A Mindful Experience at Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake, WI

Thursday, July 30th, 2015 | Adventure, Beauty, gratitude, joy, mindfulness, well-being | No Comments

Pat is getting ready to share some clay at Two Fish Gallery.

Surrounded by colorful gardens, Two Fish Gallery is located in a Mission Style Bungalow and the classes and kiln are held in the Carriage House behind the gallery.  Meandering on the path between the bungalow and carriage house also nourishes a joyful and creative experience.  It’s evident that the owners, Pat and Karen Robison, have taken great care to encourage a creative journey at their Gallery and Sculpture Garden.

Inspired by my surroundings and reconnecting to my hands-on creative side was one of the highlights of my recent stay in Elkhart Lake, WI.  Several of us took a pottery class at Two Fish Gallery led by co-owner Pat Robison and we unleashed our inner artist.   I think creating art, like this, is truly a mindful experience.  It’s a little like gardening where you get totally immersed in your task.

Forming my masterpiece!

Nowadays when I travel I typically bring home a new piece of pottery, usually a new cup or bowl, so to have the opportunity to create my own pottery was exciting.   Making the decision took a little time, however I chose to make a new vessel for my tea and coffee.

With plenty of creative tools to help with our creations we started to form our masterpiece with molds or use the wheel, something I’d love to do in a future pottery class.

Ready for the glazing and firing process.

Since it takes some time to set and dry before the creation can be glazed and fired, we knew it would be a little time before we could see our finished product.

Prior to leaving our work behind in the hands of our instructor we chose the finish and glaze we wanted and left the class filled with anticipation of receiving our art.

Of course, I didn’t totally leave empty handed as I shopped for something to bring home as a reminder of the class and renewed experience of making pottery.

Finished Pottery

Filled with anticipation for several weeks I was so excited to receive ‘the’ box from Two Fish Gallery this week and quickly tore the box open to reveal my creation.  Of course, Pat took it to completion, however I’m grateful for the experience and will be using this with great care and joy.

My handmade vessel!

Classes at Two Fish Gallery are offered over a six week period and if you’re local or vacationing at the lake this is a great activity to enjoy.

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Canyon Ranch Lenox: Late Summer Retreat Special for Readers of Mindful Adventures

Saturday, July 25th, 2015 | Adventure, Beauty, Canyon Ranch, Challenge Course, Destination Spas, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Peace, Relaxation, Skincare, Weight Loss, facials, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, hiking, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Enjoy a late summer retreat at Canyon Ranch in Lenox at this great savings for being connected with us here at Mindful Adventures.   Whether you choose to go on a solo retreat to rejuvenate and reconnect before the busy fall season arrives or go with a friend, there’s plenty to do at this top destination spa.

This flyer includes more details, let’s connect soon to secure your space (by July 31).


What’s to love?

There are so many options at Canyon Ranch and you can focus on something in particular like nutrition and weight loss or fitness and personal training, etc., or you can mix it up and create your perfect retreat.

Perhaps your morning will include Sun Salutations or the Morning Stretch.  Maybe you’ll go on the canoe and hike combo, the weather in mid-September should be just about right.    Are you finding all of the latest nutrition news confusing?  Well, there are classes to help you evaluate what’s best for you and learn more about the science behind the latest information.   Are you looking to connect with your creative side?  Take a painting class or one of the many other create options.

If you’d like to review more class options for Lenox, this link will take you to one of the upcoming schedules to get some more ideas.

Did you say Spa?
Your stay includes an allowance to use towards a number of spa and personal services.   What to choose?  Well, that’s up to you and I usually like to recommend that you review the spa list and consider what calls out to you.  For me, I like the Neuromuscular Therapy service and the Deep Tissue Massage.  Perhaps you’ll choose an Ayurvedic treatment or one of the many body rituals.  You can also set up a personal fitness session, a Nutrition session like a Life Management private session or a Spiritual-Wellness private session.

What’s for Dinner?
The chefs at Canyon Ranch create delicious, fresh and nutritious meals with sustainable and local ingredients; just what you’d expect from a health spa.  Take a look at what dinner might include.   What I also love is that you can create your own meal using the a la carte options so if you’d like grilled chicken with steamed broccoli and a half (or whole) baked sweet potato, it’s possible.

Please note that this special from Mindful Adventures reflects a savings of about 30% off and is still during peak season.

Let’s connect and get you started on your journey!  Thank you.

To your wellness! -
- Donna xx

PS  If you’re looking to put your own group together for another time, let’s connect. Canyon Ranch (Lenox or Tucson) is a great option for
a groups of friends, reunions, family gatherings, birthday celebrations, team building, etc.   There’s something for everyone and a savings to match.

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Babich Wines of New Zealand Visits Southeastern Michigan’s Fine Wine Source

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 | Adventure, well-being | No Comments

“Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m a red kind of gal when it comes to wine, however when it’s warm outside I do like a lighter wine like Sauvignon Blanc.  So when I think about Sauvignon Blanc I immediately think of New Zealand and the Marlborough region.   Fortunately, I just had an opportunity to meet David Babich, General Manager of Babich Wines.  No, I’m not in New Zealand, however he is here touring the Midwest so I knew it would be a good idea to stop by Fine Wine Source in Livonia, MI to meet him, learn more about Babich Wines and their sustainable practices, and yes, join in for a tasting.

First taste, the 2014 Babich Sauvignon, light, refreshing with a nice finish and one I could enjoy in the heat of the summer.   Next on the list, their organic Headwaters Sauvignon Blanc.  By the way, Babich developed the first vineyard to achieve sustainable registration in New Zealand.  Back to Headwaters – also light, tropical and this one revealed more mineral elements and the one I chose to purchase.   The other tasting included the 2013 Pinot Noir revealing notes of cherry and a little plum.  This one will go in the cellar as I’m curious to see how it develops over the next year or so (up to three years).

Babich will be celebrating 100 years of wine making in 2016 and it all began in 1916 when Josip Babich made his first New Zealand wine, selling it in cask and bottled under the name Babich Brothers.  I found their journey to be most interesting and their legacy continues.

David Babich, General Manager of Babich Wines, signing my bottles of wine.

2013 Babich Pinot Noir and 2014 Babich Sauvignon Blanc 'Headwaters'

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Musings about Perseverance and Persistence

Friday, April 17th, 2015 | Abundance, Adventure, Gratitude and Inspiration, Healing, fitness, gratitude, mindfulness, well-being, wellness | No Comments

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite
of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities:  It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
- Thomas Carlyle

I’m inspired by quotes and they can certainly help change the course of a day.  Perhaps it’s the same for you.  The one above did that for me today as I’m a bit discouraged about a few things and yet I know that deep down I have it in me to persevere.  The question is will I listen to that part of me that persists knowing that it will take more work, risk and faith?

This brings me to vulnerability.  (Stay with me for a moment.)

The feeling of vulnerability has been pretty consistent over the last several weeks and I spoke about it in my video during my journey at Hilton Head Health.   The feeling is still with me as I continue on this journey to shed a few pounds, get more fit and overcome a few other obstacles along the way.  What I know in my heart is that I can do this.  It was evident at Hilton Head Health and ‘my strong soul’ has been a beacon for me over the years.   What I also know is that I get stuck because I think about the obstacles more than the solutions.

There’s an awareness.  Self-awareness.  I consider myself a positive individual, yet I’m not totally free from the negative thoughts that linger at times.  I’m guessing this is true for most of us.   Thoughts and questions like: Am I …? Can I …? When will ‘x’ come to fruition?  How will I accomplish ‘xyz’? And so on.

Does this sound like you at times?

So let’s get back to the quote above.

When I received this one today by Thomas Carlyle from Inspiration Daily it got me thinking differently and earlier (thankfully!) in the day.  I didn’t have time this morning to ponder the disappointments that started my day because of this quote.  And for that I’m grateful.

Is there a quote that inspires you?

Be well! xx

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Organic Spa Magazine Releases 2015 Health, Wellness And Green Living Trends – PRNewswire

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 | Beauty, Energy Work, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Skincare, Weight Loss, facials, fitness, healthy living, mindfulness, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

The team at Organic Spa Magazine just released The Top 10 Health, Wellness and Green Living Trends and I thought you might like to review their list.

One of their trends, Wearable Wellness, has become more relevant in my life and perhaps a couple will speak to you.

To your health!

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Hilton Head Health: Healthy Insights with David Chesworth, Fitness Specialist

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 | Adventure, Cooking Schools, Destination Spas, Healing, Meditation, Nutrition, Relaxation, Weight Loss, facials, fitness, healthy living, hiking, massage, mindfulness, well-being, wellness | No Comments

A question to ponder:
What obstacles are preventing you from being your healthiest self?

If you’ve been following me and Mindful Adventures via social media, you know that I recently returned from Hilton Head Health (H3) and experienced their Lose Well 4-week program.    Up until experiencing the H3 program I believed I was doing all of the right things – eating healthy, exercising (although not consistently – first obstacle) and taking care of myself.  My business is built around wellness and it’s my focus in life, however  I had to know that on some level something wasn’t working and wondered if the answers would come to me during this program.

Some answers did come to me during the first week.  It was one of the toughest weeks of my life (physically), however I discovered that my body could do more given the chance and direction.

“The more your body is challenged, the more it wants to adapt.”
- David Chesworth


I remember David saying that to me and it was so profound….one of the major ‘aha’ moments of my journey.  The second week wasn’t easier, however my body began to adapt and I started to notice some subtle changes.  The three main points that I’m focusing on now that I’m back in the ‘real world’ include a food journal (the MyFitnessPal app), portion control at dinner and movement.

There’s more to share about my experience, including additional interviews with other members of the H3 team, however let’s start with fitness with Insight from David Chesworth, one of my H3 trainers.

David and I worked together during much of my stay and he was empathetic to my challenges from a couple of injuries I have had to deal with, one that I continue to work on.  As you’ll read in the interview below, he overcame a serious injury and I believe that his empathy and understanding also helped me to overcome more obstacles.  And, if you’d like to look at the video we created during my last day at H3, this is the link.  I hope David’s insight and the video will inspire you to make positive changes in your own life.


Healthy Insights with David Chesworth

DA: What inspired you to become an Exercise Physiologist?
DC: Growing up I was a scrawny musician in the band. When I got in high school I all of a sudden became obsessed with the idea of bulking up to impress the girls. While this was my initial spark to becoming interested in exercise physiology, it was not the long term motivator. I soon became genuinely in love with being physically active. It made me feel so good! A happiness unlike any other I’ve felt. A confidence, a self control, and a new version of me I didn’t know was possible. My dad ended up getting shoulder surgery and needed physical therapy. Through this series of events, I decided I wanted to go to school for exercise science to later become a physical therapist. I soon realized that being a physical therapist was not quite for me. At the end of my undergrad journey I found the Hilton Head Health internship where I realized my true passion for who I wanted to help. I realized that I wanted to help more than just those who need physical therapy. I want to touch the lives of anyone and everyone who genuinely wants to change for the better by taking on a more active lifestyle.

DA: What tips would you like to share with my readers to enhance their fitness needs?
DC: Fitness Tips:

​a) Seek activities you enjoy: Not only will you have more success long term, but also, whats the point of living healthy if it doesn’t also make you happy?
b) Start Early: You may not think you’re a morning person, and maybe you’re not, but the earlier in the day you start being active the less likely you are to make excuses later in the day. Not only that, physical activity at the beginning of the day has been shown to improve productivity.
c) Prioritize Yourself: Schedule out your physical activity in your life the same way you would a doctors appointment. Don’t miss it!
d) Log your excuses: Every time you make an excuse, write it down. When you re-read it in a more clear state of mind, write down a solution for that excuse. This will turn that excuse into an invalid one for the future.

DA: What’s one of your biggest life lessons so far and do you use it in your work?
DC:
Allow yourself to be interdependent: My biggest life lesson so far in life is that, “it is okay to accept the help from others”.  Now, I’m not saying to be completely dependent on others. But being too stubborn to accept the help others can offer is equally ridiculous. There is a happy medium of being independent as well as cooperative with others – interdependence. There will be times in your life when you simply don’t know what to do, or physically can’t do something. Don’t be afraid to utilize the tools that others have to offer you to help you along the way. Think of it as a temporary crutch, if you will. While nobody wants to use crutches, they will ultimately lead you to greatness and will leave you feeling grateful and better than ever in the future. I had this realization during my recovery from my broken neck.

DA: If you weren’t working in the fitness field, what would you be doing?
DC: I’ve always thought of myself as an entertainer. I like making people happy and putting on a show. I am also a very musical person. I always find myself humming along to songs and tapping my foot wanting to dance. If I had another career path I would have chosen to be a performer of some sort.

DA:
What’s your favorite fitness activity?
DC: It’s tough to chose one fitness activity as my favorite. I don’t think I could pick one. I would have to say that anytime I feel like I’m “playing” is my favorite. Exercise sounds like work, but play sounds like fun. When I’m having fun in a social, active setting I’m happiest.

DA:
What do you do to stay educated about fitness trends, research, etc.?
DC: Staying educated is not only important for my clients, but also for myself. Keeping myself interested in the field and finding new ways to refuel my passion is so important. Being a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) organization I receive e-mails and journals in the mail with the latest research studies and articles on fitness and health. I also seek new seminars and certifications to attend in order to network and grow in the field that way. Sometimes simply opening up an old text book and re-reading chapters can open my eyes in new ways, reading things from a new angle and understanding them in ways I didn’t before.

DA:
What’s next for you in this field?
DC: The question of “What’s next” is a question I frequently challenge myself with. It’s tough to say. I often find myself having different ideas with completely different avenues, but at the end of the day, I don’t know what’s next. Like a shark, I must keep moving to stay alive. Right now it is important that I continue seeking new ways to stay educated  in the field. Along the way there will always be new doors opening. When I see a new door worth walking through, I will.

DA:
Do you have a mentor?  If so, how has he/she helped you?
DC: I consider Adam Martin at Hilton Head Health to be one of my greatest mentors. As former Fitness Director, he is the one who hired me and the one I attribute much of my current training style to. I never saw him make excuses. The way he interacts with guests is amazing. It always seemed to me that if he had a vision, he could make it a reality. This is such a powerful quality to have. He has since transitioned into marketing over the past several years, however, he continues to demonstrate this and it continues to be a motivational concept to me as I apply it to Fitness.

DA:
What is most rewarding to you in your field?
DC: The most rewarding thing in my field, hands down, is when I hear a guest/client say, “I never thought I would be able to do this (ever/again) in my life!” To be a part of a life journey that takes a person from one self to a better version of that self is something that cannot be given a price tag.

DA:
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DC: There may be times when you find yourself getting lost. This is a very real thing and can definitely happen. In fact, it most probably will happen. When you find yourself getting lost I challenge you to compose a personal vision statement. A personal vision statement is your time to step into the shoes of your ideal version of yourself. If you had all the magic in the world and could snap your fingers right now to become that person, who would that be? Write your vision as if you are already this person with phrases like, “I am, I can, I enjoy”.  Avoid phrases like, “I want, I will, I should”. Nothing is more powerful than the “why” behind your journey. When things get tough, you will stop caring about the “what”… But gosh darn it, why?
______________________________________
Photo: David Chesworth and Donna Adinolfi
Photo credit: Queata M. Cassell of Hilton Head Health
______________________________________
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7 Spa-Inspired Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in the Busyness of Work-Life

Saturday, November 1st, 2014 | Adventure, California Spas, Canyon Ranch, Destination Spas, Healing, Healing Music, Meditation, Mii Amo, Miraval Spa, Nutrition, Rancho la Puerta, Red Mountain Spa, Relaxation, Weight Loss, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, hiking, joy, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

7 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in the Busyness of Work-Life

This past week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in the last several months, which is great, of course.  Writing about wellness spas and talking to others about the benefits of going to a wellness spa inspire me for many reasons and time away devoted to our health is invaluable.

Massage and other services are vital for our well-being, however what I love most about the spa industry is that it’s a lifestyle.  So while we can learn a lot about living healthier lives, implementing what we learned to our daily life is important.

The Spa Lifestyle (for me) is about Eating Healthy, Moving our Bodies, Going Outdoors, Meditation and Prayer and so much more. The busyness of this week reminded me of a few things to re-evaluate for my own health and perhaps they’ll remind you of the importance of taking care of yourself.  It isn’t selfish.  It’s necessary. And while my intention is to engage in all of these there are times that even our best intentions fail us.  So let’s get back on track together.

1.  Always take advantage of ’slow times’ to complete other goals.
This is something I always think about when I get really busy.  It also reminds me of a job I had years ago when I was told to enjoy the slow time because it was about to get very busy.  I know I tend to thrive in the energy of the busyness, however the lesson here is to take advantage of the ‘ebb’ in our lives and use the time to complete other tasks to avoid stressing over not having the time later.

2. Go to the gym in the morning because ‘later’ comes much too soon.
Old habits aren’t always easy to change, however this one has to.  I like to start my day with breakfast, followed by going through my emails and prioritizing tasks, etc.  My intention is to reward myself with going to the gym in the afternoon.  I’m sure you know how that’s been working out.  Obvious?  Yes.  Take care of this early.  No guilt later and I’m pretty sure we’ll feel more energized (without a second cup of coffee).

3. Always have a pitcher of water on your desk.
Last Christmas I purchased a water pitcher thinking I would keep it filled and on my desk everyday.  It worked for a little while and then I decided I’d just get up and down to get a glass of water to break up sitting so long.  Well, it’s truly best to keep the pitcher close at hand so that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day.  The more you drink your daily water, the more you’ll naturally get up!

4. Go outside, breathe in fresh air and connect with nature.
This is so important on so many levels.   I find that even when I’m engaged in my work flow there comes a time in the afternoon, usually about 4pm, that I have to go outside.   It may only be for about 10-20 minutes, yet the benefits last much longer.  Go outside!

5. Play music you love…music that inspires you.
I love most kinds of music and choose different kinds depending on what I’m working on.
Music inspires me.
Music gets me moving.
Music stirs my soul and helps my creative process.
What kind of music inspires you?

6. Read more and watch less (TV).
I’ll confess that I do have a few favorite TV shows.  Watching them distracts me from the challenges of life and yet I’ve been reading less and miss that time.  I love to read and most of what I read is in the self-help genre.
I have every book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, most from Louise Hay and Paulo Coelho and many, many others.   Reading helps me to slow down and immerse myself in the power of inspiring words.   It’s time to finish what I started.  What are you reading?

7. Eat Lunch!
More often than not I ‘forget’ to eat lunch.  That 4pm time comes along and I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t have something earlier.
It’s important to eat healthy and frequently during the day.  It’s a matter of taking just a few minutes and yet we get distracted by all of the busyness of our task-driven day.  With all of the cookbooks I have from my favorite spas like Miraval, Mii amo, Canyon Ranch, Rancho la Puerta, Red Mountain Spa, Cal-a-vie and Golden Door, there’s no excuse.   A good plan is bag some cut-up veggies, nuts, and whatever you’d like so they’re ready to grab.

I know these are obvious, however when you’re ‘in the flow’ it’s easy to put off doing what you know is best so this is a reminder for all of us. 

Now go outside, grab a bag of veggies and enjoy the day!

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New Year, New You: A Wellness Retreat to Transform Your Life

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 | Adventure, Beauty, Challenge Course, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Equine Therapy, Healing, Healing Music, Meditation, Miraval Spa, Nutrition, Relaxation, Skincare, Weight Loss, Zipline, facials, fitness, gratitude, healthy living, hiking, joy, love, massage, mindfulness, spa, stress relief, well-being, wellness | 1 Comment

Miraval Arizona

January is one of the best times to experience a destination spa retreat and if you’re looking to make 2015 one of your best years, then this might be the opportunity to do just that.   Miraval Arizona will be the setting for this four-night retreat from January 7 – 11, 2015.

Whether you’ve experienced Miraval before or are considering Miraval for the first time, journey with me for a few minutes and take a look at a few specially selected links, information, services and activities to help you learn more about one of the world’s best spas.

New Year, New You Flyer


“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.” – Lao Tzu

Transformation Vacation:
Time away devoted to our health is invaluable, as we all know, and when you add inspiring lectures from Miraval’s specialists, healing spa services and a challenge course to go beyond self-imposed boundaries, you set the stage for a year of transformation.   You can use this time to focus on fitness and perhaps schedule a private session with Andrew Wolf, Miraval’s Exercise Physiologist or focus on healthier eating and learn from Miraval’s nutritionist, Junelle Lupiani and perhaps also consider a Resting Metabolic Rate Analysis and Personalized Nutrition Plan to help you meet your goals.

Let 2015 be the year that you learn how to manage stress and while you’re at it, learn the 7-Keys to Joy and Vitality from Anne Parker or consider using some of your allowance of resort credits for one of her private sessions like Activating Your Emotional Intelligence or a personal favorite, Mirror of the Soul.

A sample journey at Miraval – take a look at this short video to get a better feel of Miraval.

Mindful Eating at Miraval
Healthy menus utilizing locally sourced ingredients create an exceptional dining experience.  Eat better, live better, feel better.  Gourmet meals that are delicious and nutritious, even dessert.

Enjoy this Miraval recipe of Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Scones from their Sweet & Savory cookbook.

What about spa services?
There are many services to choose from including several outdoor treatments.

Aqua Zen
is one service you might want to consider because the pool is heated for this service done by a Watsu®-trained therapist. Your body is moved effortlessly through the warm waters of the specially designed pool (water invites complete relaxation to the massage, allowing your body to be manipulated and stretched with greater freedom than traditional massage).  This is suitable for non-swimmers.

If you’re looking for something really unique, then Nâga (created at Miraval) may be of interest.  This is offered only at the Spa at Miraval and evolved from the healing principals of Thai Massage. Your therapist uses strands of richly colored silk suspended from above as an extension of their body. The silks are used by your provider for entwining and gracefully suspending themselves as well as wrapping and supporting your body, taking you deeper into the stretches and releasing restrictions impairing full movement.

And maybe a massage is what you need after a day of hiking and yoga.  There are many to choose from including a Relaxation Massage, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone and more.   I love the Restorative Deep Tissue (with arnica) and I’m also a fan of Shamana Karma (under Ayurvedic services in the guide).  Sample Guide

There are many other classes and activities to choose from, including Miraval’s Equine Experience, which I recommend to all new to Miraval guests.  It can be so profound and a great way to start your Miraval journey as it offers you the opportunity to practice living in the moment – Mindfulness – the key philosophy of Miraval.

Be Restored.
Be Inspired.
Be Transformed.

(Space is limited and based on availability.  Review the flyer and feel free to email me with any questions.)

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The Horses Know: A Reflection of Self at Souls At Play Equine Center

Friday, September 5th, 2014 | Abundance, Adventure, Beauty, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Equine Therapy, Gratitude and Inspiration, Healing, Healing Music, Manifesting, Meditation, Michigan spas, Peace, Prosperity, Relaxation, gratitude, healthy living, joy, love, mindfulness, stress relief, well-being, wellness | No Comments

Revallier - one of three Friesian Horses


“All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he’ll listen to me any day.”
~ Author Unknown


The Horses Know:  A Reflection of Self at Souls at Play Equine Center

What I know to be true is that horses reflect our energy and much can be revealed in their presence.  I’ve always felt a connection to horses and I believe it’s the sense of freedom they convey to me.  I always looked at that freedom as a physical attribute of riding free in wide open spaces, however learning more about the  energy of horses and how they reflect back to us our energy has been cathartic.

“Horses reflect our energy and reveal to us
a missing part of our soul.” – Donna Adinolfi

In 2000, I had the opportunity to experience Wyatt Webb’s Equine Experience at Miraval Arizona (back then it was Miraval – Life in Balance), and it was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  At the time I was seeking answers as to what my purpose was and what to do in the next chapter of my life (the ‘turning 40′ time period) and I learned a lot about myself from Wyatt and my other teacher – my horse – and it helped to set the stage for Mindful Adventures and pursuing writing in a greater way as well as working with Miraval and other destination spas to help people lead a healthier life.  I’m grateful for that time.  I’m grateful for Wyatt.


Fast forward to a week ago and my experience at Souls at Play Equine Center, which happens to be about an hour away from where I live.  It was serendipity that brought me to this opportunity as it was during a holiday silent auction at my church where an item for a session at the Equine Center would become mine.  Mike (my significant other) knew of my love for horses and interest in equine therapy and the rest is history.

Serendipity might have been a catalyst to get me here, however life as I knew it
changed drastically a few years after that first equine encounter and I can’t
help but wonder if the teacher is appearing because the student is ready.


Our Guides:
The Center has three Friesian horses that were imported from The Netherlands and they’re quite large. All are black and all have their own personality.  At first, I thought that I would connect with Revallier (known as Reval), however it wasn’t about what I thought.  It was about my energy and letting go.

Let’s meet the three horses.  Aris is known as the wholehearted horse and was my first teacher (more later).  Beaucheme is limitless and the leader of the three.  Oh, and he’s blind in one eye (more on that lesson later).  And Revallier, also known as Reval, is the one with the amazing hair.  I loved that about him and he’s the one I identified with first, yet another would ‘reveal’ more to me.  Reval is the largest of the three.

Sarah DesJardins created Souls at Play Equine Center as a way to combine her love for horses and her life’s work to empower people to know their own value.  She’s a catalyst of change.  Intuitive and beautiful, inside and out.

Our Session Begins:
Sarah met us upon our arrival and our session unfolded in unexpected and profound ways.  With the memories of my first equine encounter with Wyatt in Arizona, I had some ideas as to what we’d do, however I soon let go of them as each session truly takes on a life of its own based on the energy of the moment.  It’s all about being present. When you’re with the horses, especially these three, you connect to your heart and for me, well, let’s just say quite a bit came up rather quickly.

This is also a story of vulnerability and perhaps sharing this is also
part of my journey and can help others.

Shortly after arriving I asked about Aris.  I had concerns about his demeanor in the pen and I asked Sarah about him.   And Sarah asked, “what do you think?”  Hmmm……the session begins.   Both Reval and Beaucheme had walked out of the pen and Aris was alone.  He was facing the opposite wall for a little while and I said he looked sad as if he isn’t needed and he looks lonely.   Oh my God!  That’s me.  The tears started streaming down my face with an overwhelming yet revealing emotion.  That’s how I’ve been feeling and Aris picked up on it.  Was I unapproachable and withdrawn when I arrived?   I don’t know.  What I do know is that I faced that and felt a little better after sharing it and bringing it to the surface.

Mike and I continued to connect with Sarah and while our conversation continued about how our lives led us to one another, our common challenges (all three of us lost our spouses), life, love, self-trust, and more we noticed that Beaucheme wanted to be part of our conversation.    Sarah shared more about him.  Remember when I mentioned he’s blind in one eye, yet he’s limitless and the leader of the three?    It revealed another lesson to me.  More of an aha, yet something that I’m reflecting on and processing through journaling.

Much more was discussed and brought to the surface while surrounded by all three horses and then Sarah wanted both Mike and I to do an exercise together. While it was to involve all three horses only one seemed to align with us and that is exactly how it was meant to work out.   The exercise was to help Mike and I communicate better. It was a little comical at first because we weren’t telling Beaucheme what we wanted from him (uh…nor each other!), yet he was guiding us and once we paid attention we got through the first part.  It took a little time and a little guidance from Sarah, however we got through the task with a greater understanding of each other and some tools to use moving forward.

Equine therapy is also about ‘peeling away the layers’ and healing, which leads us to reconnecting with ourselves and I believe will also reveal a more confident and empowered self so that we can share our gifts with the world.  Isn’t that what most of us want?

What’s next?
I’m ready for my next session.
The Horses will reveal more to me and I’m excited to see them again.

The farm is located in Manchester,Michigan (about an hour from Detroit)
Contact Sarah directly at 734-417-4112 for more information or to make an appointment.


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Danielle Fryer, Fitness Director at Mii amo. Our Conversation Continues.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 | Adventure, Beauty, Cooking Schools, Destination Spas, Energy Work, Healing, Meditation, Mii Amo, Weight Loss, fitness, healthy living, hiking, joy, massage, mindfulness, well-being, wellness | No Comments

This is the follow-up to a previous post of my podcast with Danielle Fryer, Fitness Director of Mii amo in Sedona, AZ.   Our conversation continued after the podcast interview and in the text below I share Danielle’s answers to my other questions.

Did you miss the podcast?
Just click the link below.
Original post with podcast


I believe you’ll find Danielle’s insight is beneficial to you as a reader as well as anyone considering her Body Transformation retreat at Mii amo.

Our conversation continues…


Please share one or two of your ‘know how’ actions that will be revealed in your retreat:

Most professionals will NOT give away all their secrets because it keeps clients coming back for more. NOT AT THE BODY ‘TRANSFORMATION RETREAT!

I will be giving away ALL my secrets and teaching the guest how to be their OWN Dietitian/Nutritionist and Fitness Trainer.

1. Knowing how to create your personalized meal plans without the constant follow up of a dietitian, nutritionist, trainer or latest fad diet book.  Know how to determine if a diet plan or fad is right for you BEFORE you even begin.  Knowing when to eat (meal timing), how often to eat (mindfulness tips and practice), and what to eat (food grouping) to maximize energy utilization and nourishment for the living cells to perform better and/or lose body fat if this is the goal. This is all defined in the workbook provided, The Mindful Clean Plate

2. Know how to create a practical plan for exercise and nutrition that is DO-ABLE with life’s circumstances (for example: how to manage food on the go + cooking for picking eaters + workouts in a busy work week while also raising 2 teenagers).

3. Know how to create and DO an effective workout by use of various fitness variance and fun! Each individual group workout will be written and provided to retreat participants. These workouts can be taken home and used with year round results.

How will guests achieve a super-fit and energized mindset?

1. Surrender
To let go of any preconceived ideas that you are not good enough as you are. Letting go of false evidence that appears real (FEAR) and recognizing that old behaviors are either fed or starved with your thoughts and reactions, but they don’t disappear. Behaviors EVOLVE with surrender! They evolve if you can accept that where you are is exactly where you are supposed to be in order to further your journey of transformation. Once this occurs, the doors open for possibilities.

2. Awareness (Mindfulness)
Awareness is the greatest agent for change. 95% of the clients I have served over the years THINK they know why they can’t lose the weight, or speed up their race time, etc. However, it is those 95% that leave my workshops saying “OOhhhh, I see my issue now.” Then, once this is established, they can focus their energy into the issue and get a different, more specific, energized result.


What are some of the tools and support that guests will experience from the retreat?

Every morning we start the day with a unique, fun, and challenging workout in the weight room (modifications will be provided to suit all fitness levels).  These upbeat, playful workouts will set the tone for each day. My workouts have been described by guests as “kick butt exercise to strengthen and lengthen my body that I would have never thought would work for me, but they do! She is energetic and inspiring.” Also,  “she is a high spirit, high energy person that I look forward to working with again!”

The morning workouts will be followed by a group morning ritual in the crystal grotto. Then, we meet again before lunch for the daily two hour nutrition workshops:  These workshops are somewhat of an emotional nutrition boot camp. In this time together we will get down and dirty about what it means to cultivate “AT HOME”  support, vision, and goals for success!  We meet up again in the early EVENING for a second unique, fun, and challenging workout that is always different from the morning workout (outdoors, pool, yoga room, etc.).  Additionally, we will have a Body Transformation specific cooking demo and a Body Transformation menu feature for every single meal in the Mii amo Café. I have been working with Chef Nicole and we are really jazzed about the NEW and exciting things we will present to the group. One of the biggest highlights for me during the retreat is the ability to stay RIGHT HERE on property with my retreat guests. I want to be available to them 24-7. My door will be open for silly conversations, stargazing and deep conversations, and/or a shoulder to cry on. I want to cultivate an oasis for a body image and performance REBOOT!

And, please review other benefits of the program.

Guests can expect to take home a more defined sense of what it means to transform their body. They will receive cutting edge fitness and nutrition education that is specific to their individual needs, visions, and goals. They will be encouraged and able to continue use of the materials when they go home. They can expect to take home a wealth of information that will keep them immune to the false, misleading, main stream, media fads that are marketed in order to make trillions. They can expect to receive authentic empowerment from myself and the group that will keep them energized for time to come!  They can expect to make a FAN for life…me!  I see the potential in EVERYONE I meet! I love what I do so much that the inspiration is contagious! Some of my most loved clients call me “Vitamin D” LOL!

Body Transformation Retreat Dates:
August 24 – 28
November 2 – 6
If you’d like more details about these retreat dates or 2015 dates, please email me directly at donna@mindfuladventures.com

Let’s Connect!
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Follow Danielle for current information on the latest and greatest fitness BUZZZES!
Follow Mindful Adventures for spa, travel & wellness retreats, news and inspiration.

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