern California; three women whose husbands work together in Toronto; not to mention the many solo women from all over the US, from New Mexico to Minnesota. These women were executives and stay-at-home moms, bankers and artists, writers and retirees. They were at the Ranch to relax and recharge, to get fit and detox, to learn and grow, to enjoy and connect. Many, especially those in midlife, seemed to be searching for their next chapter.

By the end of the week, women were exchanging contact information, promising to visit each other, and making plans for another stay at the Ranch. The warmth and camaraderie reaffirmed the importance of the work I do to promote community, whether in my Facebook Group or in my private coaching groups. 

Until next time, Rancho!

YOUR TURN:Do you have a warm community of women to support and embrace you? If not, how can you create or deepen your own? And of course, if you’re a woman in midlife or beyond, please join my community on Facebook!

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Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Empowerment Coach

I’m Hélène, the Midlife Empowerment Coach. I help women who are struggling in midlife—who wonder if their best years are behind them and what’s next for them. I show them how to put themselves first, reclaim their identity, figure out what’s next, and feel excited about their future.


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