Leads to a Holistic Connection
at Warner Springs Ranch
By Tamara Lelie
Courtesy Warner Springs Ranch
I went to the woods
because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts
of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not,
when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I did not
wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to
practise [sic] resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted
to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily
and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad
swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner.
From Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
many of us don't know what we're looking for in life and are wandering
around aimlessly in a world where survival is the only agenda. Yet,
our hearts are crying out for so much more. The bombardment with all
this technology and automation hasn't helped out one bit. Life is not
only on AUTOMATIC pilot but it's become so complicated and messy. Recently
just starting a relationship with an amazing man, I decide to invite
him to join me as I step off the treadmill that is so called "life"
and instead experience for ourselves what true "living" is
about. In essence, I decided it's due time for a "technological
Destination of choice for this rest?
Warner Springs Ranch, a world famous resort located in Northern San
Diego County near Temecula. The main reason for my choice is that it's
the easiest way to escape technology. #1 reason being that there is
no TV or Internet available in the adobe casitas. AND reason #2? They
also have no T-mobile service so it will actually be impossible for
me to use my phone which is the only way I would NOT check my messages.
Reason #3? Not only is Warner Springs Ranch world famous for its healing
mineral waters for which people come from all over the world to experience
but it also originated as the home of the peace loving Cupeño
Indians who had inhabited the land for thousands of years and had a
spiritual relationship with it. And reason #4 happened when I called
the Ranch Marketing Director, Jeff, who graciously invited me and said,
"At Warner Springs, you can't help but find what you're looking
for". Sign me up!
Kit Carson residence built by Cupenos
Courtesy: Warner Springs Ranch
So I figure that the first step I need to take
before I begin the adventure is to figure out what exactly I will be
looking for. And after careful deliberation, I decide that it's a sense
with myself, my man and nature. We arrive on a Friday
and the weekend begins with Maya the massage technician at Warner Springs
Ranch laying me down on a table and giving me an aromatherapy massage.
Now, this is not just any massage but the massage of my life. When I
ask her what exactly it is that she's doing to get me to actually escape
the chaos in my head that was swirling around reminding me of deadlines
I had looming up and birthdays I'd forgotten, she explains that it's
a mixture of shiatsu, lymphatic kinesiology and intuition. Maya says
that our bodies are like machines and are on automatic function, doing
so many things per day and that stress and nutritional issues overwhelm
the body. So when she touches certain pain points on my body, it sends
lymphatic fluid and hormones got the nerves to release chemicals to
help the process of repairing the body.
"We protect our egos with the creation of judgment and we keep
building these blocks until we're buried in them and feel so disconnected
from our body and our true desires since we get buried so deep. It is
by being proactive and seeking out spiritual clearing that one is able
to heal because inner emotional battles are the cause of disease and
suffering." explains the lovely Maya.
Hot springs pool at night.
Credit: Warner Springs Ranch
She then emphatically hugs me on my way out and whispers,
"Everything good is here. We shouldn't have to suffer at all".
Leaving the spa, I become so relaxed and on cloud 9 from the effects
of the massage and aromatherapy, I fall into a state of bliss and walk
outside. I can almost feel the Native American spirits who had inhabited
this region for 6,000 years and I decide then and there that as best
I could, I will spend the rest of the weekend pretending that I am a
Cupeño Indian myself and stay open to whatever lessons it is
that the land wants to teach me.
My first role as imaginary Cupeño Indian begins when I get a
private tour and am shown a special spot where enormous stones are lying
on the ground. Upon inspection, I see that these gigantic stones had
holes where the acorn mashed oatmeal and the Cupeño Indians grinded
out the tannins against the stone. I find old pieces of pottery shards
that dated back hundreds and hundreds of year. My tour guide points
out sage brush growing all over the property that the Native American
Shamans used for sacraments in healing ceremonies. I then close my eyes
and imagine what it would be like to rely on the mercy of nature to
have access to nourishment. No microwaves, no gas stoves. Just stones
According to information given to me by Shasta Gaughen,
the Director of the Cupa Cultural Center, the Cupeño Indians
knew not only how to survive from the land but they also had a deep
understanding of the healing property of the Hot Springs and of nature
itself. Their bodies were connected with nature and spirit. On a rock
by the source Hot Springs, there's a plaque that says,
Photo Credit: Warner Springs Ranch
"These waters rise from unknown depths to bring
you "magic" mineral waters as a gift from Mother Nature at
her best. These waters have soothed weary travelers, prospectors, cavalry,
Indians and Spaniards alike-a flowing history of the West. Reflected
in these waters is the heritage of this land. Stranger, won't you stay
Of course, wary travelers can be found in many forms. There are those
exhausted by tired feet walking the land or from traveling by stage
coach for days. However, most become weary on the journey of life due
to life traumas. One thing I learn from the weekend is that the staff
who works at the resort were all weary travelers who had come to the
Ranch looking for a sanctuary and an escape from heartbreak, grief,
busy lifestyles, etc. But, upon arrival-they learned what it was that
the Cupeño Indians knew; these grounds hold a sacred and nurturing
energy. They then discovered that they belonged there.
After dinner on the first night, my guy and I decide
to take a night swim at the Olympic sized Hot Springs Mineral pool that
lays side by side an Olympic sized swimming pool. As we walk from our
adobe casita to the pool and I relish the respite from having to barrage
through L.A. traffic for a half hour in order to get anywhere, I inhale
the fresh smog free air as we walk the 3 minute journey to the pool
area. It's like walking into a surreal dream. The Hot Springs pool is
filled with people at 10:30p at night. Coming from the outdoor speakers
is the most peaceful soft music echoing softly (I later discovered that
the resort regularly throws float parties where local musicians come
out at night to play). I'd never seen anything like this before.
View of the two pools
Photo Credit: Warner Springs Ranch
We languidly step into the Hot springs pool and find
abandoned tubes then position the tubes so that our heads are floating
on one end and our legs on the other. My man lovingly points out the
Milky Way to me as I am still letting the fact sink in that I have not
touched my cell phone at all for the last 7 hours. I don't know what
is more of a miracle, the fact that stars are 5,000 light years away
from earth or that my cell phone bill would actually be cheaper due
to this brilliantly conceived weekend technological sabbatical.
More importantly, the recipe of soothed muscles in hot water, looking
up at the star-filled sky, listening to the music and being in my lover's
arms - all lends to this blissful feeling of floating on air. It's the
closest feeling to complete surrender, simplicity and serenity that
I've felt in a long time. I feel complete joy and peace in this moment.
And was this..? Could it be..? Connection?
Upon our departure on Sunday, as we exit the front gates of Warner Springs
Ranch, I not only feel closer to myself and my needs but also realize
the secret that the Cupeño Indians knew about this special land.
They knew that people would come when they needed to remember just how
to suck the marrow out of life again and get out of their head and back
into their bodies. In essence, the main thing that I take with me as
I drive away from the property is that for a weekend-I belonged somewhere.
And this feeling of belonging to myself, to the land and to love...would
never leave as long as I "remembered" the Cupeño secret.
Special Offerings of Warner Springs:
Photo Credit: Warner Springs Ranch
- Smiling Waters Trading Post (health food store with
organic and local made food) ran by Tashi, who has studied the benefits
of Chinese Medicine and herbs for 20 years, an elixir bar
- Horse back riding
- Kiddie Corral
- Dog run and dog friendly Casitas
For reservations at Warner Springs Ranch, click on
To find out how you can help existing Indian tribes surrounding the
Warner Springs Ranch area, click on www.palatribe.com
FYI: Warner Springs placed this article on their website.